Nov. 15, near Baton Rouge, LA

Yesterday, I got on the road by 7 AM, riding out of De Ridder towards Mamou, LA. It was good to have a day off and meet some interesting people, particularly those at the Nazarene Church.
After a rest day in De Ridder, I got on the road by 6:30 AM for the 60+ mile ride into Mamou. I am learning that starting early gives you options, and sometimes one of those options is to not bike with the sun setting. This proved to be an easy ride and the wind was not a factor. The roads were rather primitive, but the traffic was almost non-existent. That’s a trade that I would gladly make any day.
Quiet roads

Quiet roads

The further east I go, the more water and rivers there are. This is almost like the trek through the Yukon in that regard. I should add that the mosquitoes compare as well.
Not the Yukon

Not the Yukon

I was excited to see French appearing in the names of places. I have yet to meet anyone who speaks French as their primary language, however.
French signs

French signs

Towards the second half of the ride, I kept getting hit with these spider-web things all over my arms and face. I don’t know what they are, but they are really annoying. By the end of the day’s ride, they were all over my gear and bike.
I made it to Mamou, LA by 2:30 in the afternoon. I had nowhere to camp, so I stopped into the local police department to ask for advice. One officer called the mayor of the town, and they directed me to an area near the library, where they allowed tent camping. See? If you just ask the police, you will get a straight useful answer every time. I stopped into the library and used their internet to check on the route and discovered a commercial campground only 6 or 7 miles away. If I opted to take US highway 190 into Baton Rouge, then this campground really made sense. So, I went back to the police department and asked the officer what he thought about cycling on 190. He felt it would be fine and affirmed that there was indeed a shoulder that could be cycled on. So, I opted to take LA Highway 13 south, towards Eunice to spend the night.
The campground was called “Lakeview Park and Beach.” This was a very nice place, and very quiet. The woman running the camp let me stay there for free, just because she wanted to support my project. How nice! I pitched my tent, had a hot meal, and then fell asleep around 6 PM. Electricity, water and high-speed internet, all right there at my camp.
I left the camp this morning, determined to get close enough to Baton Rouge so that it would be an easy cruise to LSU on Wednesday. The wind was sort of at my back, and I made really good time. But the dogs were awful! On more than one occasion, packs of dogs chased after me. But most of the time the dogs responded to a loud, “No!”
Near Krotz Springs, I encountered a formidable-looking bridge, that took me over the Atchafalaya River.
Scary bridge

Scary bridge

But, as advertised, there was a shoulder on the bridge that allowed me to stop and take a picture of the river.
Atchafalaya River

Atchafalaya River

Once I went down the other side of the bride, I noticed another bridge up ahead. This didn’t seem to be going over anything; rather, it just elevated the road above what was probably a marsh area. But–there was no shoulder. So, I waited for a good break in the traffic and then headed out over the bridge. After all, how long could it be? The answer to that question proved to be over 4 miles. Next to that awful road in Spain, this is the most dangerous ride I have ever taken.
I’ve since learned that this is called a “spillway.” I am amazed that a 4-mile stretch of near-suicide highway would somehow slip the minds of the people I talked to, including the local law enforcement!
Tomorrow is another day, but I am concerned about being able to cross the Mississippi. If I am willing to add another 23 miles to the ride, I can take smaller roads north to the town of New Roads, and cross the river on an established cycle route, then head back down to LSU. Perhaps I will do this! I will let you know how it turns out.
Scott

2 Responses to “Nov. 15, near Baton Rouge, LA

  • Glad you are safe, please stay that way! The weather seems to be holding for you. Really glad you were able to worship Sunday.

    Heidi

  • Kathy Clucas
    1 year ago

    Staying for free? Very cool! Love in action😊. Sending prayers up for you!

    Love ya,

    Kathy

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