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Old 05-05-2004, 09:57 PM   #39
MikeO OP
Wage slave...
 
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,673
18th March

After a day off the bike, I checked it over carefully before setting off. I had the feeling it was trying to ‘tramline’ slightly over linear faults on the road on the way to Jackson and suspected the front tyre might be losing pressure. As it turned out, both tyre pressures were spot on. Hmmm…

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Cyrus, the manager of the Best Western, had taken $25 off my bill by way of apology for his staff having misled me over the reason the security staff were patrolling the hotel. A nice gesture and one he didn’t have to make. I’m on the road for 1015 on what promises to be a pretty warm day. The weather forecast predicts a 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms, so I put my Cordura trousers on, rather than the hood jeans that the projected temperature would suggest… I make my way to the Natchez Trace Parkway again, having found that it extends to the South West of Jackson to, er - Natchez, spookily enough…

As I leave the suburbs of Jackson, I notice that Estate Agents (Realtors) here are at least honest about their nature…



Riding down the Parkway, I fairly quickly become bored and set Betty the task of directing me, off dual carriageways, to Covington, Louisiana. Covington is just to the north of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway - the longest bridge in the world – an enormous engineering undertaking which spans 28 miles of Lake Pontchartrain, North of New Orleans. The roads Betty selects for me are great – the weather is warm (72º F) and the roads are dry, well surfaced and free from traffic. By midday I’m in Louisiana.

Louisiana has parishes, rather than counties, and many signs have the French translation included on them – a throwback to the French antecedents of the original settlers. I stop for lunch at a great little diner in Franklintown, and sample the delights of shrimp stuffed catfish. What the catfish though of this is not on record, but it was delicious After paying the bill ($8), I go out to my bike and find Bob & Irma Turner examining it.



Bob’s got a Gold Wing and Irma has recently bought a Shadow (a cruiser – I’m afraid I must confess ignorance of any further details). Bob has had a variety of professions, but spent a good deal of his working life in security in the military aviation sector – Irma is a Jill of all trades and seems to have done just about everything – including running her own flying school. We chat for a few minutes and then it’s time to go our separate ways – we exchange email addresses and I give Bob the address of this site.

I head towards New Orleans, pausing only to turn back and take a picture of the sign advertising a housing firm. Words fail me…



Soon I’m paying the toll ($3) to



a tollkeeper who is somewhat bemused at having her picture taken, and I’m onto the bridge…



…which seems to go on for ever… 28 miles is a long way. Actually. It’s two separate bridges, each carrying two lanes of traffic. There are about half a dozen ‘cross-overs’ where traffic could be switched from one carriageway to another in case of road works and three ‘humps’, including a lifting section, to allow boat traffic to go under the bridge. The lake is as calm as a millpond. After a long time, the city begins to appear out of the heat haze on the horizon…



…and suddenly I’m off the bridge and in downtown New Orleans. It’s hot, really hot (79º & 78% humidity, as it turns out). Traffic is heavy and progress slow. The temperature gauge on the Adv, normally sitting happily at 5 ‘bars’, increases to 6. I make my way towards the French Quarter, seeking a photo opportunity :P



Eventually I reach my target – Bourbon Street – alleged home of Jazz…



Now home to a million bars/clubs – both topless and erm…



bottomless, it would seem…

The bike’s now overheating (7 bars) and so am I.
Cities – damn! Why do I keep getting suckered into them? I tell Betty to get me out of here and I’m soon fighting my way through traffic to get to Interstate 10, to get out of the city and get some moving air through the oil cooler (8 bars – yikes :eek: ).

Soon I’m heading towards Baton Rouge and the Adv is cooling back down. Once clear of the city I turn off the Interstate and get Betty to find me a motel. I arrive in Gonzales and check into the Best Western. Free high speed Internet access! – excellent – but first a cool shower and full power test on the air conditioning, I think…

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MikeO screwed with this post 02-13-2006 at 11:09 AM
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