Monday, October 11, 2010
LISTEN TO THE MOCKINGBIRD
After breakfast, we are ready to go before 9:00, but get delayed chatting with Paul Bienvenue. ("welcome" in French) He lost 120 lbs. by starting to ride his bicycle and is now doing triathalons. He and his wife were here for his 20th high school reunion and seemed to have a blast. Paul reminded us of friend Steve Edwards in appearance and Steve also likes to do ultra events. We biked through the quiet Sunday morning streets of Opelouasas and stopped at the courthouse to snap photos of fiddle-art that lined the front lawn. The artwork represents the history this town has with Zydeco music and also features some of the local things that grow around here such as yams and yellow catfish. We rode SR104 to Hwy 26 toward Oberlin, a town with 1400 people and one motel, The Oberlin Inn. We encountered some rough pavement on 104 and a slight headwind. We didn't however, encounter a constant parade of big trucks blasting past us. It was great riding on roads quiet enough to again hear the songs of mockingbirds. We cycled past rice fields, some speckled with crawfish traps. Whenever the fields are flooded, the water forces the crawfish into the traps that subsequently deliver them somewhere for great cajun gumbo. Yesterday, while crossing the bridge that spans the wide and muddy Atchafalaya River, a sign stated "Welcome to the heart of cajun country" Some of the people we have met have spoken with a hint of the interesting cajun dialect. At mile 25, we stop at Piggly Wiggly in Manou for some apples and had a great time joking around with a trio of locals who could not believe we wanted to ride our bikes to California. We ate our apples on the porch of Frenchies Restaurant, which was closed for the day. We passed over small muddy creeks that no doubt snaked their way to hidden bayous. A highlight of the day was riding past a stoic red hawk perched on a wire. The excitement of the day was Ann outrunning a determined 3-legged dog that ambushed her. We had no idea a 3-legged dog could run that fast. Thankfully we saw our only big truck of the day on Hwy 26 as we were borrowing the shade of a big oak tree at a roadside farm. The only place open on Sunday evening to eat was a casino 10 miles south of Oberlin that provided a free shuttle. Although the food was good, the noise and crowds of people were overwhelming. We celebrated hitting the 1,000 mile mark today.