While last night was not as exciting as I first feared, I hit the road at first light stopping only at a local gas station for directions. Over a cup of coffee, I chatted with a farmer who gave me a quick education on raising cotton, sugar cane, wheat, rice and beans. Most interesting, he floods one of his fields to raise crayfish. He took a look at my proposed route and suggested that I instead take Hwy 105 along the levee and then into Palmetto, Lebeau and Washington.
It was a beautiful ride through bucolic settings with little traffic. Small family farms checkered the road. It was idyllic. I felt like I was riding through a Disney movie. Just as I was getting ready to start singing with a little cartoon bird, I turned a bend and saw four dogs jump off a porch and tear after me. As the adrenaline kicked into my bloodstream, I stood up in the pedals and started pumping as hard as possible. Looking over my shoulder, I could see the owner yelling at the dogs, but he had a heavy accent and I couldn’t understand if he was telling them to stop or go for my calf. Eventually, the dogs lost interest in exercise and dropped off. I pedaled another ½ mile before pulling over, catching my breath and giving my body time to stop shaking.
Thirty minutes later, the same thing happened again. This time it was a small terrier who decided that he wanted some “Mike meat” for lunch. It took another lengthy sprint before he gave up.
I’ve been a coffee hound for years. I generally drink 4-6 cups each morning. When I start vibrating, I know I’ve had enough. I had planned on kicking my habit on this ride and I think the dogs of St. Landry Parrish are the answer. It will work like this.
Setting: breakfast table at home.
W.C.C.: “Good morning, luv do you want coffee or dogs this morning?”
Me: “Better go with the dogs today.”
W.C.C.: “Really? Did you have a bad night’s sleep?”
W.C.C. gives me a kiss, slips some headphones over my ears and asks: “Do you want the tan and white pit bull?”
Me: “Better make it the Rottweiler mix followed by the feral terrier”
W.C.C: “Wow, you really did have a terrible night!” She then hits the play button and watches as my face turns flush, my eyes widen and a light perspiration beads off my forehead as I listen to the sounds of these canine attacks.
Me: “Thanks, honey. Wide awake now and ready for work.”
W.C.C. (smiling): “And, you didn’t even need caffeine!”
As you can see, the mind really wanders when you are on a long ride.
In the late afternoon, I arrived in Washington, one of Louisiana’s oldest communities. I stopped in and poked around the museum and then rode around looking for a place to stay. I found an interesting B&B that rented cabins; however, all the restaurants in town (i.e. both of them) were closed. So, it was back on the bike for another 10 miles until I found a hotel in Opelousas. After I unpacked and did my laundry, I found a place to eat down the street. It was filled with older Cajun couples dancing to a live Zydeco band. Who knew the accordion could sound so good?