Friday, April 30, 2010
What a Day
This was not the way to begin our day, especially when we hoped to be on the road by 9 am. John went out a little before 8:30 to prepare the trailer for travel. That is when he discovered we had a flat tire. The brochure for the Sam Houston Jones State Park included an ad for a local tire company. John called them and arranged for them to send out a road service company with four new tires. He had felt for a while we needed new tires and this confirmed it.
SJ, of SJ's Road and Tire Service arrived sometime after 10 with the tires. He was very methodical, precise and careful in everything he did. The trailer has aluminum wheels, which need special care. We were impressed with the work he did.
It was close to noon before he was finished. We enjoyed getting to know him and appreciated his work.
It wasn't till after we had made the arrangements for the tires that we remembered our Good Sam Emergency Road Service policy. After sitting on hold for 15 minutes, I learned they would have paid for the flat tire service if we had called them first. We can submit the bill we paid and hope for reimbursement. If there is a next time, maybe we will remember to call them first.
As we drove east on I-10 and then I-12 to Fontainbleau State Park on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, we saw numerous trucks hauling something made of orange plastic and folded in long sections. It wasn't till we watched the evening news that we realized they are the plastic booms that will be put in the Gulf of Mexico to try to contain the oil spill from that oil well explosion. That sure puts our minor inconvenience in the morning into perspective.
The local news is dominated by the story, even more than the national news, because of the impending damage to wildlife, the fishing industry and tourism in this state that is still recovering from hurricanes Katrina and Ike. What a tragedy! Just days ago we visited wildlife areas on the bayous and coastal areas of the state. They are so beautiful and they are facing possible devastation. How sad.
Along the road we also drove over a gigantic bridge that crosses the Atchafalaya Basin. With a total length of 96,095 feet (29,290 m) or 18.2 miles, it is the tenth longest bridge in the world by total length. We went on a boat tour of the swamp three years ago in mid-March. In late April the trees have leafed out and the water is much higher than when we were there.
Monday, before leaving the Lake Charles area, we went to town to eat southern food for lunch and ended up at a locals' favorite restaurant, Southern Spice. John had a Cajun spiced roast beef and cheese po-boy. I had a shrimp po-boy. In case you don't know what a po-boy is (we didn't), here is the definition from Wikipedia, "A po' boy (also po-boy, po boy, or poor boy) is a traditional submarine sandwich from Louisiana. It almost always consists of meat or seafood, usually fried, served on baguette-like Louisiana French bread."
Then we drove to the old downtown area of Lake Charles and the Historic Charpentier District of the city. According to the Trailer Life Directory (don't you love my sources?) this district has "one of the finest collections of Victorian architecture in the state, dating from the late 1800s. Since there were no architects in evidence here until the early 1900s, the structures reflect the individual characteristics of the carpenters (charpentiers in French) and builders."
Here are pictures of a couple of the houses.