Louisiana is full of agricultural land, and we can see why with the fertile soil and wet climate. The odd thing, however, is that this used to be thick dense swampy forest.
We began our ride this morning in the cold, with dreary skies. The lack of sun was making me feel down and I wished we had some sun to warm us up. We crossed the Atchafalaya River (here it is pronounced Uh-cha [as in Chad]-fuh-lie-uh). The Atchafalaya River is a huge river in Louisiana and has a lot of important When we left town we immediately had to take a detour up on a levee on a muddy road for ¼ mile. We got our bikes really muddy and the chains were full of grit. Shortly after getting through the mud I got my first flat tire since before Mesa, AZ. The muddy tires made the timing of the flat less than easy to deal with. The tires were so caked with mud that when we took the wire off the rim we both ended up with our hands and arms and legs covered in mud. Upon inspection of the tire we found a very large thorn sticking in the sidewall of the tire, right above the part of the tread where there is a double belt. We eventually got back on the road and things quickly brightened up from there.
About two miles after the flat tire, the sun came out and lifted our spirits. Everything looked lush and green and the sun kept us warm, even in the cold, wet air. We rode much of the way along a very large levee that held the Mississippi River just on the other side. We were very excited to cross the Mississippi river. Greg was especially excited that we were crossing on a ferry instead of a bridge. We didn't actually see the river until we got to the ferry crossing. At the crossing we rode right up to the river, got in a line of cars and rode right on the the ferry deck. It was pretty neat to ride our bikes on a boat. A sign on the ferry read, “Do Not Exit Vehicles,” we wondered what this meant for bicyclists, so to play it safe we straddled our bikes during the whole ride. Not long after we found our spot at the very front on the ferry, an amazingly loud air horn blasted one short honk, and off we went. The river here was much narrower than I had expected. The ferry ride only took about five minutes. Once the ferry docked on the other side, we rolled right off the boat's platform and back onto the highway.
On the other side of the river was the historic little town of St. Francisville. There were many beautiful old homes here and the streets and businesses were very well cared for. We immediately went to the Post Office so that we could pick up the new BoB wheel that our friend Nate had sent to us. Unfortunately the Post Office was already closed and would not be open again until Tuesday! We called our Warmshowers hosts (Perry and Lep) in Jackson and asked for directions to their home. We plan to stay with them for several days to avoid the debauchery of Mardi Gras and drunk drivers. We will also need to stay now until at least Tuesday so that we can pick up the new wheel. When I called Perry, I immediately felt welcome and I hadn't even met her yer. We rode the 17 miles from St. Francisville to their home and arrived just as it was getting dark. Perry and Lep are two very fun and interesting folks. They have a place here in Jackson, but their main home is in Houma, Louisiana. They love bikes, and cycling tourists, and really anything having to do with a new and exciting adventure. We had a great time talking to them tonight. We can't wait to get to know them better in the next couple of days. We were impressed by the great place they have here and they awesome setup for cyclists. They plan on building a house here on their property. They have a large steel garage/shop building and within that building is a smaller living space. In that living space is a small kitchen area, couch, TV, washing machine, awesome shower, and sleeping quarters. We know we will sleep well tonight after the good, filling, meal of lasagne, beans, rice, and salad. Mmm..