Since the last time I wrote, I’ve lost another of my nine lives, rediscovered my love of Cajun food, and ridden a couple of hundred miles. I’m probably burying my lead, but I’m going to post chronologically.
We have not starved on the Road to Discovery. In fact, I’ve had some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. The seafood is terrific, of course, but I’m loving the spicy comfort food we’ve found in Louisiana and Mississippi. So far, my favorite place is Parrain’s in Baton Rouge. The building is cool and rustic, and the food is fantastic. Take a look at the crawfish etouffee. It was not too spicy, not too bland… just perfect. I also really liked Al Fresco, which is a cute little Italian bistro in Ocean Springs, Mississippi (full disclosure, we were guests of the owner). I really liked the sweet marinara with the tortellini, and the cannoli was really good. But then, I’ve never had a bad cannoli. Have you? Anyway, the food along this route has been terrific, much better than it was the last time I did this ride, through Oklahoma and rural Texas. I think I mentioned that the food then was mostly beige (fried). I came home 10 pounds fat, but that’s another story.
We did a little tooling around in New Orleans before heading East again. We went down Bourbon Street at 8 am, which I bet you’ve never done. There was the unsurprising sight of a guy passed out drunk on a curb. And there was the surprising smell of dishwashing detergent instead of stale beer and other things you’d expect The Morning After. Street crews were washing away evidence of the night before and doing a pretty good job. Let’s say you could tell which streets they’d been down and which they hadn’t.
We cruised through the ninth ward in New Orleans, where Brad Pitt has committed to rebuild 150 houses destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Frank Gehry is one of the architects, which is impressive. We didn’t see Brad Pitt ( I looked, HARD), but I did spot his photo in .03 seconds at a display of the project. Sorry the photo is out of focus. The boys were impatient to go and didn’t understand how important it was to get this picture!
We also rode by Michoud Assembly Facility, which was pretty cool. Take a look at the booster rocket outside. Michoud made 136 of them, 135 of which made it into outer space.
Right after we passed NASA, I heard what sounded like a gunshot (I was driving the van). I checked the tires, no flats. Then, about 15 minutes later, the whole middle passenger window on the driver’s side was sucked out of the van and landed in the middle of the road. Check it:
An industrial lawn mower thing had kicked out a rock, and it smashed in to the window. If I had been driving slightly slower, it would have hit the driver’s window. I don’t even want to think about that.
This happened on Friday, which means there was no way we’d be able to get it fixed. The best we could do was make a repair appointment in Auburn, Alabama for Monday. Luckily, we have McGyver (Patrick) here, and with $22 of plywood, zip ties, and duct tape (including Superman duct tape), he made this temporary fix in the Home Depot parking lot. Impressive, I think!
We are now finished traveling East for a few days. We are in Greenville, Alabama headed north for the most part. That’s bringing a welcome tail wind. We are in a rain pattern every day, too. I’d forgotten about rain in the South. There’s no such thing as a drizzle. It goes from dry to torrential in 5 seconds. This morning, we could actually see the rain line on the road up ahead a few seconds before we became drowned mice. At least we got to the hotel early today, and right now, we are watching Chris Froome win the Tour de France. It IS all about the bikes for me these days.