April 13 - 17: Louisiana

4/13 - De Ridder (90 miles 1860 total)
90 miles from the pinewood inn in silsbee, TX, to the best western in de ridder, LA (everyone else rode 86 miles, but we missed a turn in de ridder, so rode an extra 4 miles to get to the motel)
my iowa city friends joined us for breakfast in the parking lot. they were again amazed...as they were at supper last evening...at the tasty, (mostly) healthy, & interesting array of food we enjoy. they needed to stop at a grocery store in silsbee before leaving town, then had a different destination today, so we said our good-byes at silsbee.
our biking day got off to a very foggy start....as you can see in this photo taken as we neared the edge of town.
we biked north through the town of fred (yes, fred), then met up with the subaru at about mi 25. the skies had cleared & the sun was shining by this time, as you'll note in this photo of michelle & frances taken at the sag stop. patty had been driving the subaru, but traded with frances at this point, then biked with sari & me the rest of the day.
the day got warmer & warmer....i imagine into the upper 80's....& pretty muggy by the time we got to louisiana.
there were lots of dogs to deal with today. several times, one or more ran out to the edge of or onto the road as we rode by. fortunately, there were no dog-related mishaps.
the terrain today was much like yesterday's, tho' the hills have gotten less hillier. & the trees along the roadside typically weren't as tall or thick as they were yesterday in the big thicket.
we never were greeted when we entered texas many moons ago, so today when we encountered the TEXAS sign on the east border of the state, we took the official welcoming photo, even if a bit late.
then we jumped on our bikes, rode over the bridge spanning the sabine river, & dismounted again so i could take this photo of patty & sari at the official louisiana welcoming sign. perhaps you can also see the smaller sign indicating that the state is celebrating the bicentennial of the louisiana purchase this year.
at this point we had another 25 mi to ride to our motel in de ridder. it was warm, so we stopped at a convenience store for cold drinks (&, in my case, an ice cream bar). frances came by in the subaru to check on us. we filled our water & gatorade bottles & told her she didn't need to worry about coming back out on the route again....unless we called.
we'd been warned last evening that the condition of the roads might deteriorate as we rode into louisiana & mississippi.....to which bev exclaimed, "you mean there's something worse than chipseal?" as it turned out, the roads we've traveled along in louisiana so far---all 26 mi of them---are ok. i must say, however, that when this state installs rumble strips along the edge of the right-of-way, they aren't just whistling dixie. golly, the indentations in the sections of rumble strips are deep; you can feel your fillings loosen if you end up riding over them.
patty, sari, & i noticed some strange-looking mud "houses" in the ditches alongside the road, especially in the wetter areas. patty decided to go investigate one of them. in this photo she's poking at the house, & found that the hard-baked mud is almost like cement. we understand that these mud structures are crawfish houses.
after a delicious supper prepared in the parking lot, michelle reviewed tomorrow's route sheets; they show 92 miles to opelousas. opelousas is a bigger town than we've encountered for quite a while. we'll hope to find our way without major mishap.
loralee presented the BITCH socks to rita in commemoration of her dog bite near del rios 10-11 days ago. the new acronym label: Bitten In Texas Challenges Houndaphobia.
we're happy to announce that charlie grubb is now the owner of the beautiful blue mohair shawl that has been auctioned off, with all proceeds going to the national breast cancer coalition fund. many thanks to the folks who placed bids in the auction.
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail me with your request, and I'll save your note and get back to you after the ride. Stay tuned....

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