Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Many Billboards

here we go again - not enough signal to get pictures in - please check back
Tuesday, December 18th, 2007
Mobile, Alabama to Lafayette, Louisiana

254.3 miles
Mostly cloudy

There are lots and lots of billboards in Mississippi! I hadn’t really realized how many states have cut back on the bloody things until I saw them here! They are stacked on top of each other so it’s even hard to see them!

But the gas is cheap – lowest prices I’ve seen in a LONG time - $2.71/gallon! Hurray!

A lot of the roads here – freeways and all – are elevated. There is so much water – so many streams and rivers and bayous (!!!), that I guess it was just cheaper than dealing with all the water!

Speaking of billboards – saw one that said simply “Tall Outdoors-Type, Seeks Relationship” and a phone number. I did a double take – it seems to have been a real ‘personal’ ad – no company name! Went by too fast for me to get the phone number!

At least I understand something, anyway – the bugs! There is so bloody much standing water, everywhere – of course there are bugs! And more bugs! And snakes! While with Blair and Les, he warned me to keep an eye out for water moccasins! And rattlers! Jeez!

New Orleans – I avoided the city, but even miles back inland, there is plenty of construction going on – everywhere you look, new homes, new buildings. And many many falling down shacks.

Spotted a highway sign, while on the I-12 bypass around New Orleans, saying the Republic of West Florida Parkway. You really might find this site as interesting bit of history!

Saw another first – a fire engine factory! Somehow, they seem to be born whole – not manufactured!

I mentioned elevated roads – I saw a sign warning that we were approaching the Basin Bridge. OK, so? The Basin Bridge turned out to be an 18.2 mile long elevated divided highway. Yes, that was 18 miles! This crosses over the Atchafalaya Basin, the largest swamp in the United States!

Bayou Wilderness RV Resort
201 St. Clair Road
Carencro, LA  70520


Monday, December 17th, 2007
Tallahassee, Florida to Mobile, Alabama

279.1 miles
Clear and Cold

Did some wandering on two lane roads for awhile today, although, for the most part, it was just two lanes between stands of trees! Interesting trees too! I’ve always thought of magnolia trees as standing alone, in a place of honor – they are so magnificent! But here, they grow ‘in the wild’ as it were, amidst all the other pines and oaks and whatever. Makes a most interesting combination of leaves!

And there is logging here too, for heaven’s sake. Somehow, in a state that has a high altitude of 400 some feet, I didn’t expect to see the big logging trucks piled high with big timber!

I do love the attitude of some of the local folks though – passed a house with a couple of the popular lighted plastic reindeer, standing under lighted plastic palm trees!!

And they have some good ideas for signs too! Pack Rat Storage. “Got my crabs at Dirty Dicks” Florida Pest Control Reduces Mosquitoes - well no wonder I’ve been getting so many bites – they only ‘reduce’ the mosquito population! Someone had a “FAT LITER 4 Sale” – whatever that might mean!

There was one preacher with a sense of humor – his sign said “You Prayed For Rain – Don’t Cry About the Mud”

Lots of shops and streets and bridges and such include ‘bayou’ in their name. Considering all the water around here, that makes sense. I decided to look it up, just to make sure I knew exactly what a bayou is. Bayou is a Louisiana French term, from the Choctaw bayuk, meaning "small stream." It is usually the offshoot of a river or lake in a lowland area. Another resource says it’s a relatively small, sluggish waterway through lowlands or swamps, generally with a slow, almost imperceptible current flow. Another says it’s any body of water, such as a creek or small river, that is a tributary of a larger body of water. I guess that means it’s OK to call just about anything around here a bayou!

I’ve learned a lot on this extended trip around this magnificent country. What strikes me most is that while most of the ‘news’ – good and bad – comes from the cities . . . so much so that one gets the feeling that we are just a big land of big cities, it’s simply not so. There is more wide open countryside, with so many farms and ranches, family businesses and small towns, going about their business. People going thru their own little soap operas – the fellow mowing his yard, with his grizzled old hound laying in the sun, probably didn’t even see my big box drive by – wouldn’t know about my own sweet little dog’s health problems and certainly didn’t care. I’m just another tiny little cog in a monstrous wheel. My stresses and traumas aren’t the least bit important in the scheme of things! Odd as it may sound, knowing that makes this trip so much more special to me.

After all those profound thoughts :o) I passed through the Panama City area – and can sure understand why it’s the kids paradise – beaches and bars and motels! What more is there? Actually, there’s a Panama City Beach too! But it’s the exclusive part of town! Big resorts and big condos on the beach, private golf courses! Lots of new construction here…they don’t seem to worry about the next hurricane season!

Interesting for me to see – we all know that Florida is inundated with snowbirds in the winter – but here, where the beaches are so lovely, the sand so very white, its season is summer. It’s almost empty now. Go figure.

Some signs around Pensacola caught my eye – “Sex Appeal” in big letters, followed in small letters “for your pet – professional grooming”! That’s called marketing! And then another pet shop – “Your Pet Called – Bring Food Home!”

Crossed into Alabama and the churches grew exponentially! As I turned down the road to my evening RV park, there were three, count ‘em, three Baptist churches in the intersection! Three Baptist churches on one corner! Must be a lot of folks needing redemption!

Paynes RV Park
7970 Bellingrath Road
Theodore, AL 36582

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