Opelousas, LA-April 15-90 miles

This morning we left DeRidder around 7:30 AM for our second 90+-mile day in a row! The air was cold, no other way to describe it!  Of course, I had sent my long-finger gloves home with Bill.  So, my fingers got really cold really fast!  But, I did have arm-warmers, a jacket and headband, which I kept on all day.  It is still cold in Louisiana.
I missed the first turn out of DeRidder, so went a couple of miles out of the way before I realized what I had done and called the SAG for help.  I saw riders ahead of me and let the SAG know that they were on the wrong road as well.
After about 46 miles, our route took us to State Road 104.  This is a diked road through rice fields.  This area is one of the leading rice-growing districts in the US.  Unfortunately, it was at this point that I realized the camera batteries were gone.  Alas, no pictures of the rice fields!  Despite early primitive rice-farming methods and much-despised barbed wire fences, the early rice farmers learned about irrigation systems after the Civil War and the crop prospered.  
Our route took us into the small town of Mamou, in the heart of Cajun country.  Cajuns are descendants of 17th century French colonists who settled in Canada, in an area called Acadia.  During the rivalry between England and France for ownership of North America, the English rounded up Acadians to be sent to the American colonies.  Unfortunately, they were not welcomed there, either.  In the late 1700’s, when Spain gained control of Louisiana, it needed settlers to establish claim to the land.  So the Acadians ended up in the bayous and prairies of this area.  The French Acadians became known as Cadians, then finally Cajuns.  Today, the name is primarily associated with cooking.  Paul Prudhomme, who made the blackened redfish famous in the 1980s, is from Opelousas, our home for the night (Sunday).
The wind continued to help or hinder us all day, depending on which way the road curved.  We fought an evil head wind for about 5-7 miles.  Just when I thought I had had enough, the road took a turn and we had a beautiful tail wind.  For the first time in several weeks, dogs plagued our route.  Several folks have bought whistles that seem to help scare them off.
Toward the end of the day, Judy and I were riding together.  We decided to stop one more time to rest before arriving in Opelousas.  As we were eating our snacks, we looked down in a nearby ditch and saw crawfish and minnows.  That may be as close as we get to the famous clawed animals!
Tonight I was able to get new batteries for the camera.  So here are a couple of shots from dinner.  The guides opted for pizza for dinner.  This is Patty, one of our guides.

Patty with dinner














Unless the weather is really bad, we eat dinner outside and have our “cue sheet” meeting for the next day.  This is a typical evening.

Dinner in Opelousas














Tomorrow night we are in Simmesport, at the Sportsman’s Motel.  From what I understand, it may be our biggest lodging challenge yet.  I asked one of the guides if we needed to stop by the local Walmart for sheets.  Since internet access is slim to none, there may not be another posting until we get to St. Francisville.  It has been referred to as the town “two miles long and two yards wide”, and on the Mississippi River.  We will spend two nights there.  I will be ready for a rest.

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