Thursday, August 12, 2010

Great River Ride – Day 8 - Louisiana


With yesterday’s long day, we both wanted something much shorter today. We planned on riding to Venice, Louisiana which is the end of the road. The locals nicknamed Venice “The end of the world” since all the roads end here. It should have been a short 162 miles, but we managed to make it 174 by getting lost in New Orleans. The signs aren’t that great, but what really made it tough was the very heavy rains.


Before we left Baton Rouge, we played tourist in their downtown area for a bit. We were hoping to avoid some of the rain later with the delay.

We stopped at the USS Kidd.

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Saw the old capitol of Louisiana which was replaced with the current one in 1932.

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This skink didn’t want his picture taken, but I got him anyways:

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The new capitol is the tallest capitol in the US at 450 feet with 34 floors.

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Eve queued us in to the impending rain (Thanks) with her comment earlier. The forecast for the New Orleans area is 90F and rain until Sunday. It was inevitable to run into rain on this trip. We didn’t mind it at first. I’ve ridden in rain many times. Today, however wasn’t fun. My rain gear leaked in the crotch area, and soon I was sitting in a large puddle of water. If you’re in this situation, don’t put your feet down. When I did, all of the water rushed into my boots. I rode the next sixty miles in the rain with my boots full of water. It was the first time I’ve had that experience. With the rain tomorrow, I don’t think it’ll be the last. The rain was quite heavy which made the otherwise boring ride exciting and quite memorable. :)  I think the leak was caused by user-error. I THINK I forgot to close the bottom velcro after we stopped for gas. We had ridden at least thirty minutes in the rain without leaks, but within two minutes of leaving the gas station I was soaked.

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Single vehicle crash on straight road caused a fifteen minute wait in the downpour. The driver was taken away in the ambulance.

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It let up about thirty minutes north of Venice, so we pulled over and had a snack. I also took the opportunity to wring some of the water out of my socks and gloves. We checked into the motel at a record 4pm. This is by far the earliest we’ve been anywhere near stopping for the day. It was quite a relief. There is a few miles left of the road that we’ll conquer tomorrow. Then we’ll head back up to New Orleans to get wet again and then perhaps eat to Florida. We’re a bit sketchy on the details.

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I did read about a long bridge across Lake Pontchartrain which is 26 miles long making it the longest bridge over open water in the world. It cuts right across the lake just north of New Orleans. I think we need to ride across it. We had a bit of a taste of a long bridge like that today heading into New Orleans, but it was only 5-10 miles. It was also only over bayou and not a lake.

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The Mississippi River near the end of the road. The high dikes obscure the view, but help protect the town from floods.

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Riding in the south, they put these plastic things in the road to make it easy to see at night. They are interesting to run over with the bike. Nothing happens, but some extra movement of the tires. We don’t get them in snow states as the plows would scrape them right off.



PS: I’m extracting frames from the GoProHD video footage for some of the of shots. No worries about me using both hands and a foot to take photos while riding. ;)


PPS: For those of you paying attention to the details, that means I’m using four cameras! Who can name them??


Full Flickr Album here



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  1. Thank you for posting all the pictures of your trip. This is an area of the country I've hardly ever visited. I'm enjoying reading your trip reports. Were you originally thinking of taking the Ural rig on this trip?


  2. Richard: You're welcome. I'm glad you've been enjoying the trip too. I know we have. It is a new part of the country for us to explore as well.

    The original plan was to take two bikes, but then my wife decided she would rather be a passenger. This made things easier logistically, but harder for me.

    I briefly flirted with the idea of taking the Ural, but after our experience with the Trans Wisconsin Trail, I realized it wasn't the bike for this trip, and that I should take the SV. Part of the thinking was the increased maint costs. The Ural needs an oil change roughly every 2500km which is about 1500 miles. New tires at 4000km which is about 24000 miles. The trip was guestimated at 4000 miles meaning we'd need two oil changes and a tire swap mid trip. Not something I wanted to deal with. The increase spoke maintenance was another issue. I will use a set of tires up on the SV, but the oil change can wait until I get home. With the extra physical effort of riding the Ural, it also would have been a shorter mileage trip. Likely just the river and back. We are on our way to the Appalachian mountains now.

  3. Hi guys! I forgot to post my comment this morning. Love the photos...not many people get riding in the rain photos so...way to go!!! I see there is quite a bit of rain in the south and I hear thunder...and my Daisy Lu is hiding in a room with no windows (smart dog) so I'm hoping you are able to go around most of the big stuff. I'm not sure where you are cause your locator seems to be stuck in the same place! Oh yea the little road lights, arent they interesting!! Yes you would never see them up north that's for sure. Only where they don't use snowplows even if they do need them! (like last winter!!)
    Keep on truckin and Ride safe!!

  4. Eve: Thanks for the comments. Yea, rain photos and video whee! I won't spoil today's ride report yet, other than we're already done. The tracker is showing our correct location at the moment. There is also a beautiful pic of our current location on facebook/flickr.

    The road lights are neat. They are red from the other way and white going the right direction. Interesting they seem to vary from two blobs to four.

    Time to go for a walk!

  5. Last time I crossed Lake Ponchatrain I was a young second lieutenant of artillery, enroute to Ft Sill, OK for the basic course. Wow, that was quite a while ago.....

  6. This morning when I got to work I opened my messenger bag and found my water bottle's flip up top had flipped and I had ice coffee inside my waterproof bag--not a lot but enough so that I had to take out all the contents and wipe it out. I was feeling pretty "put upon", and then I read your update. You sure one upped me.

    If the rain doesn't stay away until a day after you pass through, may it at least stay outside your gear.

    Thanks for the pictures of the Capital buildings. Certainly not your basic rotunda.

  7. Dom: Don't date yourself now! :)

    Keith: UGH! I hate spilling stuff INSIDE of the waterproof bag. I've down something very similar with my hardbags. No contest, I think you one upped me. I'm on vacation and have time to deal with the unexpected. You were trying to start your day.

    I think it worked! It rained a ton today, and most of it stayed on the outside. No gear failures today. I guess I learned to be a bit more careful with the velcro. ;)

    Have you seen the ND capitol? It's just a big square brick. MN and TX are still my favorites.

  8. I loved jogging along Lake Ponchartrain. Would love to ride a motocycle there. I'm loving the pictures.

    I've noticed that you've used multiple camera: Your Rebel, GoPro, Pentax and I think your camera phone?

    Rain creates memories! Great examples of smooth and safe riding .

  9. Sharon: Thanks. I'd like to ride a motorcycle there in the sunshine. next time I guess. you win the prize for correctly naming all four cameras. :) no idea what the prize is though!