Wherever the Road Leads

Another Day of Learning

Somebody Help Me Get Out Of Lousyana

Moving day and another day of learning. I have safely landed in New Iberia Louisiana, just south of Lafayette and the home of Tabasco Sauce. It’s been a long day and all this learning is near killing me.

This morning in Natchez Mississippi started out okay. I had the cat in his carrier, outside on the picnic table allowing me to get everything done without worrying about him hiding or escaping. Three slides retracted into the coach just fine. The largest one was stuck on something and wouldn’t fully retract.

I took a broom onto the roof, thinking a branch was preventing the slide from closing. Nothing there. I thought perhaps the rubber seals were buckled under and preventing it from closing. That didn’t appear to be the issue. I opened it then closed it four or five times, all with the same effect: something was blocking it from closing.

The guy in the site next to me appeared. He has a very large truck that says Heating and Ventilating on the side. That wasn’t my issue but he has a much larger toolbox than mine and probably knows how to used them all. I asked him to take a look. He checked the rubber seals as well. I put the slide out, then back in as he watched. No doubt his technical training and experience made the difference.

The sink and its counter top run across the coach, so the drawers open and close lengthwise to the coach. One of those drawers was open. The slide came most of the way in then came in contact with the partially open drawer and could come in no further. He closed the drawer and solved the problem, although I now have a drawer that I have to fix so that it will open and close properly.

I had checked on Google Maps the various highways to come down here to the gulf and decided on what I hoped would be a scenic one that ran alongside the Mississippi River, rather, alongside the levee. Years ago I knew a woman – the best friend of my ex-wife Kathy – who was born and raised in Mississippi. Her mother still lived there – near Tunica – and enjoyed gambling on the riverboat.

The devout Catholic mother would never admit to gambling, she would merely say that she was going “over the levee” to where the gambling boat was moored in the Mississippi River. I now know exactly what she meant as the levee system is an effective way to farm and there are hundreds of miles of levees along the river.

Louisiana Route 1 is a narrowish 2-lane road with not much of a shoulder… really no place at all to pull over when you notice in your side mirror that a compartment door on the trailer is flapping in the breeze. I contemplated driving until I could find a country church with a parking lot big enough to pull into and also be able to get back out of. I thought there might be a stop sign. Then I realized that necessary camping items might start spilling out onto the road, so I decided, “Sorry folks, as you can see, I’m from out-of-state”, and I edged over, far enough to get my passenger-side wheels off the road and the flashers on.

With no one coming, I jumped out the truck and took two steps towards the compartment door, suddenly realizing what a left-open driver’s door means to an unhappy, meowing, fleabag cat. I doubled back, shut the driver’s door on the truck, then dodged traffic to close the compartment door on the trailer.

I watch a guy’s Youtube channel – Big Truck / Big RV – as he has exactly the same truck and trailer as I do. The guy lives in the Corpus Christi, Texas area but is always talking about how lousy the roads are in Louisiana. Yah, buddy. ‘Lousy’ is an understatement. Part of Louisiana Route 1 travels atop the levee itself and it’s in pretty good shape. But once you’re back onto flatland again, the joke’s over. Little did I know how good these roads were by comparison.

Except that it was a bumpy ride, it was very scenic traveling these back roads. It was interesting seeing all the farms and the run-down tiny shacks that, at one time, must have been slaves’ quarters. I think we tend to live in our own little geographic cocoons and assume the rest of the country looks like the view that we see each day. Take it from a homeless person – not so at all.

The two-lane roads were terrible. Perhaps if one was driving a Crown Victoria or a Grand Marquis that floats down the road like a raft on water, the bumps wouldn’t be noticeable. But driving a 9,000# truck with a suspension designed to pull a 25,000# trailer, 500# of fuel in the truck bed and pulling a 14,000# camper, you notice everything.

Finally, I was able to drive for a distance on a (federally funded?) interstate, but that was short-lived. Once I got south of I-10 which runs across the country from Jacksonville Florida to Santa Monica California, I was back on the Lousyana State Road System again. Three lanes wide… bang…bang… bang… all I did was sit in the center lane and bounce down the road from stop light to stop light.

The cat is wide awake, meowing his fool head off again and roaming around the cabin. Traffic is heavy down this bone-jarring highway and I’ve got to be careful as my stopping distance is considerable. The cat is looking out the passenger side window. We’re approaching a stop light. Suddenly, the traffic noise gets much louder. I looked over, and the side window is down with guess-who’s face outside ready to make a run for it.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

He had his back paws on the passenger seat and his front paws on the passenger arm rest, with one of his paws pressing down on the window button. Without crashing into the guy in front of me, I scrambled to find the correct button on the driver’s side controls to put the window back up, but his paw was still on the down button. I’ve never bothered to use the window lock-out button but I had to find it to lock out his paw so that I could raise the window before we came to a stop at the light and he became a fugitive.

Twenty horrible more horrible miles in horrible stop-and-go traffic on horrible Louisiana roads and we got to the RV Park, which is quite nice. It even has cable TV. The owner was exceptionally nice and a neighbor helped me get set up. I was about to plug in my power cord when he said to make sure the breaker was off before I plugged it in.

With the cat back in his cage, I got all everything hooked up outside then extended all the slides. The cat was thrilled to be ‘home’. The ride was so bumpy that it had rattled the filter out of the exhaust fan over the stove. I had hooked up the coax cable and grabbed the remote but i couldn’t get the TV to turn on. I pushed power button on the TV itself, it wouldn’t come on. I lifted the TV off the wall to check if the plug had come loose. It was fine. Damn Louisiana roads, I thought, my TV is broken.

I got the clock radio to plug into the same receptacle and it didn’t work, either. I checked the breakers…nothing was tripped. Must be the GFI – ground fault switch – is tripped, locking out the whole system. I found the GFI, pressed in the ‘test’ button, then it wouldn’t reset. Damn Louisiana roads.

Then I remembered, went back outside to the power pole and flipped the breaker that the friendly neighbor had told me to turn off.

All this learning is killing me.

And the roads in Louisiana are horrible.

 

I saw a big sticker in the back window of a pick up truck here… “I like dat, me”. It was like being back in North Bay Ontario with all the Frenchmen.

 

The King, born in Tupelo Mississippi, the town named after my cat…

“Somebody help me get out of Louisiana
Just help me get to Houston town
There are people there, who care a little about me
And they won’t let the poor boy down…..”

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