Our fifth wheel and the truck

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Texas to Louisiana

Hey everyone, how's everything in your world? We hope all is well with you and yours. For us - life is wonderful and just such fun!

It has occurred to me that sometimes we met people and immediately we know that we are going to like them and are going to get along really well. We have been so fortunate throughout our time in America to have met and made friends with some of the most amazing people. Today, we farewelled Pete and Judy with whom we have developed a wonderful camaraderie. We have done so much with them over the last three weeks it was sad to see them drive off this morning. BUT the good thing about this travelling life is that you can be sure that somewhere down the road we will cross paths again. So Judy and Pete we will see you soon.

Never again!! Never again will we order anything big online! Something that was supposed to take two working days to reach us in Livingston, Tx, took ten working days and held us up in Texas and prevented us from moving on to Louisiana (LA). And while we enjoyed the time in Texas we were getting itchy feet.

This week has been the most gluttonous week I think we have had the whole time we have been in America. So many meals at restaurants! It would be very easy to put on lots of weight with all this eating out!!! Some time during the week we had chatted with Rick and Karen who were planning on going to the Rio Grande Valley after we left Texas and asked them if they would like to join us in LA. We were heading towards Lafayette, then Baton Rouge and New Orleans. After giving the matter serious consideration (haha) and reminding themselves that they are retired now and can go anywhere they want to, they made the decision to come to LA. We were so pleased. Judy and Pete were heading that way too and we all planned to meet up in Abbeville - the heart of Cajun country. All we had to do was wait for the parcel to arrive before we could move out! Monday was Mexican! We started the week by sharing a Mexican breakfast with friends and had a lovely morning. I had never considered what Mexican's eat for breakfast so it was quite a novelty. And yes, they do eat tacos for breakfast, they just have egg and bacon/ham in them instead of the usual stuffing! That evening Rick, Karen, Pete, Judy, Norm and I went to another Mexican restaurant for dinner. More food and of course the margaritas don't help either - love those things!

Tuesday, Pete took us to the most interesting restaurant (?), Florida's! Interesting decor - it looked like a shack with all these additional rooms tacked on but the food was fantastic. I had ribs which are just wonderful but you get so many, I finally gave in and for the first time got a doggy bag to take home what I couldn't eat.

Wednesday I had spent the day running around trying to fix a problem with the computer so Norm went out to get pizza for dinner.

At long last on Thursday, our parcel arrived with all the stuff for our pantry alteration and we made plans to leave Texas for Louisiana (LA) on Friday. But in the meantime, Karen, Rick, Norm and I went out to Buster McNutty's for dinner! Will be a good thing when this week is over!!!!!

Friday morning bright and early we set off down the road following Karen and Rick as we drove to Betty's RV in Abbeville, LA. What a surprise we were in for!!!

We arrived at Betty's RV in the afternoon (just in time for happy hour) and I must admit it is nothing like any of the rv parks we have stayed in before. It has been voted the best small rv park in America and has only got 17 sites. All crammed very close together and there is not much room between rigs, certainly not enough to put out awnings for some. We had a difficult site (for us) to get into, but after some frustrating maneuvering Norm managed to put the rig roughly in the right spot. The sites are so close Rick had to wait for us to be set before he could consider getting in to his spot. However!!!!

What this park lacks in space is certainly made up for by Betty, the owner, who is quite a lady. Her welcome and absolute joy in what she does is the reason so many people come to stay for a few days and then end up staying weeks and months. The happy hours each evening are just so much fun, the friendly people staying here and then, finding Pete and Judy here already were absolute bonuses. Betty is an amazing source of information and was able to tell us the best places to visit. And, as well as that, it is in the heart of Cajun country and that is the best!

Sometimes you go to places that immediately attract you and you know they will hold your interest and when you leave you will leave a piece of your heart. I felt this in Colorado, San Francisco and York in Connecticut and I have to say that I feel it here in Abbeville, LA. There is so much to attract you to this area - the culture, history, the landscape and of course the wonderful Cajun people and food.

On our arrival we went to the 'happy hour' and were told that the next morning we needed to go to 'Touchet's Cracklins Party'. Very ignorant as to what a 'cracklins party was we all set out the next morning for 'Touchet's Bar'. Now, to explain a 'cracklin party', people gather under gazebos with lots of locals cooking up 'cracklins' (pork crackle), boudan, chicken wings and sweet potato crisps in big barrels placed over gas cookers. There was also gumbo (yummy stuff) and you could buy alcohol as well - although it was a bit early in the morning for us!

There was no cost and everyone just wandered around tasting the different cracklins and other offerings. I tell you what - you wouldn't get away with it in Australia - you would have the Health Department jumping up and down having a dummy spit and Safety and Health would be shutting it down quick smart. But it was a great morning although as Norm would say, "I could feel my arteries hardening as I walked around". It was a great way to start our stay in Cajun country.

After we left Touchet's we went to New Iberia to visit the Konriko Rice Factory. This is the oldest rice factory still in operation in the USA. What was really interesting about the factory is that much of the operation hasn't changed since it was started nearly a hundred years ago. The machine that removes the hulls from the rice is the same one with just the power changing from steam to electricity.

With the rain threatening on Sunday, the six of us drove out to take a 'swamp tour' in the hope of seeing an alligator. It was an awesome time! The swamp was originally part of a bayou but a levy has been built which has separated it from the bayou.

Our guide Brian was brilliant! He was so knowledgeable about the wildlife, vegetation and stories of the swamp that he kept us entertained and interested for the whole of the two hour tour. There was a French couple on our tour and everything Brian told us he repeated in French.

And while we didn't get to see an alligator we certainly saw lots of birds and these other animals called nutria (if that is how you spell it) that were not attractive at all. The swamp was just so quiet and peaceful but there is no way I would want to get stuck in the boat in there!

After the swamp tour we all went to lunch at 'Crazy for Crawfish'. I have fallen in love with Cajun food. It is so good. I have tried the crawfish etoufee, gumbo, po boys, catfish, jambalya, baudan and don't forget the cracklins. It will be hard to leave this area if only because of the yummy food.

We were only supposed to be staying in Abbeville until Tuesday morning but there is just so much to do around Lafayette and New Iberia that we have decided to stay an extra two days and then go on to Baton Rouge or New Orleans. I guess that is just one of the best things about this life - we can choose to stay or go and even change our destination - just because we feel like it. How awesome is that?

I apologise for the lateness of this post I have been told I have to be better organised and get it done as soon as possible on Mondays. The problem with this is that really I just get too busy enjoying myself and it becomes less important. In fact so much is happening each week that I have to go back to the camera (where all the photos are date stamped) to make sure I have things in the order that we did them. Either that or I am getting old timers!!!!!!

As always, our love to all our dear family and friends. We would love it if you could work out how to leave a comment for us. We miss you all and hope you are all well and happy. Take care of you and yours.

I will do my best to do this weeks blog as soon as possible - but no promises!

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