This week we crossed into our fifth state of the trip and were greeted with boundless hospitality from the folks at the Historical Museum in Merryville, LA who allowed us to camp outside their old museum and jail. We weren’t surprised by the trains that rumbled and blew their horns adjacent to our tent site, or by the omnipresent barking of local dogs, but we WERE surprised when instead of ringing a dinner bell, local men dressed like the lawless men of the 1800s fired rifles and pistols and then joined us for dinner! We went to bed full of jambalaya, cornbread, peach cobbler and strawberry shortbread, and woke up to venison sausage, eggs, and toast served with a jelly made from red mayhaw berries. (I have to say, I was quite relieved that the woman in the visitor’s center (where I saw this fabulous quilt) was wrong in her guess that we might be served squirrel stew.)
Last night we were invited to a local camp on the bayou to eat amazing home-cooked Cajun food with friends of one of the cyclists. Notice a theme?
I learned from the cook in Merryville, LA that Beauregard Parish has the most churches per person of anywhere in the U.S. Proof was on every corner!
Some churches get quite creative to stand out.
Louisiana offers gorgeous riding on FLAT – albeit bumpy – roads.
The Louisiana Aboretum offered shade and droves of mosquitoes. We’ve entered a land of muggy, hot weather.
Crawfish harvesting season…great timing! (Note to self: avoid squirrel hunting season in the fall…)
Last night we enjoyed delicious étouffée (crawfish with a roux, vegetables, tomatoes and lots of spices) made by local friends of one of our cyclists at their wonderful camp on the bayou. We couldn’t skip the thick slices of ponce (spicy pork).
While the étouffée cooked, we looked for alligators on the bayou…one poked its nose up!
Of course, every state, no matter how bucolic and friendly, needs a few rules.
And not to be outdone by Texas’s $2,000 fine for littering, Louisiana not only increases the penalties, but also offers friendly Simon Squirrel to remind us (in French)!