Friday, July 23, 2010

Out and about in Baton Rouge, etc.

After seeing the capitol buildings, we headed south,
down "The River Road."
Ah, memories. Well at least for some -
remember Pabst Blue Ribbon beer?

This is such a sweet sight - one we've seen repeated many times on our trip. Dads with daughters and sons in their laps - on tractors and riding mowers. This is how it should be (but seems like seldom is). (and notice that weird pole thing in the background? yup, it's a warning siren for all sorts of "good stuff" - tornadoes, hurricanes, war... must be interesting living in places that need to have these... then again, I guess San Diego living is just as fun, but they use reverse 911 calls instead - for wildfires, flooding, earthquakes, etc.)

We kept seeing these little shacks, usually at least two or more of them together at a time. Bill told me they were most likely slave/sharecropper quarters from back when...

OK, so you thought you already knew all the capitols of LA?! Well, guess again! So Donaldsonville was the state capitol ALSO! But only for about a year! It was New Orleans, then Donaldsonville, then New Orleans again. Then Baton Rouge. Man, starting to sound like some peoples' marital histories!

Donaldsonville has a nice little park with a great fountain that has an even greater sign on it. You just gotta love a place that tells you to go ahead, take your shoes off - heck, get your swim trunks on - and jump in! I don't believe I've ever seen a sign with a message like that before. Yay for them!!!!!

Sulfur works (OK, didn't confirm this by sniff test, but it sure looks like sulfur yellow!).

The Oak Alley Plantation.

oooooo, nice wheels! And paint job! And...! Wow! Hmmm...

A coal plant along the river.

On the way home, we drove by a genuine bayou! Man, I mean this place was straight out of the movies!!!! It was so cool! All these homes right along the river, moss just dripping out of the trees, mosquitoes waiting by the water...

Wonder how they meant that sign...?

And they are pretty scenic too!
(OK, my buggy wasn't quite as cute though)

More bayou.

You'll have to enlarge to see him, but I loved the dog up front!

Night falls on the swampy south.

Baton Rouge - The Capitolz

Continuing our tradition of visiting state capitols, we decided to head over to Baton Rouge for a day trip. We had been surprised when we heard that LA has two capitol buildings, and we set out to see them both! (and you can see them both in this photo - the old one is more lit up and closer to foreground, the new one is darker and way off to the left)
A drive-by view from a bridge over the mighty Mississippi.

The old capitol building - a "gothic revival."

Sort of a little tacky in a way, but also kind of cool in a way. I read that Mark Twain wasn't too keen on the structure. His comments? "Ugliest thing on the Mississippi," and "It is pathetic ... that a whitewashed castle, with turrets and things ... should ever have been built in this otherwise honorable place."

Billy in front of the big ol' wrought iron fencing surrounding it.

A barge on the big river (and a guy and his bike, watching it go by).

Riverfront stuff.

Riverside seating - different amounts of seating at different times, of course! A good place to hang out. (I was about to say a "cool place to hang out" but thought better of it - it was darn hot and humid that day!!!)

As we got close to the new capitol building, we came across a wedding party doing their photography thing. I loved the bride's dress - it was a perfect match to the blooming azaleas!!! Bill and I figure that must've been planned...?!

We weren't the only admirers there that day (Easter Sunday - there were also people there hiding Easter eggs for their little kids and people throwing frisbees for their dogs - hey, why not?! The grounds there were like a big, beautiful park!).

Upper level plantings.

More bridal gown-colored flowers!

Ta-da! The NEW state capitol. Not sure why they gave up on the old building (maybe Twain got too loud about it?!), but this isn't the first change in capitol venue for LA. The original capitol of the state was in New Orleans. This building is very similar to the Lincoln, Nebraska capitol. LA lays claim to the tallest capitol building, while NE takes the second spot. And both look Art Deco to me.

There they go. As for the bride, now that's riding in style!! Much better than a limo! (although the groom was probably doubly ready for air-conditioning afterwards!) May they have a long and happy union!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Getting to know the neighbors

Happy Easter!!!

This stay was the first time I really had to scurry to get us a place to stay, and that was because I had forgotten it was going to be Easter weekend. Much harder to do impromptu reservations at those times!!! So this campground was not our first pick - or our second or third,... But it was mostly fine - except for being a bit old and run-down looking and except for the crazy, aggressive little dog next door whose owners kept letting get lose to attack our dogs! If our dogs had been aggressive back, I'll be that little dog might've kept his distance better - hmm...maybe next time...?! It happened twice. Shall we just say dog and owners are both darn lucky it didn't happen a third time... And we won't be back to that cg because when I told the park owners, they were pretty much fine with it all. But, like I say, it was a fine stay except for that stuff.
And they did do fun Easter stuff for the kids - and there were a lot of little kids!
Like this little kid. And the cat too! :) This was a friend Bill met - Blondie. A very sweet kitty. Apparently the park owners do have very soft hearts for critters (at least other critters - maybe just not for ours?!) - they had several stray cats and dogs they'd taken in. And these critters were also available for adoption by guests. I kind of wondered if we'd end up with a third cat...

Senny, meet Blondie. Blondie, Senny.

Every little dog should have his own picket fence. And basket. And bike. And slave labor to motor the bike.

Tracky demos yet another skill! Tire hopping. And finds an eager pupil.

Actually, many pupils! Can you say Pied Piper?!! These kids made our stay that much more special and fun - and I think this was probably mutually true!

Scratty sniffs.

It's a Love Fest.

Total kid magnets...!

Yeah, it's pretty much a proven fact for us now - Scratty likes little girls better than she likes us. That's OK. We're pretty much over it now. The therapy was helpful. We've gotten past most of our various complexes and abandonment issues... (actually we think it's because she was being raised by some sweet little girls before we got her and Tractor).

Scratty does the tire hopping too - in a fashion...her fashion...! (she's just too quick for the eye!)

Moving right Independence, LA

An interesting sight enroute to our new campground...somebody doing maintenance on a crawdad farm!

You know you're in south central Louisiana when... We got to try boudin for the very first time while in Lake Charles. Boudin (pronounced like bu-dan) is a usually yummy blend of meat and herbs and rice put in sausage casing. You can steam it, nuke it, bake it, grill it,... We had a delicious sample from the local grocery store. Unfortunately, we tried it near the end of our stay there. Little did we know that this was the Boudin Capitol!! And not all boudin is made the same - some of it is great, some not so great. And the farther away we got from Lake Charles, the less the likelihood of encountering really good boudin - or any boudin at all! One of the tragedies of our trip. To fall in love and then leave...

There is an incredible span of raised freeway (I-10) that goes over the Atchafalaya Basin, which is the largest swamp in the US. What a project this roadway must've been!!

We get in to our Indian Creek RV Park and set up. Good thing Bill is getting faster at dealing with the faulty rubber weatherstripping on our slide-outs!!! We woke up to a nice rain...

An outing into the teeny town of Independence. One of the interesting sights: above-ground "burial" - one of the adaptations to being in swampland!!

A happy Billy. Lunch at a cute little diner provided me with a yummy cheeseburger and Bill with chewy chicken hearts and gizzards - yum!!!!?

Back at the camper, Tracky and Senny check out the new 'hood.

Mornings are better together.

Seeing double. Or deja vu all over again. Can you tell this is one of his favorite haunts? Actually he prefers to be stretched out right in front of my monitor. I keep telling him he's a little too opaque to hold that position...

Scratty trying to tell Tractor - hey, this level's taken! Nah - she's pretty accommodating. She'll probably just let him squish in.

Or maybe Tracky got the hint?

Tractor displays a partial demo of the Three-Paw Rule. You can have three paws on the table/counter as long as the fourth remains on the chair/bench! Here it looks like just 1/2 & 1/2. Both cats prefer when the table has no tablecloth - they can just slide their bellies along it...

One of our nicest neighbors. Actually there was a termite problem (for a nearby tree), and maybe someone called this exterminator? 'Cause he was definitely there taking advantage of the steady termite stream!

Scratty holds down the chair. This is one of her favorite places. The other favorite place is the other chair. And hmmm, check out that tail down below...

Tractor goes out with his dad for a second - and perhaps last - motorbike ride. Last not because of anything bad happening with him, but when Bill took Scratty out for her ride next, she got excited about a squirrel, tried to jump off, and ended up tangling with her harness and freaking out. Bill had his hands full, and Scratty was an unhappy camper. And so it was decided that until additional safeguards could be put into place, there would need to be at least a temporary halt on motorized cat rides.

But you can see how, when things go smoothly, those rides can be truly enjoyable for all!!!