Friday, October 16, 2009


We had a big rain storm complete with lightning and thunder, so when we woke up this morning the humidity had greatly decreased and it was cooler. Leaving New Orleans, we just had to get on the Interstate 10 which will take us all the way to Tucson, Az.
Part of I-10 is the Atchafalaya Swamp Freeway, which at 96,095 ft (18.2 miles) long is the 5th longest bridge in the world.
The Atchafalaya Swamp, as well as the entire Atchafalaya River Basin, is one of the most unique areas in the US. It is located in south-central Louisiana, and separates Baton Rouge from Lafayette. The entire Atchafalaya Basin is just a giant swamp, with hundreds of individual rivers and bayou's crossing through parts of it. The middle of the massive area is the thing most people visualize when they think of a swamp, soggy muddy water with Cypress Trees and Cypress stumps sticking out, while the edges are covered in thick forest, and this is where you see most of the individual rivers and bayou's. These rivers and bayou's all feed off of the Atchafalaya River for the most part, which feeds off of the Mississippi and Red Rivers. These are large rivers we're talking about - Whisky Bay for instance, is just as wide, if not wider than the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge. The Mississippi River traveled through what is now the Atchafalaya River Basin millions of years ago and emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. This is the main reason why this area is a giant swamp, why the Atchafalaya River takes the path that it does, as well as all of the other rivers forming over millions of years.
Difficult to get photos of the swamplands as most of it is very dense with vegetation (especially liked the abundance of windmill palms in them).

Took this pic when we crossed the Mississippi River at Baton Rouge.
When we drove through Westlake, we saw the hugh oil refineries. Mike and I had seen a documentary a few months ago that mentioned that most of the oil for the US goes through only a couple of refineries and there is concern that they would be terrorist targets.
We started to see fields of sugar cane and also saw flocks of egrets, very pretty white birds with long necks and are similar to herons.
We arrived in Texas and our campground by 2 p.m. and enjoyed sitting out in sunny 75F weather with no humidity. Later, we drove to a RV parts/deli store (really, it was both!) and could not believe the deli items they had - many Persian salads and foods all made there and they even had a sewer cap that Barry needed! They could not have been friendlier and offered Lana and myself all sorts of samples and we could not resist buying some items for supper. Later, Lana and I walked the large RV park and noticed there seemed to be many welder's staying here. We spoke to a group who told us that they were all working on the gas lines and rebuilding the refineries and were happy to be employed even though they had to work away from home.

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