Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 46

New Orleans to Slidell, La.

I have enjoyed my second night in a hotel. I was buried in pillows with the A/C on high and snuggled comfortably into the bed; I had a nice hot breakfast and a nice tub to soak in. I was desperately trying to enjoy as many conveniences as I could before I start the home stretch to St. Augustine!

I started a little later that I wanted (by about 2 ½ hours), but it was a beautiful day and I had not far to go (Slidell is about 50 miles). By the time I got to the Gretna ferry, I was for the second day in a row -late- I had to go to Algiers to get to Canal St. an extra 6.5 miles. Today it took an unusually long wait until we were able to cross. When we made the crossing over the Mississippi for the final time, I was ready to take a SLOW day and check out New Orleans. Tammy was on the phone with me as I walked the bike off the ferry and through the street of New Orleans, I was thirsty and she found there was an Arby’s just blocks from me (the internet can be so fun), so I decided to eat lunch now then do some exploring.

The Arby’s was two floors of seating and quite different than I am used to seeing, I finished lunch and checked out the little shop next door. It had lots of beads in all assortments from a “G” rating to almost an “X” rating, who knew they made beads like that too! I started to walk around the streets again and was enjoying the street cars driving by and people watching. There are truly many different lifestyles and looks represented on the streets of New Orleans, and was fun to watch!
Tammy called again to see where I was and told me to trust her when I gave my location. She told me to go 3 more blocks and take a right – which I did – and found myself on Bourbon St. What a sight, it was daylight and you could still see all the neon and reflective signs all the way down the street. There were people everywhere and the activity was somewhat frantic with people in and out of shops and bars. I went to Jesters and bought myself a souvenir plastic Jester full of a frozen something-or-other, that was incredibly good, and STRONG!! After drinking this magic concoction I decided I needed to get going, so I found an empty spot in a front bag on the bike a left the very long straw sticking out to finish as I walk.

Drink finished, and time to head towards Slidell, it was nearly 3:30, and I still had 25 or so miles to go. I headed out on the pre-prescribed route, and before long found myself on the side of Lake Ponchatrain , and was trying to closely follow these shores. This did not work, before long I ran right into a construction project and had to divert to a new route – out to Rt. 90 and over the Highway 11 bridge to Slidell. The bridge here is only 5 miles long instead of the 12 mile bridge on I-10, and much less traffic. I was able to make good time over the bridge which was a relief since there is no shoulder on the bridge for bikes to ride in. Before I finally left New Orleans, I came across a fire station, and was able to trade patches, to help add to the growing collection.

Arriving in Slidell, I was looking forward to a nice shower and some rest. I rode right past the campground I was to stay at on the wrong road and ended up in front of Textron, makers of tanks and armored personnel carriers. When I finally figured where I went wrong I headed down the right street and got a spot at the campground. The campground was closed for the evening when I arrived, so I had no codes to use the bath/shower and no internet access. After checking the 3 sites listed at the office for help, and finding no one at all 3, I stopped at a campsite and asked the people there if they knew the codes, they did not. After making some phone calls to no avail, they finally insisted on me showering in their Trailer. After a few moments I reluctantly agreed and finally was able to shower and freshen up.

Pam & Hollis Davis were the names of the people who were so kind to me. We sat and talked about how they lost their home in hurricane Katrina, and have been living in their fifth wheel trailer in the campground (it is a beautiful trailer and the site is very well decorated). They offered me a burger for dinner, and then said they were cooking steak, when all was said and done they did not have the steak they offered, so Pam took it upon herself to order take out at Outback Steakhouse two exits down the highway. She came back with a dinner for me consisting of Filet Mignon (feta cheese encrusted), shrimp, and salad. Pam placed all of this on nice plates and a tray, and had a home-made piece of carrot cake from a friend for dessert.

I want to say a HUGE thank you to both Pam and Hollis for their kindness; it was far above anything they needed to do. They owed me nothing and showed me one of the greatest kindnesses of the trip – for this I am forever grateful. Thank you both and maybe our paths will cross again. Thank you – Thank you – Thank you!

The Garmin information for today is as follows:

Day 46 New Orleans to Slidell, La. by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

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