Day tripping in southern Louisiana near Lake Charles.
White pelicans cruise the marsh near Calcasleu Lake.
After celebrating a successful red bass and trout fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico out of Venice, LA., we drove the Winnebago Aspect RV about 80 miles north into the New Orleans area, turned onto U. S. Highway 90 and headed west. This route was chosen to avoid driving through busy downtown New Orleans to Interstate 10. One of our primary destinations on this trip is Big Bend National Park, in southwest Texas.
Choosing Highway 90 was a bad mistake. Traffic was heavy until exiting the New Orleans area but the road was rough with potholes and an abundance of bumps that rattled dishes and anything else that wasn’t nailed down in the RV. Heidi, our golden retriever, normally pays little attention to such racket but every bump brought new loud sounds from deep within the RV that scared the “beegeebees” out of her, bringing on a case of the shakes and constant annoying panting.
We gave her Benadryl in an unsuccessful effort to calm her nerves. Her problems persisted all the way to Lafayette, LA., where we merged onto a much smoother Interstate 10 and into Lake Charles where we spent the night. The eight-year-old dog has traveled thousands of miles in the RV without a problem.
Some shells Martha collected along the shores of the Gulf of Mexico near Lake Charles, LA.
With the RV nestled comfortably in a campsite, Heidi calmed but not for long. A thunderstorm with lots of lightning and heavy rain moved into the area, prompting flood warnings and sending Heidi to the rear of the RV, seeking refuge. Within a few hours, the area received seven inches of rain. The campground flooded from the deluge but drained away before daylight.
Martha has “do not take U. S. 90 ever again” written in bold letters in her trip journal.
Her problems persisted all the way to Lafayette, LA., where we merged onto a much smoother Interstate 10 and into Lake Charles where we spent the night. The eight-year-old dog has traveled thousands of miles in the RV without a problem.
A Texas longhorn takes a mid-day breather among wildflowers on a Texas hill country. highway.
Early the next morning, drowsy from a fitful night’s sleep, we drove to nearby Sulphur, LA., and picked up literature at a visitors center for a 123-mile road trip around and through four large wildlife refuges south of Lake Charles. The Creole Nature Trail, an All American Road, winds through a rugged area known as Louisiana’s Outback. Unfortunately, most of the spring migration of migratory birds had already moved north several weeks ago, leaving pelicans, dove, crows and a few wading birds.
One of the refuges is near the gulf where a walk on the beach yielded a couple handfuls of shells including conch, whelks and sharks’ eye.
A drive through Pin Tail Wildlife Refuge warned motorists to stay in their vehicle because of alligators, which were lounging alongside the road in abundance with some up to eight feet long. Getting out of the car to take pictures was not an option.
A boat-tailed female grackle rests on top of a tree near a visitors center in the Southwest Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex in the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge south of Lake Charles, LA.
Lake Charles is a significant player in the oil and gas business. Some of the industry’s largest oil and gas industrial companies have huge installations in the area and several billion dollar refineries and Liquid Natural Gas Plants are currently under construction. Campgrounds here are filled with workers.
For followers of this blog, we are currently on a trip to the southwest United States to Texas and New Mexico. Among the stops will be Big Bend National Park.
NEXT: Bluebonnets galore in Texas hill country.