Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From Plantations to Prisons

I just realized that I failed to mention Big Mike's Mystery House in Kentucky in my blog and that was one of the highlights of the trip! It was only a dollar and someone built it in the 70's. David, our guide, took us through the crazy space w/ uneven floors, wild mirrors, water flowing up--it was neat. I must say though, that when we paid our $1 I thought it was going to be a self guided tour and when David was summonsed and I got a look at him I almost asked for my money back. I know Jan had mentioned Deliverance in her blog and this was along that line! I regress! Yesterday, we woke up in Lafayette, LA. We had breakfast at Dwyer's--what a great choice!!! One of the best breakfasts I've had this trip--even though grits came with it. Sometimes I wonder if I'm really a Southerner!!! The sweet potato pancakes were great! We struck up conversation w/ a couple who was sitting outside with us-they were locals and very nice. They told us what boudin is and where to get good cracklins. They travel a lot too so we had a lot to talk about. After eating, we headed to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve to learn something about the history of the area. There was a good museum and 2 movies. The first one was good--about the bayou. The second one--not so much. Jan caught a little nap and left me to wonder why we were there in the first place! I did not know much about Cajuns but now I do. The movie was really depressing and made me appreciate my cushy life. I would not have made it long if I had to live the life of the Acadians!! After that, we headed to Breau Bridge to look for the "best place for cracklins" according to the locals. We didn't find it--it was actually in another town south of where we were and we decided cracklins weren't worth it. I know I can always go to Wild Bill's if I want pork rinds!!! It's amazing how much time we can spend riding around the smallest of towns looking for things. We had picked out a place for lunch, which was closed so we searched for another place. Most places there were closed on Monday--go figure. We did find a bakery so we bought some cookies and we found a place for lunch--not that we really needed to eat again after our big breakfast--it's just the principle I guess! We ate and called Merrill and headed to Baton Rouge. Thankfully, we came into town close to the capitol and managed to find it and Merrill without much trouble. Merrill-thanks for meeting us and showing us a bit of Baton Rouge! The old capitol was very different from most of the capitol buildings we have seen. Brilliantly colored stained glass windows, spiral staircase. Really a neat space. Merrill explained that it has a museum and now is used mostly for receptions and private parties. From there we walked to the new capitol. Have I mentioned it is warm in Louisiana? It is. The Louisiana capitol is the tallest capitol building in the country-34 stories. It was very impressive and we saw where Huey was gunned down. Creepy! After our self guided tour we moved on, past the Episcopal church that looked somewhat like the one in Paducah and found a place to get a glass of iced tea. We then headed back to our cars and parted ways. We had thought about spending the night in Baton Rouge but decided to just drive and see where we ended up. After the Garmin sent us all over the Louisiana countryside we ended up on a ferry across the Mississippi to St Francisville. We decided to call it a day. We found a B&B, got directions to the one restaurant that was still open--again a matter of principle that we eat, and walked to dinner. When we got back from dinner, we found out that the Internet was not working so we watched the Colts beat the Dolphins.

We set the alarm for an early start today (Tuesday). Like that works. We had breakfast at the B&B and then did a walking tour of St Francisville. We were wondering why we took showers. It's warmish in Louisiana. We saw lots of old neat buildings but the neatest thing was the cemetery--lots of wrought iron, live oaks and Spanish moss. Also on our walk was a very well done museum run by local volunteers. A tall glass of tea was in order so we went to George's and refreshed. We decided we would stop at Rosedown Plantation on the way out of town. It was 11:15 and the next tour didn't start until 12. I don't think so. On to Myrtles---the haunted plantation! It was cool. Interesting history and is also a B&B. Then we decided to go to the Louisiana Penitentiary Museum at Angola. What an interesting day! We had a little trouble getting there. We knew it was at the end of Hwy 66 but our electronic devices wanted to take us different ways so we listened to them and ended up on a gravel road in who knows where. I figured we would end up behind the prison fences without even knowing we were there. After several miles, we decided to turn around, a feat in and of itself, and head back to the main road. Once we found our way, we got the most interesting and entertaining tour of the museum from one of the inmates. He was so nice, informative and soft spoken--and he had been in prison for 25 years. I can't even imagine. He was not even 50 yet. He was incarcerated when he was 24 and was sentenced to 60 years. Can you imagine?!? When we left there, we headed to Natchez to find....food! We stopped at the Malt Shop for a malt and then we split a shrimp po-boy. I just want to point out---this would only be our second meal and it was about 4 pm. It's a wonder we didn't waste away today. We could have perished on the prison grounds from lack of food! We went to the Basilica so we could go inside since we didn't get to do that when we where there before. What beautiful stained glass windows! When we left there, it started raining so we decided to stop in Vicksburg for the night. We went up the Natchez Trace for about 20 miles so we could see what we missed in the dark on the way down. Hmmm, couldn't see it much better in the rain! After we got on 61 it absolutely poured! Glad we only had a few miles to go (25 or so). So, here we are, dry for now and ready for new adventures tomorrow.

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