The Raish Brothers Brotherly Road Trip - The Long Road Home

So there isn't really that much that interested us between Nashville and western New York so we aimed to complete this final leg all in one go.  Google maps said it would take 14 hrs driving + eating.  It was the long road home

a final look at the last hotel we would stay in.  To room smells of fried chicken and gravy.  In peacetime that would be awesome but in the road trip wartime on our stomachs it was not so cool

We had to drive through Louisville, Kentucky and I said we must get a Hot Brown.  We went to the Brown Hotel, the creators of the Kentucky tradition.  It is a very fancy place and Bob went and did what Bob does, sweatpants and large t-shirt from college.  Class
I told Bob I locked the keys in the car and he was like DON'T F WITH ME JASON.  and I said yea I did and he said DUDE DON'T F WITH ME.  and I said yea i did take a look right there on the seat, right there and I smiled and giggled.  He sauntered over and saw the keys square on the driver's seat, glistening in the sun and then he got a very disappointed look on his face.  I laughed.  So we ate and waited for the locksmith guy to come.  He was hyper and popped the lock in like 30 seconds.  It was $45 dollars.
The Hot Brown:  Turkey, bacon, roma tomatos, texas toast, all covered with mornay sauce and pecorino romano cheese.  What's mornay sauce you say?  It's bechamel sauce with cheese in it.  What's bechamel sauce you say?  It's one of the 5 traditional mother sauces:  Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Hollandaise, Classic Tomato

the long road home gets a lot longer when it's like this for hours and hours.  We had a lot of rain driving on this road trip

yay, i'm in........Pennsylvania.

through my expert packing skills we managed to pack the car full but still be able to see out the back window.  We stopped in Erie, PA at burgerking to get the 2 spicy classic chicken sandwhiches for $5 deal, only to find that the spicy chicken sandwich was over.  That's the one thing I held on to the entire trip ,that I could get the classic long chicken sandwich of my youth, but now in glorious spicy......aaaaand we failed.  We got just normal classic chicken sandwiches and felt bad again after eating fast food.  Ooh I forgot to write about maybe an even more shameful eating thing we did at the hotel when I had to work.  I'll go amend that post right now.

we finally made it back to Canisteo, NY where we grew up and where our parents live.  What a road trip.  We are glad it's over.

relaxing with the Newfoundlands up on Raish Hill.

an unexpected bonus from this trip was that I got my Klipsch 4.1 THX certified speakers back from Bob.  I had forgotten I gave them to him when I moved to China.  I have been listening to music through a bluetooth portable jambox for over a year now.  Score!
so a final recap, this is the map from the GPS in my camera.  about 1,500 photos in all.  91 in the mountains of colorado, 89 in austin, 201 in New Orleans, 78 in Graceland, 32 in Canisteo, New York.  If you count my bus ride back to New York I logged over 3,000 miles on the road.  The driving and everything wasn't that bad, and I would road trip again.  Eventually the grand canyon and California will have to be reached....

The Raish Brothers Brotherly Road Trip - Graceland

we woke up in Canton, Mississippi and started our drive up to Memphis, Tennessee to go to Elvis' house, Graceland.
ladies what if you could wake up to this?

more cotton.

this is a good thing to see when you're going to a BBQ joint.  We went to Jim Neely's Interstate BBQ in Memphis and it was pretty sweet.

this place is so cheap too.  huge BBQ Bologna sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, potato salad, and BBQ spaghetti, yes it's a thing in the south.

Unbeknownst to us there was a super awesome storm coming to Memphis and there were tornado warnings and things looked like they were about to get really serious.  A few minutes later they cancelled the tornado warnings and decreased the drama.

that doesn't mean there wasn't torrential downpour which we caught some of on the way to the BBQ place to Graceland.  If we had just been 2 minutes faster we could have outrun the storm, but no, it got us right as we pulled in and we stepped out of the car into 6 inches of water.  We were soaked and our shoes were soaked all afternoon and it was a little chilly.  It might be enough to make Bob curse HIS name (the king, elvis presley) because he already wasn't the biggest fan.  But bob is bob and he soldiered on.

Elvis' house was actually pretty cool.  its the whole waiting around for 2 hour around the crappy side "museums" and the 20 gift shops that sucks.  You have to wait for your bus group to be called so you can be shuttled ACROSS THE STREET

Elvis' famous jungle room.  Just so no one judges Elvis they said that back then this style was in fashion.  Just to be clear.

they give you an ipad and headphones so everyone is walking around like zombies with a 100 yard stare.  You would never guess who the audio host was.  John mother lovin' Stamos

so many various lighting sources with various color temperatures made it impossible to get a good photo of Elvis' tv lounge which was kinda cool.  Everything is yellow.

the bar in the television room.  There were little bars everywhere.  John Stamos told us that Elvis' heart was big and he liked to fill his house with his friends and family.  There would be people doing stuff an all hours of the night and day

I wanted to buy an Elvis bobble head but the two they had in the giftshops looked nothing like Elvis.  Seeing the museum displays, I can see that it's been a problem since the King was born.

One of his Vegas era show suits.  I've never seen this tiger one.  There were lots of his suits on display and he had an expansive trophy room too.  This is in his handball court.  The property is pretty sizeable with a bunch of buildings housing different stuff.  Horses, lots of different kinds of vehicles.  Is Graceland worth it?  The jury is still out.  If you ask bob he would say no probably.  if you ask me i would say I don't know.  We saw elvis fans from all over the world here although the majority of the patrons were of a more "country" persuasion.  After reading the wikipedia page on elvis prior to arriving we determined that Elvis really was a good guy and always acknowledged the debt he owed to black musicians and was overall a good guy.  

We skipped Beale street because we read everywhere that its like a shorter Bourbon street, and after seeing Bourbon street we were like no thank you we don't need to see that.  Actually there is a lot of shame when you have been on a road trip through the south for a week and have been eating crap for breakfast lunch and dinner the whole time.  We got to Nashville late so there was nothing open around our hotel and we were so tired and it was raining so we didn't want to venture into downtown Nashville so the only thing open was a Church's Chicken.  The restaurant part of it wasn't even open still, only the drive through window.  A car pulled up behind us at the window and Bob panicked and said just get that 10 piece bucket meal that we just said we would definitely not get.  It was $16 and weighed like 10 pounds.  At the hotel we opened it up and it turned out to be a meal for a family of four.  Lots of biscuits, family sized slaw and mashed potatoes and gravy, and 10 pieces of chicken but not normal chicken, like Franken-chicken.  10 pieces of thighs and wings fried together or wings and breasts fried together.  It was a sh!t load of chicken and we were floored after having eaten so much southern food for a week.  There were no utensils in the bag so we were going to eat mashed potatoes and slaw with the plastic bags they package cups in at hotels but I said NO, we must maintain a shred of dignity so i went downstairs to find some.  We used utensils but our dignity was already long gone.  We pretty much ate everything and half of the chicken and felt sorry for ourselves and went to bed.  It was a shameful night.

The Raish Brothers Brotherly Road Trip - LA to MS

We woke up with feeling slightly not so good from our night out and set off into downtown New Orleans to see the spread in the day time.  It was hot and sweaty.  We saw no sign of the old people or young people on their last or first of many benders.  I'm sure there were quite a few people in New Orleans that late morning that were saying never again.  Namely the friend of the girl that wanted Bob's companionship
We went to the world famous Cafe du Monde and had to wait in line for 15 or 20 minutes 

they are famous for their cafe au lait and beignets.  Bob as a coffee snob said the coffee was not good.  I could see that.  How could it be good when they serve it up at an alarming rate to thousands of tourists a day.  And why were all the waiters asian?  Final words are if you want to wait in line with tourists to hang out with tourists and drink mediocre coffee with fried dough piled high with confectioners sugar then go to Cafe du Monde.  If I were to ever go to New Orleans again I would seek out a good coffee place, i'm sure it exists and i'm sure they have good french pastries there.

next up was lunch at the Gazebo cafe down the street that seemed to satisy all our needs with good reviews.  We had a crawfish po'boy and a muffuletta.  Everything basically gets a thumbs sideways or thumbs down because it was either acceptable or bad.  This is kind of a loaded rating though because I've always thought that muffulettas and po'boys both could really really benefit from some kind of sauce or something so the bread and ingredients are not so dry.

Jude Acers US chess master looks like he is having an amazingly stimulating Sunday.  Poor guy.
an entire store full of hot sauce.  I once said on this blog something about how you can tell how good a guy is by the hot sauce in his fridge.  Well I just upped my good guy points cuz i picked up a couple bottles here.

In an entire store of hot sauce where do you even start?  With the shady looking ones?  with the super inappropriately named ones?  The expensive looking ones?  I was drawn to the words micro batch on these bottle because i thought that sounds pretentious and artesianal.  I bough the one on the far left, medium because I thought, this is Louisiana and they probably know what hot is as compared to the hot sauce in say, new york and the hot here is probably so hot its not enjoyable anymore regardless of if you are man enough to take it.  My gamble paid off because the medium is pretty hot, even hotter than Mamoun's hot sauce from the famous falafel place in NYC.  This bottle was $10 but I had to do it.

our car was parked in the parking lot next to this Mississippi river ferry that was blasting out this insane eerie sounding tugboat whistle music like really loud the whole time we were walking at it.

I had a job deadline to work on so we spent the evening in Canton, Mississippi at the hotel, hence the lack of more photos in this post.  Here is bob posing for me.  Being the good brother that he is Bob went out to Wendy's to get our dinner because there was nothing around that was closer by far.  We scarfed down our roast beef sandwiches and curly fries.  But unbeknownst to both of us we craved more.  This trip has turned out stomachs into monsters.  The scientifically engineered fastfood is working and making us crave more.  As Bob laid in bed watching Charlize Theron in snow white and the huntsman I worked.  And our stomachs worked on us.  I mentioned jokingly, I wish I had 10 more of those roast beef sandwhiches, that would be gross huh....he.he.he.  Bob sat up and said sheepisly....I could go get some more of those, I wouldn't say no to more of those......I laughed and went back to our respective duties but half an hour later we finally said F it lets just do it.  We settled on Mcdonald's dollar menu which is quite extensive now.  Bob brought back a bunch of stuff and we ate it and felt sorry for ourselves again.  This is probably our most shameful act of the whole trip.  In the morning our garbage can was full to the brim with fast food wrappers.  for shame.

Here is how I get my pencil drawings into my computer when I'm on the road.  Since my camera is 20 megapixels I can put it on the tripod and get a decent pencil image.

Here's the final that ran in the Wall Street Journal 2 days later.  It's about a study on how typing on tablets hurts your shoulders.  Sorry not a very exciting post but sometimes you gotta work!

The Raish Brothers Brotherly Road Trip - New Orleans

We woke up in Austin with slight hangovers and ate a crappy hotel breakfast and got on the road in the rain.  We went through Houston, TX on the way to New Orleans, LA
we found Bubba's Texas Burger Shack on Yelp.  It's surreal because it's surrounded by highway overpasses above it.  Luke said he went there a few weeks earlier and their local friend took them there and remembers when it was just a shack in a field.

Buffalo chili in the front, Frito pie in the back.  I was dissapointed that this Frito pie was not in a fritos bag and more gourmet but it was tasty.

Buffalo melt or something like that on rye, also tasty.

Driving through Louisiana most of the day.  Bayous?  

Even more Flamin' Hot action.  This time it's a munchies mix of rold gold pretzels, doritos, cheetos and yes even sun chips covered in healthy Flamin' Hot powder.  I think we called a moratorium on Flamin' Hot stuff after this.  Also eating 4 servings of chips a day on top of all the other Americana food we've been eating doesn't make you feel so good.

Bob in front of the Crescent Palms Motel, New Orleans, LA.  We made it to New Orleans and stayed at the Crescent Palms.  As we were driving there we were like F****** where are we gonna park, this area looks ghetto.  It's weird because you don't know if areas are ghetto because of hurricane damage or because it is an impoverished area.  And then you can look across the street and see where it's ghetto and then there will be super nice houses.

We went to Deanie's which was packed and the wait was too long and it looked touristy so we walked down the street to Felix's where the wait was 15 minutes.  We saw a young girl in booty shorts passed out on the corner of Bourbon and Iberville street with cops standing around her.  More on Bourbon street coming up.  We started the night with Hurricanes, a drink from New Orleans and they got us feeling way better than one drink should have.  We had gumbo which was awesome, catfish which was awesome, and alligator which was decent and was like slightly tougher chicken and hushpuppies that were awesome.  I think that almost every business in New Orleans is touristy because it seems like the whole city is nothing but a tourist's playground

Saw a wedding procession dancing down the street with brass band.

Bourbon street is the grossest street I have walked down in the world.  Granted I haven't been to Thailand and places in the world with straight up hookers on the street and super real underbelly of society stuff but Bourbon street is gross.  I don't think even when I was in my 20s that I would like Bourbon street.  There were tons of strip club type places with scantily clad girls standing outside them.  Gross cheap bars, all with take away drinks (I guess drinking in the streets is legal cuz everyone was doing it), tourist shops, bars with balconies and people throwing strings of beads to people below.  Its a mix of young people and then old people like your parents age and its the old people that are going crazy like its their last bender ever.  It was like 50% old people.  I call New Orleans a geriatric playground.  Bob calls it the last bender ever (for old people).  Sorry but I don't want to see the equivalent of my parents dressed badly, stumbling in the streets with leprechaun hats on and beads, gyrating on the dance floors or worse (see below).  And everyone is wasted

Down by the river things get calmer

a strip of fortune tellers

The famous Cafe du Monde

BMC on Frenchman street we ended up back her to see a brass band.  Frenchman street is where it's at for me at least.  I'm a jazz lover and New Orleans is the birthplace of Jazz.  The prospects of a street filled with Jazz clubs was awesome.  It was a little disappointing to find that most places have moved on from Jazz and now have bands playing R&B, Blues, covers, and other stuff.  Don't get me wrong I love all that stuff but the only "Jazz" that we found was at the spotted cat and that was swing era Jazz with vocalists.  There was no "Hot" Jazz or dixiland or ragtime jazz to be found.

paid $5 to get into the Spotted Cat.  A cool enough place and the only option left for us at 9pm on a friday night.  I expected more from New Orleans.  I would call this tourist jazz.  Everyone was tickled pink by this swing era band but they were just acceptable.  There is tons of this in new york, where is the New Orleans hot jazz!? The cutting contests?!!  By the way we tried Preservation Hall but the line was super long with no guarantee of there being room for people that far back in the line and filled with squares so we tried elsewhere.  So we ducked out of the spotted cat to find street drinks and something else.  But don't get me wrong, this place is totally fine, i was just on a mission

At the spotted cat they did bring on these 3 girls (the Hazelnuts) that were from Israel and sang in amazing harmony like the Andrews sisters (boogie woogie bugle boy).  They were the most amazing thing about this place.

so we got street drinks and walked around to listen to the buskers who were more interesting than what a lot of the music going on inside the establishments was.  This guy on a steel resonator guitar was awesome

these girls were fun

I talked to some street buskers and they told us about a website to find whats playing in New Orleans so we found this brass band, The Lagniappe Brass Band playing at BMC.  It was sweet.  Brass band is a traditional New Orleans thing so I was happy.  We had enough booze in us to feel good and it was late enough in the night that people started dancing.  This big boy trombone player came some point after the set started and just walked up and immediately went at it.  Tuba player in the back was holding everything together.

A girl talked to Bob!  A girl that is our mom's age.  She kept talking to Bob.  It was gross and funny.  You can see one of her friends out there dancing which was even grosser.  Remember her because she's coming up in a bit.

wedding party popped in to dance to one song

at some point the spirit of the Mississippi delta emerged out of nowhere taking the form of cowbell master.  so before we left I went to the bathroom and then I couldn't open the door all the way because an EMT crew was there in front of the women's bathroom with a stretcher. I wiggled by and saw Bob's girlfriend's friend passed out on the floor of the bathroom and her friend in there with the EMTs.  Tough luck Bob, could have been your lucky night but girlfriends gotta take care of girlfriends.  So in closing this is a prime example of how I was so grossed out by the geriatric playland aspect of New Orleans.

Lil' Wayne on the sax?  I see a Mannie Fresh flyer in the window but I think Lil' Wayne is too huge now to play this lil' venue.  He is from New Orleans though

Hurricane Katrina damage