Day 12: Fontainebleau State Park, Louisiana

Elevation gained: 298/Miles: 71/Total Miles: 643/Total Fast Food: 4

A little Cajun music, please – I’m in the “Who Dat” Nation!

I awoke and weighed the physical benefit of staying in the hotel against the mental anguish that would be incurred from another day of watching daytime T.V. The decision was easy – start pedaling.

But first, a stop at Krispy Kreme. While I have tried these doughnuts before, this is my first time in an actual Krispy Kreme store. I purchased a cup of coffee and a couple of these gut bombs and the waitress threw in a third for free: “Honey, you look like you’ll be needin’ another.” Within ten minutes, I was trembling uncontrollably from the sugar and caffeine and decided it was time to get riding. I should stop here and point out that in the interest of full disclosure, I have added a new category above indicating the number of fast food meals I have eaten on this trip. I’m finding it almost impossible to find a healthy family style restaurant, fruit stand or farmer’s market. So, I thought I might as well track how often I hit a Mickey Ds, KFC or the like. Plus, this will help me proactively build my defense as to how I was able to ride across the US and actually “gain” weight.

The first part of the ride this morning was thick fog (aka the “gray blanket”, the “soup” or my favorite, “Nature’s Wet Wipe”). It quieted the noise of the traffic and made the surroundings look mystical. Reminders of Katrina continued everywhere; beautiful restored century old homes next to remains of foundations; brick staircases that lead to nothing; advertisements for slab removal and asphalt parking lots given over to weeds.

I crossed the bridge into Bay St. Louis (a quirky little beach community) and reconnected with Don, a rider who I had met earlier in the trip. We compared notes on our experiences to date and poured over the map looking at different routes and agreed to keep in touch.

For the next four hours, I traveled Hwy 190 dodging rain showers and winding through bayous. The impact of Katrina was constant – entire forests with tree tops snapped off; enormous mounds of vehicles and debris piled on hidden dirt roads; a large fishing boat lying on its side in the middle of a group of pine trees and shuttered commercial buildings with roofs falling down. Yet, the bayous were beautiful. Egrets and herons were in abundance and the high grass danced in the breeze. I saw a large tree lying across a swamp. It had the most intriguing bark – black with a scalloped surface. I stopped to take a photograph and the bark disappeared into the water – it was more than a dozen turtles sunning themselves.

Since about Tallahassee, I have been seeing Mardi Gras beads on every roadway. Main highways, dirt roads, county roads – everywhere and in every color – tangerine, lavender, black, white, turquoise. Perhaps, the reason for the high number of CPM (Churches per Mile) here is that they serve as a balance for the southern love of “Les Bon Temps Rouler”?

At about 4pm, I found a beautiful 30-mile long bike path called the “Tammany Trace”. It’s built upon the remnants of a former railroad bed and I was able to take it right into Fontainebleau State Park where I decided to camp for the night. This is a beautiful park located on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain with laundry, hot showers and some nice quiet sites.

Finally, today’s Road Kill Report: a beautiful barn owl, two armadillos and an extremely large wild boar – large enough that I almost rethought the idea of camping tonight.


Filed under Biking U.S.

7 responses to “Day 12: Fontainebleau State Park, Louisiana

  1. Goodnight Mike, looking forward to the next update. Stay safe.

    Love Scott, Lisa & Tyler

  2. U. Dick

    Glad your back on the road, keep a eye out for “Gators”.
    The weather looks ok this morning so I hope the wind is at your back and you have lots of butt butter.

    Big hug,
    U. Dick

  3. sbn_kc

    as a non-southerner, it took a while to figure out you CAN get vegetables in the south. any decent lunch place has 3-n-meat or 4-n-meat. you get 3 or 4 sides and a chunk of the ‘meat’ of the day. the sides tend to be boiled greens, green beans, okra, black-eyed peas and a bunch of other things boiled to the point of extreme limpness. not exactly fresh and crisp, but at least it resembles veg. and all veg is fried in bacon fat at some point in the cooking process to give it that great southern flavor.

  4. Polish Super Hero

    Nice shot of the Madri Gras beads…but isn’t there some connection between the beads and womens breasts? Next time, get the picture right.
    Lake Pontchartrain – queue up some Lucinda Williams.

  5. Pat Dillon

    Hope you find a White Castle to add to your fast food tally. Doesn’t get better than White Castle. Be safe. Pat

  6. Hey Mike – I’m with you about the owl and boar – remind me to tell you my hunting stories. I swear boar are the ugliest creatures on the planet. I had to hide a dead owl in our family freezer for months, it was going to be a birthday present for Dick. Now I piqued your interest !!! Picture the dead owl hiding next to the boar sausage I had made from my first boar hunting trip, in our freezer. Ug !!! well, you had to be there to appreciate this.

    Keep having a great time. Hugs, Carolyn

  7. Hi Mike! Found your website via my googlesearch downloads. I hope you found Foutainbleau to be comfortable. this is a magical place to live and you have happened upon it during the beginning of spring after and especially long winter. Where is your final destination? I’d love to follow your trek. Check out my blog when you have some downtime. there are some entries about our love of the Tammany Trace. Godspeed!

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