I had to sleep in the woods last night. There was just no getting around it. My body and mind craved total foliage submersion. It had been far too long since the last time I slept with the trees. I managed to set up camp right next to the river which led to a glorious night’s sleep. Well except for the foreign and eerie sounds that pervaded the woods. It sounded like a howler monkey practicing for a role in Carmen. Whatever it was, there’s no denying the fact that I always sleep better when surrounded by trees.
I crossed the bridge into Louisiana and was greeted with a cup of coffee and warm smiles from a group of women that resembled the cast of The Golden Girls. Talking to them was like a repetitive loop of pulling a fresh baked apple pie from an oven and soaking in that first breath of cooked apples and gooey sugar. Louisiana is going to be fun. Although I am a bit taken aback by the high volume of casinos and tobacco shops. Fighting the urge to smoke cigars and play penny slots was a constant struggle.
So it didn’t take long for me to reach the serious backwoods of the Louisiana bayou. I knew I was there based solely on the smell. It resembled that of a grandma’s basement. Kind of musty, mysterious, but alluring in the sense that there was the potential of something delicious coming from an unlit area. It definitely didn’t have the Swamp thing vibe I was yearning for. I’m still early on in the state, so my hopes are still high.
Getting to Lake Charles was a bit of a challenge. There’s only one way to do it and that by crossing a massive bridge. There’s no other point of entry for about 40 miles, so e very driver on the interstate has to take it. I fell into that group as well. People warned me about it and urged me to hitch a ride over the bridge. There is no shoulder and cars are zooming by at high speeds. Naturally, I disregarded their words of concern and crossed it with no problem, soooooo IN YOUR FACE PEOPLE CONCERNED FOR MY WELL-BEING! Don’t get me wrong, it was easily one of the scariest five minutes of riding I’ve had on this trip. No shoulder means about four inches is separating me from 18-wheelers moving at about 50 mph and four inches separating me from Lake Charles. I just clenched my handlebars and listened to the roar of trucks similar to that of a freight train. I didn’t get run over and I’m here to type this story so as the great diplomat Borat would say: “My wife!”
Once I crossed the bridge, the skies grew dim and uninviting. A drastic chill swept over the city and I biked through Lake Charles in a shiver. I didn’t want to stop to see what else might happen. I got the picture quickly.
The rest of the ride was desolate, quiet, and absolutely gorgeous. I’m finding myself unable to truly enjoy these scenic byways because I keep worrying that the one I’m on will be the last. It’s difficult to explain, but often my mind directs itself to this thought process. So instead of thinking about the fleeting nature of nature, I thought about those little white tables pizzerias put in the middle of a pizza so the box above it doesn’t crush the pie below. It brought me some piece of mind. And made me want pizza. Luckily for me, Jennings had an all you can eat pizzeria. So not only was my fantasy fulfilled, by my expectation of feeling like a worthless piece of shit after consuming massive amounts of dough and cheese was also exceeded! Luckily I was able to talk to my friend Scott on the phone while the self-fulfilling prophecy ensued. Talking to him has me excited for a return back to Philadelphia merely for the fact that the first thing I do when I get there is hug him, drink a beer with him, and then drink another beer with him.
I’m going to try to sleep in the park in town. It’s cold outside. I don’t mind. I have music and some old raisins that I will try to trick myself into thinking are Cookie Crisps.
This is the part in the blog where I play a song relating to swamps, or bayous, or Louisiana, or confederate flags, or blatant segregation. I choose none of the above:
Total ascent: 468 ft.