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Six years of adventure with pics to prove it.

Swamp Search, Part Three, Redux

Filed under: Road Trip — she_travels at 11:37 am on Saturday, August 20, 2011

We motored through a few very shallow waterways off the main bayou… the sun was off and on but I think the pics are passable.

Whoo-hoo the sun came out.

If there were a bit of sun the reflections would be more interesting.

Mr. Eric had us zipping down the bayou, he started to call  a name my brain could not sort over the noise of the boat. He was slowing down and seemed to be looking for something. I was trying very hard to understand what he was calling, I thought perhaps there was swamp guide guy in the forest or maybe an animal on shore. Eric started muttering something about a place to tie the boat when I saw an alligator coming at us with some great speed, his huge tail sweeping back and forth pushing him forward. Then it occurred to me Eric was calling the gator (Thibodaux).  Come on, I had learned not two hours before alligators  only predators are man and each other. Now! you tell me! why the heck would a carnivore at the top of the food chain come when called?  Marshmallows. That crazy gator came to get a few marshmallows and believe or not a pat in the tail by Mr. Eric.

Alligators and marshmallows..I still don’t believe it and I was there. I am telling ya people, travel more learn crazy things.

Thibodaux just before he decided he would like a  taste of my shoe. Thank goodness Eric was paying more attention the gator than I was.He  hissed “Get down”,  Thibodaux hesitated then slid back in to the water.

At one point we scared the birds up.

It was great fun to say the least.

Gotta love cropping pics.

Swamp Search, Part Three

Filed under: Road Trip — she_travels at 2:36 pm on Thursday, August 18, 2011

Right then, I do not consider myself a tourist, yes I end up in some places where there are many tourist but for the most part I am wandering, I don’t have so much a plan or have a list of sites I must see, I just happen upon what I happen upon.

I had a friend in Colorado who was very concerned indeed about my and my Mothers welfare on this trip, every evening I would give them a call have a chat about the days events and possible options on the morrow.  This friend of mine one evening  said “You should find an air boat ride.”  So I thinks to myself, if I could find a more personal kind of deal as appose to the herd sorted thing perhaps I would be willing to have a go. Mom of course is up for about anything..Air boat is it.

The problem were against was either far to much water so the boats were not running or no water, no boats. After much conversion and chatting with folks we happened upon an air-boat adventure, dang, I am looking at the map and have no idea where that guy was.  Maybe it was close to Laplace cause we had dinner on Lake Pontchartrain, best crab cakes ever!

On to the pics…

Not with the herd..woohoo!

See him, mid pic? He prolly thought he was sneaky or maybe just patient.

Then, his patience vanished,  he is between  shore and the boat.

Less swamp, more bayou. The guide/driver was a dude by the name of Eric, yeah should he not have been Billy or Billy Joe or..  nahh dudes name was Eric.  It is hard to know if they take on personas to entertain the tourists or if he really was part rowdy bar brawling, drinking loon. Either way the guy was fun.

I should tell you if ever ya have a chance to ride an air boat..it is one of those things you will never forget. The ride is glass smooth and FAST!  Yeah ok, it is loud as well but with the right head gear… twas fun.

This deal is part education, part intro to alligators, NOT crocodiles, they are a whole different can of worms. and part go fast.

The first stop was a bump out to the main water track where several alligators collect. I heard the guy behind me say “I count six.”  I replied with “They get feed here what , twice a day? looking at Eric.  He nodded. Little did I know they are not feeding these gators chicken or beef or any other thing you would figure a carnivore to eat.  They feed the gators marshmallows.  Now, come on, if you were an alligator, roaming about for a meal would you hang around a pool were some dude feeds you marshmallows. Makes no kind of sense to me.

Dang, client just called, she managed to get out of her house so I gotta shift again.

I will get back to this soon.

Swamp Search, Part Three

Filed under: Road Trip — she_travels at 1:30 pm on Thursday, August 18, 2011

As I said before I job was to drive, ok occasionally I would say lets do this or just turn somewhere, this would throw Mom, she would have to re figure her route. Anywho, in the process of trying to stay off the major roads we ended up zipping along a levee. When Katrina hit the news was always talking about levees. I understood it was some thing that kept the water where they wanted it to stay..it didn’t occurred to me it was miles and miles and miles of man made dam-ish miles from the normal edge of the water.

I tell ya people  travel ya learn all kinds of things.

The road we were on was to the right and down the hill, many of the homes were sand bagged and empty.

From what I understand the normal edge of the water should be on the other side of the green bushes to the right. We had a chat with the gentleman and his family just coming home from Sunday services. They had stopped to check the water levels as well. We gathered it was going to get worse before it go better, the water was rising four inches a day.

Swamp Search, Part Two

Filed under: Road Trip — she_travels at 1:03 pm on Thursday, August 18, 2011

Somewhere along the line it was suggested we have a look at a place called Avery Island they said the beauty of  it was overwhelming.  I had no idea at the time Tabasco was a brand name..silly me. Anywho, we were going for the flora not the hot sauce.

They call is bird town for obvious reasons, the green stuff in the water looks nasty from here but ..

If ya get close enough you see it is itty bitty leaf shapes of some sort of plant.

This gets a bit closer to my idea of swamp.

This may be my favorite tree of the trip, and believe me I had plenty to choose from.

I don’t remember where this one was taken. There was much talk from people about the water levels being so low the swamps were not so swampish now. See the dry dirt to the right just past middle of the image? that should be wet puddles with water water everywhere.  The whole thing was very odd being the news the world over was talking about Louisiana being flooded..danged if we were having any luck..yet!

If memory serves by this time we had hit Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge, Avery Island  and various national parks we came across the brown signs for. Doubtful I could ever get back to some of them, I remember heaps of craw-fish farms, never did get a pic of  the feeding stations.

It was suggested more than once we stay away from Atchafalaya Delta State Wildlife area cause if and when  it was decided to allow more of  the upper dam open it would be flooded. Mom had heard Morgan City was either under water or would be soon but I didn’t want to go way north to get across the Atchafalaya Delta so we compromised on taking a major road instead of the back country roads. Come to find out people in Morgan City were mowing lawns and shopping, no one there was the least bit concerned.

Some where along the way we decided a visit to Grand Isle was a good idea. I had no idea how I got through life not knowing there were places on the planet that were connected to the main land by bridge, yeah I have never been to the Florida Keys, maybe it does as well. I am thinkin the photos are not truly going to show the scope of this thing.

I was on the bridge.

There was one right angle and one left angle..so I am on part of the bridge coming up on a hard left turn, once the project is done that left turn will be an intersection. On a bridge..who knew!

There ya go, hard right.  Wacky!  I had no idea they made bridges/elevated roads like this.

Couple random shots from down that way…

Mom loves this one.

I have a fondness for this one. I was told Katrina did in most of the trees in that area.

Just for giggles on we snapped shots of signs.

I don’t know if I should laugh or be concerned.

Swamp Search, Part One

Filed under: Road Trip — she_travels at 8:58 am on Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Mom and I managed to avoid big snow in Colorado, most of the flooding in Louisiana, crazy hail in Texas and a tornado on Interstate 40 in Oklahoma which passed a  scant few hours behind us.  We pretty much giggled our way through ten days of 4763 miles over seven states. We chatted with many a local, saw a just this side of endangered bird called a Roseate Spoonbill  and met a wild, bayou residing, marshmallow eating, alligator by the name of Thibodaux. That wacky gator comes when called, I had no idea a critter at the top of the food chain would give a care about such a thing.

All in all fun was had. I  had my first taste of catfish much to the entire establishment’s amazement, noted by their repeating “Where y’all from? I never met anyone who didn’t eat catfish.” The waitperson, told the bus person then we heard giggles from the back. Indeed, I was pleased to be able to entertain. If I could remember the name of the town I would tell you to stop in at Francis’, they have been feeding families for 65 years. By the by, the cat fish was very tasty.

I didn’t happen upon the swamp image I have in my head, perhaps another adventure is in order, Mississippi or Georgia.

Right then, on to a few photos….

Mom was the navigator, I  the driver. She has a pretty good handle on the south west bits of Colorado so I pointed the car. If I remember correctly we went… Montrose ->Ouray ->Silverton ->

This pass I do not remember the name of  and on into Durango, Colorado.

The idea is to stay off the main roads. Over the years I have spent a fair amount of time on what I call “Blue Roads” four lane divided interstates. When I am not actually driving  to get somewhere I prefer the out of the way, seems to be going no where, kind of roads. One is far more likely to come across Mom and Pop hotels and restaurants with a bit of flavor. I tell you this cause I am not all that sure of the route Mom had us on, though I am going to do my very best.

There is a fair amount of nothing between Durango and…Hmm I remember Mom saying something about Roswell, NM. I can’t imagine anyone being that close to the place and not having a look. It was getting dark by the time we were close, there were many a radio tower with red blinking lights about but not once did we see an alien. Not on a road sign, not on a billboard, not in the hotel… nothing. I was so disappointed.  Who goes to Roswell, New Mexico and doesn’t see an alien.  Shezz!

I do remember several truly dead towns, it was so very sad to see.

Once across the state line in to Texas things started to feel a bit more happy. Plenty of oil rigs pumping away, cattle, cattle every where and occasional a rest stop but the oddest  thing.. no rest rooms. What is up with that?

I gotta say the flowers out there…

Nice color huh?

Then there was this stuff…

It took some amount of time and thought before we realized it was young cotton plants. Cool Pic they make don’t ya think?

This musta been a beach area near the Port Arthur, Louisiana.

I had a bug in my bonnet to see the Creole Nature Trail in the south eastern part of Louisiana. So we did just that.

Come on laugh a little.  Gator crossing indeed!

Tracks O the gator?

I know it doesn’t so much look real, Mom suggested the wildlife people put decoys in the water to entertain the tourists…then his eyes moved.  My first gator outside of a zoo.

We were a bit concerned about the fire, it could be seen from Texas. There was not a soul around, not a fire truck, not any kind of news van. I finally called a friend to check the news about a huge fire in the area..nothing. In the end we decided it was a controlled burn, thus the reason for no one but us to be worried.

I know it is a very bad photo but these things don’t much cotton to having their image captured. Mom thought it was a flamingo until I zoomed in on the pic to see the spoonbill. He was beautiful when he flew away, sadly the camera and  were not fast enough.

Tis a very flat, very wet place..goodness knows what happens when big storms come in. Anywho, every building we saw was elevated. One of the trailers was in huge brackets about either end, we guessed this prevented the wind coming from underneath to flip the building.

Lots of flat, lots of water.

We all know I can’t go any where without snapping a few pics of trees.

Ya can’t tell me they are not the coolest things!

I don’t remember where this magnolia images were taken.

This must be early on in the opening of the flower..then

This is later… seed pods maybe. I had no idea the inside looks like this.

Dang, I must sort and pack for yet another shift in my world.

I will attempt to get back to this tomorrow.