Day 2 - Sorrento, LA (Cajun Village Cottages) to Baker, LA (Executive Inn) - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

September 23, 2022

Day 2 - Sorrento, LA (Cajun Village Cottages) to Baker, LA (Executive Inn)

Hot Roll Through Industrial Bottom-Lands

NOTE; You can comment on this article at the bottom of the page by clicking on the comment icon.  Likewise, you can comment on any photo by clicking on the comment icon below it. You can also "like" this entry or any photo by clicking on the heart icon.

Heart 0 Comment 0

Statistics, Useful & Otherwise;

Elevation Gained Today; 361 ft                Cumulative;  951 ft

Lodging Cost Today;      $83.62                 Cumulative;  $210.10

Bad Drivers Today;    2                                  Cumulative; 2

Average Speed Today; 10.8 mph              Cumulative; 11.29 mph

Summary of Today's Ride; Industry and highway traffic made for a not-so-fun ride. 

I got away from the Cajun Cottages at 07:30, and there was no police guarding the entrance that early.  Rolling down highway 22 was generally pleasant, but there were spurts of traffic.  This must be church row because I saw quite a few before I reached Darrow and rejoined the ACA route on highway 75.  I noticed several interesting signs outside of churches. One sign outside of what appeared to be a very modern and affluent mega-church-wanna-be consisted of a message on the LCD board that discussed "Tithing Faith."  At least they were being upfront with their expectations about wanting 10% of your income. Two guys were working on a destroyed mobile home that was next door to the New Hopeful Worship Center, whose message board discussed "Free Eternal Life Insurance."  There were other churches and signs and I couldn't help but feel that the churches were competing with each other to see who could have the catchiest phrase on their billboard.

But all those churches had consisted of various flavors of Protestants, and this area is dominated by the Catholic religion.  And so, as I entered Darrow I came upon the St. Anthony of Padua Catholic church.

Catholic Church in Darrow, LA
Heart 0 Comment 0

There was no billboard message outside this church, nor on any of the other Catholic churches I have encountered so far - I guess they don't do that.  The early morning roll along Highway 75 adjacent to the Mississippi River was as good as it got today.  At first there was little traffic, and there was room on the shoulder if I felt uncomfortable with the traffic, and there was occasional bits of shade.  Other than the petroleum and petrochemical industries, another industry this region has is agriculture.  The bottom-lands are apparently quite fertile for crop production and I passed a lot of it today.

Fertile Louisiana Bottom-Land Grows SugarCane (thanks to Sue Schrag for identifying it)
Heart 0 Comment 2
Sue SchragSugar cane!
Reply to this comment
2 months ago
George HallTo Sue SchragThanks Sue! I discovered sugar beets when bicycling past a pile of them in Germany, now I have discovered sugar cane (thanks to you) by cycling past it also.
Reply to this comment
2 months ago

There are lots of petrochemical plants located along the Mississippi River.  Seems like I would pass one and then within a couple of miles there would be another one.  Trucks are constantly transporting goods to and from these plants and along the river there would be a truck of some sort every minute or 2.  Not a constant stream of them, but enough to keep me vigilant with the rear-view mirror.

The Air Smells Funny Near Some of These Plants
Heart 0 Comment 0

I went through an area that had apparently suffered damage from Hurricane Ida last year, because several homes had the "blue roof" tarp coverings.  This reminded me of a friend of mine from the Corps Of Engineers who deployed on hurricane duty to assess roof damage and oversee the "blue roof" operation.  

A Photo For Mark
Heart 1 Comment 0

I rolled up on this sign and panicked at the thought of having to detour, because it was a very hot day and I didn't need any more effort.

No! I Really Need To Go That Way
Heart 1 Comment 0

I decided to roll ahead anyway and try it - surely a bicycle could get through?  I got lucky, because there was a single lane access around the damaged bridge for local traffic only.  Hey, wherever I go, there I am, so surely I must be local at the moment.   I felt a big sigh of relief once I got past the bridge.

I came across this modest Catholic Church near St. Gabriel.

St. Gabriel Catholic Church
Heart 0 Comment 0

Notice the placard on the left of the picture. Here's a closeup view;

A 250 Year Old Church!
Heart 1 Comment 0

I experienced an act of kindness today, the sort of which always surprises me.  There were no restaurants handy, and I rolled up to a convenience store on Highway 30 and they had some breakfast items - so I got a styrofoam container with hash browns, sausage, and eggs.  There was no place inside to eat, so I walked outside and rolled Harvey to the side of the store where there was a bit of shade, and I was just going to sit down on the pavement and eat.  But just then this black gentleman yelled "Hey!" and came striding up my way - I didn't know what was going on, figured he was going to ask me for something or was just curious about me on the loaded bicycle - but instead he said "Don't sit down, I'll be right back with a stool."  He worked at the store, so he went in and returned with a plastic milk-crate that was a perfect seat for me.

Today's Act of Kindness
Heart 3 Comment 0

Gee whiz - I thought this guy was going to be a problem for me but instead he was trying to help me.  He and I talked a bit about my trip and I told him I was always amazed at how kind people were - and that's when he really surprised me.  He told me that folks were kind to me because I brought it out of them.  I said "but you don't even know me."  He replied that he had heard me talking to the girls working in the store when I was getting my breakfast and he said "you just have a kind way about you."  Honestly, I think he had me confused with someone else because I don't think everyone would agree with that - pretty sure my wife will be amused at it - but it gave me something to think about as I headed off in the heat with miles to go.

This sign really made me grin - regardless of your major field of study in college, didn't we all minor in this one? 

Insert Your Own Crude Jokes
Heart 0 Comment 0

The wildlife for today consists of more great egrets.

Great Egrets and a Morning Reflection
Heart 3 Comment 0

Most of the riding today was not enjoyable.  Rolling along on a shoulder on a highway with heavy traffic whizzing past isn't very relaxing.  It's safe enough, but it's just not something you would do for fun.  Unfortunately, it's required in order to get from New Orleans on this route.  So today was mostly just a transport day for me - I rode from Point A to Point B so that I can move ahead to more relaxed and enjoyable riding.  My route went close to the Baton Rouge airport, so I have proven that it isn't necessary to fly from New Orleans to Baton Rouge; you can just ride a bicycle instead.  

Going through Baton Rouge was actually one of the more enjoyable riding aspects of today.  My route went through part of the LSU campus, then along the Mississippi levy trail to downtown, then through downtown and left town on the Scenic Highway (Highway 61 from Baton Rouge north).  I enjoyed all but the Scenic Highway portion.  Here's some pics;

No Caption Needed, So Why Is This Here?
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Levy Path Makes For Easy Access to Downtown
Heart 1 Comment 0

Like every big city I've cycled in, the downtown areas are actually quite easy to navigate on bicycle.  Here's a beautiful Catholic Church in downtown Baton Rouge.

St. Joseph Catholic Church
Heart 0 Comment 0

My middle name is Joseph but I'm no saint.  So I rolled on down the street to where all the sinners congregate.  When the saints go marching in they won't be coming from here.

Baton Rouge is the State Capitol of Louisiana
Heart 1 Comment 0

I departed from downtown through the historical area of Spanish Town and enjoyed the shady avenue for a mile.  I wonder if the little cottages that make up the Cajun Cottages (last night's lodging) came from here?  They were supposed to have been Spanish homes originally and they came from Baton Rouge. 

Near the Capitol Building
Heart 1 Comment 0

The ride out of town on the Scenic Highway and the ride up Highway 19 was not fun, just hard work in the heat.  I stopped a couple of times for a cold drink at convenience stores.  This heat is tough, and the air isn't the best - this is a highly populated area and the vehicle traffic is constant and the air quality suffers from it.  I'm looking forward to getting a bit further north and into the hills and away from the heavy traffic.  

My hotel for tonight (Executive Inn in Baker) is pretty much a dump - it saw it's best days probably 20 years ago and hasn't been maintained since.  But my room has air conditioning, I've had a shower, and the wifi works.  So it's adequate for my needs, more so because it happened to fall about right for my travel plans.   My room has only 1 working lamp, I killed one bug, the smoke detector has been ripped off the wall, a couple of the electrical outlets are just sort of hanging out of the wall, the mini-fridge does not work - I could go on, but you get it - the place is a dump.  

I have a shorter ride tomorrow to a B&B that gets me staged for a long and hard ride on Sunday.  So I'm looking forward to an easier day tomorrow that hopefully gets me farther away from the crowded New Orleans/Baton Rouge madness.  I saw headlines on 2 different newspapers at a convenience store stop today.  One was how the Baton Rouge police chief plans to deal with the overload of gang violence, and the other was about a local school district being in crisis mode because they couldn't hire any teachers.  Really, they can't hire teachers here in Louisiana?!  That's a nationwide problem.

Okay, enough already, this has been a crazy long post with too many pictures - I'll get better as the tour goes along.  Maybe.  The tour is still in the early stages for me, I'm all excited and a bit frightened at the same time, still full of nervous energy like a racehorse getting in the gates.  When I think of wild Louisiana energy, this guy always comes to mind;

 I hope you aren't suffering in the crazy heat, and I hope you are breathing clean air.  Folks down here have to live with it and work in it.  And there are some really good folks down this way.  "Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo," - Good night everybody...

Today's ride: 51 miles (82 km)
Total: 143 miles (230 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 7
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Anita HallAhhhh, that gentleman at the convenience store made me cry. I knew you had it in you! The kids will think it's a hoot though!
Reply to this comment
2 months ago