getting out of New Orleans
Nightmare. We didn’t think it would be that bad. Google maps with walking directions gave us a route that went over the Huey P. Long bridge.
Hell no. We traveled 8 miles east to find a ferry. That was a cool experience. When we got on the ferry, one of the workers said, “Fuck that shit.” She was talking about my bicycle. I looked at her and said, “What?” I wanted to hear it again because it was funny. She didn’t say anything else. I must have scared her with my big egg head.
I looked up and the Captain was giving us a peace sign. I should start doing that more. It’s cool. Lame and cool all at once. Stupid old hand sign starts to become cool once you’re on a bicycle.
The ferry took us to a heavily industrialized section of the city called Gretna. Asshole redneck drivers everywhere. They took humor in nearly clipping us. Not much I could do about it, so I’d just wave. Harmless ugly egg head guy waving to big boy truckers really pissed them off. It’s great.
Our route led us to a construction site. The road was blocked for 15 minutes because a levvy was being built. One of the workers said we were going the wrong way. I didn’t believe him and trusted my route. What does this guy know? He’s lived here all his life and I’ve been here once. Stupid harmless idiot cocky with his navigation skills.
We ended up going 6 miles out of the way before I realized my mistake. We backtracked 6 miles. I didn’t want to see the construction worker. I could picture him laughing at us, holding up his “Slow” sign and with an “I told you so” under his breath. I pedaled fast avoiding eye contact.
The nightmare continued. We got on a 6 lane highway. I managed to find a gap to cross, although it was close. Eoin had to wait about 10 minutes to find a break. He ended up doing a U-turn. I could tell he was pissed.
I wanted to get out of the New Orleans area. It was like a magnet from hell that would not let us go. That’s been the worst city we’ve cycled through. Nightmare.
There was no talking for most of our 70 mile ride that day. Eoin was quiet. I initially thought he was tired, but it was a festering, seething silence. Something was bothering him. I was concentrated on getting to Houma. My focus was often on the shoulder. Throughout the entire ride, the shoulder was littered with nails, bolts, boards, Mardi Gras beads, and road kill. You have to hold your breath for 20 seconds everytime you come up on road kill. It’s hard not to look at. Rubber necking roadkill is disgusting and tempting.
The most painful parts of cycling through Lousiana are getting over waterways. Usually, we’re on bridges that have little or no shoulder. Cars are stuck behind two ugly turtles climbing a huge incline. I would frequently think about getting flicked off the side of the bridge into the water by one big truck.
Finally. The ride was shit. When we got to Houma, Perry and Lep welcomed us with showers and cold drinks. They had been preparing BBQ, cajun style. Shrimp wrapped in bacon. Chicken. Pork. And there was salad. We needed the protein after all the mac ‘n cheese we had been eating. We were two frail boys on bikes.
Shrimp wrapped in bacon. Good food for frail boys.
Perry and Lep were incredible hosts. They showed us around Houma, a town put on the map for its four big industries: shrimp, sugar, oil, and medical. Lep was in the dried shrimp business. Shrimp jerky.
Perry entertained us with a story about a pair of cyclists that told her to be quiet in her own home. I love horror stories. They’re terrible when they happen, but they make great entertainment.