Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 50 - San Felipe, TX to Breaux Bridge, LA

We left our Texas state park and headed for Louisiana today.  I discovered an amenity that I needed to report - near the bath house was a bicycle/mud washing station.  There are a lot of walking and bike trails in the park which can get pretty muddy when it rains.  I think this is a nice touch.

Flag etiquette:  I saw a display of 3 flags on 3 flagpoles this morning.  The Texas flag was in the middle.  I thought that it was proper etiquette to fly the US flag in the middle.  I did some research and found that Texas has a law on American flag etiquette.
The Texas Flag Code--which is part of the Texas Government Code, not the Texas Penal Code--guides the proper handling and display of the American flag. It says the U.S. flag should be raised first and lowered last in any situation involving other flags. It also spells out the display of the American flag on a pole that is located to the left of the Texas flag, from the viewer's perspective. According to the 2001 additions to the code, the poles must be the same height, and the flags must be about the same size.
I guess the business was just following Texas law.

Most intriguing sign seen today:  "God Did It"

Town name that I liked the best today:  Iota, LA

In order to get where we wanted to be today, we had to drive through Houston this morning.  Brett says that some cities build all these highway overpasses just to show off.  I'd say that Houston qualifies.  One word regarding Houston - traffic.  One word regarding the drivers we encountered today - aggressive.  We got caught in an 18 wheeler sandwich and the truck on our left decided to lean into our lane.  Brett blew the horn and jammed on the brakes.  He missed us.  We also saw more police traffic patrols today than we have on the entire trip. 
Diesel was relatively inexpensive at 3.89 a gallon.  
That is probably because the landscape is dotted with these mysterious looking refineries.
Surely there must be some benefit to having to smell these all day.  I did not find the Houston area the least bit attractive.

I think this barge was in the Houston ship channel.  Again, it looks totally mysterious to me but since it has things shaped like tanks I am guessing that it is carrying something related to petroleum.

We are once again very close to seal level and the land has flattened out.  This field of rice was at 14 feet elevation.  I didn't realize that Texas produces about 5% of the nation's rice.  With the droughts this year, it has been difficult to get enough water for the fields.  After the rice is harvested it is stored in big silos just like corn.

The Louisiana Welcome Center did look very welcoming indeed.  This was primarily because Texas teased us for about the last 100 miles by having every former eastbound rest area demolished or closed.  They seemed to be thumbing their noses at anybody leaving the state!  We did pull off the highway at a truck turnout and that proved to be a mistake.  There was about a 1 foot drop off the pavement onto a sandy pullout area.  It was quite a jolt but the silverware managed to stay in the drawer.
The median in some spots of Louisiana I10 is planted with this huge grass.  It gives you something to look at so you won't think about the rough ride you are getting every time you go over one of the joints in the concrete road surface.  

This is sugar cane.  Louisiana produces about 20% of the sugar grown in the US.  All Louisiana sugarcane is mechanically harvested. Harvesters cut off the cane tops, cut the stalks from their attachment to the row, and lay them on heaps behind the machine. After the cane heaps are burned to remove excess trash, cane loaders place the cane in large wagons for transport to the raw sugar factories.  We did see cane heaps being burned in one field today.
We are staying at Cajun Palms RV Resort in Breaux Bridge, LA.  This campground has over 300 campsites but you can see that it looks very empty today (we are behind the tree and have our awning out).  I was wrong when I guessed that it must be full of snowbirds in the winter time.  It turns out that they are busiest during the summer (are always full on the weekends) and mostly with locals.  The primary activity is drinking at the pool bar.

When you are in Cajun country and you learn that there is a Cajun restaurant (Crawfish Town USA) right next door, you really have to eat there.  We gave them a call and they sent a golf cart over to pick us up and transport us to our dinner.  The joint wasn't actually jumping when we got there (it was fairly early) but there were more people there by the time that we left.  

I am allergic to shellfish so I had to pass up the opportunity to eat shrimp and crawfish but there was plenty of other stuff I could eat.  I couldn't decide so I got appetizer portions of chicken and sausage gumbo, fried catfish and hush puppies.  Yummy!  Brett had some kind of chicken thing.  Then we ordered bread pudding with praline sauce but we had to get it to go because "stuffed" could only begin to describe our condition.  

Our plan is to move into Florida next with a stay on the panhandle near Pensacola.  I suspect we should do a little bit of research on the path of hurricane Sandy too.

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