Jan 192016

There is probably not an RVer anywhere in America who hasn’t heard how terrible Interstate 10 across Louisiana is. To hear some people tell it, not only will that road shake your rig apart and loosen the fillings in your teeth, it will send women into labor even if they aren’t pregnant, and will create seismic activity worse than the San Francisco earthquake.

Nonsense. That’s a myth. It rates right up there with the stories about Elvis still being alive and working in a convenience store someplace in Arkansas. Here are a couple of news flashes for you – Interstate 10 is not bad at all in Louisiana, and Elvis really is dead!

In the last two days we have driven across the state from the Texas border eastbound, and while there was a time when Interstate10 was rough, these days it’s no worse than other roads in America, and a lot better than many of them. A week ago in Texas the stretch of I-10 west of Fort Stockton was throwing things out of our motorhome’s cabinets and left a big mess by the time we reached our destination. Sunday, coming into Orange, Texas, it was hard hanging onto the steering wheel because the interstate was so rough. By comparison, 90% of Interstate10 in Louisiana was a piece of cake. Yes, there were a few bumps along the way, and some short stretches that felt like we had a flat tire. But they weren’t very long and they weren’t all that frequent.

We left Breaux Bridge at 10 AM yesterday and almost immediately were on the stretch of Interstate 10 known as the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway, an 18 mile long bridge that crosses the Atchafalaya River and miles of dreary swamp.

I 10 Louisiana small

The road is divided, with two eastbound lanes on one set of pilings and the two westbound lanes on another set. For the most part it’s nice and level, and even though it’s narrow in many places, it doesn’t bother me like high bridges do.

I 10 motorhome small

There aren’t a lot of exits along the way, so be sure you have a full tank of fuel before you start out.

Whiskey Bay small

Before too long we got to Baton Rouge, where there was a lot more traffic and a much higher bridge across the Mississippi River. The bridge is three lanes wide, so I got in the center and had no problems.

Baton Rogue bridge small

There wasn’t much boat and barge traffic on the Mississippi.

Crossing Mississippi small

By now we were on Interstate 12, which we followed across the state to Slidell, where we picked up Interstate 59 and took it northeast into Mississippi.

Mississippi welcome sign small

We stopped at the welcome center for a potty break and to stretch our legs for a moment. Many Mississippi rest areas have free RV dump stations, which come in handy when you’re on the road. They are listed in our Guide To Public RV Dump Stations e-book, one of our best selling publications.

Mississippi dump station small

We arrived at Benchmark Coach & RV Park in Meridian at 3:15 PM with 306 miles behind us for the day. This is a very nice, clean little Passport America park where $20 got us a pull through 50 amp full hookup site on concrete. But since the temperature was going to be down to 17° overnight, all I did was hook up electric. We keep our fresh water tank full when we’re on the road, so I won’t have to mess with frozen hoses in the morning.

Greg White had told us about an excellent restaurant in Meridian called Weidmann’s, which is listed as the oldest restaurant in Mississippi, established in 1870. It’s housed in a historic building downtown, and once we were parked and hooked up we drove into town to check it out.

Weidmanns sign small

Wow! That’s about the only way to describe this excellent restaurant. They have an impressive menu of local favorites and Southern standards and it was hard to decide what to select. Well, it wasn’t hard for Miss Terry to decide, she really wanted their shrimp and grits. She described them as stone ground creamy bliss, with large juicy shrimp and the perfect blend of herbs and spices.

After much internal debate I went for the 12 ounce ribeye and I have to say it was one of the best steaks I’ve had anywhere in the country. I had asked the waitress for some steak sauce, but after one bite I knew I didn’t need it. The flavor was incredible and it didn’t need any help at all.

An interesting tradition at Weidmann’s is the handmade peanut butter crocks and assortment of crackers that are brought to every table when guests sit down. According to an information sheet with the menu, this dates back to the 1940s, when legend has it there was a shortage of butter due to World War II. A guest mentioned to the restaurant’s owner, Henry Weidmann, that peanut butter would be a good replacement to accompany the crackers. Weidmann liked the idea and the restaurant has been serving things that way ever since.

We are only about 95 miles from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where my son Travis and his wife Geli live. We will arrive there today and hang out with them for a week or so. It’s going to be cold, so while we’re looking forward to the visit, we’re really looking forward to getting further south, and hopefully warm, before too much longer.

Thought For The Day Avoid negative people, they have a problem for every solution.

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Nick Russell

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

  10 Responses to “And Elvis Is Dead, Too!”

  1. No No …. Elvis is ALIVE!! I saw him in Fresno California with Barbara and Tom Westerfield and family. I even had my picture taken with him!! Funny how he hasn’t aged along with the rest of us though!!

  2. Try drving I-10 WEST BOUND! I-10 was horrible in January 2015! We had to slow down to 40 miles an hour to keep the doors from flying open and even that wasn’t slow enough! Just before Beaumont, Texas was really bad.

  3. Glad to hear the report on the interstate before we head that way for the Escapade. The restaurant sounds good enough to go out of your way to eat there.

  4. Sounds like a great place to eat Nick. And glad to hear the road is OK. But what is that 17 degrees that is about what iit was here in SE Pa. last night!

  5. It used to be that I-12 and I-10 thru Louisiana were TERRIBLE. We know we drove the roads then. But as with all roads the DOT eventually fixes things.
    Florida is gearing down for your visit. It has been in the high 30s and low 40s here at night and today probably only going to be in the low 50s as a high.
    SIGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. YOU MUST BE GETTING CLOSER TO FLORIDA, Temperatures dropping here!!!
    Cheers, Tim

  7. That section of 10 around Orange will be a lot better. Right now aside from the rough road, is the narrow lanes due to road construction.

    Where Exit 4 is in Louisiana is where Leonard’s childhood home was. When the Interstate came through, the house was moved about 3 miles south.

    Shrimp and grits! Yum.

  8. Hey Nick….just wanted to say stop by All About Relaxing RV PARK when you come Close to Mobile. This is a spanking brand new RV park that we found and we have been full time RV ING for 2 years May 2014. We have never been so warmly welcomed. Mardi Gras will be going on through February 9th and you can have fun at Mardi Gras.

  9. I’m just sitting here grinning at the thought of you and your rig visiting my daughter’s place in Northport. Is just off highway 43. The house sits on a hill top and driveway is wide enough for the rig, but the incline is over 30 degrees, I swear. My wife let out a scream when we went up it the first time on our visit at Thanksgiving and we were driving a car. Oh, how I’d love to see you attempt that. LOL

  10. If you didn’t know, the pic of the river and barges, that is LSU football stadium and basketball gym in the distant. It looks cool at night with the LSU lights. In laws live in Opelousas, la so Im familiar with that area.

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