My morning was filled with a sense of urgency to get out of New Orleans. It wasn’t a sense of urgency out of fear, it was a sense that I just wanted to get on the road. I’ve been to the French Quarter three times now and I was just eager to see some new landsacpe. I can’t wait to see the desert. Sometimes I just want to fast forward to that part. Anyway, right before I checked out of my room the calls started coming in. First it was my friend Daniel from Houston who I’ll be seeing tomorrow and then Tomato Joe called. They read the post and just wanted to make sure that I was ok. I checked out of my room and carried my huge bundle of gear to the Goose. It was in a parking garage a few blocks away. The looks I got while carrying all that stuff were great. Everyone was strolling around in their business attire in downtown New Orleans and there I was, a baggy jean wearing guy, carrying a back pack, hiking pack, tank bag, map, helmet, and a round container with a bunch of gadgets in it. I fit right in. With the bike all loaded up, I got some directions to the closest gas station from the parking vallet guy and was off. A mile later I fueled up and talked to my mom again about my money situation. The night before the perps briefly had my debit card number. She mentioned that they could still use my number to buy stuff on-line. I didn’t think about that angle, so I called my bank and we got it taken care of. For privacy reasons I can’t disclose how we fixed the situation, but I know they wont be able to use that number for anything.
The only plan for the day was to split the distance between the Big Easy and Houston. I scoped out the map and it looked like Lake Charles Louisiana would do just fine for a halfway point. To get there I took 90w out of the city and hit “the 10” west. I didn’t have any plans to sight see so I just rode on. It became very obvious when I made it to Lafeyette that it was going to rain and rain hard. I got a wild hare and instead of pulling over early for a room, I just decided that this would be a rain gear test, and a test it was. There were a few miles where I couldn’t see shite. My jacket worked fine. The pants did good too, but they are a bit to short when my feet are on the pegs. My alpinestar riding boots are waterproof, but my big black socks aren’t and since the pants are short the socks get soaked and all the water funnels right in to my boots. After about ten minutes in the hard rain, I developed a delightful case of swampfoot. Yummy! My new gloves aren’t waterproof but even if they’re wet I still get a better feel on the controls than my gigantic winter gloves. I can’t stand to ride with those bulky bastards unless it’s freezing outside. All in all the gear isn’t that bad. I’ll be looking into some boot covers in the near future. The storm ended up passing and right before dark I found a room in Iowa, Louisiana. It’s a tiny little town about ten miles east of Lake Charles. While riding on 10w I had a thought. As I head west I continue to be faced with great sunsets everyday and my mirrors will show the darkness behind me. Next year as I head east the darkness will be facing me and those beautiful sunsets will be in my mirrors. Not really looking forward to that.
Once I checked in, I asked the front desk clerk if there was a place to grab a brewski nearby. She said the truck stop next door had a lounge. Perfect I thought. My goal wasn’t to go get smashed, my goal was to go meet a local. I’ve been really enjoying the encounters that I’ve had with my fellow Americans from other states. (not counting the one in New Orleans) From what I can tell, most of us are very similar. (Some Mississipians think that people from Arkansas are from the third world though lol) Getting back on track…. I ended up meeting the bartender of the lounge. Her name was Karen and she was a 29 year old native of the Louisiana Delta. We talked for about an hour and a half and I made two coronas last that long somehow. That’s a record for me! She asked me what my favorite place was so far and it took quite a bit of time to think of an answer. I had to give her two places. Key West was number one for location and atmosphere and northern Georgia to central North Carolina for the quality of people. It will be interesting to see how the answer to that question evolves as the trip continues. Before I left the lounge, I gave Karen the web address with hopes that she’ll stay in touch. It’s been great to hear from people I’ve met while traveling. I know that I’ve made some solid friends for life along the way.