Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 51 - Breaux Bridge, LA to Pensacola, FL

Morning in the Atchafalaya Swamp.  We started the day driving on I10 again.  The road crosses the swamp on elevated pillars on a continuous 18.2 mile bridge from Henderson to Grosse Tete, LA.  It is the largest swamp in the United States.

A swamp is defined as a wetland that is forested.  The water may be fresh, brackish or seawater. 

Knock, knock!  Hello Baton Rouge.  Is anybody home?

This is the Mississippi River for goodness sake.  Don't you think it would have been polite and possibly educational to put up a sign on your bridge to say "you are now crossing the Mississippi River"?  No?!?  I had to check the GPS as we were about to go over this huge bridge to see what river it was.  So this is my disappointing quick shot of the mighty Miss and one barge.  The folks along I90 westbound made a big deal out of this.  There was even a rest area where we could stop and admire the river. Phffffft!!!!!

The Mississippi Welcome Center was very nice.  The inside of the building was done up like a mansion and they gave everybody free coffee.  There were historic exhibits with plenty of paintings of Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis.

With the chandeliers and carpets and dark antique furniture it was like visiting an antebellum plantation.  I took the photo using the mirror so I could see the decorations and all the rooms behind me.

One of the displays featured a Katrina quilt with blocks done by children who were recovering from the storm.

There was a lot of driving through sprawl today.  And a lot of aggressive drivers to contend with.  And a lot of billboards to add blight to the landscape.  The majority of these were for casinos in Louisiana and Mississippi.  And oddly at the bottom of each was the notice "if you have a gambling problem then call us with a phone number listed".  Casinos must be a big draw here. 
This is downtown Mobile, AL.  See all the yellow arrow signs?  We'd been warned of a tunnel and the need to slow down through here. 

40 mph didn't feel quite slow enough and we had the vague sensation of being flushed down a toilet.

 Then in a few minutes you pop up into daylight and are greeted by the Gulf of Mexico and the USS Alabama in Battleship Park with her guns trained at you.  Brett says if you want something to happen just add water!

Signs of the day: 
  • "Do You Know Jesus?" was printed on small white signs and we saw several of these posted on trees by the roadside.  
  • "Why drive to Florida?"  Brett's response was "because it would be really hard to get this thing airborne".
  • "Nobama."  I thought we might be finished with political commentary as we had been seeing only signs that said "Conservative".  I was wrong.
  • And at Exit 35 we have "Baptist Pumpkin Center".  This is not a place for Baptist pumpkins.  It is advising you that you must exit here to go to the towns of Baptist and Pumpkin Center.  Still it made for an amusing few moments.
Also amusing was the F9 fighter displayed at the Florida Welcome Center near Pensacola.  Call me a whiner if you like but this doesn't look very comfortable to me.

 My art in the wild for today is the little bas-relief oranges on the pillars at the Welcome Center.

We will be spending the next 4 nights at Big Lagoon State Park near Pensacola, FL.  There is sand and there is beach.  That is all I know so far.  We did have to study the campsite selections rather closely.  Some are too narrow for slides, some are too short and some are too sandy to support big rigs.  Site #40 seems to be just right.  Brett had the idea of talking to each other on our phones while we got the whale parked.  This worked out very well and we were settled in no time at all.  We have a nice buffer of trees around us and it should be nice and quiet except for the planes coming and going from the Naval Air Station.  There are probably some Orions from the old BNAS flying over us too.  It will be just like home. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Sandy: Thanks for your photos of Henderson Swamp, and your travelogue regarding the sights you observed along the way. Looks like a wonderful adventure. I noticed on your itinerary that you passed through Petaluma. I live about eighty miles north of there, near Laytonville. I'm doing research for a novel, and needed information regarding Henderson and surrounding environs. Thanks, Matt