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updates continued thru March 18th.

14 years ago

So I was able to ride really fast and get to DeRidder LA and will stay here till I get this finished and then ride on to where we are camping in Merryville LA.

Sunday 14th - 9.3 avg/45 miles--We were told about Perry's bike place. She is a native Houma lady and is building a home in Jackson LA right up the road from the correctional facility. BTW there are a LOT of these in the South. We passed them everywhere in FL and MS but not as many in LA. Anyway Perry is an amazing woman and loves to bike herself and opens her home to other cyclists. She has 4 1/2 acres here and a lovely pond. She built her own home , with help in Houma and will sell it when her husband retires. He is in the dried shrimp industry. One of only 3 companies of its kind in the world. They supply to flamingos at zoos etc. We were able to use her bunk room and we cooked on a grill for dinner and fed her as our payment as she doesn't accept money. Pete and I finished the pint of JD and that will be the last. I know I know you don't believe that but it is the truth...for now anyway. He is going back to vodka and OJ...yuck.

Because St francisville is right here we decided to take off a 1/2 day and visit. We went to Oakley Plantation and did the tour and walked the grounds. I got a lot of pics but made a mistake and deleted a few of the plantation before the emails packets of pics I made had completely gone through to my email. I will have to see if they are recoverable...anyone who knows please tell me...I think they are on the sim card somewhere in a trash can...sigh.

We ate lunch at a very popular place Magnolia Cafe. We were lucky the tour bus was just leaving as we pulled up. It has pretty cabins for rent and is really a nice area of this historic town.

We took the ferry across the MS...I have pics and it was really fun. They are building a bridge which the locals are very glad of. They say the ferry is slow and unreliable. I liked the time we spent waiting for it. We were able to chat with local workers and listen to the wonderful accent. I never tire of listening to the melodisc way they express themselves. As usual everyone thinks we are funny for doing this trip.

We are in New Roads now for Monday night 9.5 avg/31 miles ( may have a slight mix up here as to places , will have to get better at record keeping). We are in Point Couppe Parish. Stopped at a little store and had an ice cream sandwich. This is a staple snack for me. I love them and they are just the right combination of smooth treat and protein and carbs. At least that is what I tell myself. The little black man that was behind the counter had a basket of what at first looked like 2 cookies wrapped together on the counter....I picked up one pack and asked him what they were. He said, " lady they are tea cakes, a woman makes them and brings them to sell". Oh my I LOVE them. I had a home health patient that made them years ago and I never got the recipe. So of course I asked him if there was anyway I could meet her and get it. He smiled and ducked his head and said," lady you KNOW they never gives out their receipts ". I know this of course. They were wonderful when I had them later...just a perfect combination of cookie, scone,biscuit and cake....

We rode on today Monday to Jim's on the False River. It is the most amazingly beautiful area. The MS riiver has moved and continues to move. It leaves behind areas that were once the river. It is a lake now. When I went into the bar ( that is the office and bait shop and tavern for the area) I asked if we could speak to Jim about a campsite. A small wrinkled man stepped away from the bar and said " you don't look for Jim"....uh OK...his eyes were just dancing and Kim burst out laughing...I said well your place looks fantastic...he said well if you like it that much I will send you up the road, and then he smiled.

We set up camp and a took a ton of pics of the sunset while sipping a beer and sitting i n the swing by my of the most perfect evenings.

OK back on track...we left New Roads this Tuesday Mar 16th. AM rode 11.5 avg/40 miles. Rode on through Morganza to Batchelor.

We are on the Old River now for lunch. Rode over a levee and here was a paradise Batchelor LA....again the river is now 3/4 mile away. The lady said that they just reopened 2 weeks ago as everything was under water . I have pics of single wide trailers up on 20 ft piers to prevent flooding...very strange sight. The cafe where we stopped had $ bills all over the walls. Kim and I each fixed one with the date and our names and our sweet husbands and they taped them to the wall. Had a very good shrimp poboy. I took pics. of course. Miles of sugar cane fields. Strong winds so we decided to leave the set route and go straight to Simmesport on LA 1. We rode over the Atchafalaya Bridge and since I am reading the book from Bob Pharher on the Lost bayou this was a very poignant time for me. Simmesport is a pretty awful place. I stayed in the local motel and the rest camped in a small city park. The police looked in on them, I double locked my door and placed my bike across the entrance to the room...all was quiet though all night and the guy who ran the place was really very nice...thse are very hard times for this area and I felt sorry for everyone. I ate dinner in my room...heated soup in the microwave and had a pint of Blue Bell icecream to console myself...again that is my story and I am stickin to it :)

Wed St Patrick's Day Mar 17th. Left Simmesport and the poor motel. Rode on to Moreauvilleand had free Community coffee . The Dupont next. Met a man who is a Plauche'....original family of the town Plaucheville. He talked about the plantations and the Bayou Teche and the transport of slaves and that there is still a warehouse standing where they were traded. He then talked about the breeding of the that point I excused myself and headed up the road....I did do 15-17 mph so I guess fury is a good fuel. We are now in La Beau and had crawfish was 12.00 for a plate and salad. I noted the signs that have crawfish as 16.99 a pound...very dear price I think. It was sure good though. We are in St Landry Parish,Cajun Capital.. While we were eating the juke box started up and Pete and I was nice.

We are now in Washington LA. We are staying at Willies campground. Again there is a tavern and a lot of campers. Something I haven't talked about is the number of campers parked in small out of the way campgrounds all across MS and LA. These are primarily displaced persons from Katrina we have been told. Some of them are going back and forth to the area they came from and are still working on rebuilding and in the meantime are working in these little towns and living in these campgrounds. Very sad after all this time.

Here in Washington there will be a Catfish festival this weekend and Steve Riley and the Mamou playboys will perform. I am so bummed that I won't get to see them...I have heard them with my friend Mark at festivals and they are wonderful.

So the manager of the campground is Slim...I have sent out pics of him...he reminds me of my brother Bill...same warm smile and sweet eyes...and same hair....but he is 6ft 6in and 325#...he is also "taken" with he really wants me to stay the gonna happen but he does try to persuade me :) He offers free camping to Pete and the rest of us and then buys Pete a beer and then gives us a free dinner of meatball had hardboiled eggs in it and was served with potato salad and was yum...and more beer...Abita..we fired up the juke box and I danced with Pete to " I need you now" and then Slim and I danced to Keith Whitley " Don't close your eyes"....when we left he said very can stay you know....well , no I can't....he is a sweet and lonely man...married 3 times...9 months and 2 kids....17 years and 2 kids...6 months and no kids...he is 50 years old . Life sure is full of interesting people.

We had our tents set up on the bayou right next to the water here in Washington. When we got up the next AM ( Thursday) the guy in one of the campers said, you might wanna not camp so close to the water....of course we had to ask why...he said they were having trouble with a 14 ft alligator....THANKYOU ...slim for telling us !

Thursday Mar18th. I have no miles for these days as Pete keeps it and I haven't gotten them from him. Anyway it was a beautiful AM . We rode to the Citgo to the cafe inside and had a great breakfast. In this area of the South it is very usual to have a good cafe inside a gas station. I had 2 eggs sunny side up and grits and a patty sausage and a biscuit and Community Coffee...$5...I know I am eating like a truck driver...when you hear what we had for lunch you will drop your jaw...but it won't have to change till I get home...till then I eat and eat !

We stopped in Ville Platte. I bought home made pies , but they are really soft cakes with filling made by Miss Wilda...they are WONDERFUL. I have her address and will write and try to get the recipe after the trip.

Got a great pic of the cemetary in the area with the raised tombs due to the water table being so high in LA> We ride past miles of crawfish ponds which are also rice fields. That is a common sight in this area. I stopped and got pics. Everywhere you go you see people out emptying the crawfish traps. The scenery is really changing as we get closer to TX. I saw a sign for Pitre Rice company and will look them up when I have a chance.

Saw and heard a bunch of tiny palm sized turtles rush into the water as I rode past. When we got to Mamou we stopped at Frenchies to have the buffet lunch...I know I told you I eat....we were there by noon but the locals had already descended. We had salad bar and redbeans with sausage and rice and wonderful cornbread. The peach cobbler was all gone but she brought us out warm bread pudding with rum sauce instead...I got a pic for was so yum. The men at the table next to us were from Pine Prairie Energy Center and were so taken with our group and our ride that they bought us lunch...very very nice guys.

We are in Evangeline Parish at this point. Pete and Kim and I rode on w/o Gretchen...she was feeling ill after eating so much. This is a very good time to digress and say that my years of ultra running have really helped with the "eat and ride/run" thing. I can pretty much eat anything I want and as much as I want and hop on the bike and do 20-30 miles at a good clip and be hungry again and suffer no ill effects...great thing indeed.

Anyway Pete and Kima and I stopped on the Nezpique Bayou Bridge and dropped 3 pieces of bark into the water on one side and then ran to the other side of the bridge to see whose "bark boat " won...they all came out at the same time but then mine pulled ahead and I won !! Yeah !

When Pete and I reached the corner of LA 26 and 104 we made 1000 miles for this trip, since Kim started later she got our pic and I wrote the date and miles on my jacket over my heart....momentous occasion.

Spent last night Thursday in Oberlin LA. Nothing much in the town but the library where I sent the update yesterday. Pete and I walked to the laundromat and on the way back to the motel his phone rang. It was his son Karl in Sarasota FL. He said to quick look up and see the space station....we did...what a beautiful night sky and an amazing sight...

I had a Corona beer that Pete bought me and chicken soup and peanut butter on a bagel alone in my room...I got a room alone since I have the bikes in with me....the motel owners it was clean, cheap and crowded LOL.

Will take more notes as I go along and update as time allows. Have to go and find my group....they are some where in DeRidder now as am I. Thank you all for your kind comments on my ramblings and the sweet supportive notes that I get...I am doin' OK>...c

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