Our 1996 Trip Across the USA Page 13
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A note on Photographs - All of us are taking pictures - I'll do my best to give photo credits with an initial, but if I miss one be sure to let me know! J = Jon, D = Don, A = Anne & C = Carol. You can usually tell Anne's - her camera puts the date on the image! Also, most of the images are scans of old & faded prints, so the quality may not be all that hot.

June 30 - New Iberia, LA (238mi)

This morning as we were packing up to leave Fontainebleau we noticed a group that camped a couple of sites down from us packed up & left the entire site trashed. I can't understand why anyone would do that - a dumpster is only a few sites away. Anyhow, while Don & I packed up the tents & vans, Carol & Anne did their best to clean up the site.

Our goal is to explore Bayou Country. I am a big fan of James Lee Burke, an author that writes novels about a detective living in & working out of New Iberia, LA, and Don is an aficionado of hot sauce, so a visit to Avery Island, home of Tabasco sauce is also in order. We followed LA 24 & 56 through the Bayou. It is neat to see shrimp boats parked in the back yard & a pick up in the driveway at many houses. Hard to believe they can thread their way out to the Gulf. We stopped for a couple of sodas & bathroom break at a small country store - walked in, no one in the store, but we kept going down the aisle & ended up in the owners living room. Very friendly folks, however all of us had a hard time communicating - our northern accent didn't mesh well with their Cajun.

We stopped for the night at Belmont Plantation Campground in New Iberia. There is a fast moving, very muddy stream moving through the campground, along with hugh oak trees covered with spanish moss. One of the prettiest sites we have been in so far. We even seem to have our own cat! There is a full moon tonight - if you look carefully at the close up photo of the tent you can see Don & Anne kind of blurred in the background. It is a 5 second exposure with the moon as the light source. As I mentioned earlier, James Lee Burke's books describe the look & feel of New Iberia & Bayou Country. I keep seeing the characters, locations & moods present in his novels. An amazing feeling.

By the way, if you are keeping track (or even if you aren't) we hit a trip total of 5232 miles today.

The Bayou, LA (A)
Belmont Plantation Campground (J)
Belmont Plantation Campground (A)
Belmont Plantation Campground (J)
A Buzzard - Avery Island, LA (A)


July 1 - New Iberia, LA & Galveston Island, TX (285mi)

We drove into town & stopped at the Konriko Rice Mill, the oldest working rice mill in America. A note from 2006 - We went to the Konriko Rice Mill which at the time was billed as "The Oldest Working Rice Mill in the US." At a different address in New Iberia they currently list the Conrad Rice Mill as "The Oldest Working Rice Mill in the US." The photograph at both web sites is the same (& is the building we toured) so I'm not sure what is up, however it was called the Konriko Rice Mill when we stopped by. They sell their rice as well as a number of different hot sauces. Don found one we both liked (Pee Wee's Green Spiced Pepper Sauce), so a couple of bottles went home with us.

After our tour we headed for Avery Island, home of the legendary Tabasco Sauce. Special peppers combined with salt from under the island & 3 years of aging in oaken barrels produces the famous sauce. There isn't a lot to see at the plant, but they do have samples, and, of course, a store for Don & me to purchase a tee shirt. The island also includes a 200 acre jungle garden and is home to many birds & animals.

After leaving the island, we headed into Texas. We stopped for the evening at Galveston Island State Park. The water is warm enough even for Carol! The Gulf is a short walk from our campsite (site 46.) The island has had its share of hurricanes, etc - the picnic tables are built like bomb shelters. It is nice to have shade - it is still hot enough that we are running fans in the tents. This might be a good time to mention vehicle air conditioning - our van has great air, Don & Anne's has none. They make do misting each other with a spray bottle, but it's not the same - maybe more fun, but not as cool. In fact, it is too hot to even be fun...

The Bridge to Galveston Island (A)
Setting Up (A)
Campsite 46 Galveston Island State Park (A)
Picnic Tables & Sun Shades (D)
Jon & Carol at the Beach (A)
Room 302, Waco Hilton (A)

July 2 - Waco, Texas (273mi)

We are heading for Waco, TX this morning. After another swim in the gulf we packed up the tents and hit the road. Carol's sister & family are living in Waco & have decided that it is hot enough that we need to stay in a hotel rather than a tent. Since Bob has a bunch of free nights at the Hilton, we will be in room 302 for the next 3 nights.


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Last Update: March 21, 2012