Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2007: 2

  On Sunday, January 7, the Shreveport area entered the 2 month celebration of Mardi Gras. Wow! One night really has legs around here. Bill awoke early and drove the rental car to Starbucks to try to buy a Sunday NY Times, but none was available yet. Bill settled for the Shreveport Times purchased at Krogers. The day started chilly and cloudy after a long night of rain. After breakfast, we lifted weights in the RV. Then we went for a 1 mile walk on the road in front of the campground. When we returned we got in the rental car and drove to the Louisiana Boardwalk about 10 miles away on the Red River. We could see 4 casinos, 2 on each side of the river, when we arrived at the boardwalk, which consisted of many shops lining the 3 walking "streets" of the area. We went to the 11:30 AM showing of "The Good Shepherd" and were amazed that the movie lasted 3 hours. The film has a great cast and an interesting story line, presented in a rather unclear manner. We ate soft pretzels for lunch. We took a long tour of Pro Bass Shops Outdoor World, a cavernous building filled with boats, fishing and hunting gear, and all manner of outdoor stuff. Then we walked around a bit more and headed west on I20. We stopped at Starbucks to buy a Sunday NY Times and a latte for Bill. Then we shopped at Krogers before heading back to the campground. We talked to Katie, who called while we were at the boardwalk. We had burgers for dinner. It was in the low 30s overnight, so our electric heater and propane furnace were working hard all night. On Monday, Cathy felt nauseous, maybe from the antibiotic. The doctor's office was supposed to call, but didn't, so Cathy called at 3:00 PM and obtained an appointment for 11:00 AM on Thursday. Bill took a harrowing bike ride on the busy and bicycle-phobic highways to shop at Krogers and get a cappuccino at Starbucks. Bill's computer acted badly throughout the morning, but started behaving during the afternoon. Bill dragged Cathy out to CVS to take her blood pressure (131/77) and buy a bottle of Emetrol for her nausea. Bill did the Monday NY Times crossword. Bill searched on the Internet to find things to do in Shreveport and found that we could attend the opera. Cathy pointed out that Bill's best clothes included black socks for his sandals and cargo pants, not really up to operatic standards. Bill figured that the ballet was out too. On Tuesday, we lifted weights in the morning and then went for a 2 mile walk. Bill did the Tuesday crossword puzzle. After lunch, Bill took a 4 mile walk. Then we drove the rental car into downtown Shreveport and then to the southern suburbs where we found a Barnes and Noble bookstore. We bought maps of Louisiana and Texas and a Texas guidebook. Bill also bought Prime Green, a memoir about the 60s. We arrived back at the campground after dark. Cathy felt nauseous again, so Bill cooked a plain jane version of pasta with tomato sauce. We viewed "Van Wilder" on DVD: even Bill thought it was silly. The circuit of the receptacles that we use for the coffee pot, toaster, and electric heater tripped and we couldn't reset it. Consequently, we had to use the furnace to deal with the 30 degree overnight temperature. On Wednesday morning, we couldn't brew coffee, so Bill went out to the rental car to go for coffee. He discovered ice all over the windows. When he rolled down the driver's window, it came off of its track and left a gaping hole. Anyway, Bill drove to Starbucks and finished off his gift card from Alex to buy us breakfast and a NY Times. After breakfast, Bill and one of the KOA workers managed to fix the window on the rental car. Bill talked with Tom, the KOA owner, about the circuit. We figured that a new receptacle and GFI (ground fault interrupt) was needed, so Bill drove to Home Depot to buy a new one. Then, Bill installed the new receptacle and found that there was no juice in the circuit. Tom came over and looked at the situation, but couldn't fix it. Bill walked next door to a repair shop and talked with the manager there about the problem and got the promise of an onsite visit by Friday afternoon. Bill walked 3 miles to Walmart and back to get Cathy a new pair of sunglasses (don't ask). Cathy talked with her sister and got some advice about the nausea. Bill was back on the Starbucks run on Thursday morning. On the way to Cathy's doctor's appointment, we stopped at Starbucks to get a NY Times. In addition to reading the paper in the waiting room, Bill managed to get the "One Across" mobile software running on the PocketPC and was able to work on the daily puzzle from the Times. Cathy went to the lab for blood work after her appointment. We stopped at Johnny's Pizza at Exit 10 of I20 for lunch. The pizza was good. After we got back to the campground, Bill readied the outside of the RV for our scheduled Saturday move. Then, we walked a bit over a mile to Starbucks and worked on the crossword puzzle while Bill drank a Cappuccino. Cathy is an excellent puzzle solver, and with her literary and French background, is a great complement to Bill's left-handed, somewhat eclectic skills. We finished the puzzle when we returned to the RV. For dinner, we drove a couple of miles west to Jan's River Restaurant on the boundary of Shreveport and Greenwood. The KOA office had recommended this unmarked restaurant in a building that looked like a warehouse. This was obviously a local spot specializing in catfish. Bill ordered the only unfried seafood item, Baked Catfish Filets. Cathy ordered fried shrimp and oysters. We both opted for baked potatoes instead of fries. Bill avoided the standard appetizer of pork-ladened bean soup and hush puppies, but made up for it later in the meal. The food was good. Bill decided to try the Praline Crepe filled with ice cream for dessert. It was a very sweet, very unique treat. The entire feast cost $38 - good road-food. On Friday, January 12, we started with a Starbucks run. We decided to drop off the rental car and walk back, a distance of 4.3 miles. On the way back, we talked with Katie on the cell phone. We stopped for lunch at Becca's where Cathy had catfish and Bill had Crawfish Etouffe again. We stopped in at the repair shop on the way back and talked with the manager, Mike. He said that he would come over on Saturday morning around 8:30 AM. We had pasta with tomato sauce for dinner. We re-viewed "Jurassic Park" on DVD and enjoyed looking at the landscape of Kauai. We planned to leave Shreveport on Saturday, January 13. While we waited for Mike to come and look at our electrical problem, we talked about where to go. There was a huge arctic air mass in the center of the country, down into South Texas and heading for Louisiana. We looked at weather and marine forecasts for lots of locations. Some had ice storms, some had flood watches, some had heavy fog, and all had wind and very cold nighttime temperatures for the next week. Mike settled it for us by telling us that we had an "open neutral" in our GFI circuit that he could fix on Monday at his shop. We signed on at the KOA for another pair of nights. The rain wasn't due for a few hours, so we walked to the shopping area, browsed in Walmart, bought a NY Times in Starbucks, and ate lunch at Pizza Hut. We got a very good walk in rather balmy conditions. When we got back to the campground, we watch NFL playoff games and waited for the rain, which came at 6:00 PM. Bill picked both games wrong, reinforcing his refusal to gamble. After a long night of heavy rain, we used our two extension cords once again to brew coffee and make toast. While we ate breakfast, the rain stopped, at least for a long while. We walked to Starbucks for a Sunday NY Times and a cappuccino for Bill. Then, we did some light shopping in Krogers and Walmart. When we returned, we ate lunch and watched more playoff games. We also solved the Sunday NY Times puzzle, with Cathy contributing some very key answers. Bill did better in his picks, as Chicago and New England won their games. Jack Bauer returned to our life as we watched the opening 2 hour salvo of 24. This was the first time that we've watched the show without our DVR to allow us to zap the commercials. Bill came up with a good solution: we solved the Monday NY Times crossword puzzle on the PocketPC during commercials.

        Bill and Cathy