Monthly Archives: November 2012

Day 132 – Is there such a thing as too much Cajun music?

If today’s adventure is an indication, the answer is definitely “no.”  I love Cajun music.  Actually, I love just about any music that makes liberal use of an accordion, but there’s something toe-tappingly addictive about Cajun music.

We left camp this morning headed for Eunice, the unofficial capitol of Cajun music.  Our first stop was the Savoy music center, home of a Saturday morning Cajun jam session.  I had no idea what to expect, but it was so cool!  A bunch of locals get together to play, learn, and generally have fun.  Everyone was incredibly welcoming, and after an hour there we’d been pointed to two other music events that day and purchased 3 new CDs.

At the Savoy

A note from the owner

On the advice of the man singing at Savoy, we headed up the road to Lakeview, an RV park with a funky dance hall where the Louisiana Tourism Board was filming a commercial starring DL Menard, an famous old-time Cajun singer.  We got to hear him sing and took a few spins around the dance floor, despite the fact that we didn’t really know the right way to dance.  No one seemed to care, though.

Barn dance!

After a quick lunch, we headed back into town to tour the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center National Historic Park.  Not only did we get to learn about the Acadian history, we got to see weaving and quilting demonstrations and a presentation about the history and making of boudin, C & Robbie’s new favorite treat.  But the best part was the Cajun music, where C was invited to jam with the group and learned how to play the triangle and the Cajun spoons.

She played with them for almost an hour and had a great time!

For dinner we went to Ronnie’s Cajun Café and ordered this dastardly dish:

Cajun taters

It’s basically little bits of fried potato and crawfish in a spicy cheese sauce.  Holy cow, was it good!  After stuffing ourselves silly, we headed back to see the Rendezvous des Cajuns, the Grand ol’ Opry of Cajun music.  After tapping our toes through the first song, the couple in front of us insisted we dance with them.  So I learned the Cajun 2 step with the husband, and Robbie did his best to learn it with the wife.  At the next song, the husband took Catie up to dance, too.  After that, we felt a little more comfortable on the dance floor, and danced most of the evening.  Catie was so tired by the end that she tried to sleep on the way home (an unprecedented event for the girl who doesn’t want to miss anything)!  And just to keep things interesting, it was 39 degrees in the trailer when we got back.  Brrrrrr!

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Day 130 – Turkey Day!

For the first time since college, I spent Thanksgiving away from my extended family.  While I’m incredibly thankful for the experience of this trip, I felt really sad that I’d be missing out on spending time with my niece and nephew, eating pumpkin pie, seeing if we remembered to take the rolls out of the oven before they turned to bricks, and participating in our annual “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” quote-along.  To make things worse, we had to move today since the park is booked, and I woke up with a horrible cold.

But we are intrepid explorers, and intrepid explorers do not complain.

When we arrived in camp, not only was the campground a dogpile of RVs, but our assigned spot was right in the middle of everything and so off-camber that we’d be lucky to get it even remotely level.  Thankfully we were able to find a much better spot with the help of the park ranger.

Once set up I climbed into bed for a nap.  As I rested, Robbie was off befriending our neighbors, Jennifer and BJ, who invited us to join them for dinner.  What a treat to enjoy a camp Thanksgiving with new friends!  And Jennifer’s mom made these hilarious little turkeys, so we got to have a turkey dinner after all.

Oreo turkey!

Campfire with new friends

Despite the rough start to the day, we ended up having a wonderful Thanksgiving in Louisiana.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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Day 129 – Loozyanna!

I’m excited to say that after 4 months of travelling, I can finally add a new state to my life list!

On our way out of Texas, we encountered this:

Did you think gas would ever be this cheap again?!

Despite the fact that we’d made a loose plan for our travels through Louisiana, within 15 minutes of crossing the border, we’d already deviated from that plan.  We headed south to the coast, and we all agreed that Louisiana looked just like we’d expected it to.  We did a little shell collecting on the beach and counted 25 off-shore platforms!

Finding the perfect shell

The scenery along the coast was beautiful, but the best part was seeing how people deal with the inevitable storm surges.  Based on our highly scientific observations people do one of four things:

1. Build a big hill and locate the house on top,
2. Raise the house on stilts,
3. Build the house conventionally and hope for the best,
4. Build a shelter over an RV and get the heck out of dodge when a storm is on the way.

Based on the height of the stilts on some of these homes, I think I’d opt for the RV.

Today we made a pilgrimage to…

…the Tabasco factory!

That’s a lot of Tabasco back there

We got to view their bottling operation and taste Tabasco ice cream, Tabasco soda, and every imaginable sauce and condiment made with Tabasco sauce.  Yum!  By the time we left, my mouth was on fire!  C and Robbie tried a sausage called boudin (boo-dan), their first taste of real Cajun food!  There was nothing I could eat, so I had leftover tofu.  Lucky me.

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Day 128 – How do you know you’re almost to Louisiana?

You find this stuff in the grocery store:

I didn’t know you could can a rutabaga

Check out the cans at the bottom

We’re staying at Village Creek State Park in the Big Thicket area of Texas.  Though it’s comfortably warm during the day, it’s cold and damp at night.  Bone-chilling cold.  Our first morning here I awoke to a plop of condensation dripping off the roof of our trailer and landing on my face.  Great.

Although we’ve been travelling for four months, we’ve yet to cook on an camp fire!  It’s just too much work to start a fire when we have a perfectly good camp stove that lights instantly.  But yesterday, Robbie decided he wanted to cook hot dogs over a proper fire.  So he bought some mesquite briquettes and set to work.  Unfortunately, we don’t have much in the way of kindling or fire starters or lighter fluid, so his efforts to light the briquettes failed.  Ever the resourceful one, he rigged up this clever contraption:

Who needs kindling?

He started the coals burning on the Coleman stove, then carefully transferred them to the fire pit when they caught fire.  Brilliant.

Today we spent some time paddling Village Creek in a canoe.  Although we’re in gator country, we’re safe here because the spring water in the creek is too cold for man-eating reptiles.  Whew.

Paddling among the cypress

 

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Day 126 – Houston, we have a blog post…

When I realized how many space-related things we’d be seeing during this portion of our trip, I asked our house-sitter to send our DVDs of “From the Earth to the Moon”.  If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend  watching the series.  It chronicles the Apollo mission from inception to grounding and really brings the program to life.  We watch on the laptop whenever we have an electrical hook-up.  It’s kind of funny to see us all huddled around the computer, squeezed together on our 3 foot long “sofa,” bundled up in hats and fleece, under an electric blanket.  But it works!

The time spent watching the videos really brought Johnson Space Center to life for C.  Standing next to the Saturn V rocket impressed on her just how huge an accomplishment the manned missions to the moon were.

Not your average fire-cracker

Space cadets

 

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