Hello from Cajun Country. We are “popped” in a little campground in the bayous in Eunice Louisiana, 130 km west of Baton Rouge. At this this point we have travelled over 4000 km and everything so far has been great. After leaving New Hampshire, we hammered through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and into Carlisle, Pennsylvania where we got a cheap and rather scuzzy motel. I know…..cop out, right? But with a cold snap hitting the eastern states, the temperatures were still in the -3 to -5 Celsius range…..brrrrr. Carlisle is basically a strip of businesses catering to truckers. Our motel was between a porn store and a clapboard tavern, but it was cheap and they allowed the dog. Tip for road trippers- get the coupon books at the visitor information/ rest area stops…they do save you money (thanks for the tip Bargain Blaine!).
Tuesday morning we zipped in to see the Gettysburg battle fields and visited the cemetery where Lincoln gave his famous address “Four score and seven years……”. It was neat to see, but made me wish I knew more about the Civil War. The rest of the day brought us through the northeast corner of Maryland and across the Mason-Dixon Line, into West Virginia and on into Virginia. We crossed the Shenendoah River- singing all the way-and drove through the Skyline drive along the Blue Ridge Mountains, through the Shenendoah National park. Beautiful views of the valley below. There were several deer which kept Finn interested. It began snowing as we drove out of the park late in the afternoon, so we splurged on one more motel in Salem, Virginia.
Wednesday we put in many miles passing through Virginia, Tennessee (we didn’t even stop for whiskey!) and on into Alabama. We had a visit with my cousin, Beth and her daughter Emma in Boaz. We all went out to eat some real southern style food- chicken and dumplings, chicken fried steak, fried okra, turnip greens, sweet tea……sadly, we didn’t save room for dessert. We spent our first night in the pop tart! It was pretty chilly still, but we were quite snug in our little house. We listened to the coyotes yipping as we drifted to sleep.
Thursday. Alabama is big. We spent the day travelling, basically from the northeast corner to the southwest corner. Finally, things are starting to warm up and we popped up for the night in the town of Creola, Al-just outside of Mobile. It is strange to be experiencing such warm temperatures when dark still comes at around 5pm. When we woke up in the morning, we saw that we had been assigned a campsite next to a swamp with a sign DON’T FEED OR DISTURB THE ALLIGATORS. Welcome to the Deep South.
Friday was a great day. We started by visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore wildlife preserve at Davis Bayou. We hiked most of the trails being careful that Finn didn’t eat any squirrels or possums and that he didn’t get eaten by a gator. We saw lots of Pelicans crash-landing into the water and several egrets and a few cranes. Coming from the Tantramar Marshes, it was interesting to see another type of salt marsh habitat. After hiking in this serene nature preserve and quick truck-sandwiches, we got back on the road and drove across the sun-sparkling Lake Ponchartrain directly into New Orleans and onto Bourbon Street. After just a few minutes, we found a free parking spot 100 ft off Bourbon on St Peters (on a Friday night, no less). In just 2 hours we strolled through the Vieux Carre, daiquiris in hand, listened to some great street brass bands, grabbed some beignets and coffee at Cafe Du Monde, waved to our friends back in Sackville, NB on the webcam which, as it turns out, was just around the corner from the pop tart. Pretty good pit stop. We headed out again and popped up in some little town in a parking lot full of RVers. Not beautiful, but it had security.
And that brings us to today. We drove along the Ol’ Mississippi right into Baton Rouge. Parking was a breeze and we headed toward the music…it was the Louisiana Marathon weekend. There was great music, free food everywhere…gumbo, jambalaya, you name it (and we didn’t even have to run).Equally exciting was the free Abita beer on tap where Finn made friends with the servers. They fell victim to his charms as have so many down here. He is the Beau of the South. We strolled along the Mississippi and enjoyed the sun, meeting many nice folks who stopped for a pat. Leaving Baton Rouge, we headed west, stopped for some Boudin (blood sausage) and Boudin balls at Billy’s in Opelousas. Randy…you gotta try boudin. And here we are tonight listening to the zydeco blaring in the Cajun Campground in Eunice. Thanks for sticking with us…over and out!