Jan 202011

When we were visiting with Terry’s cousin Carolyn and her husband Mel in Long Beach, Mississippi, the other day, Mel was teasing me about how I once told them that 250 to 300 miles was a good day of RVing, but we often drive 400 miles or more a day. I told Mel he was supposed to do as I say, not as I do. While we enjoy our short driving days, there are times when we cover a lot of miles to get where we need to be.

Yesterday was one of those days. It was a traveling day for us. Not an exploring day, not a meandering day, just a traveling day. A day for putting on miles, for getting from Point A to Point B. We left Magic River Campground in Long Beach, Mississippi about 9:30 a.m., got on Interstate 10 and pointed the nose of our motorhome west, and when we shut it down in Livingston,Texas about 5 p.m., we had put 400 miles behind us.

The weather was good, the Winnebago ran fine, and except for some traffic and a couple of bridges I could have done without, it was an easy driving day. We crossed into Louisiana and got onto Interstate 12 to bypass the New Orleans area. Traffic was heavy through the construction zones coming into the city, and we threaded our way through a series of exits and on ramps.

Baton Rouge looking down

We moved along quickly and rejoined Interstate 10 to cross the Mississippi River on the Horace Wilkinson Bridge. Though the bridge is rather imposing, it has three lanes in each direction, and I stayed in the center lane and didn’t hardly snivel at all as we climbed to the top and then back down again.

Bridge over Mississippi 2

Bridge over Mississippi

Miss Terry managed to get a picture of this sternwheeler as we crossed the Mississippi.


Before we knew it, we were out of the metropolitan area and rolling across Louisiana. This is Cajun country, and we saw signs advertising airboat rides, swamp tours, alligator shows, and restaurants featuring crawfish.

Then we crossed the 18 mile long Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway, a long, narrow causeway with a truck speed limit of 55 miles per hour, a lot of traffic, and not much to see except trees, water, and the back of the rig in front of you. There are no shoulders, so if you break down along here, you’re going to block a lane of roadway and cause a massive traffic jam. Fortunately for us, we had no problems, and eventually reached the other side.

Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway 3

Atchafalaya Swamp

Atchafalaya Swamp 2

The second high bridge of the day was the bridge over the Calcasieu River at Lake Charles. Now, this is one bridge I don’t like at all! It’s two lanes each way, and while it’s not very long, it is really steep! I was glad to put that one behind us!

I 10 Bridge Lake Charles

We crossed into Texas, stopped for fuel at the Flying J in Orange, then continued on toward Beaumont. We left the interstate and took US Highway 287 north past the Big Thicket National Preserve. Our Garmin GPS kept trying to steer us onto a series of narrow County Roads, but we just ignored it until we reached US Highway 190. I’m thinking very strongly about replacing our present GPS with one of the Garmin Trucker models, which are programmed to keep you on routes capable of big rigs. I’d have given my eye teeth for one when we were having mechanical problems in Florida last week, since they also have a database of truck repair shops built in.

We arrived at the Escapees Rainbow’s End RV park in Livingston, found Dennis Hill’s lot, and backed in and got plugged into one of his 50 amp electric outlets. Dennis and Carol own the RV Driving School, and even though they are out in Arizona doing the Quartzsite thing, Dennis invited us to use their lot while we’re here. Thanks Dennis and Carol, we appreciate your hospitality!

We’ll only be here a few days, taking care of some business and seeing some friends in the area, and then we’ll be back in traveling mode as we make our way to Arizona.

Thought For The Day – I have discovered that I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark, or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Nick Russell

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

  11 Responses to “Crossing Cajun Country”

  1. We had never been to New Orleans before and routed over the H.P. Long Bridge. No restrictions what so ever except to say that the left lane was closed due to construction and that two trucks were not allowed to pass. Once on the bridge, the lanes narrowed so drastically that we were just inches from the jersey walls. Then it dropped to one lane and wow, we were not happy because the lane was so narrow. This bridge is up there too. We will never go across that bridge again. We feel lucky to escape without damage to our truck and 5th wheel. Reading about your aversion to bridges, you want to stay away from this one!

  2. Nick, I don’t get hungry when you talk about the local Chinese restaurants or the steak houses, but I was so looking forward to hearing you rave about how you enjoyed a plate of mudbugs in Lafayette. I just flew/ drove through that area recently and had a half plate of fried crawfish tails and a half plate of crawfish etoufee’ within an hour of hopping off the plane, and had a shrimp po’boy as the last meal before flying out. But I do understand the need to get miles behind you… maybe on the next pass thru… let the good times roll ! Great pics, Terry ! You even caught the old State Capitol (where Huey Long was shot) in your sternwheeler image…

  3. Nick said: “I’m thinking very strongly about replacing our present GPS with one of the Garmin Trucker models, which are programmed to keep you on routes capable of big rigs.”

    George said: We’ll be in line in back of you. We are 58 feet from the front of the coach to the rear of the toad and 12′ high. Some of those small country roads that our Garmin tells us to take would be a big problem. So Sandy (our navigator) checks the Truckers road atlas before every trip.

  4. I had the Garmin Truck GPS and had nothing but problems with it. It would direct me to roads and into neighborhoods that were not meant for a truck. I sold it and bought a Cobra GPSM 7700 Pro 7-Inch Widescreen Portable Truck GPS Navigator and have found it to be far superior to the Garmin.

  5. Might I recommend that you take a look at the Cobra truck GPS? We had a Garmin truck GPS and found that it still tried taking us places where a truck didn’t belong.

    George: We’re as long and higher than you and last summer, that Cobra GPS really saved us lots of difficulties while we were in the northeast by keeping us off of roads with low overpasses, etc.

  6. We only use the garmin in the car. When traveling in the motor home we use a small 10-inch notebook with Microsoft Streets & Trips. I program the route exactly as I want it, plug in the GPS antenna and it takes me the way I want to go.
    Could also use a laptop.

  7. After doing some research, I find that the only GPS that is designed from the ground up for the trucking market is the Rand McNally Trucker GPS. This is the number one GPS with truckers at this time. The 7 inch screen is very useful along with the great built-in software. It has too many unique features for me to list here but it is not just a version of the car software slightly altered for the truck market. Now if someone only offered a GPS for RVers. . . . .

  8. Greetings from Q.
    I am wondering what kind of camera Miss Terry uses to get thos great pics while rolling down the road?

  9. Congratulation on not sniveling to much while crossing the two bridges. I have never driven them since I let Mike do them. I just close my eyes until we are over them. We have the truckers GPS that we use along with the regular one on the computer. We are happy we have it, it keeps us out of bad situations. Our is the Garmin Trucker.GPS. Most of the time they agree with each other,but once in a while the seem to differ a bit. Have a good visit in Livingston. It is to bad that Hondo is so far off your route. They have a couple of good eating places we would like to take you to, Be safe in travels see you in about six weeks in Yuma.

  10. Yes me too!! “I am wondering what kind of camera Miss Terry uses to get thos great pics while rolling down the road?”

  11. LeRoy,
    Terry uses an inexpensive Olympus FE-330 8 megapixel digital camera. She turns the flash off to eliminate glare off the glass, and shoots a lot of pictures to be sure she gets enough to use. She has a lot of practice, which shows in the results.

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