March 10, 2010

Rolling out of Baton Rouge

So I spent Sunday rolling around BR checking out this and that. I met up with the BR Bike Polo team to watch a couple games. I took some pics but had to leave because Coop was going nuts not being able to chase the Polo ball. We headed over to LSU campus and took in this historic school. It was a beautiful day and lots of people were out enjoying the weather. People had seen the news cast and would yell out at us. "GOOD LUCK, WAY TO GO, CAN I HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH, AND CAN I PET COOPER." It is strange to me, I never planned on this being a big deal. I started this blog for my friends, family and all the people I will meet. But now people all over the country are hearing about us and even some people overseas have even started following us.
That night Travis hosted a Vegan potluck dinner. Travis has been a Vegan for sometime now and wants to sometime open up his own Vegan Cajun restaurant. He had been feeding me all weekend and I think he is on to a great start. After everyone departed we did a little work on the chain and talked about what gear I had. I have never done any sort of tour cycling before. I am prepared for living outdoors and surviving, but as far as the bike thing goes I'm a rookie. He was shocked to hear that I didn't a patch kit, spare tire and only carried one replacement tube. He hooked me up with all sorts of stuff I would need. He asked what way I was planning on taking out of town. I told him I was planning on hitting up the 190 bridge and keep heading. He sat down in front of the computer and showed me the route I was planning on taking both the bridges didn't have shoulders and are huge. He also pointed out where 90 and I 10 hooked up for about 30 mile for the swamp bridge. He convinced me I needed to head north to St. Francisville and grab the ferry. I took his advice, he hadn't steered me wrong yet, so I packed up all my new gear and headed out. As I headed north on 61 people would stop me to talk about seeing me on the news and wanting to meet us. It really slowed us down getting out of town and trying to get some road behind us. The forecast for the next 3 days was not dry at all so I really wanted to go. We made it to Zackary LA and I saw a sign for a water ski school. I figured that I would be able to work my way back and find a good spot to camp. As I rode down the winding road I came to the ski school I pulled up and asked one of the guys working on a boat about some kind of dry camping spot he might know about. He talked it over with one of his coworkers and they decided I could camp under the big building that housed 20 some boats. I sit up the tent between two huge Master Craft boats and strung out the rainfly to the trailers. We slept good and stayed dry during the nightly showers.
The next morning I talked to Andy about the weather. He said it looked like the cell had moved on and I should be dry for the day. I only had 15 miles to go to get to St Francisville to catch the ferry. I was able to pack up quickly because we were dry and we got to moving. Spring is here. The birds chirping, the humidity in the air, and the thunder rolling in the distance. It turns out the weather changes about every hour down here, so the storm made its way in. It took us about 5 hours to go that last 15 miles, because we would stop and take shelter and cover the ride whenever it would start up. Once we got to St Francisville we made our way to the ferry. Before we got to far, a city truck pulled up and asked us to pull over, a couple of big 'ol boys stepped out and said they had seen us on the news. They asked what are plan was, I said I needed to figure out if I should camp on this side of river or the other. Butch told me I should camp in the Gazebo in the town park, I asked if it would be a problem, so he put in a call to make sure. We got the ok and we headed over there. I had asked John where the dollar store was and he asked what I needed I said just some more Ramen. He told me to go get set up and they would go for me. I did as I was told and they showed up with a dozen packs of Ramen, 6 cans of tuna and a couple cans of dog food. I thank them for the gifts and they took off. After we had got the tent tied up under the Gazebo and truck pulled up and a guy and his two daughters walked up to us. Jeremy had told his daughter Kelsie and Katherine about seeing us on the news and that he had seen us in the park. They were excited to met us and get a picture. After I explained our planned route, Jeremy said if I was in town another night I was more than welcome to stay with him and his family. I said if I'm around I'm in. He gave me his info and said goodnight. I had strung up the Hammock that I had gotten from Pancake George between the pillars around the Gazebo and was reading a book when 3 high school seniors came strolling thru the park. They saw us and came up to question us on what we were doing. I explained to them of my plan and they where really intrigued on how we survived everyday. We chatted for a bit more and said our goodbyes. I got back in the Hammock and was reading when about 30 minutes later they came back with a sack full of goods they had raided from one of their parents house. Sleeve of crackers, some soda, cheese slices, and some leftover rice and meat. I thank them over and over and it made me happy to know these high school kids had kindness in their hearts. It scares me sometimes when I see these kids now a days who are just punks. The stuff they get away with my parents would of strung me up for doing. I went to bed that night with hopeful thoughts of our nations future.
In the morning I woke to find a guy sitting on a picnic table not to far away, once we stepped out of the tent he came over and said hello and plugged in his laptop. He is a writer and is getting ready to head north for the summer and work on some of his stories. We talked a bit and I found out he lives a lot like me. In a tent and just getting by on kindness. I got to packing up and decided that I had to much Ramen and Tuna so I packed him up some and gave it to him. He was really grateful for the food and thanked us over and over. I assured him its the least I can do to keep the karma going. He headed over to the library and we finished packing up. I needed to head over to the library and do some typing. I got to sit down for a hour or so and got things down. After some typing I had worked up an appetite and headed over to the Magnolia Cafe. As we parked out front I looked up and saw Janet standing on the porch waving our way. It seems that Janet and Alex had been in town a couple days and are planning on catching the Ferry in the morning so I plan on meeting up with them. When we stepped outside Alex pointed out a tear that I had in my back tire. Good thing I had gotten the spare from Travis. I headed over to the auto shop and borrowed their jack and changed out the tire. After the change out I got the call from Jeremy, he met up with us on one of his three choppers and led us back to his house. Kelsie was outside waiting for our arrival, I pulled up and started unloading what was needed for a shower and needed to be washed. We gave Coop a bath outside and he was not happy with it or me at all, he avoided me for a good half hour afterwards. Before we went inside Jeremy helped me adjust my back brake, I had put some wear on the pads and needed to remove a shim to bring the pad closer to the disc. Now I can stop on a dime and was ready for a shower. With laundry done, Coop clean, me clean, both feed and relaxing in this great home. Thanks Jeremy, Angela, Katherine, and Kelsie. Your a great family and hope we see each other again.
So my plan now is take the ferry and will be staying north of the swamps I will be going into TX around DeRidder LA, right about where Jasper TX is. This is the eastern most point of TX and with the new bicycle route on Google Maps it comes out to be about 1,000 miles from the East of TX to the West of TX via Austin. That's gonna be about a month worth of pedalling. I am looking forward to it but need to get thur the dessert out west before it gets to hot for my dog.

Till next time
Love and Licks
Sean And Cooper.


Sean said...

I am so glad you changed the route a bit I was worried about you on that bridge. You would have needed an escort to make it safely across then it still would ahve been dangerous. As for the desert it is going to be hot already I lived in Phoenix a spell and in Dec they can have 90 degree days. You might want to arrange a sun screen or even a sail to take advantage of the wind if it is to your back. Wish you the best you will like that route between Houston and Dallas there are some mighty fine peple you are going to love Texas the roads are sweet.

Jill Dabney-Shull said...

Hey Sean,
My sister lives in Ft. Polk, LA, not too far from DeRidder. I was there in the fall. Nice people. I hope all is going well for you
Love, Jill

Muriel said...

Wow, its just amazing to read how nice and kind people are. In our day to day life you do not see this sort of companionship a lot. So I am greatfull to hear that its still there :-)
ohh and btw you made it over the pond - best wishes from the Netherlands! And if you ever plan on making a tour in Europe, please come over to Amsterdam and say hello :-)