Distance 115 miles, 4 of them on my bike, ? mph average, Under half hour ride time, 22 mi. ride with Lep and Perry and 89 miles on Bus, actual time on the road 4 hours 35 minutes. Today’s Expenses $ 93.51
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Nice! Slept in this morning as Lep and Perry have talked me into taking the bus between Baton Rouge and New Orleans and they have to go to Baton Rouge today so will drive me to the bus station as well. I slept with the windows open in the little A-Frame camper to enjoy the sounds of being in a wooded area and the cool night air. The bed was comfortable and for a change I only had to get up once for a potty call, it’s and Old Guy thing to have to get up during the night.
By the time I dressed and packed my gear onto Spirit and made it to the main house Lep and Perry had breakfast ready. We picked up on our conversation of last night about all the touring bicyclists that stay at their place, still amazing they welcome hundreds of folks into their home, even giving up their bedroom to guests as they did last night. Perry and Lep are true “Road Angels” for bicycle travelers. After breakfast we loaded Spirit onto the bike rack on Perry’s mini-van, took a picture of us together and headed to Baton Rouge.
Arriving in Baton Rouge we immediately went to the bus depot where I purchased for $5.00 a ticket to ride from there to New Orleans, what a bargain. The inexpensive fare and route from Baton Rouge to New Orleans is a carry over from Huricane Katrina which devastated New Orleans 7 years ago. Many folks had to evacute the area, some temperarily settled in Baton Rouge needed to get back and forth to their home or job in New Orleans during the rebuilding process. Let me back up a second here to explain why I’m riding the bus instead of riding Spirit. The MRT route between Baton Rouge to New Orleans is now a 4 lane road with fast traffic through mostly an industrial zone and not bicyclist friendly either. That was enough to convince me to ride the bus.
After purchasing my bus ticket I decided to treat Lep and Perry to lunch at their favorite Thai restaurant just down the street from the bus depot. These folks have been so kind and generous to me and so many other riders I felt it was the least I could do to show my appreication. Perry and Lep then took me back to the bus station and even waited with me for the bus to arrive. I was glad they waited as it turned out there were a good many folks taking the bus to New Orleans and it would have been difficult to load all my gear and bike under the bus without their help. Every seat on the bus was filled by the time we pulled out of the station. The ride to New Orleans took about an hour and half and not much to report say about the ride except there was lots of motor vehicle traffic.
As the bus neared New Orleans I phoned tonight’s Warm Shower host Jaden. He said he’d ride to the bus stop on his bike and lead me back to his place. Small glitch in the plan as I excited the bus one stop before the one where Jaden thought I’d get off. Not much of a problem as the distance between the two stops was less than a mile and rush hour traffic was at a standstill so Jaden was able to ride to where I was by the time I had loaded my gear back onto Spirit.
While I was loading my gear onto Spirit a lady came up to me and said she recognized me as the bicyclist riding the length of the Mississippi River for charity she had read about in the newspaper up in Baton Rouge. Wow! I thought to myself how did newspapers get my story and picture this far south. The last newspaper I had been interviewed by was in Charleston,MO. Then I remembered Kevin Smith my Warm Shower host in Helena, Arkansas had told me he was going to get a story in the newspaper there but this is 400 miles south. Yet, I’ve had folks make the same statement in Rosedale and Natchez Mississippi and now a lady from Baton Rouge, could it be possible Kevin managed to contact more than his local newspaper?
As I cinched down my last pannier Jaden rode up on his bike. The kid looks like a bicycle racer. Oh! That’s right he races for Louisiana State University (LSU) here in New Orleans. Jaden introduced himself and told me to follow him as he could get us us out of the downtown traffic congestion, compounded by major street construction with lane and entire street closures. Sure was glad Jaden had decided to meet me as I don’t think I would have found my way from in the mass confusion of traffic. As we mounted up I did remind Jaden my riding speed was slow as a turtle. Jaden laughed told me not to worry he’d ride slow. I chuckled to myself as even sitting still Jaden looked like he was racing. True to his word Jaden kept the pace slow enough for me to hang with him. We weaved in and around neighborhood streets deep in the bowl or crescent area of New Orleans avoiding the busy motor traffic on St. Charles Avenue. Turns out Jaden’s place was only a block off that major through street and we could have probably cut the distance riding to his place in half. I quickly learned the side streets in New Orleans are in terrible condition with numerous potholes and street upheavals going fast was out of the question for motorists on these streets. I appreciated Jaden’s conscientious effort to keep me safe and didn’t mind riding a couple extra miles. All of a whopping 4 miles today!
Arriving at Jaden’s home a Shotgun style double with touches of Victorian Trim (Sound like I know what I’m talking about in architecture? Nope but I was impressed enough with the beauty of his home to go on line and find a home closely resembling his). For sure there is no shortage of beautiful historic homes from the 18th and early 19th century in New Orleans. Since I was marveling at all the beautiful homes we passed on our short ride to his place Jaden offered to give me a ride around town in his pickup to better sightsee the awesome architecture throughout the Garden District. I discovered we were only a short distance from the campus of Tulane and Loyola Universities. As I marveled at the beauty of New Orleans, Jaden shared with me many folks come to the Big Easy and fall in love with the city’s archeture but also of its history, variety of music (not just the blues), great foods (not just Creole) and the revelry and stay the rest of their life or at least a few years. Before now my opinion of New Orleans was based on a brief visit which was mostly on Bourbon Street and I didn’t care much to for it. New Orleans is a historic treasure and a great place to include on your places visit in America. To do it right stay a week or maybe you will even become endured to the city and move here?
Visiting with Jaden at dinner, we had Mediterranean Cuisine one my favorite ethnic foods, he confirmed it was a good decision to take the bus today as he has a bicyclist friend who is still recovering from major injuries sustained when a hit-n-run driver clobbered him on that stretch of road last year. Then another story of a rider wasn’t as fortunate as he died. As I sat listening to Jaden’s horror stories of bicyclists being run over by motorists I found myself once again silently thanking God for protecting me on my journeys.