I like Louisiana, as the place has character. The rest of the world wasn’t moved in and made it seem like some American version of East Germany. The residents, especially the western portion of the state, home to the Cajun, seem most resistant. With their crackling and Boudin shops, Crawfish restaurants, and other not completely intellectually processed places of commerce, they are, thankfully, like no place other.
Just outside of New Orleans, there is an area known as Atchafalaya. It’s what I would call swamp. The locals call it a bayou. I-10 runs through it, and the roadway is elevated on a bridge for about 20 miles. There were several places where you could get off and get near the water. Every one looked like a used truck or boat trailer center. If there was one, there were a hundred trucks and boat trailers parked at the edge of the swamp. The swamp has to be huge, as the parking lots were packed, and as I drove west, there wasn’t a boat to be seen.
I like food. I heard that there was something called Boudin, and depending upon the teller, it was either God’s gift to man, or something unqualified for crab bait. It was advertised all over on Cracklin’s and Boudin restaurants. There are surprisingly many. Very many. Hundreds. I know what cracklin’s are, and due to appreciation of, and reverence to, my cardiologist, I will avoid that treat.
I had been making many miles on my journey to Houston and the Rodeo, and the last stretch from Mississippi to Houston was too long. I split the distance, so I could arrive and see my friends at a reasonable hour, and not be near dead or exhausted on my arrival. I found a State Park (I really like State Parks; they aren’t generally cheap for out of state’rs, but they are generally always clean, have great services, the sites are generally widely spread out, and there are things to do. (Except New Jersey – don’t bother)). There, almost at the halfway point of that leg of the trip was a sweet little State Park, in Louisiana, called Sam Houston Jones State Park. It’s named after a Governor who lived in the Lake Charles area, and legislated the area.
The ladies that worked in the check in office were lovely. I managed to get one of the last spaces in the park. Apparently there is enough going on in the Lake Charles area for Mardi Gras, that the place fills up. They were kind enough to explain Boudin, and told me that I needed to get a King Cake, it comes in all varieties, and is baked especially for Mardi Gras time of year. Noted.
I planned on doing some writing, but I purchased a nicer radio for the RV that would play books on tape, have a better GPS that the old stick on the window one, that was getting squidgy, and interface with my smarter than me phone. I got stuck in that three hour road closure on I-20, so I had taken the dashboard apart and discovered that the mounting pieces Crutchfield supplied wouldn’t work. I like projects, and it felt a little like Christmas morning to me, so I started installing the radio in the torn apart dashboard. Everything went fine, until I noticed that the wiring harness supplied wasn’t going to work. A call to technical support, insight into how radios were wired these days, some crimping (I carry a full set of tools, electrical bits, electrical connectors because I feel better with them) and the new wiring harness was put together. Radio works like a charm. Pretty slick thing, I feel like I’m driving in a new vehicle.
The next morning, I started on the short (relative) drive to Brazos State Park. The dump station was first, and perplexing. The inlet for the dump was situated up on a concrete island. The discharge of any RV would be located lower. Fortunately my hose doesn’t leak, so we worked something out. Not well, but worked it out.
I stopped in the supermarket, the Market Basket, that had been referred to me by the staff at the campground. What a great place! Andouille sausage made and smoked at the supermarket along with Boudain. Great wine selection too. I asked a nice lady about the King Cake, I had found the display. She didn’t give me the back story, but said that she liked the apple with the Bavarian cream. I bought that one. There was a very sweet girl behind the meat counter, who told me about a great place in town to get gumbo, K D‘s Diner. The meat displayed in the case looked excellent, and for the first time in a while, I found a supermarket that had prices that were very reasonable. With the good store, the great prices, and the nice people, I could stay there. They also said that they would ship the sausage; it could be ordered on line and have it shipped by mail.. That will remain to be seen, when the sausage gets tasted.
The drive to Houston was pretty uneventful. The city of Houston rises out of the haze like cliffs. The amount of commerce, roads, bridges, businesses all arranged helter skelter is amazing. I thought that there were parts of New Jersey that were dedicated to commerce. That was nothing compared to the commerce being conducted in Houston. There are refineries, oil field service companies, pipe dealers, oil storage tanks everywhere. If some people have their way, there will be trillions of dollars removed from the economy, billions of infrastructure torn down and millions put out of work. I wonder if those people have ever been to Houston? I wonder what the millions of people will do for work? Time and politics will tell.
GPS makes travel easy, so it was mid afternoon that I met Jack and Chris at the Park. It’s always good to see great friends, and after a spectacular dinner, the bed felt great.