February 20, 2016 – Sun, 75 degrees
Miles Today: 56
Miles to Date: 12,062
States to Date: 29
For the next month my biggest climbs are going to be over shipping channels. I downshifted over two tall bridges today as I started rolling along the Gulf of Mexico, which I will do all the way to Naples, Florida.
The day began with big clouds, air sweet and thick enough to top a pie. I backtracked through the urban desert of downtown Port Arthur, climbed my first bridge to Paradise Island, and went west, then south, and finally east past the industry along the shipping channel.
A caravan of six gigantic cooling tower manifolds with police escorts and flashing lights passed me. I passed them back when they stopped to change officials at the state line, and so they passed me again.
Another bridge across the Sabine: Welcome to Louisiana! The pavement was smooth, the land flat and saturated with water. The clouds began to evaporate.
Unlike Texas, every kind of building is elevated here.
After 35 miles I took a stub road to the beach. The houses on stilts were mostly boarded up, so I made myself comfortable on a porch swing and took a nice break in refreshing breeze and cool shade.
In Holly Beach the stilts grew even taller. Shotgun houses stacked on high. Curiously, there were also many trailers. They seemed so fragile compared to the buildings. I suppose they just get carted away when storms hit the shore.
Route 82 in Louisiana has so little traffic they didn’t bother building a bridge over the Calcasieu Channel. A small ferry crosses back and forth every fifteen minutes 24/7. It gave me a chance to stretch my legs and chat with locals.
Cameron is an oil and fishing patch, large enough to have a food stand open past 3 p.m. so I was able to savor my first Oyster Po’boy, which I ordered ‘All the Way’, meaning mayo and mustard, tomatoes, lettuce and onions. Mighty good. I want more.
The Cameron Motel is the only sleeping spot in town, with only one customer on this Saturday night. Don’t try to find it on hotels.com. I thought eighty bucks was steep until I saw the room: classic Patel sheik with a mirrored ceiling above the sofa area. Any motel with a first floor room Surly can roll into, chipped ice, in-room coffee, and reliable Wi-Fi has everything I need. Heck, in this stretch of swamp, having a motel at all is worth that price.