Sunday, April 14, 2013

Don't You Cry For Me...

Cuz I'm goin' to Loo-Zee-Anna with a banjo on my knee! Okay, maybe no banjo, but I am in Louisiana!

We woke up to sunshine and clear blue skies. Our tents were still wet from the dew, but better than from rain! As we were packing up, Margie and Ben from Bubba's Pampered Pedalers drove up. They saw our Hi-Vis yellow jackets from the highway and knew it must be us. They were on their way to set up the first rest stop for the riders about a mile up the road (we stopped by on our way). The BPPs were riding from Silsbee to De Ridder today.

We didn't have too far to go to the Texas/Louisiana border. The last town in Texas was Bon Wier. We got there about 10:30. I stopped at a gas station to use the restroom (and I bought a snack, because I feel bad just using the restroom). Bubba pulled up and said there was a restaurant just up the road. At Mexican Hill Farm he had said this restaurant has the best Gumbo even though it is in Texas. I wasn't too keen on Gumbo at 10:30 in the morning (they all were, though, because we saw the rigs there when we rode by--not the riders, they were still aways back).

The border was the Sabine River. We crossed over the river and entered Louisiana. I can check another state off my list! The only thing different I noticed between West Texas and Louisiana is that the speed limit went from 75 to 55 for the same road! Much nicer! Otherwise, it looked about the same.

The first real town was DeRidder in Beauregard Parish (not counties in Louisiana). We stopped to see the old Gothic Courthouse and Jailhouse. It isn't used anymore. The new courthouse sits next door.

By the time we got to DeRidder, it was past lunchtime. We were on the lookout for someplace to eat. When it looked like we might be headed out of town, I saw a Healthy Food store that said they served sandwiches and soup. We decided to eat there. Unfortunately, they no longer really have a restaurant. But, they had some broccoli and cheese strata (first Christian thought it was dessert). We both had the strata and I also had a peach-pear-apricot smoothie and a mookie. What's a mookie? Well, it's chocolate chip cookie dough made in the shape of a muffin with chocolate on the inside. YUM! AND, it was warmed up! The strata was also delicious.

Christian had changed into his Washington jersey that he bought last year. A gal came up and asked him if he was from Washington. I said, "No, but I was". Turns out she was from Bellingham (went to Western). She met her husband in B'ham, but he was from Louisiana and they moved to DeRidder so he could work on the farm with his dad. Farming was not quite what she was used to.

After lunch, I went back in to the store to fill our water bottles. As I was waiting, I noticed they had Bob's Red Mill unsweetened coconut. I had just run out of the coconut I had bought at Whole Foods in Austin (I put it in my hot muesli cereal in the morning)! I was happy to find more!

Back on the road, we had about 27 miles to go. It was definitely warm. I had put my sunsleeves on, but hadn't put sunscreen on my legs yet. Uh...yeah...I should have done that sooner. Funny thing about cycling and sunburns--it's usually just part of one leg--in this case my thigh below my shorts and my calf of my right leg. Makes for interesting tan lines...

The place we were supposed to camp tonight was just past Mittie. It was the White Sand Canoe Rental. The map says they also have camping. Wellllll....kind of. When I asked the guy, he said we could camp down by the river; that lots of people do that. Okay...looks like another night without a shower--this makes night 3 (should have done a "bucket" bath last night).

We filled our water bottles (2 each), 2 one liter Platypus containers, and one 1/2 liter Platypus container. This will get us through dinner and breakfast. Then, we rode back to the bridge and a dirt road down to the river. We found a suitable (except for the Mosquitos) place to put our tents. It's not real scenic. The river is mud brown (I assume from the storm) and the highway is just above us. On this tour, we seem to have three choices for night noise--thunderstorms, trains, or highways. Quite honestly, I'll take highways. Not thunderstorms, for obvious reasons, and trains no, because they are really loud, and they scare the bejesus out of me when I'm sound asleep. It is the rare night we have had that wasn't accompanied by one of those three noises--sometimes more than one.

We retreated to our tents to get away from the Mosquitos at about 8:00. Tomorrow we move on--hopefully to a campground with showers...

After 10 days of riding in Texas (not counting Austin), we have ridden approximately 570 miles. That is an average of 57 miles per day! Highest average speed was today at 12.3 mph. Number of snakes seen in Texas--1 (and it was dead). I saw many dead armadillos, no live ones. I've seen as many dead possums in Texas as at home. Weather has, overall, been cooler than I expected (and more rain--note to self, it's cold when it rains--next time bring regular rain pants--not just Rainlegs). People have been very kind along the Southern Tier route. Even though the speed limits are very high in Texas, most drivers are courteous. Finally, when we camp in a campground, there is always a shower (and they are free)--other places, no showers.

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