Hello! It’s Analise. We wrapped up our two-week stint in New Orleans and have crossed three state lines to our campsite on Florida’s Forgotten Coast. We closed out the Big Easy with some tasty foodstuffs and RV maintenance. The rest of the country might be dealing with winter, but we’ve got spring — jack springs!
The Audubon Zoo is on the river next to Tulane University. It’s not the biggest zoo – I walked almost all of it in the hour and a half I had before work – but it’s a beautiful zoo. The exhibits are well-designed, the animals are visible and active, and there’s even a tongue-and-cheek swamp exhibit that shows off local fauna like white alligators and bobcats.
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Breakfast of champions
In our travels, it’s rare we’ve found an eatery we want to revisit; there’s just so much that’s new to see. But the Ruby Slipper Café really took the cake. The pancake! (Sorry, not sorry.) We went back for our last breakfast in town just in time for the new seasonal menu. I got one of the winter specials: cranberry pancakes with orange curd. Is it a sugary overload on your senses? Yes. Does the sweet orange pair perfectly with the tart cranberries? Of course. Do I regret anything? Psh never. And I got to nibble on Mark’s pick: the Trifecta. Why choose between three types of Eggs Benedict when you can get all three?
Also a fun food find: Crave in Chalmette. It’s a funky hole in the wall with a pickle of a parking lot, but the food is that rare combination of kitchy, weird and delicious. We started with alligator bombs (seasoned gator meatballs) and closed out with a SushiRitto (it sounds like a sushi/burrito mashup because it is) and Tamales on the Bayou (homemade tamales with Cajun shrimp).
The big win of the week was replacing half of our rear jack springs. We’d lost one of the two springs that help the rear passenger-side jack back in Michigan in October, but while we were in New Orleans we discovered that both springs on the rear driver-side jack also busted. The springs help retract the jack and keep it stowed when we’re driving. A closer look showed the springs’ metal coil had rusted nearly halfway through; the stress of using them to try and free ourselves from our mud-stuck adventure probably didn’t help. With replacements shipped from Wisconsin, we got to work prepping the parts for install.
These suckers are difficult to extend by hand, so for our first attempt we fashioned our own jig out of threaded rods and slotted angles. (Have you ever Dremeled solid zinc in your bathroom? The noise is almost as amazing as the smell.) This worked to expand the coil, but the jig wouldn’t fit in the narrow space where the spring hooked into the chassis. Second attempt: use the jig to expand the spring and insert clothespin halves into the gaps as shims. This did the trick, and we got both springs installed on the rear driver-side jack. Between our trial and error plus installation, the repair took most of our daylight. Since the rear passenger-side jack still has one working spring, we’ll wait until Florida to replace the pair at once.
Cat tax: Lilly working hard to take up Mark’s seat
Florida! We’re in Carrabelle through the week, then on to Bradenton for Christmas.
If you have any suggestions for things to see on the Florida gulf coast or questions about our travels and RV life, let us know in the comments.