Rough Roads, Airborne Bridges, Rice Paddies, Cheap Diesel

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CharlesinGA

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Posts
3,338
Location
50 miles south of Atlanta, GA
Well, I told you about the stay at the Casino in Biloxi with the broke trailer.

We got up Thursday morning and pulled out, back across the bay on I-110 and headed west on I-10. We stopped at Walker LA for fuel, Steve is the determining factor as his 2017 sucks fuel compared to my 2003 RAM. Leaving the Circle K I managed to drag the right wheels over the curb, I thought I had pulled out enough to clear the curb and with traffic coming I could not stop. I have small axles that are notorious for bending but these look OK.

Baton Rouge traffic was terrible as I-10 merged back into I-12 which we were on, but the roads had broken repairs, interspersed with broken original pavement, terrible. As we got out of Baton Rouge, the roads improved and traffic dropped way off.

Between Baton Rouge and Lafayette is an 18 mile section of road known as the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, also known as the Louisiana Airborne Memorial Bridge which crosses over the bayous, channels and the Atchafalaya River (which is actually a controlled outlet for excess water from the Mississippi River, in addition to being its own river). The oddest thing about this is a Visitors Center that is located mid way on the bridge at the Wiskey Bay Pilot Channel, where down ramps take you to the Visitors Center and a boat ramp. (we did not stop, I will next time I am in the area.)

Sometime later Steve wanted to take a restroom break and we took exit 48 at Lacassine LA and found a very nice Henry’s Travel Plaza with lots of room for us to park. Walking in, I saw a woman with a step ladder and a bucket of soapy water washing the diesel pumps, which I had never seen anywhere before. I commented that I had never seen anyone wash fuel pumps before, and she commented that she wanted the place to look good. Looking on Google, I see it is a Woman owned business….. They had a place to eat and I ended up getting three boudin balls which are balls of rice, cheese and sausage bits and some Cajun spices, deep fried (looked like a giant hushpuppy.) Pretty good eating and I saved one for later.

Along the interstate between Lafayette and Lake Charles, are huge expanses of rice paddies, the fields were flooded and they had what looked like a flat bottom boat with a planter on the back running rows marked with lines of floats. The fields have dikes all around them to contain the water.

We went straight to Holbrook Park, which is owned by Calcsiseu Parrish (Countys in LA are called Parrish’s) For $22 a night we got a brand new post mounted HD grill, a bolted down steel picnic table and a steel fire ring set into the ground. Someone put some thought into this as the products were of very high quality. The power pedestals were 20/30/50 amp.

Lots of rain while we were there. On Saturday the power went out and stayed out until Sunday afternoon. It went out just as a storm was past us. There are lots of dead pines due to a heavy pine beetle infestation (same here in Georgia) and its possible something took out a line.

I did not do a lot, walked around the park several times with Steve’s wife and their dog, Sat and Sun went to meet him for lunch, and on Sunday afternoon I got the trailer road ready and everything stowed and went to the dump station. Afterward I put it back in the site and plugged it back in.

We were within a few feet of the boat ramp and it seemed that everyone was out testing their boats and jet skis after winter storage. I heard lots of sick running motors and saw people with motors opened up attempting to make them run better.

One thing I did notice about Lake Charles is the number of Wal-Marts. The nearest to the park, about a 10 mile drive, is a Neighborhood Market Wal-Mart with a Murphy Fuel station. 2.8 miles away (all 4 lane highway) headed toward town is a Walmart SuperCenter, also with a Murphy. Heading further south (again all 4 lane) is another WM SuperCenter/Murphy 6.8 miles from the last one. Continuing on I-210 4.9 miles further is another WM SuperCenter/Murphy, and there is another Neighborhood Market WM that is about half way in between them and several blocks north of I-210. Across the river in the town of Sulphur and again, all four lane road 7.4 miles away is another WM SuperCenter!!!

I’m not much for local foods, but for lunch on Saturday we went to Darrel’s PoBoys, which was quite good, and on Sunday we went to a chain pizza place called Crust Pizza Company which was quite good, some of the better pizza I have had. There was one near the Neighborhood Market WM closest to the campground also.

The return trip was much less eventful than the west bound trip to Lake Charles. Heading east, Steve decided to get fuel at an interchange on I-12. I did not realize till I was entering fuel tickets in my spreadsheet that this was the same interchange, at Walker LA where we had stopped going out days earlier. Steve didn’t know this until I told him after we got back home. The west bound we had gone to the right off the exit to a Circle K and on the east bound going home had also gone right off the exit to a Chevron where we had difficulty with the diesel pumps (which were set up for fueling saddle tanks on both sides). I ended up pulling out of the station and re-entering the other way thru the pumps.

As we got a late start, probably about noon by the time Steve got a turnover at work, and got back and prepped the trailer for the road and dumped the tanks, when he pulled off at Mississippi exit #2 at the welcome station for a restroom break, we decided to go to the Silver Slipper Casino RV park on the beach about 15 miles away. However when we started to leave I stopped in the middle of the road, got out and walked back to his truck and asked if he was thinking what I was…….. There were 12 pull off type parking spaces with picnic tables and water hydrants, and were separated from the exit road by an island with bushes. We pulled into the pull offs and checked online, and found that overnighting was OK in MS. Each were marked with no truck signs and Keep vehicles off the grass sign, but that didn’t stop the truckers from tearing up the grass on some of them as they attempted to squeeze into pull offs clearly designed for RV’s.

Adjacent to the Welcome Center was the Infinity Science Center which is space oriented as the NASA John Stennis Space Center is across the interstate from there.

As we wanted to “stir up” the black tanks some before dumping, we both left without dumping and headed off. Next stop was I-65 exit 54 in Alabama at the Creek Travel Plaza operated by the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Where we refueled and stopped and ate breakfast at 9:30 am. This was the same place we stopped on the outbound trip.

Next stop was Bucc-ee’s at Auburn Alabama on I-85, where we got the last cheap fuel and more food.

Final stop was the Georgia Welcome Station on I-85 at the Chattahoochee River to dump the tanks. I was only about 40 miles from the house, and Steve was closer to 75 or 80 miles to his house.

I used the daylights out of the exhaust brake on this trip and for much of the interstate driving I did not have to touch the brake pedal. The pads are worn quite a bit and new calipers and pads are the next order of business.



Charles
 

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Baton Rouge traffic is always a slog from hwy 1 on the west end of the bridge to 61, e. of the 10/12 interchange. When it rains Baton Rouge has an ancient ritual where an idiot has to turn their car over within 1 mile of the river bridge, EB or WB lane, it doesn't matter ( think throwing a virgin into a volcano). That way the lanes on that side are completely blocked and the lanes on the other side are moving at .25 mph so people can look at the wreck.
 

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