Last night and the lovely motel seem a million miles away – although we have only ridden around 120 miles today.
Body clocks are still not adjusted, so we were up at 5am. Brekky available from 6am so as soon as the big hand reached the twelve, we headed to the breakfast room. And excellent it was too – probably because the motel catered to construction guys – big, burly ones who needed a good start to the day. Cereal, fruit, scrambled eggs, biscuits (scones to us Brits) sausage gravy, toast, waffles, bagels – the brekky bar was our oyster and very welcome as we didn’t eat yesterday.
J then took me to the Rosemount Plantation in St Francisville, Louisiana.
He dropped me off at the entrance and promised to return in 90 minutes to pick me up.
I went into the office and was told I didn’t have to pay unless I wanted to go inside the house – no time for that.
The gardens were beautiful, despite the heavily overcast day. Spanish Moss hung elegantly from huge old oak trees. It clung (it is a parasitic plant) from Crepe Myrtle, Hydrangeas – in fact, anywhere it could attach itself. Draped on the very old oak trees, it made a majestic entrance to the grounds.
Within seconds I was dripping with sweat – we’re not talking lady-like here and a bit of perspiration – no, sweat that ran from every pore; sweat ran from my eyeballs.
And the bugs – nasty little nippers that swarmed onto the rivulets of sweat that cascaded from my pores. They bzzzzd around my face, flew into my eyes, got into my ears. This despite a liberal spraying of bug spray.
It really was worth it though. As I slithered around the wonderful gardens and outbuildings, the maze, the lake, the mansion itself, I became lost in imagining the days of old – probably before the civil war. I could imagine the poor slaves – sweating much more heavily than I as they broke their backs picking cotton or sugar cane.
The kitchen with its blackened fireplace brought images of a rotund, ebony-black woman stirring rice in a huge pot.
An hour and a half really wasn’t enough to do the place justice photographically, but it was all I had.
At the agreed time, J appeared to pick me up and we set off for the second plantation – now a bed and breakfast place – 8 miles away.
This was the Greenwood Plantation. Again, J stayed behind – this time at the entrance. I left him my small camera to entertain himself.
When I returned, he hissed at me to hurry up, give him the Nikon. In the culvert, opposite the entrance, two armadillos foraged in the leaves. He tried to keep up with their quick darts so he could photographed them. Meanwhile, I chased him the the Sony using video….
Well, from here on in, it rained – and raid. halfway across Louisiana, the thunder began o boom. Lightning flashed ahead, but we carried on riding. At times, it was like being behind a jet ski – the water thrown up from cars and trucks ahead sprayed high into the air.
Rain collected in the seat of my pants and my boots filled with water, becoming very uncomfortable. Next moment, a huge flash of lightning grounded about 6 car lengths ahead. Enough already!
We squinted through the raindrops on helmets, praying for a motel. Suddenly, there was one on the other side of the road. J did a U-turn once he was able and we headed back to the motel – at that point, not giving a damn what it was like.
Under the carport, i climbed off and went into the office – it smelled of grease – never a good sign!. J followed me in. How much is a room? $45 plus tax – $50 total. OK, says J, we’ll take it.
It was a good hour before we could ride the bike close to the room in order to offload.
I walked in and inspected the place – always start at the bathroom. Erm – not very clean! We brought all the bags in and piled them on furniture – off the floor to avoid creepy crawlies. Then J spotted a dead roach.
I was all ready for packing up again but J had had enough. We hung our sodden clothes all around the room and, as much as i would have loved a shower – I declined that when j found mouse droppings in the bath. Worser and worser. Then another dead roach lay near the toilet bowl. next horror was an earwig jogging happily into my boot.
We dried off as best we could, and went out for a meal. Just over the road was a Chicken shack. reading the menu, written on the wall, we asked what was good. ” It’s ALL good” the lady said confidently. J ordered a Hen and sausage gumbo, I ordered chicken and potato salad. We had a beer each whilst waiting.
Then the food arrived! Mine was a whole half of chicken in a very wet bbq sauce and the potato salad was actually a portion of tepid, instant mash, some tepid beans and some tepid rice with bits in. Only a plastic fork was provided so i causiously lifted and tried to cut an area under the wing. Blood seeped out and I put my fork down, closed the lid on the throwaway box and said, ‘I’m not touching that!’ Was too tired to deal with complaining. J offered to share his gumbo – a watery liquid, not unlike the drainage from a dishwasher. I tried a spoonful – greasy as hell.
He ate as much as he could – the lady ‘cook’ kept peering over at us and must have wondered why I didn’t touch anything.
J managed about half of the dirty water and we rose to leave. He picked up my box – coward 🙂 and brought it out with us. Once we reached the river, he opened the box and tipped the food in for the fish.
Back in the Roach motel, we lay on the bed, still dressed, I had put a towel on the pillow and we left the light on all night.
Not much sleep to be had though – it was not dissimilar to lying out on the street with your head on a stony kerb.
Morning could not, and did not,k come quickly enough.
We were on the road by 630am and headed on down that old highway.
Next state – Texas.