This is one of those where the journey is better than the destination. For this leg of the trip I drove nearly non stop from Fairview Riverside State Park in Louisiana to Gila Bend, Arizona. I tried to make at least one of my overnights, and one of my fuel break as much of a destination as possible. I reality the real destination will be on next weeks video in which I revisit Quartzsite, and attend the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous.
One of the quasi-destinations of this trip was Buc-ee’s. This gas station / convenience store chain epitomizes the “everything is bigger in Texas” stereotype. Besides more fuel pumps than I could count, there is a large market with souvenirs, prepared food, groceries, all in large quantities and great variety.
The other highlight that comes to mind was Schreiner Park in Junction, Texas. It is a very pleasant and quiet park next to a river. The best part is that you can dry camp for free for up to three nights. They do have a playground and bathrooms.
Of course the main attraction of this particular segment of the trip was the landscape. The ever-changing scenery as you depart from the swampy flatland of southern Louisiana and traverse the Texas plains. Still in Texas we go from Hill Country to the Chihuahuan Desert. Even the desert undergoes transformations as we continue west. The soaptree yucca of Texas and New Mexico, gives way to the Saguaro and Cholla cacti of Arizona.
Here’s a map illustrating the route I took. On the next one we’ll spend some time in Quartzsite and Phoenix, before continuing to Lake Havasu and beyond.
The West 2019 Part 3 – Serendipitous Breakfast in New Orleans
As I continued on my relentless journey to the west, eventually I arrived in Louisiana. I was originally planning to overnight at a friendly Walmart, but as I got to the Welcome Center, I procured some information about the local state parks. It so happens that the state park I chose, Fairview-Riverside, happens to be barely an hour away from New Orleans.
Fairview-Riverside State Park
Located on the bank of the Tchefuncte River and dotted with Spanish moss draped cypress and oak trees, Fairview-Riverside was a pleasant surprise. There are two main trails, one along the river, and one on the swamp. Both are accessible by wooden boardwalks.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, at 22 miles long, is the longest continuous bridge over a body of water in the world. For a long time I had wanted to drive across the lake, so I was very excited that change brought me here. There is a $5 toll one way into New Orleans.
Taking advantage of my limited time, and after paying a whopping $12 for two hours, I decided to begin my day by having coffee and beignets at the famous Cafe du Monde. I spent the rest of my short morning touring some of the main landmarks, mainly Jackson Square, the Saint Louis Cathedral, Bourbon Street and the Mississippi River. As time ran out I made a beeline for the state park, hitched up and continued towards Texas.
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