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Where the sidewalks are.

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Apr. 25th, 2018 | 08:59 am

Louisiana, Part 1.



The greatest shade in Baton RougeBaton Rouge wins for best nature within the State Capitol Complex.


Ok, all back from and done with APA. It was certainly one of the better ones, and not least because I got to moderate a panel for the first time. That was in New Orleans, and will come in the next entry. For now, this is what happened on Days 1 and 2, in my first destination.

Last Tuesday was a longer day than I anticipated at work, and I took an emergency midday trip to Walgreens for an Arizona tea and snacks to tide me over. Plus I had to drop by the post office on the way home, so I wasn't home until 7:30 then had agreed to meet Blake and company at Duplex. I at least ate dinner there, then got home to pack while watching random Simpsons episodes. Woke up early enough to get myself together on Wednesday, popped by the library to pick up an appropriately themed hold for the trip, and got to the airport with enough time to sit around and start it. With two hours+ on my layover, I walked all the way to Terminal F for the steps, got the healthiest* thing I could find in that food court (Pei Wei ginger chicken with scallions and brown rice, then made my way back to my next gate. Did manage 11,000+ steps on this day, the bulk of which came from this layover! The second flight was perfectly on time and the only empty seat was next to me, so I had a lot of room considering the plane was in a 2-2 arrangement. Way to not suck, Delta.

alt
I don't know what lane I'm supposed to be in either. Pretty, though!


BTR is a tiny airport, so it took me 20 minutes to walk from gate to rental car only because I stopped at an outlet to charge my phone for 15. Whatever car Hertz assigned me was perfectly adequate, or so it seemed until I started driving and discovered that the passenger side rearview mirror was still folded in. That resulted in my pulling over in a random office parking lot by the airport and futilely attempting to push it back out. You'd think this would be simple, but I could not for the life of me figure it out and decided I should just use the other mirrors rather than break it and test the limits of my Amex-provided rental car insurance. Baton Rouge's rush hour was a little realer than I expected but I got to my hotel fine, and after briefly consulting the manual** managed to pop the mirror into its appropriate position, go to Walgreens for odds/ends, and Albertson's for dinner ingredients. I have recently been opting for Towne Place Suites, the flavor of Marriott where all "suites" are equipped with rudimentary kitchens, and despite the inane brand name I do recommend! Sadly they did not have individual sizes of everything, so I had to buy 10 ounces of soy sauce that I left for whatever hapless business traveler ended up there next.

alt
Pelicans were engraved everywhere. Bow down to your state bird.


After getting the "kitchen" cleaned up I ate while working on my presentation, finally feeling some motivation to finish it out with the conference in 72 hours, then slept! In the morning I got down to the breakfast area in time to take some pastries and coffee, then got my junk more or less packed and went out for a run. I was staying across the street from the biggest hospital in town, and was about 3/4 of a mile from a retail strip where I had been last night, but didn't really know the town otherwise. I picked my way through the residential neighborhood by the Walgreens and ran twice around the giant hospital grounds, because that was where sidewalks actually existed. No complaints here, and the weather was ideal. Sunny with relatively low humidity, not too hot and not windy.

After a shower, I packed up the car, checked out, and drove to downtown Baton Rouge to have a go at seeing my 12th state capitol. Like many of the others, parking was ample and cheap; I got situated in a very new garage for $2 per hour then walked around and took many photos. It was just about noon by then and that appeared to be downtown's busiest time, even with a handful of food trucks. The Capitol grounds turned out to be larger than I expected, so more of my time was spent outside than in the actual building. Again, given the amazing weather, I had no complaints.

Probably not polluted?
Capitol Lake

Louisiana State Capitol
Forgive the vertical orientation. This is a tough one to photograph!


Along with maybe a dozen tourists and at least 40 people staffing an Unidentified Crop Appreciation Day, I poked around inside the building. Very nice, but also under renovation and not as much accessible as in others I've seen recently. Notably the observation deck on one of the upper floors wasn't open. But there is a time capsule inside that will be revealed on July 4, 2075, so I suppose I have to return to see it cracked open.

Materials not mined locally
Senate chamber

12 of 50
12 of 50!


Although pretty flat save for the river levees, I got to walk around for great views from the few hills on the grounds. There was a Pokemon Go raid happening in a garden area, but aside from that small crowd it was quiet and I almost had the whole place to myself. From there, I walked back to the car, got a late lunch, drove around a bit looking at cute (but definitely in a floodplain) neighborhoods, and got on the road to New Orleans. An easy hour drive with a stop at a Whole Foods for replenishing my dinner supply. Though I would have liked to gone out and seen the town right away, my panel had a 7 pm conference call to finalize our script with the slide deck done. So I checked into my next Town(e) Place Suite(s) there (very recently opened and gorgeous), unpacked and prepped my dinner, and got that sorted. I even used the room phone to dial in, perhaps its first outside call ever.


What it lacks in grace it makes up for in ... wingspan? Throat pouchiness?


We shall pick up there in the next post!

To update you if you've been following along or are new to my LJ, I have now visited:
  • Columbus, OH
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Lansing, MI
  • Carson City, NV
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Columbia, SC
  • Olympia, WA
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Providence, RI
  • Hartford, CT
  • Baton Rouge, LA


*Spoiler alert: still not very healthy.
**I can't remember ever checking for a rental car's manual before, but this one was mercifully there.

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Comments {5}

Hein

(no subject)

from: fub
date: Jan. 13th, 2019 03:18 pm (UTC)
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Sometimes, those car manuals are really needed, and they should always be present in a rental -- it's the non-standard stuff that would otherwise trip you up.
When we took a test drive in klik's new car, we couldn't figure out how to put the car in reverse. We consulted the manual, and found out that the car had originally been sold in Italy -- so the manual was, in fact, in Italian! My three years of high-school Latin came in handy to decipher the text...

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jonathan

(no subject)

from: silverthief2
date: Jan. 13th, 2019 06:00 pm (UTC)
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For sure. I just had to consult the manual of my own car for wiper blade sizes to order replacements. Long live print reference!

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Muriel

(no subject)

from: brittdreams
date: Jan. 19th, 2019 11:10 pm (UTC)
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Your quest to visit the state capitols still impresses me. Whenever I look at your list, I'm reminded that I've been to many of those cities but haven't visited the actual buildings (Baton Rouge, Providence, Columbus, Columbia, and Phoenix from your list).

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jonathan

(no subject)

from: silverthief2
date: Jan. 19th, 2019 11:27 pm (UTC)
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Thanks! It fits my personality to have long-term bucket list-like quests when traveling.

Edited at 2019-01-19 11:28 pm (UTC)

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Muriel

(no subject)

from: brittdreams
date: Jan. 19th, 2019 11:36 pm (UTC)
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That makes sense. I just can't believe I've been to those cities and never visited the capitol building. Especially Atlanta since I spent many summers there growing up.

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