Yondering!

Discussion in 'Tejas and the Gulf States' started by ozarkrider, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I Supporter

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    Cool, you always have neat stuff to look at! :thumb
  2. joenuclear

    joenuclear Still here....

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    Great stuff Jay & Jay!
  3. arkridergc

    arkridergc Been here awhile

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    Jay,
    Are you guys planning to ride the west side of the river back from New Orleans? If so, be sure and get some photos of the Bonnie Carrie and Morganza Spillways and the Old River control Structure. Bonnie Carrie is on the east river road or the Jefferson Highway as it is called. This is the spillway that dumps the Mississippi into the Ponchatrain if things get really bad. Last year I was working in NOLA right before the big floods hit down there and I just happened to get some pictures of the low side of the floodgates which hadn't been opened in 15 years or so. I remember being in awe and feeling a little nervous about these wooden gate's ability to hold back the mighty Mississippi River. Little did I know that a month later, there would be a raging flood right where my big Harley rolled. The bad thing is, my camera was stolen about a week later with my truck and I never got the pictures downloaded. That really sucked so if you get any pics of this , I'd like one.

    Out of New Orleans you can take either Hwy 61 called Airline Highway or hwy 48 called Jefferson Highway west toward Norco on the east bank. We rode our bikes to work on Hwy 48 every day mainly to avoid the traffic of Hwy 61 and also there are a couple of nice plantations on this route but also lots of industry so be carefull of that. Hwy 48 will take you right to Bonnie Carrie. If the water isn't over the road, there is a paved road that will take you thru the spillway and across to Hwy 628 which is still called "Jefferson Highway". If part of the road is under water, they will close it and you'll need to continue on a couple of miles on hwy 48 up to hwy 61 (Airline Road) and head west toward LaPlace where you can jump back on Hwy 628 again. Follow Jefferson Highway (628/44) to Hwy 3213 at Gramercy and then cross the river to Hwy18 which is the West Bank River Road. Hwy 18 changes numbers a few times eventually turning into Hwy 1 but this is some nice riding for LA and will eventually bring you to the Morganza Spillway which has only been opened twice since it was built and dumps to the Atchafalya River Basin.

    You might remember that this was such a controversial move made by the Corp. of Engineers last spring. In fact, they've never opened all the gates at once for fear that by doing so, the water would wash out the structure and basically change the course of the Mississippi River leaving New Orleans and all those river based industries with a stagnant brack water lake to deal with instead of a flowing river. Remember that those industries that draw river water were not designed for salt water and there are a bunch of 'em! Opening the Morganza last spring was something that couldv'e drastically changed the way of life for millions of people forever because once the Mississippi changed course, there could be no going back and we'd all be getting new maps of Louisiana! Anyway, you drive right across the Morganza floodgates on Hwy 1.

    A little further north is the Old River Control Structure that was the first attempt at trying to keep the Mississippi from changing course and following the Atchafalya river. Follow Hwy 1 until you can catch Hwy 15 which follows right along the river and will keep you close to the river until Natchez where hwy 131 breaks east to follow the river bend. You're a good navigator and I figure you've already scoped this out but just in case you didn't, I wouldn't miss the opportunity to see and photogragh these marvels of human ingenuity.

    You'll notice that Hwy 1 generally follows the river but at points there are little loops like hwy's 981 and 415 that will get you closer. Just understand that there are a lot of folks living along the river here so you can make slower or faster time dependant on which of these loops you take but EVERYBODY drives like their hair is on fire and their butts are catching so watch yourself in these parts. I will go back and finish this ride myself one day before the river eventually takes the path mother nature wants it to and changes everything. I know you're in New Orleans right now so I hope you catch this before you head back north.
    Have fun and be safe,
    Gary

    P.S. : Just read that you were originally from Baton Rouge so none of this is new to you! Sorry about that. Maybe someone else can benefit from the info. PM me and I'll nuke this out of your report if you'd like.
    G
  4. Elvis70

    Elvis70 No speed traps in the sky

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    I was commuting through there when the gates were open. Never seen so much raging water running through trees and what not.

    I flew over the area when it flooded. Water was just under the bridge at Morgan City and damn near over the sea wall. That is a tall wall too.
  5. ozarkrider

    ozarkrider Discombobulated Sociopath

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    We saddled up at Winterville Mounds and continued southward. The sky was clear, but the wind was gusting in the 25-35mph range. We were getting slapped around like 15 year olds at our first school dance. :evil
    The head winds also played havoc with fuel mileage. By the time we arrived at the MS 1/US 61 intersection Yellaphant was gasping for a refill. We pulled into the only fuel station in Onward, MS to find pumps.....with the handles cut off the hoses. Hmmmm. Seems fuel is 5 miles to the north at the Massey-Ferguson dealer.:lol3 Only in the Deep South. Also saw this lil tidbit of information. You can find the strangest places of significant info at times.
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    We hustled north for fuel, then backtracked through Onward (which took 4 seconds) and headed south to Vicksburg. This was the critical destination for the day. :clap

    Now I'm from the Deep South, and am very proud of that fact. I love the history of my area of birth, and always enjoy going back there. But there are times when I have to wonder what folks are truly thinking of when they do stuff like this. No wonder Bill Maher has so much material to work with.
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    Finally, we arrive at the destination. Down on the riverfront we find the sign telling of what this site was originally. It's been around a long time.
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    And these boys just wasn't huntin' ducks from this location.
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    Being as we were at a solemn and respectful area, we thought it fitting that we should behave in a like minded manner.
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    I have no idea what this bridge led to or from originally, nor could I find any info about when it was built. But the architecture of it is striking in its simplicity.
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    You can still see some of the breastworks and trenches from the battles fought here. Lots of hand to hand action between the soldiers.
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    Below is a collection of pics taken as we rode through the battleground. Several monuments to fallen soldiers from all over. I saw tribute to men from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia. The sheer number of KIA's, wounded, and MIA's is staggering.
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    We spent the night in downtown Vicksburg, where I was treated to this sight after dark.
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    Morning found us having brekkie with tslaw, an ADV'er from V'burg. Good guy who rides a KLR daily. He's got a cool job. He works for the Corp of Engineers and gets to blow things up. I wanna go with him to work some day. :wink:

    After breakfast we made our goodbyes and made our way south on US 61. We drifted through Natchez then Woodville. Woodville is home to Rosemont Plantation, once the home of Jefferson Davis. We passed on by since we were gonna catch some homes closer to the highway.

    The Buffalo River in MS don't look nothing like the Buffalo in AR.
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    Just outside of St. Francisville we stopped to get a look at The Oaks. This is a private residence and no tours are allowed. There was also a prevalent sign out front saying "stay out". We did manage to get some pics though.
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    The next stop was at The Myrtles. This home is reported to be haunted. The home is suppose to be host to up to 12 ghosts. It's rumoured that 10 murders occurred at the home, though only one can be verified. Only one murder though, William Winter in 1871, can be verified. Either way, the house had capitalized on its reputation and cashes in on it. There is also a restaurant in the old carriage house which serves meals.
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    The grounds are in full bloom and lush.
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    Just a lil ways down the road is Oakley Plantation. Oakley was built in 1806 and stayed in the original family until sold to the state of LA in 1947. All the furniture inside is original with the exception of the dining room table, which is a period piece. The galleries on the first and second floor have jalousied louvers to aid in shade and for air circulation. Oakley was also where John J. Audubon did most of his paintings. There are several first edition prints of his works hanging throughout the home. The original home was only three rooms, the remodeling was done a few years later in Federalist style, which is how the home has remained.
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    Bathes were taken once a week, ladies hair washed once a month. The tub was shared by the entire family and was moved from room to room.
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    Nothing so simple as having a landing on the stairs. I found this to be elegant as well as functional. These stairs lead from the first floor gallery to the second.
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    The view of the front yard from the first floor gallery.
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    A combination herb/flower garden just off the house. The hedges acted as boundaries of the garden beds. Brick walkways ran throughout.
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    The kitchen was detached from the house. This cut down on heat, and the chance of fire. Food was cooked here, then hustled to the first floor dining room.
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    Meals were cooked in an open hearth. The pots on the floor have dished lids. Coals were heaped on the lids to help finish cooking the food, and to keep it warm. The small door to the right of the hearth is an oven. Hot coals were placed in it till it was warm enough, then the coals scooped out and bread put in there to bake.
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    A weaving room is next door to the kitchen. It holds a loom, spinning wheels, and cotton was carded in here as well.
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    This is "The Pit". Compostables were piled on the shelf to the right. Vegetables were planted then and allowed to grow throughout the winter. The heat from composting as well as sunlight through the slanted glass entryway kept temps in the moderate range. Small scale early greenhousing.
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    This cabin belonged to the head household cook. Since she had a prominent position she enjoyed a higher standard of housing than field hands or the common household slaves.
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    This cabin is from a later time, belonging to a sharecropper. While considered a freeman, he was still in bondage to the landowner. A portion of his crops went to the landowner as payment for the land he was caring for. Sometimes very little was left over for the cropper to have for himself and family.
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    The barn was not only for stabling animals, it was also the workshop, granary, tool storage, and catchall for unused/unwanted items.
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    Horse collars made of corn husks.
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    A sad commentary, but a part of life in this part of the world at one time. It amazes me that most of the handiwork on the home and grounds, done with care and craftmanship, was done by people who were considered lazy and no account. Some landowners were kind and caring to the slaves, but they were slaveowners none the less. Even the best were known to beat a slave for the least infraction. I'm glad to see that part of history done and over with.
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    Our tour over, it was back to the bikes and head south some more. Nightfall found us in the French Quarter hunting for a place to stay.

    To be continued.... See y'all out there.
  6. Dragon43

    Dragon43 If you insist.

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    Great job... Hope it does not take forever to do the uploads on the road.

    Very entertaining and informative.... :clap:clap:clap
  7. ozarkrider

    ozarkrider Discombobulated Sociopath

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    I got home late last night Gus. We cut the trip short one day simply because we were homesick. I was ready to see my bride and sleep in my own bed. I'm doing the report from the comfort of my recliner.
  8. Dragon43

    Dragon43 If you insist.

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    You are smarter than the average bear..... Glad you are back safe & sound..... Love the report so far.... :gerg
  9. nevermind

    nevermind Wrong Again

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    Sounds like ya still had your fill of fun and your back home safe and sound too!
  10. ozarkrider

    ozarkrider Discombobulated Sociopath

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    A lil over 1500 miles traveled, with two days of downtime in Nawlins. And nearly 300 pics to pick from for the ride report. Yep, a large time had by all.
    At one point we considered heading to Pensacola to try and stay ahead of the rain.
  11. Dragon43

    Dragon43 If you insist.

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    That would have been a blast.... But what you did was awesome also... :clap:clap
  12. ozarkrider

    ozarkrider Discombobulated Sociopath

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    We toddled our way into the city just ahead of rain. Not just a summer shower, but one of those rains that brings out flood warnings. And in a city like New Orleans, flooding is taken seriously. We had our fingers crossed that the pumps were working.
    We rolled into town late, had no idea where we were gonna stay, and had no idea that folks were already booking rooms for the Final Four college basketball tournament. Rooms at the Sheraton were going for only $400 a night, the Hilton wasn't any better. Even the smaller places downtown were booked up. Hmmmm, this could be trouble.
    We really wanted to stay close to the Quarter and parking outdoors was an invitation to have your bike stolen, or at least stripped before you got around the corner good.
    We're sitting on the corner of Toulouse and Chartres in the Quarter when a woman steps out of her jewelry store and overhead our conversation. She jumped in and told us of a B&B just off the Quarter that may have a room. We saddled up and followed her over there. The B&B was nice, and the lady running just a bit off her rocker. But there was only one room with only one bed. :eek1
    Not gonna happen Skippy, I don't roll thataway. The search is on again.
    Parked on the street, prowling the internet for a room and here comes a gent who just happens to ride a Beemer. We strike up a conversation and he tells us about a place just up the street. The Frenchman Hotel. We call, they've got a room with two beds, we're in business. We thank the kind fellow for his help and rush over to claim our room before someone else gets it. :deal
    Perfect place. Old building, covered courtyard with a locked, gated entrance so the bikes are secure, and the most unusual desk clerk I've ever seen. I'll post a pic as soon as DaMoron gets it uploaded.

    Wednesday morning found us heading out into the Quarter to see what we could see. Right off the bat we find a chopper. Not just any chopper, but an original. A stand out custom. Something truly unique. Something like this...
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    And some high style fender decorations.
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    And a girder front end for exceptional handling.
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    And of course, a fleur di lis for that true Nawlins touch.
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    And a jen-u-wine Hamburgler bell for letting the tourists know that they're in the way.
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    St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the US. The original structure was built in 1718. A larger brick and timber church was begun in 1725 and finished in 1728. This building burned down in 1788 during the Great New Orleans Fire. A new cornerstone was laid in 1789 and the church completed in 1794. In 1793 the church was elevated to cathedral status, making it one of the oldest cathedrals in the country., In 1850 the cathedral was added to and renovated to the appearance you now see. Water damage during Hurricane Katrina caused the church to be closed for a time for repairs. The massive pipe organ had to be sent back to Germany for rebuilding and was reinstalled in 2008.
    I'm not sure who painted the frescoes on the ceiling but the work is amazing. The church was designated as a minor basilica in 1964.
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    The seashell above the pulpit predates modern sound systems. The shell would catch the speakers voice and project it outwards to the congregation. It looks strange but it works.
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    This is one of the newer buildings in the Quarter and was built in the 1900's. Most of the structures in the Quarter are all 19th century.
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    The first police station for the city.
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    It's a mighty old town. Rich in history, tragedy, intrigue, and wonder. Saint or sinner, poor or rich, white or black, it's a town full of tales about 'em all. We ate good seafood, drank good beer, and had 2 days worth of belly laughs. It's good to be home but I'll go back again.
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    And now, we head for home.

    Thursday morning found more rain pouring on the city. We hung out in the hotel room, waiting for the drops to stop. Finally! Wet roads but skys are clearing. at 12:30 we pulled out and pointed it northward. A detour through the Garden District was called for to see some of the old homes. No pics, we're on a mission. All the way down St. Charles to the River Road. We followed that to Harahan and I had fried alligator at Charlies Seafood. Good eats, then fill the fuel tanks and roll.
    We crossed the river at Destrahan so we could catch some of the old homes on the west bank. Below are some pics from that jaunt. We also stopped at an old church in Vacherie that has been going since 1770. We also wandered around the old cemetery with all the old above ground tombs, several with multiple family members in them.
    Evergreen Plantation.
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    St. John the Baptist
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    Some random pics from along the way...
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    Oak Alley Plantation. One of the more well known homes on the west bank.
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    The last good seafood meal was had here at The Dock in Lake Providence, LA. Just below the AR state line, I had a good meal of fried shrimp, fried alligator, and fried catfish. Toss in some seasoned fries and my grease/cholesterol count was just about right.
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    Just over 1500 miles traveled, and the miles keep adding up...
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    It was a large time. See y'all out there somewhere.
  13. Dragon43

    Dragon43 If you insist.

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    W00t !!!! You done good & lived large for us.... 'damoron' is smart to follow you around.... He gets to go some neat places.... :clap:clap
  14. DrLewall

    DrLewall Master of bating

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    :thumb tnx Jay!
  15. nevermind

    nevermind Wrong Again

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    As always, you impress the daylights out of me with the way you can ride and how far you can ride. Glad ya had a ton of fun and saw some very cool sights!
  16. MiddleAgedMissile

    MiddleAgedMissile Long timer

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    Jay, great pics of my home state. Made me homesick a bit and giving me thoughts on a ride.
    Thanks for the tour.
  17. DrLewall

    DrLewall Master of bating

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    Yonder from now on my friend. You are free forever now. Until we can ride again, Peace.
  18. DrLewall

    DrLewall Master of bating

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  19. tcourdin

    tcourdin Resident Spooner

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    Thanks for bringing this back up Doc! He sure loved Yellaphant.
  20. yosso

    yosso We gotta go now. Supporter

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    Yondering. What a great thread title. Wish I had seen the thread sooner.

    I'm definitely going to yonder more, life is too short.

    Thank for for bringing the thread up to the top.

    M.