Monday, March 18, 2013

Day 28 (Mon, 18 Mar)

I’ve hit Bayou country – everything is flat, wet, and muggy – awesome!!

I rode from Ville Platte, LA to New Roads, LA today.  A ride of 59 miles and pretty flat with just 250 ft of climbing and I believe the majority of that was going over two elevated bridges!  I continue to see lot's of turtles, frogs, another armadillo (this one was not moving much either, just like the first I saw...) and white cranes.  No pelicans or alligators yet, but I continue to be on the look out!

The route: There is no one road (other than I-10) to go West/East in this part of Louisiana, so: the ride started out on Hwy 10/67 out of Ville Platte, then on a short jaunt on Hwy 744 and on Hwy 743.  Then about 30 miles on Hwy 190, which is a major highway going West/East with plenty of truck traffic.  Also, there was a 3 mile stretch of elevated highway with no shoulder (this section went over a swampy bayou).  I hit the gas on this section and kept my speeds at about 22-25 mph for the stretch and that worked fairly well – traffic saw me and moved over as they came up behind me.  The last 12 miles was on country type roads – Mississippi River Trail Rd (County Rd 78) and then on Hwy 1/False River Dr.

The weather: partly cloudy in the morning and then sunny in the afternoon.  Muggy all day long with Temps in the 70s in the morning and mid 80s in the afternoon.  The warmest day I’ve had thus far.  There was a 10-15 mph wind from the South today - so mainly a crosswind for me and then a bit of a tailwind for the last 10 miles up to New Roads.

This whole area is part of the Mississippi River delta in Louisiana.  Very flat with some forests but mainly swampy Bayou and farmland.  Lot’s of twisty roads and quite beautiful this time of year with colorful blossoms of all types coming out and most of the trees have their leaves just blooming as well.

This will be highlighted tomorrow but the reason for taking this route is a very nice bridge at New Roads, LA that crosses the Mississippi River.  I met 4 folks at my hotel this morning that are doing a 700-mile cycling trip through Louisiana on recumbent bicycles.  They mentioned the bridge is only 2 years old and there had been a Ferry that would transport cars/people across the river before the bridge was built.  Cool.

On to the pictures!

Atchafalaya region of Louisiana.  From Wikipedia: The National Wildlife refuge system began in 1903, by executive order of PresidentTheodore Roosevelt, with the designation of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge inFlorida. The Atchafalaya NWR became part of a system that includes more than 150 million acres (610,000 km2) in 552 national wildlife refuges, along with other units of the refuge system, and 37 wetland management districts.

Lot's of colorful fields of yellow blossoming flowers (or weeds, I suppose!).

Elevated grave sites in Louisiana.

Near I-49 which runs North/South and I passed under early in the ride.  Truck stop with a casino...

Local history.

This was about 2/3rds of the hills I climbed today (the other 1/3rd being a second bridge).  I rode up it pretty fast to get at least a little exercise for my legs today!

 East side of the Atchafalaya River after crossing the bridge.

The rivers seem to prefer to be Brown in this part of the country - we'll see what the Mississippi looks like tomorrow.

All sorts of awesome Louisiana cuisine in this roadside stand.  Boudin, Cracklins (snack made by frying up left over Pork scraps), Cajun Meats - alright!

I'm loving the big trees down here - right over major highways - very nice.

Pretty typical type of farmland in the area.

If possible, zoom in and read this sign.  The mound of dirt in the back caught my eye as I was riding by - this was the only "hill" I saw all day.  Looks like there are 3 mounds in the area (this being one of them) that were built 1,000'ish years ago and likely used as burial mounds.  Can't believe they're still here!

Creole plantation type Louisiana home and yard in New Roads, LA.

The "False River" near New Roads, LA.  Cool area.  A long time ago this was part of the Mississippi River, but as you can see from a Map of the area, this False River is now basically a long/curved lake that is cut off from the Mississippi River flow - an oxbow lake.

Looking out from my cheap but very well placed motel room right over the False River this afternoon.  In reading up a bit on New Roads, this town has the largest Mardi Gras celebration in the US, outside of Louisiana - that explains all of the beads I saw along the road on the ride in today.  The celebration was first started in 1881.

Updated Map!

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