Navasota to Baton Rouge
After nearly 3 weeks of riding through Texas, we are quite happy to finally be in Louisiana. It is not that Texas was bad, there were many highlights along the way. Simply put, the state is so large that it takes forever to traverse. Over 1/3 of our total journey will have been in Texas so it is a relief to have completed that phase of the ride.
One of those Texas highlights was The Thicket, a large area of dense pines and underbrush. Back in the Confederate days, men would hide there to avoid choosing which army to serve. Now, it is used primarily for logging and conservation. The pleasant scent of pine was quite strong in the early morning and it was extremely enjoyable to pedal along with mile after mile of beautiful tall trees lining our way. Fortunately, we didn't see evidence of anyone hiding in there as we cycled by.
The Louisiana roads are not much better than those of Texas. Although the texture is not nearly as coarse, there quite often are cracks which cause a bump in our high pressure tires about every 10-20 feet. The hills are much better, however. Slight grades have replaced the steeper hills of previous weeks and that is a welcome improvement.
Our travels over the last few days have been though lush farm country. It has been interesting to watch fields of soy being replaced with cotton and then with sugar cane as we proceeded through western Louisiana. The verdant fields are obvious signs that this area of the country receives much more rain that those regions farther west.
Surprisingly, over the first 4 weeks, the dogs had either been quite docile or locked behind fences. On several occasions, loose dogs simply watched with little interest as we rode by. Unfortunately, that all changed a few nights ago when our lodging was 2 miles down a lesser traveled back road. No fewer than 8 dogs chased and barked up a storm as we hastily pedaled past their digs. One pit bull nipped me slightly on the lower leg. I unclipped my shoe and planted a solid kick when he came back for more which quickly caused him to lose interest. All of us were quite concerned that we had to traverse the same road the next morning but, miraculously, not one of them came back out to play.
Today is a well earned rest day in Baton Rouge. We can recharge our batteries--both in our bodies and in all of our electrical appliances. With 5 weeks already in, we have only 2 weeks to go. And tomorrow we head east again!
If you have everything under control, you are not moving fast enough.
Crossing the Mississippi River