After leaving New Orleans we couldn’t find a place good enough to stay longer than a few days, which means we’re ready for the next milestone – Mexico, here we come!

In the last few days we’ve been traveling fast. It was Friday, when we left New Orleans and tonight I’m writing this short update from Corpus Christi, Texas. There was a cold front passing through the Gulf’s north shore and temperatures at night fell down below 40’s forcing Agnieszka to upgrade her sleeping bag. Despite relative luxuries of the park in Louisiana, we decided that we deserved a hot bath and comfy beds at a decent hotel. Half way to Houston is Lake Charles, where we settled for the night. The next morning, refreshed and invigorated we’ve entered Texas.

Originally, we planned to stay in Houston for about a week. I wanted to look at lighter bicycles. Mine is rather heavy and after a week of riding on a beach, the gears started to skip. I also wanted to browse Craigslist and see if there are any replacements for my broken Kindle. I must have dropped something heavy on it and the screen cracked. I have to admit, that this loss bothers me a lot. Not that I have so much spare time to kill, but not having a good read at night is depressing. We decided to stay in Brazos Bend State Park, but arriving on Saturday night, we were lucky to get a spot on the overflow site. The park wasn’t very exciting, except for the alligators and a first class observatory – we had a chance to take part in a night sky viewing event. And for the mosquitoes that turned up in such numbers that we decided to evacuate the next morning. This is how we ended up in Corpus Christi a week or so ahead of time. And the park we found a spot on isn’t necessary the most exciting either. It’s nothing more but twenty sites nested between the ocean and a busy highway, which gets really loud, especially early in the mornings. Between that and the red tide, we decided, it’s time to head South.

If everything goes well towards the end of the week we’ll enter Mexico. We are headed to San Miguel de Allende, where we found a large apartment for the next three weeks.

New Orleans

Welcome on the bayou! A field trip to New Orleans earns us Junior Ranger badges and a real pirate story!

Sunday was a travel day again. We’ve packed our stuff, folded the tent, got the bicycles on the rack and left Fort Pickens before noon. The three hours ride was rather smooth  and after crossing three state lines (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana), we’ve arrived at the Fontainbleau State Park on the north shore of lake Pontchartrain. The weather was still very nice, so Agnieszka and the kids went to a water park, while I was setting up the camp. To my surprise, the whole campground is covered with strong WiFi signal, a playground and clean bathrooms, which coupled with rather inexpensive price tag, lifts the park to the top rank of places visited so far.

The park itself is very popular and busy, especially on the weekends. It has nature trails, suitable for bikes, a lake front, couple of small alligators and other attractions. On the south side of the lake is New Orleans, but instead of going around the lake, we were able to cross it on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which according to Guinness World Records is considered to be “the longest bridge over water”. With almost 24 miles it’s a rather boring ride, unless of course there are strong crosswinds and you happen to have a faulty roof rack installed on your vehicle.

The city of New Orleans, or the French Quarter at least, is as wonderful as we remembered it from our last visit here eleven years ago. We haven’t seen any remains of the devastating force of the 2005 hurricane Katrina. Apparently though, the French Quarter or the Garden District that we’ve visited yesterday were not the ones hit the hardest. We chose Tuesday for our field trip, which meant no school for Nadia yesterday (yipee!). Instead, we’ve been to Jean Lafitte Park, where Nadia and Alex became Junior Rangers and got badges to prove it. They’ve learned about a French privateer, a pirate and slaves trader, who despite numerous robberies and acts of violence against the USA, became it’s national hero. Apparently, he had a sudden change of hart at some point and became a maritime version of Robin Hood. He stole from the bad guys, mostly Spanish and gave to the poor people of Barataria and New Orleans. Most important though, he supported Andrew Jackson against the Brits in 1815, which probably accounts for most of his heroic life.