Bicycling Louisiana

Antebellum Plantation

37 years ago this month we bicycled across the state of Louisiana. The year was 1982. We were still in the first month of what would become a six month, 5,000 mile, self-supported bicycle tour that would circle the country and that we have subsequently dubbed the Great Adventure. As part of this trip we kept a daily journal. Really Anne did, but I helped. It was too early then to contemplate blogging about it at the time. We also took pictures, but because they were on film, there are only a few photos. This month we plan on revisiting Louisiana by bike as part of the tour, Cycle Zydeco, but that is a story that is not yet written. This post is drawn from that journal, those photos and our fuzzy memories.

We had launched the previous month from the Dallas Fort Worth area. My parents, with some trepidation, saw us off. We headed south to Houston and stayed with friends, Evelyn and Peter. After Houston, we visited Galveston and worked our way east and then north towards Beaumont. On our next to last night in Texas and through no fault of our own, we were accosted by the law. Honest, your Honor. It was all a misunderstanding that was soon cleared up. In another  two days, we crossed the Louisiana state line:

4/20/82 – Today was strange and draggy in the morning. After Jasper, TX, hill after hill after hill, under gray skies, very oppressive and boring. Then it started raining, a couple of miles before Burkeville. Visions of motels danced in our heads, but alas, the response in town to our request for a motel was, “In Burkeville?!?” There was a café, where we waited out the worst of the rain, then “pressed on regardless,” into the rain. Now we felt like martyrs and it made our complaining seem legitimate. It stopped raining about four miles short of Carney, where we found a good dinner ($10.83), laundry ($2) and lodging ($16.97) at the Catfish House Motel.

We mainly camped, except when it rained, like on that day, hauling our tent, the No-Tell Motel, sleeping bags and cook gear on the back of our bikes. Reviewing the seven days that it took us to ride to New Orleans, it rained a lot that week. I hope that this does not portend anything similar for our upcoming trip. We plan on camping for Cycle Zydeco, but they also offer indoor camping too. They will also haul our luggage. Such are a few of the amenities of a supported tour.

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