An early start from our layover in Baton Rouge, we followed Phil’s directions back onto US-61 this time disguised at “Scenic Highway”. Riding past miles and miles of refining, pipelines, and flare towers is not what most would consider “scenic”.
Twelve miles of fighting with traffic on shoulder that was too small and playing another game of frogger, this tiem with construction, we followed a sign for Old Scenic Highway. As in the past roads labeled as old typically are not as direct, lower in traffic, and lower in speed limits. This trend proved correct yet again and soon we were riding past pastures full of cattle and grasses as far as the eye could see.
Loving the option of an easy day we called it quits early for a stay at the home of legendary warm shower host Perry Templeton. Following a crazy logic of house numbers we finally arrived at the Red Bike “Flag” and we were once again in under the loving care of a warm showers host. Perry spent hours showing off her house, current projects, bikes built and under construction and talked to us about everything from touring to building a home from scratch. We were enthralled with everything and after a few hours full of great food, salmon on a bike tour!!
Sleeping in different or unusual places has become a wishlist type hobby of ours on this trip and Perry happen to have a sleeping arrangement that was not yet on the list. An A-frame popup camper. In addition to putting us up in a cool bunk she set us up with another host and a better route to cross Louisiana. Thanks Perry!
Deviating from both our own plans and the ACA route we crossed the Audubon Bridge into New Roads and followed the False River. A bit sluggish from the wind we were hailed at and invited in for lunch by Jo-Louise.
Fueled up from sandwiches and coffee we continued our western trajectory crossing the Mighty Mississippi’s little brother the Atchafalaya River. [Interesting side note: It is theorized that if not for human intervention, the Mississippi River would have dammed itself from the massive amount of silt it carries forcing the water flow to divert into the Atchafalaya. This would have rendered NOLA a relic of a city, but would have also prevented many of the great floods including the issues surrounding Katrina.] Crossing the Atchafalaya we entered Krotz Springs, a small town where a huge addiction was born. CRACKLINS!! WE had our first taste of the fried snacks during our ride with Brandon to Baton Rouge and upon seeing them for sale we stopped at a corner store. To our disappointment we purchased junk. Not to be dismayed we crossed the street and tried again. Score! One Boudin Ball and $5 in cracklins. The first of many…
We pushed west on US-190 until daylight faded, perhaps it was the cracklin coma that slowed us down but most likely the rough road conditions and too many stops were the real reason. Seemingly out of nowhere a white pickup driven by Paul stops to first offer me a light, then changes the offer to a ride. Sparing us from the glass filled shoulder and high speed traffic we arrive nearly at the doorstep of tonight’s warm shower accommodations with Sara.