Monday, February 22, 2016

New Orleans, LA to Pensacola, FL

January 27 to February 2, 2016

Garmin info with Maps

View of bridges from a bridge

For this tour, I started doing journal updates for rides between rest days. It was an arbitrary decision that helped me organize the entries.  I've been meeting so many people doing an entry on riding days just hasn't happened. This is an especially long post. My rest stops usually correspond to rain days and these days were a stretch of particularly good weather where I covered over 300 miles, phew.

Myrtle resting outside Alvin's house

After a lovely 2 night rest at Alvin's, my Warm Showers host, I started out from Houma to New Orleans. The roads were still wet from the overnight rains. It's Mardi Gras season and I really wanted to get through New Orleans before the festivities. Most people want to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras but traveling solo, I feel safer staying clear of rowdy drunken crowds. The ride into New Orleans started on Hwy 182 and was mostly on busy Hwy 90. The shoulder was wide and I had plenty of room. There was lots of traffic and it was loud. I got to the west side of New Orleans after crossing the Mississippi River on the very big Huey P. Long bridge.  I had enough room but the traffic was fast. I took a few pics at the top of the bridge and started down the other side. Right away, the route to my hosts home in Metarie became complicated. I had to cross many lanes of traffic to get on the Clearview Highway. The shoulder shrank and the rest of the ride was very stressful. If there was a sidewalk I took it because there wasn't a shoulder or bike lane or any room on the road. Every road I took was worse than the last. Busier with less room. The home I was going to is just a few blocks from Lake Ponchatrain. It is owned by a friend of a friend who is in Denver and letting me stay as long as I want. Until I got on the neighborhood roads I was on heightened alert. This is probably the most bike unfriendly area of the trip so far. Just crossing side streets to get back on the sidewalk was hard because cars wouldn't let me pass even though they were waiting to turn on the busy street.  The car behind would get right on the bumper of the car waiting to turn. I asked for some room and driver wouldn't even look at me. Rude!

Huey P Long bridge over the Mississippi River into New Orleans
Crossing the mighty Mississippi

View from Huey P Long bridge over the Mississippi
Whenever I think of New Orleans I remember the tv coverage from Hurricane Katrina. It was so awful watching everything get damaged and washed away. I remember watching heartwarming stories of bravery but, unfortunately, the thing that stayed with me is how terrible so many citizens treated each other. The level of physical violence was shocking. I don't think the violence happened because of the hurricane but the hurricane sure brought it to light. I also don't think the culture has probably changed much in the recovery period either. Even before Katrina I have been leery of visiting this part of the country. I always think it would be a fun place to visit with friends but as a solo traveler I really don't feel safe here.

Eventually, I got to the house, turned on the water and had a very comfortable stay. After such a stressful ride I was happy to find an open bottle of wine in the fridge too. I was invited to stay as long as I wanted and thought about staying longer than one night. But just getting groceries without a car is an event. The roads are simply not cycling friendly and I didn't feel safe riding. With Mardi Gras starting up, I wanted to get through New Orleans as fast as possible hopefully finding a quieter area. 

Bike path next to Lake Ponchatrain
In the morning, I started out along Lake Ponchatrain on a very nice bike path with cold temps in the upper 20's but beautiful sunshine.  This continuing cold snap is making me grumpy! Often the day warms up but for the first few hours I am wearing lots of extra clothes and even plastic bags around my feet to keep warm. At least today I didn't need to pack up a tent and cook in the cold! Thanks Dan for opening your very comfortable home!

Watch out for gators on Lake Ponchatrain
Nice Scenery on Hwy 90

After about 10 miles on a bike path I had to go back to street riding. Luckily, Hwy 90 has a good shoulder.  This is a hwy that I have been on so much it has become a good friend. Once out of New Orleans I crossed over a bridge and I was into Mississippi. I stopped at the border sign for pictures and a man driving a car pulled over to ask if I wanted him to take my picture. Very nice!  I continued on and the road was in good shape but lost most of the shoulder at the border. There were 4 lanes and plenty of room for cars to pass.  Just over the state line is the small town of Pearlington. There is a run down trailer park that accepts tents. Joe, the owner, had tried to put in a new laundry room. He had pushed the dirt for the foundation with a tractor and that was that. This raised bit of dirt was my home for the night. All other areas of the park were a swampy mess. There has been a ton a rain here and further up river. The Pearl River is at flood stage and is expected to crest tomorrow afternoon. Nothing like timing and I should be long gone before any flooding happens.

A real character rode passed me.
Mardi Gras runner
Pass Christian

Bay St. Louis pedestrian/bike pathway
I slept surprisingly well but had to get up in very cold temperatures.  It is so hard to make breakfast with frozen fingers. It was another sunny day and I could tell it was going to be nice, later. Riding through this area is very flat with the only hills being bridges. There was a Mardi Gras 5K run and lots of people were dressed in costume coming over the big Bay St. Louis bridge. This bridge had a great view and separate path for pedestrians and bikers. It was wide enough that there was plenty of room for the trike to pass the runners. Then I was riding right on a boardwalk along the gulf. It was so beautiful. On one side I had the ocean and the other side were historic antebellum homes. I rode on this boardwalk for hours. I even met a couple of cyclists. First I met Leo Ast who is west bound going across the country and then I met Paul Rodriguez. I've known Paul on Facebook for many years and it was fun to meet up. I told him I was planning to camp just west of Biloxi and if he needed a place to find me there. After lots of pictures I left Paul at a gas station where he was charging his phone. I really enjoyed this ride. It was very relaxed. Eventually, I found the Southern Comfort RV Park and got set up. The site was $25 for tents, ouch. The site included water and electric. I've really noticed a difference in staying at RV Parks and State parks. People at State parks are on vacation and much more friendly. RV parks have longer term residents and the people often just sit around smoking and drinking beer. There were lots of people at this park smoking and drinking beer. The couple across the road from me and had parked their diesel pick up next to my site. They were going out and started up the truck and then let it idle. They let it idle for 10 minutes and then I knocked on the door to ask them to turn the truck off. The woman wasn't very friendly and snapped at me that they were going in a minute. The fumes were strong and right next to my tent. 10 minutes later the woman moved the truck to the other side of their RV and let it idle for another 10 minutes. After they drove off I asked one of the neighbors about it. They said the couple always leaves their truck idling and they have no idea why. It bothers everyone but they have never confronted the couple. Ok, so it isn't just me!

Riding along the beautiful beach on Hwy 90.

This place must have a great view
Meeting Paul in Gulfport
After a good hot shower I was getting ready to find food when I heard from Paul. His high school buddies he was hoping to crash with weren't in town and he asked to crash at my site. No problem. Paul has been riding around the country doing a perimeter tour for a long time. He is raising money for brain cancer. Every one tours differently and Paul doesn't use a tent or a sleeping pad. He has a piece of tyvek that he puts his sleeping bag on and then wraps around the sleeping bag. He stealth camps a lot and this is an easy set up for him. I was too lazy to find a grocery store so we went out for dinner at Shaggy's across the street and had a good meal.  Once the sun goes down the temps drop quickly. I retired into my tent early to keep warm. I had trouble sleeping because a train went by just behind the park with it's horn blaring all night.

In the morning, the temps weren't so bad. Yah! I got packed up while making my oatmeal. Paul likes to take his time in the morning and I pushed on leaving him at the site.  The skies were overcast and the forecast called for rain later but I thought I could make it a good distance before getting wet.  I was also riding into a good headwind which really slowed me down.  I got through Biloxi before a huge parade started up. People were setting up their chairs all along the route to get a good viewing spot. 

Boy is there a lot of water everywhere. The road today was raised and on both sides there is swamp and the trees are standing in lots of water. If it was a bit warmer I would probably have to worry about mosquitoes but not today. The highway wasn't very interesting and I was feeling tired. I stopped at a Walmart to pick up supplies in Pascagoula. When I got back to the trike I saw a sign for a motel Studio 6 that was offering $35 rooms. I decided to call it a day. The room was recently refurbished, very clean and had a full kitchen. I did some laundry draping my clothes all over the room and enjoyed the comfort of being warm and dry and out of the impending rain.

Crossing into Alabama!
In the morning, the roads were wet from rain but the skies were clear.  I got back on Hwy 90 for about 10 miles and then crossed into Alabama. Wow, I am knocking down the states. After spending a month riding through Texas it feels funny to enter a new state every few days.  Today I would take off of hwy 90 onto 188 to continue riding along the coast. The head winds were strong again. My destination was Dauphin Island where a couple have a beach home. They are famous on the southern tier for letting people stay even if they aren't there. I continued on quieter roads. At Bayou La Batre I saw lots of shrimping boats. I think I heard that the shrimping scenes from Forest Gump were filmed here.  I met a Canadian couple riding HP Street Machines. They had ridden across Canada and then down the east coast. Somewhere in Texas they were planning to cross into Mexico and continue riding to South America. They had stayed at the same Warm Showers hosts home that I was headed for. 5 cyclists had stayed last night. It was fun talking to them. I didn't have far to get to Dauphin Island where I found the vacation home. I was the only cyclist and I found a spot on the deck out of the wind to set up. The house had a shower, wifi and electrical outlets outside. There were also hammocks downstairs. The toilet was a bucket in a shed with toilet paper. They asked that guests clean out the bucket after using. I had a lovely view of the ocean from the deck where I cooked up my dinner and then breakfast in the morning. They also had deck furniture with chairs and a table which made the stay very comfortable. It's funny to stay at someone's home and be so comfortable and not meet the owners. And it has happen twice in one week!

Arriving at Dauphin Island
Over the bridge to Dauphin Island
Funny colorful homes on Dauphin Island
View from the deck of my Warmshowers hosts home

Warmshowers home
First I needed to get on a ferry from Dauphin Island to Fort Morgan. I couldn't get my act together for the 8 am ferry because everything was very wet in the morning. The day started out foggy and eerie. The ferry runs every hour and a half and I got the 9:30 boat. This must be a slow time of year because I think there were only 6 cars. The ferry is $5 for bikes and takes about 20 minutes. The fog was thick enough that I couldn't see across the water and slowly everything came into view including large oil platforms and freighters. They were so big it was hard to believe the fog could hide them. After debarking I rode through Fort Morgan to a golf course for breakfast. This place had valet parking and seemed quite upscale but the breakfast was reasonably priced. From there I continued on along the coast through Gulf Shores and the lovely coastline. It really was a nice day with little wind and lots of sunshine. I rode passed lots of small beach communities. 

On the ferry to Fort Morgan
Over Bayou St. John
Famous border bar

The real Florida border sign
After Orange Beach I crossed into Florida, my final state. This was a huge moment for me. At the border there is a famous bar that serves seafood and I wanted to go in. But I didn't really know where I going to stay the night and decided to keep on moving. This area is quite posh and I expected the hotels to be expensive so I continued on to Perdido Key to camp at Big Lagoon state park. I had put in a lot of miles today. Fog was rolling in and it was getting dark when I arrived. The ranger lady told me the campground is closed for 2 weeks for yearly maintenance. I couldn't believe it! I had no idea where to go. I sure didn't want to continue riding in the dark and fog! It's possible she thought I was disabled because she called her boss who let me camp anyway. She was very concerned about how I would get up the stairs to the loop bathhouse. I told her I would be fine. I barely arrived before the park was closed. The rangers had already closed the register and I couldn't pay so I made a $10 donation. This is a really nice park and I was the only person staying. When I picked a site and started setting up, I noticed there was a lot of wildlife making all kinds of noises. It was really foggy. A group of coyotes were loudly celebrating a kill alarmingly close by and there was some prehistoric sounding bird flying around. At least it wasn't cold or windy. Once I started making dinner it was totally dark and I saw a cyclist walk by. I called out to Alex who just rode around the barrier at the park entrance gate. It's probably a 1/2 mile from the gate to the campground loops. I'm in the middle loop with the only working bathroom. I asked what made him ride down here. He said he just kept riding. Really nice kid riding east across the country raising money for Coptic Christians in Syria. He picked the site next door and I felt a lot better knowing someone else was around.

Camping in the fog
Consecrated oil.
In the morning, the temps were much warmer. In fact, it was so warm I didn't even need to wear a jacket! It's been a long time since that has happened. Welcome to Florida, huh?!? It was overcast too and rain was forecast later in the day. I was hoping to make it to Pensacola where there are some realistically priced motels.  I took my time packing up because I didn't have far to go and lots of hotels don't let you check in before 2 pm.  I hung up my tent and let everything dry out before packing it up. 

The ride into and through Pensacola was interesting. There is much reference to the Blue Angels that are stationed here. I also had some good hills to climb. Most of the roads had shoulders or bike lanes and those that didn't weren't busy. I found a bike trail that had a raised path. It went for a long way too. The path was quite narrow. I don't think even another bike could have passed me coming the other way. Luckily, I didn't meet anyone. From there I stopped at Walmart where I met a man sitting on a bench waiting for a ride by the bike parking. We got to talking and he told me about walking the Apalachian trail a year ago. This was definitely a life changing event for him. We talked for while and just as I was about to walk away he called me back to give me a gift. It was a small vial of oil that the Bishop of his church and most of the congregation had blessed. He wanted me to have it for protection on my journey. I took it gratefully as a gift and thanked him.  It is very small and a nice keep sake for the trip. Then I continued on the bike path and got checked into a rundown Motel 6 for $45. I'll be here for 2 nights to wait out the storm that's expected overnight and into tomorrow.

Escambia greenway video

Raised bike path above a swamp
Drying laundry
After 300 miles of riding for 8 straight days, I'm ready for a rest!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pecan Island to Houma, LA

January 21-25, 2016

Out the back pasture at Juanitas on Pecan Island
Juanita tries out the trike
Biscuit queen
Tending the chickens

Thursday and Friday were incredibly windy and very cold. Riding would have been difficult and miserable. Juanita invited me to stay as long as I wanted. Before the storm, I had made arrangements to be at a Warm Showers host in New Iberia on Saturday and it is a 2 day ride from Pecan Island. Juanita had stuff to do there and offered to drive me so I didn't have to worry about changing my schedule.  She is a very generous soul. I had the feeling her house has a way of sucking travelers in. There just seemed to be another reason to stay another day.  Kind of a Hotel California of Louisiana. I drove into New Iberia with Juanita where she picked up new born chicks and did some errands. One of the chicks had a splayed leg and she seemed to know how to fix it. The over night temperatures were going to be so cold that the chickens were brought into the house. She plugged in a heat lamp for the little chirpers and had another one for the poor guy with the splayed leg. They were all so cute. Even the cats got to come inside.  I received a crash course education on taking care of chicks.

Baby chicks under the heat lamp
Kat tries out Myrtle
On Saturday, after a terrific 4 night stay, Juanita drove me to New Iberia and my next Warm Shower hosts. They had never met but knew of each other from cyclists passing through.  It was fun that they all got to meet. Will and Kat showed me to a guest apartment they have above the car port. The temperature was still so cold the apartment had 3 space heaters going. Funny enough, this apartment only had a bathtub and no shower. I really enjoy a good bath too. Every Warm Showers host is different and this was quite a change from the hive of activity at Juanitas. Will is a collector of fans and has probably 40 lined up in the living spaces. One fan actually came off the Titanic! Kat made us a great spinach and meat pie that was very delicious for dinner. She also cut a nice piece for me to take in the morning.  Oh, baby!

A small sample of the fan collection
Saying goodbye to Kat and Will in New Iberia
Spanish moss

Sunday morning was still very cold but I pushed on knowing the forecast expected the day to warm up considerably. Will had given me some nice suggestions for the ride including stopping at the Yellow Bowl in Jeanerette. I got there just as they were opening. People were arriving in their Sunday best from church. I actually wasn't too hungry but wanted to get a bowl of gumbo. The owner was fascinated with my trike. I let her take it for a short spin in the gravel. Oh my, did everyone get a kick out of that! The gumbo was fantastic too. I'm so glad I stopped. As I rode, the day warmed up nicely. Even the wind was warm and it felt great. I followed the Bayou Teche River on Hwy 182 for most of the day going through small towns.  The town of Franklin had lots of beautiful and stately antebellum homes. The road was littered with Mardi Gras beads and I must have just missed a parade through town. Coming into Morgan City I had to go over a long bridge. From there I went through town and ended the day camping at Land's End park on lake Palourde. Although quite expensive, this is a beautiful campground full of live oak trees on a beautiful lake. I had to fork over $24 for a tent site. 

Riding along the bayou

Owner of the Yellow Bowl tries out Myrtle
Long/Allen bridge

Monday I got going early and it was warm. Hurray!! I left Morgan City packing up a wet tent from condensation. I rode along Bayou Black most of the day. Live oak trees lined the road and I was sure gators were going to scurry out of the water at any time. It was a beautiful ride on a quiet road. I loved it and the weather was warm again. This is exactly what I was hoping for taking this route. My destination was a warm showers host in Houma. I could really tell Mardi Gras season was upon us. There were Mardi Gras beads everywhere. The parades had started. Somehow, I missed them but, to be honest, I wasn't too upset. This season feels to me like there is a lot of drinking. Even more than usual and it scares me being on the trike. The less I see of it the better. I continued on to Houma stopping at a grocery store in Houma. Since Alvin, my host, was working I decided to make dinner. Getting back to the trike there was a guy waiting for me outside the store. It was another Warm Showers host in Houma, Ray. He waited just to talk to me. What a nice guy and I really enjoyed talking to him. I arrived at Alvin's house before he got off work. He left me instructions for how to get into the house and where to set up. I was settled in my very comfortable room when he got home. He was such a nice guy and had lots of touring experience. Alvin has lead lots of Adventure Cycling tours including the inaugural Underground Railway tour. He knew a ton of history about the tour as well and it was super interesting to hear his stories. The next day brought terrible weather and Alvin invited me to stay. He lives close to a big mall and I went to get a prescription refilled and run some errands. Even though it was raining the temperature was warm. That was nice! Later when Alvin got off work he took me on a tour of the Mardi Gras parade route and we saw some of the crazy buses being painted. It was cool driving around all the waterways. Alvin gave me some great advice for how to get into New Orleans and I left his house ready to tackle the big city.

Beautiful Land's End Campground
Coming into Morgan City
Riding on the bayou
Ray waited for me outside the grocery in Houma, just to say 'hi'.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Angleton, TX to Pecan Island, LA

January 15 - 23, 2016

Freeport views

Dude Payne!
I ended up spending 2 nights in Angleton to wait out a big rain storm. After another good night's rest I was ready to go again. Every day I ride closer to the coast the days have started off warmer. Wow does it feel good. I was staying in a funny run down motel off a big highway that was mostly occupied by people living there. The trike was kept outside my room protected from the rain by the seat cover because the door was too narrow to bring inside. I locked the trike to a post and everyone living there got a real kick out of seeing it making fun comments. This morning was so warm I didn't need to wear my jacket. It has been a very long time since that has happened. Leaving Angleton, I rode passed lots of oil refineries. They are so interesting looking. There was also a sign saying the local commissioner was named Dude Payne. What a name, huh?

View from Intracoastal Waterway

The ride was refreshingly flat and the biggest hill I climbed was a bridge over an intracoastal waterway. At the top of the bridge I got my first view of the gulf coast and, wow, did it feel good to see the ocean again. The downhill took me into Surfside Beach where I stopped to look at the waves. There were cars carrying surfboards! What a difference from just a mile inland. Some of the houses were super cute and all raised on stilts high above the ground. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and as I turned to ride along the coast I picked up a nice tailwind. The temps were probably close to 70 and I was in heaven riding in short sleeves and no socks, woohoo!!

Video of arriving at the Gulf

Cute Surfside Beach homes
Colorful raised homes with no stairs.
Interesting raised housing
I had read that camping along the beach is allowed but it also looked like high tide could make camping hazardous.  There's a campground at the end of the peninsula at San Luis Pass just before a bridge to Galveston Island.  At least according to the app, AllStays. I went to the office and was told they used to offer free camping but visitors abused the facilities. After telling my story and explaining that I was kind of counting on being able to stay, she relented and said I could camp by the pavilion. Yah! It was still quite windy and I set up my tent next to a raised walkway on a patch of grass. This was terrific until I saw the sign warning about rattlesnakes in the area. Supposedly, snakes are hibernating now so I expected to be ok. There is a marina with another RV campground and I walked around enjoying the ambiance. The pavilion where I was camped had lights, water, power outlets and there was a bathroom close by too. Nice set up!

Camping at San Luis Pass campground
San Luis Pass pelicans

San Luis Pass campground video

Wayne from England
It was warm in the morning and the tent was dry. The wind was blowing strong and I took my stove to a picnic table on the other side of the office building to make breakfast. The people in the office came out to offer me fresh brewed coffee. After getting packed up I started over the bridge to Galveston Island. There's a $2 toll and I was charged because my load registered on the scale, haha. I loved the ride even though the wind was howling at my side. The skies clouded up as the day wore on. As I approached Galveston it started to rain lightly. I was riding on the seawall for miles enjoying the ocean view. I got to a newly opened Motel 6 just as the skies opened up and there was tremendous lightning and thunder. Great timing! Galveston is a tourist town and the hotels are expensive but this one just opened and had a special for $39, oh baby! While I was checking in, the front desk people told me there was another touring cyclist staying. They gave me his room number and I went over to introduce myself. This was Wayne from England who has been on the road touring the world for the last 6 years. Wow, such stories, this guy spent 2 years cycling just in Africa!

On the bridge to Galveston Island
View from the Galveston Seawall
Galveston fishing pier
Ferry to Bolivar
The temps in the morning were cold but the skies had cleared and I got packed up. Wayne expected to stay another day to explore Galveston and I pushed on.  It was cold and I had a headwind. Luckily, the road was flat. After a few miles I took a ferry to the Bolivar Peninsula. There were small quiet communities and a lot of barren beach. The road ends where it was damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and has never been repaired. Going inland meant the wind was changing and I had an easier time. There were some big bridges over more intracoastal waterways. These bridges are the only place to get a view of the area. I ended the day in Winnie at a very run down motel for $40. This room wasn't worth even a penny more but, after riding into the strong winds all day, I didn't have the energy to look at any other places.

Video from the Bolivar Peninsula

Ferry ride
Lighthouse on the Bolivar Peninsula
Handicap ramp shows how high these homes are
Winnie Elementary School sign
I used my sleeping bag on top of the bed and slept well. Today's ride would be shorter because there wasn't anything within a reasonable distance beyond Port Arthur. I also had a good tailwind and the ride went quickly under bright sunshine. Port Arthur is a oil refining town that doesn't have enough housing. The motels are full with contractors and more expensive than other towns I've stayed in. I ended up at a Motel 6 for $68. The guys at the front desk were great helping me get Myrtle in the room and offering me a ride to Walmart to shop for supplies. So cute! The motel was very nice too. The guys explained some about the local economy. Low oil prices are making Port Arthur a nervous town. There are 3 big refineries and one has been shut down which has a ripple effect through out the region. There's rumors another may shut. Walmart is also closing 174 stores in Texas which has everyone even more worried. 

Motel 6 Port Arthur
Leaving Port Arthur
Bridge out of Port Arthur
Welcome to Louisiana
Google maps plotted a cycling course right through a refinery out of Port Arthur. The ladies at the gate were very excited to see me because they said I had been on tv a couple of days ago. How fun and this was the first I heard about it. I had to turn around to the main road which took me over a bridge and then I was on a quiet canal road. There was no boat traffic in the waterway. I saw one tanker being filled at a giant Valero facility.  I took some pictures and a security guard came out to question me. He was very serious asking me for my license. Soon he was smiles and I got a picture. It felt like there should be a lot more activity but with the oil slump commerce on the waterway was quiet. Once I crossed the bridge over Sabine Lake I entered Louisiana. Wow, a new state. I have been in Texas for over a month riding more than 1,000 miles. This area of Louisiana was devastated in hurricane Rita. The abandoned damaged homes stood next to the newer trailers. With all the recent rains there is water everywhere. The ground is completely saturated and being at sea level the water has no where to go. I wondered if I would see gators but none were visible today.  I was riding into a terrible headwind when Wayne, the English cyclist, caught me. We rode together for a few hours and the conversation was a helpful distraction from the misery. We took a ferry together just passed Holly Beach and there was no charge. Wayne was very nice to ride with me for so long. Doesn't it figure that when we got to Cameron, my destination for the day, the wind died away?!  Even though the sun was setting, Wayne kept on riding looking for a place to wild camp. I thought about camping with him but rain was expected overnight. I was completely exhausted and in need of a shower. Hopefully, I'll see Wayne again down the road.

Security guard who wrote down my license number with a giant Valero tanker in the background
On the road with world cyclist Wayne from England
Shrimp boats
The hotel in Cameron is very expensive. This owner seemed to know if you need to stay here he's got you over a barrel. It was a very ordinary room for $70 in a town with little to offer. The other people staying were here to fish or work. Cameron has been wiped away by 3 hurricanes and always rebuilt getting smaller and smaller each time. There is talk that 2 LNG plants are going to be built here though. I went to the Anchor's Up grill for dinner and the food was really terrible.

Great scenery
Crossing into Vermillion Perish
In the morning I awoke to blue skies and very wet roads. I was happy the rains had stopped and pushed on. Today's destination was a Warm Showers host on Pecan Island. This area is so desolate, if the host hadn't responded to my request I would have had to change my route. It's days like today that I wish I had the courage to wild camp. But until I can get that figured out I have to be sure of the day's destination. The profile for this host was so unusual I was hesitant. They don't cycle, have lots of dogs and are smokers and drinkers. Hhhmmm.... The pages of positive reviews completely set my fears to rest. This couple has hosted hundreds of cyclists and everyone left enthusiastic comments. Many cyclists stayed for days and even weeks and the hosts seem to love it all. This sounded like an experience I shouldn't miss.

Crossing a drawbridge on the way to Pecan Island

Pecan Island scenic ride
Above ground cemetery
Life on Pecan Island
Live oaks that have survived 3 major hurricanes
Google maps put the mileage at 45 very flat miles. I started out and when I got to what I thought was about 20 miles from Pecan Island I stopped for a break at a convenience store. All the reviews for this Warm Shower's host were so amazing I wanted to bring something to celebrate all they do for touring cyclists. Since they said they drink, I picked up a bottle of bourbon.  The cashier in Grand Chenier said Pecan Island was much too far to cycle to in a day. She thought I had at least another 50 miles to ride. That would be too far for me, for sure! I showed her the map and the info from Google and she said it couldn't be right but to ask further down the road at a wildlife refuge. The Rockefeller Wildlife refuge is a huge place where biologists live and work. I stopped in to ask about how far I had left to ride. When I told the guy where I was going he said the woman is his cousin and pulled out his phone to call her. Google maps is shy about 10 miles for the route and she said I had another 25 miles to go. Just keep riding and look for the Warm Showers sign in the front lawn. It was about 2 pm and I knew I could get there before dark. The ride was very beautiful with lots of live oaks and swamps and grasslands. It was another beautiful day and the winds were calm. I arrived at Jaunita's house and she welcomed me with a herd of 6 dogs. Her husband was away for work so, unfortunately, I wouldn't meet him. She was so young looking I could hardly believe she is 62 years old. We walked around and she introduced me to the dogs, 3 cats and lots of chickens and ducks. There are also horses in a pasture out her back door. We parked the trike in a shed and then she showed me to an alcove off the living room where so many cyclists have stayed over the years. A young man had left a few days before after spending 4 weeks at her house. Incredible.  

Juanita's front yard welcoming cyclists
Juanita with most of the herd
I could already tell this was going to be a memorable experience.