Day 16: Opelousas, Louisiana

Elevation gained: 191/Miles: 55/Total Miles: 743/Total Fast Food: 5

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?”
Me: “Terrible.”
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?


Filed under Biking U.S.

15 responses to “Day 16: Opelousas, Louisiana

  1. lili dillon

    Mike I admire your wanting to keep going, but wouldn’t you rather have an airline ticket and head home. The rain has stopped and its beautiful out. Perfect day for working in the yard. Keep away from the dogs. Hugs Lili

  2. John Dillon

    Mike, am rushing you a CD of “Who let the dogs out.” Enjoy. Pop

  3. Polish Super Hero

    Reading your blog sent me searchin’ for my Zydeco music…I’m listening to Cotton Fields by Buckwheat Zydeco. Tomorrow I’m going up to the attic to dig my accordian out. Let’s jam when you get home!!!
    To dog free rides ahead,

  4. Hot 4 Teacher

    You have an engine on tht dare bike? Dillon’s….

  5. Phil

    Hey Mike,

    I’m a fellow Sun alum working at Oracle now. I found your blog from the link on Jonathan’s blog. I don’t have the opportunity to “clear my head” from the acquisition limbo with a cross country trip at the moment, but I caught up from the beginning and feel like I’m on the trip with you! Thanks for sharing, it’s great to “ride along.”


  6. brian martin

    Jut so that you don’t think that you are alone….. You have to wait for it.

    My family is playing chasing dog breed bingo….

  7. Cathy

    Hi Mike –
    I think Liz will be envious of and motivated by your interval training. I don’t think I will want to ride with her this week!

  8. Scottish Super Hero

    You are traveling through Morgan’s family’s country-cajun accents & crayfish et tu fait. Just wondering . . . what’s the teeth per person ratio in some of these mighty fine towns?!?
    I am not a Super Hero like you, but I’m married to one; I guess that makes me one too!

    Ride On!

  9. Tim Andrews

    Maybe you can distract charging dogs?
    Build “distraction” Easter eggs, lightly taped so that when tossed behind you, they burst open in front of a charging dog’s path.
    Go to Walmart & obtain: 1) empty plastic Easter eggs, 2) scotch tape, 3) peanut butter & beef jerky (the smelly kind). Keep them zip locked at night, but pocket 6 while you ride.
    I suppose most charging dogs are only putting on a misguided territorial display and eggs will probably distract them. If eggs don’t stop them, you may have a “Red Zone” case; evidence I’d like to have before they’re actually side-by-side to me.
    If they get any closer, consider also a 150 dB air horn.

  10. U. Dick

    Leave it to W.C.C. to come up with great ideas, I bet she will have a CD for NOT kayaking the Mississippi.

    Big hug,
    U. Dick

  11. Time to start a dog counter? 🙂 Take care Mike, don’t let them get you!

  12. your conscious

    With Google maps now offering bike maps, I have GPS on my bike why do I keep asking for directions?

    Do you think the route all the locals are giving me is a ploy they are all in on. Maybe they use cyclists to help train their hunting dogs?

    Next time I will need to remember to channel Cesar Milan. As the large dogs approach me at 20 miles an hour, dismount my bike, Turn and calmly extend my had and say Shush…

  13. Reah

    Hi Mike,
    I’ve just gotten back to looking at your blog and am reading a few days worth of comments. How about spraying the dogs with bug spray? I hear that works.

    I’m with Lili about the plane ticket, but I know this is what you want to do, so keep going.

    One of the towns we lived in during WWII was Oppalousa. It would be interesting to see it now.

  14. shannon

    i am loving the image of you trying to outrace the dogs…pack after pack.

    long live the accordian…i believe liz can play the accordian?

  15. Esperanza

    Maybe you should have carried some doggy treats or tennis balls to help with the dogs.. Take note for your next adventure, should you have another. 🙂

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