Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Houma to New Iberia Feb 20

88.1 miles in 6 hours. Last nights weather said it was going to be cloudy all day and a high of 60, with an east wind. The day dawned ( for me, at 8:45), with the sun shining, temperatures and wind as expected. 60 degrees in the sun is so much better than 60 on a cloudy day! The day was enjoyable, weather wise, partly because I overdressed, and it kept me warm, which for whatever reason, is what I wanted to be today. I was on the road by 9:30, temps in the low 50's, headed for US. 90, which was about three miles from the campground . US. 90 west was elevated, over swampland, for about 10-11 miles, which was cool to ride over, especially with the wind at my back. I got off 90, as soon as I could, and onto a more scenic, local road, LA 182, which basically parallels 90, except for a few side trips, following what they call the Bayou Teche. Teche is an Indian word, which means 'snake', which is what this waterway did, with lots of curves, and small towns all along it. I read that the Bayou Teche follows the original path of the Mississippi River, a long time ago, before it spread out into a delta, and changed course. The small towns were great to drive thru, much more scenic than 90, which has basically turned into a limited access highway, like an interstate, with exits and entrance ramps, and no businesses or red lights.
I have decided, based on what I've seen since I've been in Louisiana, that their roads are worse than Pennsylvania's, which I've always heard were the country's worst. I understand they don't have money because of Katrina and other issues, but man, I got my butt rattled off today. Every single side road in New Orleans was the same way. Pam said US 90 almost broke the frame on the motor home also. The roads don't freeze and thaw and get potholes like they do in PA, but they just crumble and deteriorate, slowly, and are never repaved or patched. In PA, the potholes make the roads so bad that they have to be replaced, hence the endless construction. I haven't hit any construction, or replacing down here, and my rear end can testify to the crappy roads. I hope Texas is better, because we are getting close! If you drive on US 90 from Houma west, be aware that as you go onto any size bridge and exit the bridge, there will be a BIG dip.  It's like they just took a bridge and dropped it onto the road without making the transition gradual.  If you are in a motorhome or towing, you must slow down (speed limit is 70) to 50 or 55 as you approach the bridge and you still get bounced!  As to the highway, some of the road is nice and then you get to the rolling, bouncing parts!  I had a glass of water half full and the water was splashing out as I drove!!  Seriously!  And I wasn't speeding - really?  I'm in a 1999 motorhome with a gas engine, loaded to the gills!  I'm slow.  On a positive note, there were many times that I drove on the elevated roadway over the swamps and bayous - that was cool cause I'm way up in an RV so I get a good view of the swamp.
Now back to the trip itself. When I got off US 90 onto LA 182, I rode along the Intercoastal Waterway I think, and saw miles and miles of ship building, ship repair, and everything to do with the shipping industry. Towns like Amelia and Morgan City were very, very blue collar, all shipbuilding. I then went across a very narrow, long steel bridge over the Atchafalaya River, which I had never heard of, and I still can't pronounce, and the landscape totally changed. I started to follow the previously mentioned Bayou Teche, and everything became about sugar cane. Each town, and there were many, was sprinkled among endless sugar cane fields. The laborers obviously lived in mobile homes and older places, but the land owners lived in theses grand old mansions that dotted the landscape. It seemed every business was there to support the sugar industry, and one town, Jeannerrette, was nicknamed the 'Sugar Capital of Louisiana'. I saw tons of cane harvesting machinery and trailers used to carry it, all sitting idle, just waiting for the growing season.
In my travels today, I did notice leaves starting to pop out on the cypress and maple trees, and people were cutting their grass and working in their yards. I think spring in the south is very near, and we have successfully avoided winter. Now with the forecast of 2-3 inches of rain coming over the next few days, its time to get ready for spring showers, and the inevitable storms that are going to blow through this area.
Two other things that I wanted to mention, that have nothing to do with each other, are the wild mistletoe that we have been seeing in the trees around here, and the sewer grates along these lousy roads. I didn't know that mistletoe was an airborne seed that caught onto a host tree, sort of like Spanish Moss. We can see clumps of it way up in trees along the road. It was pointed out to us on our swamp tour yesterday, and we both saw more today.
As I was circumnavigating the bumps today, and also in New Orleans, I noticed many, many sewer grates that were placed in the road so a bicycle's tire will go right down into the slots if you hit the grate. That is testament again, I believe, to the old age of the roads down here. I would have thought that would have been corrected any time a road is redone. I haven't hit one yet, but its just one more thing to watch for around here, along with traffic, bumps, splits in the roads, etc.

Statue of an oil rig in Morgan City

Iron bridge that Mike traveled, Pam got to go across the one on left.

Sugar cane field with young growth

Spring is on its way down here!!

Lampposts mentioned above - note there are no chickens!!  HAHA

Nice little town

You never know what you are going to discover down here!

Sugar cane factory

Plantation house on a sugar cane plantation.

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