April 13 - 17: Louisiana

4/16 - St. Francisville (54 miles 2037 total)
54 miles from the sportsman motel in simmesport to the butler greenwood plantation near st. francisville, LA
the challenge early this morning for me was to ride over the bridge at the edge of simmesport that spanned the atchafalaya river. it's one of those bridges that goes up & up, levels out over the water, then back downhill. patty fainer, today's sag driver, offered to drive behind the group so no cars could push at us or crowd us onto the bridge railing. some riders preferred going over individually, but i was glad that patty kept the cars a ways back, as i prefer riding out in the roadway a bit (& away from the railing!).
it wasn't long before we turned onto the road at the base of the levee, where we would remain much of today's ride. this photo was taken along our route. we saw many houses like the one on the right. beyond it is a little white church; we saw quite a few of those today, too....typically small baptist churches. on the left side of the road is the levee along the mississippi.
once or twice, sari & i walked up one of the gravel roads that leads up to the top of the levee, then down the other side. on one of those little forays, here's what we saw from the top of the levee looking out toward the river. those are mobile homes on stilts.....weekend fishing get-aways, i imagine.
at one point, called the morganza floodway levee, our route sheets suggested that we take a gravel road down to a path that leads along the edge of the floodplain. going down to that path also kept us off the narrow spillway bridge, state route 1. but since there was some gravel on the lower road, quite a few riders chose to stay on the highway.
down on the lower path, we got a real feel for the bogginess & flatness of the floodplain. we saw a couple of great blue herons & a beautiful white crane.
in this photo you see the path we followed; the spillway bridge is off to the immediate left. i have a kickstand on my bike, but it was quite windy today, & the wind had just blown the bike over when i snapped this photo. sari is lying her bike down in order to avoid the same fate.
this path was only 4 miles long. after leaving it & returning to hwy 1, we soon came into the little town of morganza....the only town on today's route. we pulled into the drive of a gas station convenience store, then noticed a small restaurant attached to it, named 'not your mama's cafe.' from the cars parked outside, we gathered it was a popular spot, so went inside & found a table. soon patty fainer & catherine joined us. sari & i split an order of crawfish balls (the waitress' recommendation), served with a peppery/sweet sauce for dipping. they were as tasty as can be.
over a few stretches of roadway today, we followed the MRT (mississippi river trail). in this photo you see one of the MRT road sign....& also the beautiful purple flowers that grew along much of today's lowland route.
finally we came to the ferry that would take us across the mississippi river to st. francisville, our next overnight stop. we arrived just as the ferry was leaving for the other side, so had to wait quite a while. a woman in a car nearby started talking to us. near the end of a long & interesting conversation, she gave us a donation for the national breast cancer coalition fund. she told us she was nearing 80, but that she'd love going along with us....not necessarily for the biking, but for the adventure. she gave us each a hug & had tears in her eyes as we waved goodbye & started walking down the hill to the ferry.
in this photo you see sari pushing her bike up the hill just after we'd gotten off the ferry after our short ride across the river.
it was only about 2 miles into st. francisville; as we rode into town we saw a sign directing us to "historic homes," so turned off the main route. many of the homes we passed have historical markers in front of them, & all are beautifully maintained. most are now private homes. the whole town is very quaint & cute. we stopped at the visitors' center to get more info on the town & area. i'll share some in tomorrow's report of our layover day here.
before leaving downtown, sari & i found ourselves at the magnolia cafe, where we understand many of our group had stopped this afternoon. we were able to continue our current crawfish trend by ordering a bowl each of crawfish/corn/potato soup. it came with a hot homemade roll. both were scrumptious.
it was nearing 4 pm, so we biked on north of town to the plantation where we'll overnight & also spend a layover day. what a place!!! i'm going to take photos & write about it tomorrow, but just so you'll have a little hint, here's a photo i took this afternoon from the front porch of the little house where roma, sari, & i are staying (yes, indeed, that IS a peacock sitting on our porch railing).
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....

This page, and all linked pages, were created on a 466MHz Apple iBook SE running Mac OS X 10.2.4, BBEdit Lite 6.1, and Safari.