Dec 242009

We pulled out of the Camping World in Robertsdale just after 9 a.m. yesterday morning, took State Route 59 north through Loxley to Interstate 10, and turned west. A few minutes later we were crossing Mobile Bay on the causeway, past the impressive bulk of the battleship U.S.S. Alabama, her big guns looking mighty intimidating.

On the west side of the bay we entered the George C. Wallace tunnel, and came out the other end, with the downtown area behind us. Every time we drive through here, I think every American city should be laid out the same way. No traffic hassles, just drive under the darn town!

Traffic was light, and we scooted across the lower edge of Alabama and crossed into Mississippi with no delays. We stopped at the Flying J in Gulfport, and I wanted to get propane while we were there, but the way the RV island is laid out, we had to stop just inside the RV entrance to the parking lot at the propane station, and as I was waiting for the attendant to come out and fill our propane tank, a big motorhome towing a car tried to pull in and was left hanging halfway out into the road because we were blocking the way. An eighteen wheeler was right behind them, so I pulled forward to the fuel pumps so we didn’t have a huge traffic jam. We have enough in our tank to last a while, so we’ll wait until we’re somewhere more convenient to get propane.

Back on the highway, we rolled past miles of flooded countryside, with a long line of billboards sticking up out of the water, advertising one headliner after another who will be appearing at the local casinos. We entered Louisiana, and took the Interstate 12 route around the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, avoiding the traffic in the New Orleans area.

Horace Wilkinson Bridge webWe ran into a traffic slowdown in Baton Rouge, and managed to thread our way through to come back out on Interstate 10, where we crossed the Horace Wilkinson cantilever bridge over the Mississippi River. This is the highest bridge on the Mississippi, and Miss Terry commented that I really seem to be handling bridges much better, because I didn’t snivel. I told her I was too busy trying not to run over four wheelers and hoping an eighteen wheeler wouldn’t run over us to have time to snivel!

We made good time all the way across Louisiana, and the promised stormy weather held off, although we did get some stiff wind around Lafayette, and just a sprinkle or two of raindrops. The Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway is an eighteen mile long elevated stretch of Interstate 10 that bridges the Atchafalaya River and its accompanying swamp, where trees stuck out of the water for as far as the eye could see. The roadway is narrow, and about as bumpy a stretch of pavement as you’ll find anywhere in North America. We shook, rattled, and bounced our way along, and I commented to Miss Terry that as nice as our Winnebago Ultimate Advantage is, our old MCI bus conversion handled this rough piece of highway a lot better. Interstate 10 across Louisiana has a reputation as a terrible roadway, and it is much deserved. More than one RVer we know has had things shake off their walls and out of cabinets as they bounced along.

Eventually the road smoothed out, and at Exit 36, on the east side of Lake Charles, we turned north for three miles on Pujol Road, a good two lane that passed a couple of RV parks. The road ends at a T intersection, and we turned right and went another mile to White Oak Park, a nice little Calcasieu Parish park on the bank of the Calcasieu River. The park has eight pull- through concrete RV sites with good 50 amp electric, water, and a dump station. At $12/night, or half price if you have a National Parks senior or handicapped pass, the park is a heck of a deal.

There was one fifth wheel trailer, which is unoccupied, and the beautiful Tiffin Phaeton motorhome of our friends MarkWhite Oak Park Louisiana 2 web and Sue Didelot. We unhooked the van and pulled into the site next to theirs. Mark greeted us, and a few minutes later Sue returned from town and came over, and then she excused herself to go back to their coach, where she prepared us a wonderful dinner of salmon from their summer trip to Alaska, along with shrimp, and all the trimmings. Yummy! Thanks for the great welcome and the delicious dinner, Mark and Sue!

We had originally planned to push on to the Thousand Trails in Columbus, Texas today, but we can’t pick up the new issue of the Gypsy Journal until Monday. So we decided to stay here two nights, and drive through Houston on Christmas morning, when hopefully, there won’t be as much traffic.

We have three bars of EVDO on our Verizon cell phones, no problem getting a signal on our TV dish, and it’s not cold. Life is good.

Thought For The Day – A friend is someone you can see through and still enjoy the show.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “The I-10 Shake And Shudder”

  1. Merry Christmas Nick and Terry!!

  2. Christmas Greetings, Nick and Terry!

    We agree on the swamp I-10 rough highway. It was no better last October. I thought of you as we traversed downtwon Nashville on I-24 connecting to I-65 north. It was the easiest passage through Music City yet – little traffic at noon and almost everyone drove sanely.

    Last October we passed through Houston on I-10 on a Sunday and the traffic was as bad as if it had been afternoon rush hour. Hope you fare better tomorrow. Love you guys, and best wishes for a great New Year!!!

  3. Nick,

    Glad to hear that you got across I-10 safely. I am sure that you enjoyed the meal that Sue cooked for you and Terry…… she knows what to do in a kitchen. I do feel that I need to make you aware of a condition that Mark is afflicted with. When you are parked next to him, he will call you in the middle of the night…….. 8:22AM to be exact!! If you turn off all of your phones, you can survive the night!

    By the way, if you still need propane when you get to Victoria, there is an easy in/out place here for RV’s. Cost last week was $62 for 21gal. I don’t know if that is high, but it is convenient.

    Merry Christmas to you, Miss Terry, Sue and Mark.

    Richard King

  4. I am so proud of you Nick. Crossing bridges with out crying. That’s a big step.
    Merry Christmas Nick and Terry. We sure do miss you and looking forward to seeing you soon. I will make a ROAST. haa haaa

  5. A wonderful Christmas — on the road! Yay!

    We remember that swamp crossing on I-10 as “bam-bam-bam-WHAM” all the way. We also remember sitting in somebody’s rally, not yours, while a speaker mentioned I-10 across Louisiana and, as one, the audience groaned.

    Your Calcasieu Parish park sounds great. We’ll have to remember that one next time be cross Louisiana!

  6. Interstate 10 across Louisiana is the worst highway we have yet to drive. So much so we will go way out of our way to avoid it. In Dec 06 after suffering this road for hours, we then got wacked by a local drunk driver as we were turning into a fuel station off I-10. At the time, the coach was only a few months old adding insult to injury. He blew .245 at 1PM on a Sunday.

    I will not even start on the idiots in the State Police.

    Have a safe journey and a Merry Christmas

  7. Merry Christmas. Stay save.

  8. So glad to know you’re in a safe, warm place with friends for Christmas. You certainly earned your peace this month. I get a warm feeling just knowing that everything has come to a lull this Silent, Holy Night.

    Thank you for the little treasure in my E-Stocking! The house is full of sleeping grandkids and I’m enjoying the January – February Internet issue of the Gypsy Journal.

    Merry Christmas.

  9. At this point in time, anyplace NOT COLD would get my vote:) Stay warm, stay safe, hug each other and have a Merry Christmas!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.