Saturday, February 02, 2013

On the Road: Day 6

Happy Ground Hog Day! I read that Phill did NOT see his shadow this morning and we, therefore can expect an early spring. That's a relief! Less than six more weeks of winter sounds good to me!

Okay, so I missed a couple of days of posting.

Day 4 was the marathon run from Trenton, GA to Berwick, LA: 550 miles in just about 10 hours starting at 6:15 AM EST. Man! What a ride! But there were no cross winds and plenty of sunny skies the entire way. We even got past Birmingham before rush hour because we gained that extra hour entering Alabama.

We got to the campground a little after 4 PM CST (avoiding the major rush hour around New Orleans, too) in the afternoon having made three fuel stops and two rest stops including one for lunch. Along the way I set foot in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana thus checking off the final three states on the continent. I've still got a couple of Canadian provinces and never expect to hit all of them. (The newer ones up north and east of the Yukon just don't have all that many roads and I'm not about to become one of the Ice Truckers at my age.)

We were the last of the crew to arrive. James and Yvette who are Louisianans (our leaders), the sisters (Carol and Ruby) from California, Jennifer from Florida, and Charles and Jacki from Texas were already ensconced. We got ourselves settled in and broke out a bottle of wine to celebrate. Then we all went out to dinner.

Day 5 was spent running around to various stores and shops in preparation for the first Mardi Gras parade of the season. But first we had lunch in Houma at Boudreaux & Thibodoux's  restaurant. Good cajun food! We needed to get food to make a donation at the place where we would be sitting along the parade route and costumes for when we eventually participate on our own float.

Soda, King Cake and chairs in hand we ended up at the garage/supply shop where we were hosted by the owner, Doyle, a friend of James and Yvette. There was gumbo, burgers, BBQed chicken, hot dogs and Lord knows what all for dinner!

One of the Krewes participating int he parade stopped by to chow down for a while and we got to talk to a few of the members. This is no inexpensive little affair for them. Some of the krewes have annual dues of $500 then members will spend $1-2,000 on beads and stuff to toss from the floats as the parade moves along.

Finally, we settled in to enjoy the parade only to wait and wait and wait some more. We did see huge numbers of cars streaming slowly past our vantage point and then, after they closed the street to vehicles, lots and lots of people walking back and forth (got to recognize some of the more distinctive ones).

The parade was supposed to start about a mile away from us at 6:30. It wasn't until nearly 8 PM that the first official parade vehicle showed up. Then the parade progressed in fits and starts as bands stopped to perform and floats/vehicles broke down. There were 32 different floats manned by individual Krewes. Each float was based upon the theme of Louisiana. You had one done up to celebrate the oil/gas workers, another for the hunting/fishing opportunities, music, politics, etc.And they all threw beads...lots of beads.

Yvette had made a sign: "We came from all over the US for Mardi Gras!" that had one of those RV maps you see that have the states colored in to show where you've been. This one had the state license plates filling in the state. Louisiana, Texas, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, as well as Tennessee and Wisconsin (those couples will join us on Monday) and Utah and Michigan (last year's attendees?). Well, that sign proved to be a target for the krewe members to aim at. Poor Yevette! She took a thumping by some of those that were strong of arm and slightly less inebriated on the floats. Some threw entire bags of beads (a dozen strands each) and they were most aerodynamic.

When the final float had made it's way down the street we had half a dozen bags filled with beads to be saved for our own parade later in the week.

Day 6: Tonite we will do it all over again! (Tonight's parade is one that is all female krewes so the fastballs won't be quite so hard. It will be at the same place, however.) And there are two more tomorrow! (These are at a different locale.)

Oh. And the weather continues to be gorgeous. (Some got a little chilly while we waited for the parade to appear last evening when it dropped to around 45-50 degrees, but there's now real rain in the forecast for several days.)


Rev. Paul said...

Sounds like you're having a grand time!

joated said...

So far we're having a great time. No bruises from the thrown bags of beads either!