“The South where roots, place, family, and tradition are the essence of identity.” Unknown
Since my last post, we find ourselves in Houston after traversing the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. So, the Deep South is behind us and the vastness of Texas awaits!
We have been nicely pleased with I-10. The road is in great condition, traffic has been pretty light and for the most part it is routed through miles and miles of pine forests. In fact, there has been very little in the way of discernable changes to the landscape in the miles we have covered. If not for welcome signs at the borders, I could just as well be in Mississippi as Florida.
Our stops thus far have just been one nighters and pretty low key. In Tallahassee we met up with one of Art’s former colleagues from his Bank of America days and enjoyed a dinner out and a tour of the city he now calls home (thanks, Tom!). The night in Alabama required a quick errand into town but after dinner, we enjoyed a walk to the spring fed Styx River that ran behind our campground and dipped our toes in its refreshing waters. It seems that it is a popular destination for tubers to lazily make their way downstream and we saw a couple of groups float on by. Our last night in what I consider the Deep South was spent in a campground just on the west side of Lafayette, LA.
The drive to Lafayette had us crossing west of the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, and traveling through the Atchafalaya Basin. No, that’s not a typo. This basin is actually the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. Yes, it is larger than the Everglades – who knew? We didn’t, and in fact, if I hadn’t googled what the name meant (Choctaw for long river) I still wouldn’t know, but it was fascinating. I-10 travels through it on a pair of parallel bridges that run 18 miles over swamp land. We enjoyed the scenery and I even spotted a bald eagle flying overhead! If you’re interested in reading more about this swamp, you can check out this link.
From Lafayette to Houston we had two more interesting experiences. As we approached Lake Charles, LA, we saw a bridge ahead of us that looked like the grade was at a 45 degree angle. I mean, this thing rose up into the air! I don’t know why I didn’t snap a picture except that both Art and I were discussing why in the world was this bridge so high and what the elevation grade was on the thing. From the top it was like a scenic overlook over the town of Lake Charles! Once again I googled to find out why this bridge was so high only to have several articles come up about how dangerous this bridge is! First of all its height is 150 feet above the water (never did find out why so high), and was built in 1952. Yes, 1952. I mean, the thing is older than me! Its condition has been rated as Structurally Deficient with a rating of 9.9 out 100. Crazy! So, though I never found out why the bridge is so high, I did determine that when we come back this way in September, we will definitely be taking the bypass around Lake Charles!
I’m happy to report that the next experience was more pleasant as we entered into Texas. The Welcome Center sits on the Sabine River swamp and there is a lovely boardwalk behind it for strolling over the swamplands. It was a nice stretch of the legs and interesting to get a bit more up close and personal to what we normally pass at 65 mph.
After having been officially welcomed to Texas, we got back on the road and had a laugh at the distance sign that listed El Paso at 857 miles! Guess we will be in Texas awhile!! I’ll tell you about it next time around!