In Lou’siana, the creek done riz and we got the heck outta there!
I think it pretty much rained from December 20 until we left Louisiana two days ago. We had breaks from it, but never for a full 24 hours. Radar told us that Houston was in the clear and that Lafayette was looking at another 48 hours of rain, so we took off. We have never seen the ground so saturated in our lives! Walking on the grass was like walking on a soaking wet sponge. Thank goodness I bought the rubber boots back in Mandeville, because you simply couldn’t go outside without something like that on your feet!
Here are some pictures of our departure on Thursday:
The 4th and 5th pictures above are the creek that runs under the road to the campground. We wouldn’t be surprised if it flooded the road after we left. The last picture shows how the storm culverts were overflowing. It was definitely time to move along!
We found Lafayette to be very poor. The roads are in horrible shape and there are SO many closed businesses and houses in desperate need of repair. There wasn’t much to do there other than listening to Cajun and Zydeco music and dancing, but even that was lacking over the holiday week. We went to Rock ‘n Bowl as previously mentioned, and went to the New Year’s party at Vermilionville (which is a sort of Sturbridge Village of Cajun life in the 1800’s), and had a great meal and did a little dancing at Randol’s, but that was it. We hoped to hear the weekly Cajun jam session at the Feed ‘n Seed, but even that was closed.
The party at Vermilionville was fun. Most of the people there were in groups, so we were sitting by ourselves at a table when two gentlemen in western attire came by looking for a place to sit. We invited them to join us. The brought their wives over and we all talked, danced and had a good time. The two on the left are Gary and Audrey and they live south of Lafayette in Youngsville on a small cattle ranch (of course … look at him … cowboy hat and boots, leather vest, string tie). Unfortunately, we never did get the names of the other couple, but they live outside of Austin, TX. Nice people. We love meeting people like this!
Here are some tidbits about southern Louisiana that you may not know. Sugar cane is a big crop down here. There are cane field everywhere, hundreds of acres of the stuff! And it seemed that because of all the rain, the farmers were working like mad to harvest their crop whenever the rain let up. We went by a field one day that they were working on and two days later the entire field was leveled.
This is what sugar cane looks like and an aerial view of the fields near our campground:
Another big crop in Louisiana and also eastern Texas is rice. We tried to take pictures of the rice fields as we were driving along, but they didn’t come out. The rice fields there are all flooded, so that can’t be good news for the rice farmers. Some of them don’t even harvest the rice anymore, though, because they found out they could make more money farming crawfish in their rice fields. Some fields have crawfish traps sticking up out of the water.
Houston is a BIG city. The highway system in Houston is incredible, and still growing. Highway construction is going on everywhere! We camped out in a Walmart lot that was listed online as allowing overnight RV’s and trucks, but we arrived to discover signs prohibiting overnight parking. It was already dark, we were tired and didn’t want to have to find another place to park. As luck would have it, a police officer drove through the lot just as we were trying to decide what to do. Bob spoke to him and asked if we’d be ticketed if we stayed there. he replied, “Trucks park here overnight all the time, and I’m not going to bother you if you sleep here.” Sure enough, a couple of trucks joined us and nobody bothered us that night.
Yesterday we visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This is the home of Mission Control. I was one of those kids in the 1960’s who watched in awe every single rocket launch on our black and white TV. I can still hear Walter Cronkite describe how the astronauts lost communication with mission control during re-entry, and how they couldn’t walk at first when they were pulled from the capsule onto the raft. So, this was an awesome place to see. We both highly recommend a visit if you are ever in Houston!
We went inside a retired space shuttle (which is so much bigger than you expect) and the 747 that carried it:
They also had a life-size portion of the International Space Station, where you could see everything from how the astronauts sleep, eat and run their experiments to how they even go to the bathroom.
We were most impressed, though, with the early space capsules from the Apollo and Mercury missions that we remember as kids. Those were the pioneers of space flight!
Today, we head to Padre Island National Seashore off the coast of Corpus Christi, TX. This is one of few places in America where you can drive a motorhome right onto the beach and camp for free on the sand. Go ahead, call us crazy! This is a big bucket list item for Bob, so we’ll see how it goes! Wish us luck! God willing the ocean don’t rise, or we’ll have to get a heavy duty tow to get us out of the sand!! 😵