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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

I’ve never heard of that before!

It sure is a different world we are in today!

As we left Cove, Texas this morning, we saw quite a lot of water on either side of the road. We knew that we would be getting into some swampy, low lying areas in Louisiana, but we didn’t realize the east side of Texas is also quite similar terrain.

After about an hour and 20 minutes of driving, we finally got to Louisiana; a state that is known as a ‘melting pot’ of cultures - French, African, French-Canadian and modern American. Famous for its unique Creole and Cajun culture, food, jazz music and the annual MARDI GRAS festival. And now we are in our 7th state on this trip, and finally out of Texas!!!

We had a nice fluffy, white cloud kind of driving day today at +21C. Today was the first day since I’ve left home that I’ve been able to wear shorts! Its so nice not to be all bundled up anymore!

By contrast, here is the weather forecast in Fanny Bay, Vancouver Island.

We never saw lows like they are going to see next week. -15C at night! We would be burning propane 24/7 to try and keep Newman and us warm! Even Seattle is supposed to have snow at Christmas this year and there is normally about a 1% chance that they ever have a white Christmas! I was saying to Richard today that I really think we left Vancouver Island at a perfect time, because if we had waited, we might have run into some impassable weather and we would have been stuck somewhere we hadn’t planned to be stuck! While this definitely has been a long journey - one we expect will take a full month to do, it will be worth it to have a winter of warmer weather in Florida! Plus we got our boosters quicker than had we stayed in Canada, so that was also a bonus for leaving Vancouver Island when we did!

As we were driving through Louisiana the first major town we came to was Lake Charles, Louisiana. I usually look up in google, the significance of major towns for Richard to keep him entertained as he is driving. The random fact about Lake Charles that came up when I googled it was that Lake Charles, Louisiana is mentioned in ‘The Band’s’ song “Up on Cripple Creek”. So of course I had to play it on my phone hooked up to our big Bluetooth speaker, while we drove. That’s the kind of ‘fun’ stuff we do when we drive, to help keep the time passing by quickly! When we know every day is a driving day, we have to figure out stuff to entertain ourselves, besides just focusing on the scenery.

The Band. They had some great hits didn’t they?!!

We started to see lots of road signs for local restaurants as we drove along Interstate 10 East in Louisiana.

Chicken Cracklins & Boudin Eggrolls. What the heck is BOUDIN? I had definitely never heard of Boudin before.

Boudin is a Cajun sausage, although Cajuns would never call boudin a ‘sausage’. Boudin is made from a blend of pork cooked down with onions, peppers, seasonings, & cooked rice. This completely cooked mixture is then stuffed into a casing like sausage. To pronounce it properly, ‘boo’-like a ghost says, and then start like your’e saying the name ‘Dan’ but just don’t pronounce the ‘n’ on the end of ’Dan’! Boudin in Cajun Country can be found at grocery stores, delis, gas stations, birthday parties, weddings and holidays, but very rarely in a restaurant. There is also uncased boudin as an ingredient in other foods too - apparently ‘egg rolls’ at this place that was advertising on the highway! The origins of boudin date back over two centuries when the Acadians migrated to Louisiana from Nova Scotia and France. The French have what they call Boudin ‘blanc’ and Boudin ‘noir’, but they greatly differ from the boudin created by the Cajuns. Cajuns put their own twist on boudin. The original Cajun boudin is what is today called ‘red boudin’ or ‘blood boudin’. This type of boudin is exactly what it sounds like…boudin with fresh hog’s blood in it. This was most prevalent long ago when the families raised and slaughtered their own hogs, but Blood Boudin is harder to come by these days in Cajun Country due to USDA regulations. All Cajuns have their favorite place or places to get boudin and every boudin is different. Whether it is the seasoning blend used, the amount of rice vs pork, or the casing used, each boudin is unique. Well that was interesting, but I don’t think we will be stopping for any boudin today in Louisiana, I’m not sure my stomach could handle a feed of boudin!

We were looking for a rest stop to pull over as Richard needed to use the washroom and it was just after 12 noon and we needed to have some lunch. We kept seeing gas/travel stations on the other side of the highway and finally we found one on our side of the highway to exit at.

This travel stop had about the worst roads getting in or out of it that I have ever seen!

Yesterday at Buc-ee’s we had bought an extra turkey sandwich which we kept in the refrigerator. This sandwich was just perfect for a quick lunch for Richard today.

Buc-ee’s homemade turkey sandwich. At $6.50 for the sandwich loaded with turkey, it was a good price.

As we left Lafayette, Louisiana we got on the longest bridge that either one of us has ever been on!

This bridge seemed to go on forever. We had no idea we would be going over such a long bridge today!

The bridge crossed over a few lakes.

Not a lake to navigate a boat through with all these tree stumps sticking up in the water.

Its still going!

There was a lot of swampy water under the bridge on both sides. I finally had to google this bridge, because there really was no sign to say ‘this is a big bridge and you can’t turn around, so you had better have a lot of fuel on board!’.

The bridge we drove over today was called the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge or the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge, which is a pair of parallel bridges between Lafayette, and Baton Rouge which carries Interstate 10. With a total length of 18 miles it is the 3rd longest bridge in the U.S., the second longest on the interstate system and the 14th longest bridge in the world in total length. The longest bridge in the US is over Lake Pontchartrain Causeway which is a 23.88 mile bridge near New Orleans. I’m glad we won’t have to experience the longest bridge in the US. The 3rd longest bridge was enough for one trip!

Just before we got to Baton Rouge we came to a dead standstill.

Traffic going into Baton Rouge was crazy. There was another two lanes of traffic on the far right that also had to merge onto this two lane bridge. Their traffic flow in Baton Rouge was definitely not well designed! We were in the left lane too and as you can see the left lane goes to the airport and we needed to be going on Interstate 10 to connect with Interstate 12. No one would let us into the lane we needed to go in. Normally truck drivers are polite and let us in, but not in this state! We tried a few trucks to see if they would let us in, and nope, they wouldn’t.

Traffic was very slow moving in Baton Rouge today.

Skyline of Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana.

The mighty Mississippi River in Baton Rouge.

Houses near the highway in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

We are finally leaving Interstate 10 for awhile. If we wanted to take the scenic route to New Orleans on Interstate 10 we could have, but we’ll keep going straight East, rather than take the detour to New Orleans.

I needed to stop to get a few things for Christmas that I forgot yesterday so we stopped in Hammond, Louisiana at Target.

Target in Hammond, Louisiana. Richard was able to park Newman in the AMC theatre parking lot and I walked over to Target. Getting into a mall parking 2 days before Christmas with a 40 foot RV was definitely not happening today! As I entered Target they had a sign saying “If you are Not Fully Vaccinated Please Wear a Mask”. Of course I was wearing my KN95 mask while I was in the Target store, but I would say that only about 10% of people, and the store associates were wearing masks today. It makes you wonder when you see people who are wearing masks are they being cautious like me, by wearing a mask? Or are they really NOT vaccinated? What are people thinking when they see me? Is she unvaccinated? Its really a weird dynamic coming from Canada and even Washington and Oregon where mask mandates were in place and everyone wore them all the time indoors. Anyway, its not changing how we go about things on mask wearing. We know its the right thing to do indoors, or anywhere there is a crowd outdoors, we will keep wearing our masks.

The sun was just about setting when we finally pulled into Fireside RV Resort in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. We couldn’t find the RV Resort in our RV Garmin GPS for some reason and I finally had to put the name of the RV park into Google Maps on my phone to get us to the RV Resort. We found out why we couldn’t find the RV resort when we checked in! The RV resort just opened in October 2020. The RV resort is very large and spread out nicely among the trees too.

As you can see Newman has no neighbours tonight! We like it that way actually. I booked this pull through site away from the Pool Bar, Lazy River, Rock Climbing Wall and Boat Dock. We aren’t here to make new friends!

There is Richard working hard to get Newman all set up for the night. We seem to have gotten into a pretty good ’groove’ about setting up at night and getting ready to go in the morning. It takes us a lot less time now that we’ve done it so many times. Plus, not having Jerry along, definitely makes it easier to get in an out of RV campgrounds, malls and rest areas.

When we checked in today at the RV Resort we were given wristbands in case we wanted to go to the Pool Bar at 5pm tonight for the Thursday Trivia Night. I think we’ll skip it. Maybe they don’t read the news down here?! Like I said, it is a different world from the food to how they are handling the Covid 19 virus, with only 50% of all Louisianas double vaccinated. Nope…Trivia Night is definitely not going to happen tonight!

Trivia anyone?

We definitely learned a few things today on our journey through Louisiana that I’d never heard of before! We are now on the East side of Louisiana heading for Mississippi, Alabama and then finally Destin, Florida tomorrow. Let’s hope we get to Destin tomorrow, as planned! We’re looking forward to relaxing and having a 3 night beach stay for Christmas before we finally get to our home in Florida. Newman has been behaving and let’s hope it stays that way!

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