Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Cajun Country

I got a bit of a late start riding, as it was a drive back to where Ken had picked me up a few days prior. It was great to see my friend, as when I am on the road constantly I don’t have many in depth relationships. Most conversations go something like this:

Them: Where you riding to?

Me: Across to Florida then up to New York.

Them: Wow, really?

Me: Yeah

Them: That’s all you have with you?

Me: Yes

Them: Where do you sleep?

Me: In a hotel/motel.

Them: How long is it going to take?

Me: About two months

Them: How many miles is it?

Me: About 5,000

Them: I wouldn’t want to drive a car 5,000 miles, never mind a bicycle.

Me: I wouldn’t want to in a car either.

That is how most of my conversations go throughout the day, so it was good to spend a few days with someone who actually knows me. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about my trips and travel in general, but sometimes the lack of good conversation is mind numbing.

The town of Crowley, LA looked a little better in the light, but the wind was still blowing out of the east, right where it left off on my last day riding.

I decided to leave behind both a short and long sleeved bike shirt to drop a few ounces and make room in my bike bag. I could have used the long sleeved shirt as it was too cold to ride in short sleeves but not cold enough for my jacket. All the work I put into cleaning up the bike was paying dividends. My bike was riding so smooth that I didn’t even hear it as I pedaled along.

The route I had chosen, with the assistance of my Louisiana cycling map, was designated a Scenic Byway. I didn’t think it all that scenic. Once you see one manmade crawfish pond, you have seen them all. Going on the premise that the road was a scenic byway, half of all southern Louisiana roads would be classified a scenic byway. For some reason I kept seeing Mardi Gras beads all over the street. I always did wonder what happened to all the beads after Mardi Gras. The answer is that they are littered on the street. I must have seen several hundred strands along the Louisiana roads.

I rode past the B. Edward Boudreaux Middle School, which is of no particular note other than that they must have some really fast children. The posted speed limit for the school zone is 45 MPH. 45??? Before my trip I visited a friend in North Las Vegas, Nevada. The school speed limits there are in the standard 15 to 25 MPH range, but the fine for speeding in a School Zone is $100 per mile an hour over the limit. You were doing 35 in a 15? That will be two grand please.

I was kind of getting used to people calling me “Suh" “Where y’all from suh?" I stopped in a convenience store to grab a drink and the woman behind the counter asked what I was doing in these parts. She was so nice and polite. Every sentence ended in “suh". As I was leaving, the woman called me back to give me a bag of home made cracklin. When I say I like pigskin, I am usually referring to the NFL, not actual skin of a pig with a little bit of fat that is fried.

I finished the ride strong and rolled into Morgan City, LA. The hotels in town were pretty full. I checked a couple of hotels before finding a place to stay. I was slowly getting to the area that was affected by Hurricane Katrina. It seems that construction workers come in from all over the place, stay for the week and then head home for the weekend. Not only do they fill up the hotel rooms, but they drive up the prices beyond the levels that you would normally pay for a particular hotel.

When I got settled into my hotel I called up a few bike shops and asked about a route into New Orleans. I was told that it was impossible to come in from the southwest, as there were only highways that ran into the city. I thought about backtracking and circling north of New Orleans, but when someone tells me something is impossible, that just makes it a challenge.

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