We woke up pretty early Tuesday morning. The bugs were pretty intense. In daylight, it was easier to see that someone had a crawfish boil about 100 feet from where we were sleeping. The small mountain of crawfish heads was some sort of insect buffet beacon.
The improvised bathroom from the night before turned out to be more exciting in daylight, too. The ground hornets had three or four massive nests about five feet from our bathroom. I’m really glad we didn’t find that out in the middle of the night…
The humidity was much higher this morning. Dew was thick and on everything, so this was the first part of the trip that just felt gross. I was too busy running away from bugs to take any pictures.
We made a quick stop for the breakfast of champions (Dr. Pepper) and continued down the road. We made our way back to US-61 south and planned to find a truck stop with showers.
We kept pushing south through Mississippi. Not much to see in these areas. Road quality was fine…again, four lane divided highway. Traffic was easy and we probably kept it right around 65mph. No wind, no clouds, no shade. Toasty! Eventually we made it to the Louisiana state line.
We kept pushing south until we reached Baton Rouge. Still no signs of a truck stop with showers. US-61 was good highway…generally 4-lane divided, low traffic, and decent pavement. We took the required picture at the Louisiana state line and continued on the way. I was a bit surprised by the apparent poverty of Baton Rouge. It seemed like everything was either trailer or oil refinery. It was a little disconcerting to see the number of million-dollar churches in the middle of trailer parks.
In Baton Rouge, we started to see hints that we might find a place to get cleaned up. But by now, it’s already mid-morning, and it just didn’t seem worth the money to shower before the hottest part of the day. So we kept going—cheating a bit to avoid the terrible traffic lights. We spent some time on I-10, but continued on without event towards New Orleans.
Traffic lights in NOLA were pretty rough. They were perfectly synchronized—out of sync, that is. I am pretty sure that we literally stopped at every single traffic light in the state of Louisiana. Not tons of scenery through here—just humidity and oil refineries.
Once we got in NOLA, we stopped for lunch. Fantastic shrimp at a Cajun place run by Asians. Go figure! We decided that we were hot, smelly, and tired—and this would be a good night for a hotel. Priceline led us to the Royal St. Charles right in the heart of the French Quarter. We made our way into town, parked the bikes, unloaded, and got cleaned up. I felt bad for going into such a fancy hotel looking and smelling like we did…but then I remembered Mardi Gras. I’m sure we weren’t that bad…
After a rest break, we did a bit of walking through the French quarter. Scoped out the pier, saw ol’ Andy Jackson, and enjoyed watching some of the street artists. Dinner was pretty good as well. We decided that either Zatarans is far more authentic than we thought or our restaurant wasn’t great at jambalaya. Matt had some really good shrimp concoction – and we finished it off with Café Du Monde.
The elevation profile was pretty cool today. Our peak elevation was somewhere near Natchez – around 417 feet above sea level. Our low point, just outside NOLA, was 22 feet below sea level. Low mileage day: 182 miles. Cumulative miles: 742. If there was a day to have a car—this would have been it.