After nearly three months in Florida, we began our travels west. Traveling through Alabama and Louisiana we decided to escape I-10 and head south through St. Martinville, the birthplace of Cajun, and over to Abbeville to the Creole Nature Trail Scenic Bi-way (Hwy 82) along the coast. Traveling through Cajunland was very interesting. We passed through flooded rice fields with row after row of crawfish traps. We’ve read that in April in coastal Louisiana it rains day and night. That explains why everything was built on stilts and all the cemetaries above ground.
|Crawfish traps in flooded fields|
We wanted to try some local Cajun cooking but the restaurants along the route didn’t look too appetizing. So I looked up some recipes on line, stopped to buy the ingredients, including Zatarains BIG & Zesty Creole Seasoning (which Dick won’t touch), and cooked and pigged out on a yummy meal of shrimp fettuccine alfredo, dirty rice and shrimp gumbo. The roots of Cajun cooking come from Brittany. No one knows for sure the source of the word gumbo. Some say it comes from an African word for okra, chinggombo, while some say it is a corruption of a Choctaw word for okra, kombo, the main seasoning.
The weather forecast wasn’t good. A storm front was heading our way and would hit eastern Texas and Louisiana soon. Dick wanted to out run the storm if possible which meant we would have a couple long days of traveling to make time. Did we leave Florida too soon? We continued hugging the Gulf of Mexico through Galveston and Freeport, taking a couple of ferries across Texas bays, then headed inland to San Antonio, watching the black clouds in the rearview mirror, but then we were dealing with high winds and heading for very cold temps in New Mexico and Arizona.
Remember the woman from BC Canada we met in mid-December who is traveling around the US? We met again for a couple days at Gulf Islands National Seashore just before leaving Florida. She emailed to say she was several days ahead of us, hunkered down in Alpine, Texas, dealing with the cold, windy weather. We recommended she head south 150 miles to a campground along the Rio Grande River in Big Bend Nat’l Park where it might be somewhat better and wait until things warmed up on her route west. We really didn’t think she would do it but she did, pulling her little travel trailer south, battling the high winds all the way. Knowing she was there, and also wanting to get where it might be warmer, we went too. It hasn’t always been ideal weather but much better than what we’ve heard is happening further west - like snow in Tucson? Really?
|Janice Henshaw and her traveling partner Baloo|
NOTE: While passing through Mobile, AL we saw the crippled Carnival Cruise ship that was recently towed into port.