Buddah’s Ultimate Chilehead Road Trip Part 2

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The start of every awesome journey must have an amazing end. So we begin on mine. I am taking off after work at high noon. Depending how grubby I get at work, I might head home first for a quick shower and change. Otherwise, I hit the open road an hour later at worst. My first goal is Nashville, TN, but am I biting off more than I can chew? Having to get up at 3am for work is the fly in the ointment here, and my 5 hour energy drink only goes so far when you have to travel almost 10 hours.
Leesburg, VA to Nashville, TN
636.50 miles
Approximate travel time:
9 hours 38 minutes

Okay, so I might be stopping off earlier than I want to, but I still have to go as far as I can go. I usually go to sleep at 9-10pm, so if I stay the course with only small pit stops, 10 hours will get me there at 10-11pm. A little past my sleep time. At any rate, I am meeting Jim O’Brien of Crazy Good Sauces at 11:30am in Memphis, TN for lunch.
Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN
212.26 miles
Approximate travel time:
3 hours 11 minutes

So if I do make it to Nashville by my schedule, then I will need to be up and ready to drive at 8am to meet Jim. Jim knows his BBQ since he knows Memphis quite well. He tried to convince me to join him at one of his favorite BBQ staples. Pigheaded as I am (pun intended), I want to go to the place where I had the best plate of ribs of my life, the Rum Boogie Cafe. Not listed on most BBQ desired destination stops, I can help but want to experience something I have longed for since my trip about 15 years ago. I am not going to be making many trips to Memphis, and this very well might be my last. So I have to go back dang-nabbit! Of course, I am also on my diet, and BBQ is a weakness, so there will be no full rack of ribs for me. If I can get a child’s plate with a side salad, I might be doing that. Come all the way to my favorite rib joint, and get a salad? Yes, I am that focused on losing weight. A vacation is meant to be enjoyed, but it is temporary, and I have to be able to get home with my pants still fitting around my waist.

Once I check out of lunch with Jim, I am then looking at my long trip to Houston. There are 485 miles from Memphis, TN to Houston, TX, but by car it is another matter.
Nashville, TN to Memphis, TN
568 miles (by car)
Approximate travel time:
9 hours 46 minutes (by car).

So I am looking at another Nashville-sized road trip, and it is right after a tummy-filled BBQ rib lunch! I do not have to arrive in Houston to Friday evening, so I can take my sweet time enjoying the landscape in front of me. I wish I had a road companion, but such is the single life. The next big city to go through would be…
Memphis, TN to Little Rock, AR
135.22 miles
Approximate travel time:
2 hours 3 minutes

Might be good for a rest stop, but too late to stop for dinner, so I will most likely just observe the city from a distance. What is next?
Little Rock, AR to Texarkana, TX
143.78 miles
Approximate travel time:
2 hours 10 minutes

I know absolutely nothing about Texarkana, TX, and it still looks like it is too early to stop for dinner, so I look further on the map…
Texarkana, TX to Nacogdoches, TX
153.40 miles
Approximate travel time:
2 hours 28 minutes
I never even heard of Nacogdoches. It sounds like a Mexican feminine product. I did find in a little research that it claims to be the oldest town in Texas. Famous people born and raised were musician Don Henley of Eagles fame and the legendary Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips. Well from what I can see it has many food choices, so it might be my dinner stop. After 7 hours of travel I will need to get out and stretch at least. Not too many big cities after that until I hit Houston. So if I can continue past Nacogdoches, it is a stones throw to Houston, although I am actually headed to Stafford, TX, and not Houston.
Nacogdoches, TX to Houston, TX
140.09 miles
Approximate travel time:
2 hours 18 minutes
Nacogdoches, TX to Stafford, TX
156.71 miles
Approximate travel time:
2 hours 37 minutes

Either way, that would get me there late Thursday or Friday early afternoon. I was an invitee to a special celebration of the elopement of James & Amy Beck/Wreck back on August 5th. Using the Festival to allow them to be surrounded by many of their chilehead friends, it was a great opportunity to do something they could share with us. This is taking place Friday evening from 7pm to 11pm. Something I hope to be awake for throughout.

The next day, I will be up early to get the salsa contest setup with some of the festival’s volunteers who did an amazing job last year in wrapping all the jars so the judges could not see what salsa we were having. The judges for the salsa contest besides myself, will be the one and only Grape Nut who is representing the Snowdrop Foundation for which all proceeds of the contest will go to. With the purple one we have 2 ILIS reviewers, Fiber Joe and Ken Alexander with his son Jonathan who wanted to judge last year, but was not needed. I could not say no again this year to someone who really wants to be a part of this. Then we have the one and only Fire-Breathing Idiot, Ted Barrus who is making his first US Hot Sauce show anywhere. His buddy Brad Bishop is also making his debut, but will not be judging. Last, but not least Dana Romero CEO and Founder of the Louisiana Hot Sauce Festival which will be coming in July 19-20, 2014 in Lafayette, LA. We are very grateful to have so many credible chileheads to do our judging. It looks at present count we have 75 salsas to judge. I still have to collect from the vendors signed up to enter. So unless they fail to deliver the goods, we are at 75 salsas. Last year we had 55, and boy was that tough to complete. This is going to an unreal amount of tasting and burn. Yet, I can not wait to start the sampling. We have 3 categories – Tradtional, Fruit, and Black Bean.

So we will have 2 days at the Houston Hot Sauce Festival before heading out to New Iberia, LA. I will be traveling along side my roommate the Sauce Goddess as we trek to do the Tabasco Factory tour. We will meet up with Dana again in Lafayette as he wants to treat us for lunch or dinner for some great Louisiana food. I love Cajun and Creole cooking, so I am looking forward to what Dana chooses for us. The Tuesday morning will be off to Avery Island for the Tabasco Factory tour. Once we do the tour we will start heading to New Orleans, but we do not have to be there before Wednesday, so we can explore a bit perhaps in Baton Rouge. Whatever we do I am sure it will be a blast to remember.

In New Orleans, I try to always go to the New Orleans School of Cooking. It is a 2 1/2 hour cooking class that teaches you some of the great Cajun dishes of all time. Whether it be jambalaya, gumbo, etoufee, or Oysters Rockerfeller, you will leave with an education, a pleased palette and a memory you will not forget. We will most likely do the Thursday morning class because Thursday afternoon is setup time for the Chile Pepper Extravaganza at the New Orleans Convention Center. Friday, Saturday & Sunday is the show, so as they say in New Orleans, “Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez” which means “Let the Good Times Roll”. Once the party is over, my car wheels will be rolling on out of New Orleans and heading back home.

I intend to have the best time I can while I am there. At least I hope to be there, as long as the debit card still has cash coming out of it, I will still be enjoying myself. I look forward to seeing some of my chilehead friends. Which to me is always the best part of going to these shows. This might be my last for a while, until my finances get fixed, so I want to make the most of it. Updates for the shows will be coming in the days ahead. If you would like to see my last great road trip check out my Follow the Chile Brick Road posts. I hope to be able to give you something similar in a diary style format. Results of the Salsa contest will be posted at 7pm cst, so look for that as well.

3 thoughts on “Buddah’s Ultimate Chilehead Road Trip Part 2

  • September 18, 2013 at 12:58 pm


  • September 19, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Have fun Al. Looks like an awesome road trip you’ve planned out very well. Can’t wait to see the updates and pics.

  • September 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    I come here everyday to look at that ass….damn

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