Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Lake Charles to somewhere on the Gulf Coast. Feb 23

60.75 in under five hours. We are between Holly Beach and Johnson's Bayou in the Louisiana back country. A sign said it was the 'Cajun Riviera'. We are in the western most, southern most tip of Louisiana, just a stones throw away from Texas. I had a choice of riding US90 through a row of towns into Texas, or heading due south and hitting the Gulf. I chose going south, fortunately. What a beautiful ride, after a rough start. Maps weren't real clear, but the only two bridges across the Calcasieu River were I-210 or I-10. So, after getting advice from a cop, headed onto I-10, which merged with US90 to get across the river. The bridge, which was about a mile long with a surprisingly, steep grade and descent , had no shoulder, just a narrow walkway, elevated like a sidewalk with a curb. After watching the truck traffic traveling side by side with no shoulder, I decided to walk my bike across the bridge. First time I've had to do that in 4000 miles. ( today my odometer turned over 4000 miles since we left the Outer Banks). A few miles more on I-10, and it was back off the interstate to US90. The road and the shoulder were newly paved through a heavy industrialized area (PPG, Citgo, and lots of oil, chemical, natural gas), until I turned onto LA27, due south. What a beautiful ride, through one town, Hackberry, which was so photogenic, I took several pictures. The majority of the trip was through the Sabine Natural Wildlife Preserve. Whenever I wasn't in the preserve, there were plenty of gas and oil wells. I crossed the heavily used Intercoastal Waterway again. In the preserve, it was water or grasslands as far as you could see in every direction. The only sign of man was the road, telephone poles, and an occasional pull off for the preserve. I rode out a one mile observation loop that was paved with elevated deck in places. I saw an alligator in the water-actually scared the crap out of him, as I rode over an elevated section. He did a mad scamper, slashing and splashing, as I rode above him. He made me look, I'll tell you that! I also saw a ton of great blue herons, and even saw a pink ibis, which is often mistaken for a flamingo because of the vibrant pink color on such a big bird. We also saw one in the Everglades. When the Gulf finally came into sight, there was a coastal town called Holly Beach. Actually it looked like an Rv resort with a few beach houses mixed in. I found out that was all that was left after Hurricanes Rita and Ike, which were direct hits. What they didn't destroy, the BP oil spill affected. I stopped and talked to two Cajuns, who were two of the 12 permanent residents in town. Donnie and Faith ran a flag and t shirt store, which looked like it was its last leg. Don was also struggling with what was left of a commercial crabbing business. He said he received no FEMA money because he wasn't going to wait for two years for help, so he bought a trailer, added on a screen room, and built a plywood shack for his business, and FEMA told him he couldn't prove there was any damage, even with photos. He got nothing. He said BP was sending him 14 dollars a month interest, but his money is still, to this day tied up in court and litigation. He'll get it when all the appeals are done. For such beaten down people , they were great, upbeat, and a hoot to talk to. I stayed for a hour and listened to them tell stories with their Cajun accents, and sense of humor. They offered me a place to stay if I needed it, invited me to a dinner of boudin (that's boo-dan) and beer bread, and gave me a pound of dried shrimp for the road. Imagine jerky made of shrimp. Salty and goes good with beer! I took plenty of pictures, and could have listened to their stories all night. They gave me advice about the roads, and also local wisdom ( i.e. don't let anyone cook boudin ( boo-dan) for us unless they are a coon-ass). A coon ass is what Cajuns call themselves. They said that there is some bogus boudin out there!
I finally caught up with Pam, at a nine-site Rv place. The owner wasn't there, so she had to turn on the water and electricity herself, and we have to put payment in a pipe somewhere on the property, and he'll get it Monday. Crazy, but not as crazy as the mosquitoes. We have never seen so many! I'll never complain about Rodanthe N C again. The motor home was covered with them at dusk, and they were everywhere inside from going in and out (as few times as we could). We ended up spraying inside after I went Bonsai on them with a fly swatter for a while, and they just laughed at me. I hope we can get out of the Rv tomorrow.
We did go for a walk on the beach, and looked at all the off shore drilling rigs (there must be twenty of them in sight), and collected seashells that were black or stained from BP oil.

Oil factories

I-10 bridge where I had to walk my bike across


Fishing boats


All about shrimping

LA 27 is part of this trail

You can drive on the Gulf beach, as long as you follow these rules!  Remember - No displays of Power!!!


Hit a stretch where there were blanket flowers all along the  road.  Haven't seen them since we left the Outer Banks!

The walkway where I scared the alligator.

Along the walkway

Bike needed a rest.

Holly Beach

Chunk of hardened oil.

Donnie and Faith make t-shirts.  This one says: Pooh Yied pronounced - poe yea.  It's Cajun for  yee haw!   And now you can speak Cajun!

Looking at oil rigs.  See the dots out on the horizon??


Nature preserve

Donnie and Faith's flag sales.

The flag says: Heritage Not Hate



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