Life On A B-I7

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Southern Tier - Fri Nov 1, 2019

Day 48

Mamou to Bunkie

Since today is November 1, I could start counting the days to completion of my journey, rather than days since the start. To completion, I now have 20 days remaining. I plan to be in St. Augustine on November 21st. We shall see.

I had high hopes for Ville Platte. Since the population is 8,000 I was hoping for a bookstore, or at the very least a coffee shop. There were none to be found and I haven’t seen either one of those since I left Texas. A man stopped to chat about what I was doing in Ville Platte. We met as I was coming out of the lunch place where I stopped. He was very nice, we chatted for ten minutes about the bike, cycling, my journey, he was genuinely curious about it all. I forgot to mention that when I was in DeRidder, a stranger gave me his phone number when I was having morning coffee. That was the first really cold windy day. He told me if I had any trouble at all, to give him a call. What a nice guy. The people here really are more than friendly and very kind. There are no shoulders on the roads in Louisiana, and almost everyone is giving me three feet of room or more when they pass. It’s rare actually that someone doesn’t. To the nice man I chatted with at the ranger’s office in Chicot State Park: the answer is Fairbault.

The morning started off cold and windy, but less windy than yesterday. I made it maybe fifty feet down the street, and then ducked into the Krazy Cajun Cafe for some breakfast. I had a great time. I saw a news clipping on the wall with a picture of Anthony Bourdain, he had visited the cafe. My server told me all about it and even mentioned that she had waited on him. I sat down at the same table where he sat. After ordering and eating my first bowl of grits since entering Louisiana, we chatted some more about Anthony. She told me that he had only tipped her $2. She said she should have asked him to sign the bills. As I ate my breakfast it occurred to me that this situation presented a great opportunity. When I was done eating I paid, and put a $3 tip on the table. I got my server’s attention (I didn’t get her name, my bad) and showed her the tip and told her “now I can tell everyone that I’m a better tipper than Anthony Bourdain.” We got a good laugh out of that, but she didn’t ask me to sign the bills.

One of my friends mentioned that I seem to be having a good time. I am. Traveling in an insular group with your time tightly scheduled is just not my cup of tea. I know there are people in my former group that look down on the kind of travel I’m doing now. But a lot of “how best to travel” depends on your age, your background, and what you want to get out of the experience. To those that think I’m decadent because I’m not camping every night and cooking my own meal every night, all I ask is that you look back 30 years from now and ask yourself if you still feel the same way. I suspect by then things may have changed a bit for you.

The day was cold until about Noon, after that it was chilly but quite pleasant otherwise. I entered Chilcot State Park early afternoon. The route took me six miles though the park. It was one of the most beautiful six mile segments I’ve ridden so far. It was truly a beautiful day, and the park was every bit as stunning. I almost lost track of time as I was riding. I was out of the park way too soon. In listening to the locals talk, as near as I can place it, the park is pronounced “She-ko.” I think the people down here talk strange simply so the can easily detect outsiders.

Another example of the speech differences came up this morning. My host at the Hotel Cazan was telling me about “Fred’s Boar.” I could not figure out what she was talking about. Finally I stopped her and asked her to explain. She said, “you know, a bo-ar.” She said it real slow so I could keep up. Even at that it took me a second, then I realized she was talking about “Fred’s Bar.” A common programming error is to be “off by one.” I found myself “off by one” once again. It’s Friday, and “Fred’s Boar” is only open on Saturday. I was particularly saddened when she told me that “Fred’s Boar” serves the best Margaritas in the State of Louisiana. I’ll have to take her at her word, since I won’t be there myself to verify that claim.

I love the way women call me “darling,” and “sweetie.”

Miles: 37

My first Bayou. My first above ground cemetery.