Monday, November 18, 2013

Cajun Country

Reason to Celebrate

I am not in the habit of drinking before midday, usually.  But hell, it's always noon somewhere and a celebration was in order.  As sincerely happy as I was to see Texas come, and as much as I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to the Lone Star State, a thousand miles of any place on a bike is enough to dampen the greatest of enthusiasm.  Shots of whiskey were called for as Jen and I crossed the muddy Sabine River and entered the swamps of Louisiana.  It could just be my renewed enthusiasm for the tour upon entering a new state, but the pace of Cajun Country seems a little slower than it's neighbor to the west, drivers appear to be in a little less of a hurry and folks come across a bit friendlier.  I think I might like Louisiana.  

Touring Romance

Sweet Mother Mary of Jesus! 
Jenny choked through tears as the odoriferous assault migrated north in our dual sleeping bag.  I giggled just a little, rolled over and sealed my head off from the defusing stank, not to be a victim of friendly fire in the warfare of flatulence.

It is hard for me to feel bad; it really isn't my fault that I stink so bad.  Much like our life at home, existence on the road calls for a division of labor.  Jenny does all the grocery shopping and I sit outside with the bikes and bullshit with locals who feel like striking up a conversation with a guy in sandals and safety vest.  When we arrive at camp, I drink cold beer and Jenny cooks dinner.  I eat whatever I am served and can't be held responsible for it's impact on my digestive system.    

Jenny's culinary range has expanded exponentially in the past four months and what the girl can do with a can of baked beans, a bag of broccoli and a tin of marinated sardines is simply amazing; she does however have to sleep in a confined space with the consequences.


Sans helmet and barefooted, he sported basketball shorts and a neon green construction shirt.

Where ya'all headed?  Where ya'all from?, were the first words out of his mouth as he pulled up along side of us on a solid looking steel framed mishmash of a bicycle with bar end shifters.  Deep in Southern  Louisiana, fellow bicyclists are a rare sight and Spencer was the first we had seen in hundreds of miles.

We're from Seattle and headed to Georgia, I replied as I tried to match his robust pace.

Hell yeah! he exclaimed, I'm fixin' on doing the same soon as the crayfish season is up.

We don't see to many cyclists down here, Jen remarked as Spencer buried me and pulled along side of her.

Hell man, this is Louisiana!  Only poor folks ride bicycles down here! he yelled over his shoulder as he sped off into the distance.   Ya'all have yo'selves a real good trip now, ya hear!


Market Basket Grocery in Welsh, Louisiana.  Like most evenings, I am sitting outside the store chatting up curious locals while Jenny shops for dinner.  
Cheryl stopped her cart in front of our parked bikes and struck up a friendly conversation with me about where we were from and where we were headed.  Her warm and calm demeanor permeated the discussion about travel throughout this country as she inquired about what motivated this adventure, what we ate and where we stayed on a nightly basis.

Wherever we can to tell you the truth.  In fact, tonight we are sleeping over at the the city park.  The  policeman that we ran into drove me to city hall to pick up a key for the bathrooms.  

She continued to smile, but an immediate deep sadness fell over her visage and the corners of her eyes welled as she fought back tears.  I wondered what I had said wrong.

I understand there is a nice plaque at the park in honor of my son.  He passed about a year ago now, and I just haven't been able to go over and have a look quite yet.  Things are still pretty fresh.  I am told they planted a nice tree there by the tennis court as well.  He was thirty-seven years old.

I didn't know what to say, parents shouldn't bury their children and and I don't have the capacity to understand this type of pain.   I am sorry for you loss ma'am, I'll  make sure to go and have a look at the plaque in the morning.

That would be nice, he was a really great guy.  God bless you.  She turned and rolled her cart to the car.  

It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

Hot wet sticky sweet, from my head down to my feet…yeah...

I doubt that Def Leopard was trying to describe a sleepless night in the bayou with these timeless lyrics, but the lines of Pour Some Sugar on Me keep rolling through my head as I lie awake, naked and suffocating in the sweltering heat of the Louisiana night.  Mosquitos as big as hummingbirds swarm hungrily outside the mesh of the tent inches away from my cooking head.  The fact that it is raining and 85 degrees defies everything that makes sense to me and I just wish that I could sweat.  No way around it, Southern Louisiana is a hot swamp and I simply cannot imagine riding through here in August.    

Several days of pedaling across the Gulf Coast of Louisiana under dark skies into stiff headwinds indicates that our endless summer is drawing to end.  It is easy to forget that it is mid-November when most of your days are spent under blue skies and you haven't worn shoes for months.  All good things must come to end though,  and as we close in on New Orleans it seems the winter of the Northern Hemisphere is finally catching up with us.  With less than 1000 miles to go before we reach the Atlantic Ocean, Jen and I are laying out the next several months of our life and very much looking forward to escaping south of equator for the New Zealand summer.

Kloshe konaway
Kloshe natich


Frozen chamios are super comfy.

 Back in the land of mosquitos.  Jenny is a ruthless killer, 4 in one slap!

 Louisiana is the northern most latitude that sugar can be grown and the state produces over 1.4 million tons of raw sugar each year.  Saint Mary's Sugar Processing Plant.

Pork "Cracklings" AKA deep fried pork skin.  A cajun tradition and one that I can say I tried.  I could feel my blood thicken as I ate and will refrain from partaking in the future.

If cavemen would have known about donuts, they would have eaten them!


  1. Don't tell Tracy, but I think you're my favorite blogger!!

  2. Mighty fine compliment R! Especially considering the fact that we don't have any cute kids to go on about! Your secret is safe with me, but this is the interweb ya know!



  3. yah, and now i know roberta! but i can hardly blame you...i actually count the days between matt's posts (the kids too). great writing, great pics, all very inspirational.