Down on the Bayou

It is the morning of day four of Cycle Zydeco. Yesterday was tough, headwinds all the way. The wind got to everyone. One cyclist got into an argument with a volunteer and the cops were called. The pavement was as rough as ever. Anne got a blister on her palm from all the chatter-bump. We’re in sugar cane country now. We stopped at a plantation and the great-great-great granddaughter of its 1840s builder came out to greet us. Saw the still living oak where the real life lover protagonists of Longfellow’s poem Evangeline were purported to have met. Camped in the city park of New Iberia, which was throwing its Spanish festival. It’s not all about the French. Danced a little. Today is the last day of the tour. Motel tonight in Lafayette. We should have a tailwind.

New Orleans

Anne in the French Quarter

4/26/82 – We made it! New Orleans just like I pictured it. We finally kicked off from La Pace. 61 was the pits as expected. Once we got in the city and figured out our way, things worked out well. Canal (or Carnival) was unexpectedly nice. The French Quarter is nice, but expensive. Lot’s of nice stores, oysters and gumbo. Toured the Saint Louis Cathedral (pictured in the background), with killer oil paintings. Jackson Square is full of hawkers. The room is over priced ($38.50) at half the price. Called home collect. Ate well at Harry’s place and Gumbo Shop.

This post is another blast from the past. We’re still riding Cycle Zydeco in the present day. We’ll not be headed to New Orleans on this trip, but instead plan on driving the Natchez Trace. Check comments for any live updates.

Nottoway Plantation

Nottoway Plantation

4/25/82 – Thank God for Daylight Savings Time! We spent a lot of time (and money) and enjoyed it. The tour is good, as is the food. Riding the River Road was enjoyable in the early afternoon. Just after the Hermitage it rained briefly, getting us wet and muddy. Late afternoon and evening was press on regardless. It was dark by the time that we made the motel. In Reserve a sheriff’s car, through its loudspeaker, told us to get off the road and ride on the sidewalk, which was the pits! We cut up to 61 and used the shoulder instead. We spent $23.06 for lunch and $23.50 for the motel room. My Coke habit was up to $1.50 a day at this point. Anne always separated out my soda expenses in disapproval.

We are currently riding Cycle Zydeco. I pre-positioned this post in case poor cell coverage prevented me from posting is real time. I may miss a post or two. 

Last Week Tonight in Bicycling

Madison County Cycling

We biked a respectable 35 miles on Saturday. It was a beautiful day, with crystal blue skies. Our sense of respectability comes with our goal, riding Cycle Zydeco in Louisiana. This four-day tour comes with a nominal 40 miles of biking each day. I feel that we’ve trained hard enough now to do it.

We each wore matchy-matchy bike jerseys and jackets. We certainly turned some heads with our fashion, which is easy to do with our ‘rapid’ closing speed. Anne’s coordinated orange helmet worked way better than my contrasting red one, but then she is the diva after all.

We’ll up our game for Zydeco and festoon ourselves with some of our ample supply of Mardi Gras beads and artificial flower leis. Other cyclists will have way more in decorations. Cycle Zydeco does bill itself as the best party on a bike. I’m confident with our biking abilities, but I’m now worried about our dancing. The ride’s bill reads biking by day and dancing at night, every night. There is a class offered in Zydeco dancing, which we plan on attending. I hope that our stamina holds out, because it sounds like a whole lot of fun.

Rain, Rain Go Away


4/21/82 – Cloudy and Cold with a late start, because of rain and TV, windy too. Fort Polk made me glad that I wasn’t in the army. Kind of a slow day, with no historical roadside markers, which we almost always stopped to read. Yesterday, at the state line, we read one that was about the Burr ferry. It was begun by Arron Burr’s brother. It served as the gateway to Texas and as a Civil War crossroads.

Leesburg County Courthouse

I took the photograph of the tank crossing, because it was unusual and while I’m not interested in being in the army, I am interested in the army. The courthouse photo was part of a series that we did of county courthouses. I’m pretty sure that Anne took the picture of the tree farm. There were a lot of them about in the Kisatchie National Forest. I guess we camped, but it doesn’t explicitly say. There were no camping or motel expenses listed. Maybe we camped for free?

One is not like the others

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.