March 10, 2010

So I had skipped this little bit of the trip.

Once I had woken up on the boat launch after getting kicked out of MS. I broke down camp and headed back into that awful state. I had to get pics of the fire department. After snapping a few I retraced my path to LA. Stopping off at the gas station right before the boarder. I got some coffee and a banana. When I stepped out of the store someone asked "what are you doing here?" I looked at him and recognized him from the night before, he was one of the county officials that was present for my deportation from MS. I told him I came back to take some pics. He asked "what for?" And I told him "I'm putting them up on the blog so everyone will know how you have treated me." He looked stunned and said "oh". I replied "next time you might want to think about how you treat strangers that are passing thru" With that said we made our way back into LA. We headed west on 190 and made our way into Slidell, LA. We stopped off and picked up some supplies. It was about 3 in the afternoon and I stopped off at the Police Station to ask if there was a safe spot in town for me to camp. He said not really and told me to keep heading west out of the city and find something out there. Before I pushed on I went across the street to the Fire Department. I have come to realize that the water from the FD is better than most taps in town. I guess they run the water more so it doesn't have that well taste to it. While filling up my water jug I got to talking to one of the Fireman and he told me about the Tammany Trace Bike Trail. It's about 30 miles long and is all car free. Most sections you can't even hear the cars. By the time I reached the Trail Head of the bike super highway, it was getting dark. I found a spot in the bushes out of sight and set up. As I was getting everything put together a guy walked up to say hello. His name was Butch and he lived off the trail. We started chatting and he told me how he wanted to get out and do the same thing. But he was going to support himself my selling nicknacs. The dad from Happy Days has that commercial about junk and stuff in a warehouse that you can sell. So his idea is to pack it up and go to nursing homes and retirement communities and sell his goods to them. Its a good idea and wish him luck. The next day we had rain in the forecast for the afternoon. We had about 12 miles to get to Fontainebleau State Park. Butch met up with us as we were making moves and said he wanted to ride with us to the State Park. As we rode he gave me the history of the area and the trail. We would encounter trail rangers and they all would tell me dogs are not allowed on the trail. This blew my mind that the community would allow such a ridiculous idea, not being able to take your dog on a nature trail. I explained each time what we are doing and how nice it is not to have cars around. And they agreed as long as I kept in up in the back. Once they were out of sight, I would harness Coop and let him walk along side. Its just to nice not to let him enjoy the car free trail. Once we arrived at the State Park, I went inside to see about work for a site. I only had $5 to my name at the time and needed another $10 to camp. The park ranger said he couldn't help, but a couple more miles up the trail in Mandaville there is a place called "The Samaritan Center" he said that they would be able to help me some how. I made my way in and found the building. I went inside and a nice young lady asked "how can I help you?" I explained what I was doing and the predicament I was in and told her I wasn't sure if they could help. She said sure and we sat down to talk about it. After some questions she wrote a check for a one night stay at the park. I was grateful but a little ashamed. I choose to live this way and this place is here to help those who don't have a choice. But I did need a place to camp, a shower and do some laundry. I made my way back to the State Park and got my site. As I made my way into the camp ground it started to rain. I rushed to the site and quickly set up the tent and unloaded what we would need. I wasn't able to really look at the lay of the land and within a hour we where in a small pond. That has been the biggest problem down here is finding a safe, dry spot. As soon as the rain let up I moved the tent up on the asphalt drive and strung out the rainfly with bungee cords, and climbed back in as it started to dump again. At about midnight it stopped and Coop and I climbed out to stretch and eat our super late dinner. The following day some of the campers came by to chat and see what we where all about. Some people donated some money to us and I had just enough for another night at the state park. Everything was soaked and I needed to dry it all out. That afternoon and night Coop and I hung out in the Laundry Room and I tried to work on the blog. But every 15 minutes or so someone would come in and I would chat with them. People would return with treats for Coop and food for me. One of the people who came in was Janet. Her and her friend Alex are pedaling around the south east. They started in Oct in GA and have zigzaged about GA, FL, AL, MS, and LA. on their way into TX. This is their Journal. Check it out.

It was nice to see other travelers. We shared stories and found out we are both big fans of We are both excited to meet these two. After the chat one of the camp host came in and said dogs aren't allowed in the Laundry room. I explained to the dude we live in a tent and are trying to stay dry and warm for a bit. He wasn't hearing it and booted us out. As we made our way back to the tent Chris and Bill stopped me and invited us in for a glass of wine and some snacks. They both are rubber tramps and meet on the road and met up now and again. They wanted to hear of my adventure and they told me more about Katrina. I went back to the tent with a warm feeling from the wine and friendship and slept like a baby.

The next morning we got up early. Coop really stunk and someone had given us some dog shampoo. So we got into the showers, and cleaned him up. The great thing about most State Parks is they always have a Handicap shower with the shower head on the hose. This makes it really easy to clean him up. After his shower I got cleaned up and we headed back to the tent to pack up. When I stepped out I was approached by the park ranger I had met the first day in the office. He asked why I had Cooper in the shower house. I told him that I can't leave him in the tent because he will tear it up trying to get out, and if I leave him tied up outside he will bark and throw a fit and wake everyone up. He said he didn't care and said that some people had told him I was Panhandling around the campground. I was blown away by this. I don't beg or ask for anything. The nerve of some people. I said whatever and walked away.

I broke down the tent, packed up and got the hell out of there. We got back on the trail and headed west I needed to stop off at the Library and do some typing. On the way into town I stopped to talk to Earl. He works on oil drill platforms as a wielder in the gulf and we got to chatting about tour cycling. After our conversation I went to the Library and started clacking the keys. About 20 minutes later Earl tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to step outside. He had went home and packed up a bunch of canned Chicken, Turkey, Tuna, Salmon, and Sardines. It totaled about 8 lbs. of goods. I was happy for the food but that was a lot of goods. After that we got back on the trail. We met up with a daughter, father ride. I can't remember her name but she is in her senior year at UMass and her dad is Hal. I stopped and talked to them for a second and then they took off down the trail. After a bit we made our way into Abita Springs. The name seemed so familiar to me. As we made our way thru this town I heard someone yell my name. I looked around and saw Hal sitting outside Abita Brewery with his daughter. I said hello and he asked if I wanted a beer. I said sure and we pulled up. This is why I recognized the name I have had this beer in NYC. I sat down and Hal got me a beer. We chatted and talked about all sorts of stuff. After a couple pints, we all got back on the road. Not to far down the line I found a good camping spot and sit up for the night.

The next day we made our way towards Hammond LA. I stopped off at the FD to fill up on water, and chatted with a couple of brave guys. They sent some muffins with me and lots of good lucks. As I got into Hammond a couple asked me to pull over to talk. Richard and Lanee Landry were very excited to meet us. Richard was cyclist back in the day and the two of them have 6 dogs so they were all about us. We talked and they informed me that they are in the movie making biz. They said they would call ahead to Baton Rouge to the news media and let them know I was on my way in. I said thanks for the help and got to getting. That night as I was looking about for my resting stop a red BMW pulled over and stopped me. Shane Mutter, was also a cyclist and wanted to hear my story. We exchange info and he got going on the interstate and we made our way down to road. I found a church a couple miles down the road with a huge yard. I set up and turned on my phone, I had a text from Shane asking where it was I camping, he wanted to stop by in the morning and drop some stuff off to us, and wanted to know if I needed anything else. I feel weird when people ask if I need anything, I don't like asking for anything. He assured me he wanted to help and would get anything I needed. So I asked for a half dozen hookers and a gallon of Jameson. Kidding, I asked for a bag of dog food and that's all we needed. In the morning Shane pulled up and brought us a big bag of dog food, 2 gallons of water and a bunch of travel sized soaps, shampoo, and other personal hygiene products. We talked some more as I packed up and Shane told me how excited he was to meet me. He really digs what we are doing. He took off to work and we made our way towards Baton Rouge.
So thanks to everyone that I met in the LA. Now that have been in AL, MS, and LA. I now see them as AL and LA as legs and MS is where the sun don't shine!

Till next time
Love and Licks
Sean and Cooper.

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