February 21, 2016 – Clouds, 70 degrees
Miles Today: 60
Miles to Date: 12,122
States to Date: 29
Solid clouds, smooth roads, a withering breeze, scant traffic, and friendly fishermen made for a great day of riding. The only things more than ten years old (pre-Hurricane Rita) were mighty Oaks, low-lying gravestones, even closer to the ground alligators, and the hulking remains of structures that nobody’s bothered to either repair or destroy.
Query of the day: why did some people choose to build back on mounds of dirt while most built back on stilts? Building on piers ought to be less expensive; depending on how far one has to drill the supports. Houses on stilts are taller and the storms pass right through them. Then again, the storm takes the all-important four-wheel toys that people collect beneath their raised homes. If your earthen mound is large enough, your vehicles stay dry as your children.
Thirty miles in, the trees started collecting moss. I get deeper into the South ever day.
Elaborate containers, complete with shade cover and screened porches, often swallow up trailers.
I’ve spotted many elegant birds on my trip; eagles, condors and hawks. Today I saw many blue heron and snowy egret. I have been less lucky with wildlife, but locals in Cameron assured me I’d see alligators along Highway 82. I didn’t see any for miles, but when I heard a kersplash as I rolled by, I looped back and stood silent on the road. Sure enough, the eyes of an alligator popped out of the calm water. He fit right into the floating moss, though it drifted faster than he did. Within minutes I spotted a second one in the same pond.
Like so many things, once you know what you’re looking for, things are easy to see. Over the next five miles I spotted fifteen alligators, most on the far shore of the ponds that line the south side of the highway, many in pairs, some over six feet long.
As I approached the eastern edge of Cameron Parish all signs of civilization disappeared except the blacktop: no houses, no driveways, no electric wires. For more than five miles into Vermillion Parish the road was man’s sole intervention. Then, slowly, bits of human evidence reappeared until I came to the linear village of Pecan Island and found my warmshowers host for the night.
Juanita and her herd of farm animals greeted me with a hug and a cold beer. She served crab boil and jambalaya, which went down smooth, but unfortunately exited my intestines just as just as quickly. Everything in my life just passes through.