Sunday, March 17, 2013

Day 27 (Sun, 17 Mar)

I had one of the most relaxing rides of the whole trip today.  A very pleasant trip through the middle of Louisiana, seeing forests, wetlands and some farmlands on a Sunday afternoon with relatively little traffic and NO semi trucks (a first for the journey!).

I rode from DeRidder, LA to Ville Platte, LA today.  A ride of 75 miles and pretty flat with about 740 ft of climbing throughout the ride.  The ride was on Hwy 190 for a few miles and then primarily on Hwy 112 and the last 40 miles on Hwy 10 into Ville Platte.  The ride was primarily easterly today and there was a crosswind from the south of 10 mph+ throughout most of the afternoon.   The climate now is very muggy and as you’ll see from the pictures it was mainly cloudy today with a short rain shower in the middle of the ride.  Temps were in the 60s and high 70s throughout the day – the combination of temperature and high humidity finally enabled me to ride today – for the first time in the trip – without long sleeves on – nice!!

I’m not sure if they’re in this part of Louisiana, but I’m on the look out to get a picture of an alligator – none so far!  I did see plenty of frogs and turtles in the ponds and water along the highways today.  Also, in some of the open wetlands I saw many white cranes – big change from just a few days ago in Texas!

The first half of the ride was through forests (primarily pine trees) and then the last half was more wetlands and then some farmlands (including some areas with flooded fields that appeared to be rice fields).

I'm still about 100 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico, but at an elevation of only 75 ft and I'll be closer to 25 ft tomorrow night.

A few barking/chasing dogs along the way and quite a few folks out mowing their yards today (the smell of fresh cut grass being something I’m not used to in March!).

On to the pictures!

 Cool house in the center of DeRidder - awesome white picket fence - classic southern US look.

The DeRidder courthouse, to me looked almost like a state house - southerners definitely invest in their courthouses in even the smallest of towns.

Interesting wall mural in DeRidder highlighting the importance of the timber industry in the area.

Lot's of wetlands mixed in with the hardwood and pine forests east of DeRidder.

And some "old rusty stuff" in the area - makes for a great picture in my humble opinion...

Typical type of open field amongst all of the forests in the area.

This is pretty typical of the dozen or so small rivers that I passed over today - highly integrated into the woods.  Lot's of turtles and frogs; alligators?  Not yet...

Nice pavement on most of the country highways I was on today - very smooth which was a pleasure to ride on - no shoulder on most of the roads, but no traffic either.  Very nice!

Short video going at slow speeds to give a sense for the great type of ride through these forests.

Midway through the ride my bike decided it needed a rest (!) so I joined it in a nice little park and had some lunch today.

All of us have seen these along highways - I would guess that I've passed around 100 of these types of memorials along roads/highways so far - drive carefully, please.  It looks like this young man was only 20 years old when presumably his life was cut short in a car accident.

Drying out after the short rain shower today and enjoying the ride; while there was not much sun out today, it was still one of the warmest of the trip, due to the higher humidity.

If you stop near them it seems that every donkey will come within about 40 ft of so of you and look straight at you - why the heck do they do that?!

One of the first Red Barns (maybe the first) that I've seen on the trip.  Cool - just like Wisconsin!

I'm definitely seeing plenty of Louisiana architecture and like this home - tree-lined roads leading to homes - very nice.

Huge, old trees along this road leading into Ville Platte, LA.

Nice building wall mural in Ville Platte.

Classic old southern home architecture in Ville Platte.

Updated map - definitely now I'm in the south and enjoying the landscape of mid-Louisiana!!!

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