Friday, May 6, 2011

Louisiana GTG

Because Houston is on I-10 between Austin and Butte Larose  where I would be meeting RV friends for a GTG (get together) I decided to take the northern route via Lake Livingston on Highway 190. Besides, by driving the ‘back roads’  I would get to see neat new parts of the state at less than 80 miles per hour!  For the first couple hours it was beautiful ranch land.  Lots of cows and horses.  Many sale yards with parking lots full of trucks and trailers.  East of Huntsville this one had a restaurant with such cleaver name I *almost* stopped for a burger,  but made do with a pic instead.

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It wasn’t long before I entered the ‘Piney Woods’.  So fun to see pine trees in Texas.  This is the perfect highway for a road trip.

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That first day was the day of the terrible tornadoes and it was really, really windy all the way.  I stayed at Lake Livingston State Park.  Really nice; more about the park in a later post.

My second day, it was a lovely morning and hard to leave my camp at the edge of the lake.  Sorry to say that the late start got me to I-10 at 5 pm, bumper to bumper traffic, but also my first glimpse of Henderson Lake/Swamp from the bridge.

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One of the excellent Louisiana Welcome Centers is located at the Butte Larose exit.  The two I have visited are both designed after old southern homes.  I didn’t take enough time here;  it will be my first stop next trip.

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There is so much to learn about this area I just skimmed the surface.  Like this special boat for the swamp,  don’t know what it’s called or even which end is which!

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But I *think* this is the back end. 

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Down the road less than a mile from I-10, but feeling much more remote is Frenchman’s Wilderness RV Park.  This is my camp……

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And here’s part of the gang (we eventually made it to 16!) on our way to lunch at Carolyn’s favorite Cajun restaurant. (FYI, it’s exit 115 north off I-10).

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Most of us had the lunch special “Crawfish Etouffee’ with rice, fried catfish, potato salad and a heavenly home made roll (read flour, sugar, and butter!).   The etouffee was absolutely delicious.  I could get a recipe,  but where would I get the crawfish?

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Our camp at Butte Larose was in the middle of the complex system of waterways of southern Louisiana.  The whole area is the Atchafalaya  Basin;  with the Atchafalaya River running the 150 mile length;  along the river is the Atchafalaya  Swamp;  also  the Henderson Swamp that includes the man made Henderson Lake;  Teche Bayou (among many others) that runs through Breaux Bridge; several ‘black water lakes’  and  canals that connect many of the above.  We were so lucky to have Carolyn who lives in the area to get us around on the back roads that snake between these waterways.

We visited several small towns near our camp……Breaux Bridge, Henderson, and St Martinville.  Just past our camp is this pontoon bridge.  The pontoons are adjusted up and down based on the elevation of the water.  Unfortunately the height restriction never changes and is too low for my van.

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The road into Breaux Bridge follows this levee that contains the Henderson Swamp (I hope that’s right).  On the other side of the road is another waterway.  No sure why the swamp needs a levee and what looks like a river on the other side doesn’t!  

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Over the pontoon bridge and along the levee to Mulate’s for more Cajun food and Zydeco music.  Breaux Bridge claims to be the first town to serve crawfish in restaurants.  And Mulate’s claims to be the original restaurant!

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Forest and Friends were playing amazing Cajun music.  Folks were doing the Cajun 2 Step; and the Cajun Jitterbug, it’s really, really fast!!!

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There’s more, stay tuned…

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