The Amazon Trail: Crossing America without two cats and a dog

  • Author Lee Lynch grabbed some grub at the Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro in New Orleans on her latest cross-country trek to her new home in Oregon.

3/13/13: And so we set off on our second cross-country drive in two months. My sweetheart set up a navigable home, then flew back to Tampa while I unpacked (very little), spent time with dear friends, and returned to my job in the Pacific Northwest. Of course, we spent most of our time on the phone, e-mailing and sending each other lovelorn cards, but we survived the separation, found a great cat/dog sitter and soon it was my turn to fly to Tampa, incredulous at our continuing odyssey.

Without our little darlings meowling, barking and barfing up kibble in strange motel rooms, we were free to see some of our friends along the way. Becky Arbogast, of Bella Books and the old Naiad Press, and her partner, author Robin Alexander, met us for dinner. It turned from a get together to a boisterous hoopla event when Becky’s mom and friend joined us for some tasty Tallahassee grub.

3/14/13: We drove to Metairie, Louisiana, tossed our essentials into the motel room and splurged on a taxi into New Orleans. Our driver was from Pakistan, and regaled us with tales of Mardi Gras shootings.

The writers J.M. Redmann and Greg Herren, after full days of work, kindly agreed to meet us at The Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro on Frenchmen Street in the heart of the blues and jazz Marigny district.

Missing our kitties, we stopped at The Spotted Cat Music Club and discovered a marvelous retro mix of Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald in Miss Sophie Lee and her band, The New Orleans Cottonmouth Kings. If you can’t get to NOLA, buy her CD “Tallulah Moon.”

The Snug Harbor boasted the best cheeseburgers in town, but I tried blackened redfish and ascended to culinary heaven. My sweetheart, who is thrilled by Nola’s open container policy, imbibed some of a Hurricane and a bowl of gumbo.

While a jazz quintet provided the mood music, we talked shop with J.M. and Greg, sister Bold Strokes Books authors. Greg drove us home in an interesting jalopy only a New Orleans writer could love.