Night 48- New Orleans, Louisiana
There are days that stand out and sights that stand out. Without looking at a calendar and even with these posts, the days still blur together. So once we reach a major city or a turning point in the trip, I have to sit and think for a bit.
“How did we get here?”
Buccaneer state park had closed its primitive camping but let us put up tents in an rv spot just 20 yards from the empty primitive spot. Fine. We were up and this morning sun (and Google) told us we were in for a warmer day edging into the 60s later in the afternoon. Perfect. So we go.
60 miles to downtown NO and not a ton in-between. Around 10:30 we stopped for brunch at a gas station deli. Cold subs and questionable Mac and cheese. I’m sure we looked like aliens with our riding clothes and masks. I say this because the place seemed to be a hangout/social center for the owners and friends. One register and 8 people just hanging out behind the counter. It had a cozy small town vibe but you could tell they may not have a shred of care for what is going on in the rest of the world. Why should they? It appeared to only be really local traffic for them. I’ll just keep my distance and let them be.
Our next stop would be the Mississippi/Louisiana border. Just after a quick mile stretch of road consisting of sand, pine needles, and loose gravel. Thanks Google. Always keeping us guessing. I did notice another set of bike tracks in the sand. Much smaller, bald road tires. Probably Stephanie.
Then after we returned to our old friend Route 90, we hit the line.
Why, hello Louisiana.
Looking around the sign for a geocache, Russell noticed a pill bottle on the ground scattered amidst the trash. But this was wrapped in duck tape. Yup, border geocache just looked like trash.
Along with a new state comes different road construction practices. Cement pads would replace asphalt and a the constant “tha-dump, tha-dump” of our bikes bouncing over the seams would accompany us for the next hour.
Then we found Stephanie. Again.
Though this day was a bit different for her. New Orleans is her goal. Her finish line. She had been on the road for 2 months going down the coast and all around Florida. Now it’s over. Even worse for her, we were riding with her and once we would part ways, would continue on for another 6 months or so. Today was a bit bittersweet for her. We would probably see her again in NO before she flew off, but this ride was the end for her.
What’s one last ride without a bit of pizzazz? Some tight traffic and the entrance to the greater NO area brought us to a fun bridge. Not a long one, and not even riding on the road, but a tight sidewalk with a catwalk around the pillars. A little stressful when your packs might be wider than you remember. Surprise, we didn’t die.
A quick stop at a Walmart would be where we parted with Stephanie for the ride. We needed supplies, she had to ride. I’m sure she is fine, but Walmart was a madhouse.
As we pushed deeper and deeper into New Orleans, things changed street to street. Old brick factories were emptied and covered in art and tags from those brave enough to reach the roof. The Jefferson Davis trail would see us across mid city and then back into suburbs with us. The houses now varying wildly in design. We are headed to the French quarter after tonight, but even here there was a curious spread in architecture and layouts. I dig it, but these are new homes. I can wait for the old stuff.
Moving along we arrive at our host’s home. Now, we have stayed with people who we met once weeks prior, and strangers from a cycling app that are only vetted by other cyclists. So, how many degrees of separation does someone have to be to be a stranger? And how did we end up staying at Julien, the Antarctic Firefighter’s house?
Thank you Louisa Stone for connecting us with Alex Stone (who also hosted us) who connected us with one or 2 other people(?) that brought us to Sage Teasley, who asked her coworker Julien Farges, if we could hang out. I only found out this connection after Julien’s girlfriend let us in because he was at work… wild. We got to meet Sage too and found out she had also marched tuba after Russell saw she was wearing an Inferno hoodie.
I didn’t meet Julien until this morning, so you will have to wait to hear about all that. Today is a rest day and a day to check out New Orleans. Maybe just a peek because of Ol’ Covi, but a rest day nonetheless.
Have a great day everyone! I guess Christmas is coming up. Please be kind and safe if you go out shopping. And if you are able, please return your shopping cart to the corral. Careful of the snow.
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