2011: Florida to Texas

I will try to give a brief explanation (if I can remember where we were or what we were doing) This is a post I will have to complete little by little. Unfortunately, my computer hard drive died in 2014 and I lost most of my images from the time.

Well, sorry I have been such a failure at keeping up this week – just been too busy and distracted – BUT, we are now in St Francisville, Louisiana and had to show you this.

The beautiful white sand of a Florida beach
THIS is how a normal person spends a vacation!
Beach Babe
Now THIS is a sandcastle!

Is this our old sailing pal, Norm or is it Donald Sutherland?

Leaving Florida

Image

We encountered a lot of smoke – it came from a forest fire  caused by lightning striking a tree on the Interstate This is NOT something you want to be close to in these conditions! 

 The fire was in Mississippi but we soon crossed into

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.

Jan 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.

Society in and around St. Francisville, at the time that Rosedown was constructed, was dominated by European, primarily British, settlers who became cotton planters on an enormous scale. Most of the 19th-century cotton barons in the area had requested and received their plantations lands through the Spanish government, the titles to which remained valid after the establishment of the United States government. The parents of Martha Barrow Turnbull, who owned the land that later became Rosedown, achieved high social status in West Feliciana through their immense cotton operations, and Daniel Turnbull himself was known before the Civil War as one of the richest men in the nation.

Daniel died in 1861, the same year in which Louisiana joined the Confederacy and declared war against the United States. Rosedown and two other Turnbull plantations were ravaged by the war. Martha Turnbull managed Rosedown after the war. No longer able to operate on the free labor of enslaved people, the family relied on the labor of 250 sharecroppers

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 dripped 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.

Can’t have enough of these beautiful trees
Greenwood Plantation

This was the Greenwood Plantation. Again, J stayed behind – this time at the entrance. I left him my small camera to entertain himself.

Greenwood Plantation built circa 1842 in West Feliciana Parish near St. Francisville, Louisiana.

Greenwood Plantation was built by William Ruffin Barrow in the Greek Revival style of architecture with 28 columns surrounding the mansion. It is considered the South’s finest example of classic colonial. The original house burned down in 1960 leaving behind just the columns and front steps. It was rebuilt and now stands substantially as it did over a century ago amidst multiple alleys of mature, majestic, moss draped oaks. Furnishings include beautiful 1830 original Barrow family pieces. Also displayed are pieces from the many movies filmed on location. Greenwood is a favourite of Hollywood which has been featured in movies including “Louisiana,” “North & South,” “GI Joe II,” and “Jeepers Creepers III.”

In the distance is a pond which reflects the plantation when the lighting is right. The pond was dug by slaves who used the clay for the bricks of the home.

Greenwood Plantation

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 photograph them.

Armadillo – cutie

And here the little beasties are
The Armadillos

Well, from here on in, it rained – and rained. halfway across Louisiana, the thunder began to 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.

Because of the torrential rain, it was a good hour before we could ride the bike close enough 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. But not as horrible sounding as these!

We passed on the Pickled Pigs Lips!

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 come quickly enough.

We were on the road by 0630am and headed on down that old highway.

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