Thursday February 23rd 2017
It’s official as of 2:30PM I am west of the Mississippi River. The travel day began in Milton Florida around 9:30AM and ended at 3:30PM in Lafayette Louisiana. I stopped for gas in Alabama and at the Louisiana Welcome center. Other than that it was steady driving.
Most of the travel was in new territory. I had only been as far west on Interstate 10 as the outskirts of Mobile. The first new experience was a rather steep tunnel under the Mobile River. It very long but went down then up into the downtown region very quickly. Once I cleared the Mobile metro area it was uncongested travel into Mississippi. There was one long elevated area across a marsh that was a harbinger of things to come in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Welcome center was large and modern. It didn’t have free Orange Juice like Florida, but instead had coffee. I guess they want alert drivers leaving the welcome center. At the welcome center stop, I made the decision to head for the Lafayette or Lake Charles area if I got there early enough. Little did I know the worst part of the days travel was yet to come.
I avoided New Orleans on Interstate 10 by taking Interstate 12 northwest to Baton Rouge where it rejoins Interstate 10 to cross the Mississippi river. The Interstate 12 root may be shorter and it is certainly easier by avoiding downtown New Orleans. Shortly after I cross the river the road started to get interesting. For about 20 miles an elevated highway traverses a swamp. The road is basically two parallel bridges carrying two lanes in each direction. Occasionally you encounter a higher bridge to cross a levee, not a canal or river. It’s just the opposite of a dry land road. Of course there were two different vehicles broken down on this stretch of highway. It really slowed things down.
The road surface on the long bridge wasn’t too bad, but soon after the bridge ended the road got terrible. The concrete road sections used to pave the highway were all curved. The joints at about 10 foot intervals were all higher than the center of the sections. The RV developed a real rough porpoise like ride. I still have more of this rough road surface to travel in the morning.
I am at the Lafayette LA KOA tonight. It is an older, but nice, park on the south side of the Interstate. My site looks out on a small pond with several families of ducks. The only indicator that I am now west of the Mississippi is the TV station call signs. They all begin with a “K” instead of a “W”.