As rest days go, this was both typical and extraordinary … if that’s possible.
We started the day by making a vital trip to The Bicycle Shop a few miles away from our hotel in Baton Rouge. Trusty and Steed have been desperate for a pair of new shoes for quite a while now. Kat knows how they feel. Yes, we have finally replaced their tyres and they are now handsomely shod with armadillo tyres, promising to be not only puncture proof but also extremely hard-wearing … pretty essential when you are carrying as much weight as we are.
We also decided that it was time for Kat to replace her cycle helmet after noticing a crack down the inside, presumably from the tumble back in North Florida. After trying all of the Specialized helmets, right from $60 through to $220, Kat was still not really happy…what she really wanted was a Giro helmet exactly the same as the one she had before (see…it’s just like a good pair of shoes). And just as she was about to give up, a miracle happened. As if by magic, Anthony ambled over to see what was going on in the hood (he had been busy checking out the fancy bikes), looked up to the top shelf (no comments please), and spotted a rogue Giro helmet…the only Giro helmet in the shop, hiding on its own and not even in a box, but brand new. You guessed it…it was exactly the same model and size as Kat’s old helmet. What are the odds?
All in all, the guys in The Bicycle Shop were great…thanks to Tom, James and the rest of the crew, who replaced the tyres, brake pads, gave us route advice and even gave us a discount on the helmet (well, it was the last one).
Returning the hotel, we spent most of the afternoon looking forward to Garrett’s Gumbo extravaganza. We were not disappointed. The gumbo, a rich, spicy stew made with chicken and Andouille sausage, was delicious. Washed down with some interesting beers (a particularly good microbrew called Redhook), and some even better conversation, it was fantastic couple of hours.
First of all, a huge thank you to Garrett, not only for the wonderful hospitality, but also for the generous donation that he has made. Second, we have to tell you about the fascinating chat we had with Leroy, a proud “Coon-Ass” (a word for “Cajun” we are told), who was born on a houseboat, worked on a swampboat and went to school on a schoolboat in the swamps just west of here, and has lived and worked on the swamps since he was 7 (he is now 66). What an incredible life. He told us tales of all sorts of creatures, and adventures. We now know how to spot a Rattlesnake and Cottonhead (both to be avoided), and that we shouldn’t be afraid of Gators…really?!! And even more valuable, some contact details in case we get in trouble on our ride tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow we set off for the wilderness. It’s going to be a 90-mile ride, thunderstorms are forecast, we need to take a ferry in the middle of the ride, and when we get to the other end we are not really sure what to expect (the motel we are staying in doesn’t have a website and we couldn’t find any reviews). We like a challenge. Although we’re not sure that it sounds like much in comparison to Leroy’s tales…
Don’t worry though if we don’t blog tomorrow night, as there may not be internet access from the motel. But we’ll be back on line on Thursday.