Day 35: DeRidder, Louisiana, to Ville Platte, Louisiana

Wow. The area of western Louisiana that we biked through today is like its own country, where bicycles haven’t been invented yet. I think things started to go downhill when a guy decided he would swerve his car off the highway at Tony, who was standing well off the road. He swerved back, missing Tony’s bike by about a foot, and I guess getting a good laugh out of the whole thing.

Then, about an hour later, I was about a mile behind Tony when some guy in an oncoming pickup decided to throw a fountain soda at me. He missed by about 8 feet, but I was starting to feel like a target.

Me: You know what would have been funny?
Tony: What?
Me: If that guy had thrown the soda at me, and I had pulled out a gun and shot and killed him. Wouldn’t that be funny?

Then the rest of the day drivers honked at us while passing, while driving the other way, and while behind us. Not the friendly honk-and-wave, either; this was the three-seconds-of-laying-on-my-horn-because-you’re-in-my-way-and-I’m-late-for-a-conference-call-with-Obama honk. I don’t know what they were trying to communicate to us. Possibly, “You really must try some of our famous boiled crawfish while you’re here!” But I felt kind of like this:

And just before we pulled into Ville Platte for the evening, a group of neighborhood kids, the oldest two holding baseball bats, stood at the side of the highway. We said hi, and they said hi as we passed, except when I looked in my mirror, I could see them all throwing rocks at us. Just little ones, that I could hear hitting the asphalt. I stopped in the middle of the road and turned around, and they all stopped throwing rocks. I decided to not go back and talk to them since the two teenage kids had bats, and I basically had a can of mace and a Snickers bar. As I pedaled off, they all started throwing rocks again. Thanks, guys.

And we only got chased by six dogs today. I have developed a new strategy in dealing with dogs, which is this: Wait until the dog is close, and call up all the rage I can muster, probably going back to high school, and translate it into a screamed bark. Worked like a charm today. Dogs stop chasing, Tony starts laughing.

I’m hoping tomorrow our biggest downer will be the bad roads that we keep hearing about, or maybe a flat tire.

It’s funny, I started the day talking to a guy named Joe, an employee of the Wal-Mart in De Ridder, and he just made my day, even before I figured out that this was going to be a leading candidate for the worst day of the trip. Joe has run into more than a few touring cyclists, and he and I stood out in front of Wal-Mart and talked about bicycles for 15 minutes. He says he doesn’t ride that much, but he’d like to try a cross-country trip someday. (Hey Joe: Me neither. You can do it.) I told him he should check out RAGBRAI, especially since his brother-in-law lives there. After talking to Joe, I thought the whole day was going to be sunshine and rainbows.

But maybe tomorrow will be.

We left one Louisiana landscape, stands of pine trees, for a completely different one, crawfish ponds and rice fields, today. This is a few miles outside DeRidder.

Mick will have to tell me what kind of trees these are.

Tony pedaling by the rice fields outside Mamou.

A crawfish pond near Mamou.


12 responses to “Day 35: DeRidder, Louisiana, to Ville Platte, Louisiana

  1. it’s funny but I can hear that bark you used to chase away dogs in my head – oh yeah …….. I can hear Tony laughing too. Have a better day tomorrow.

  2. Being French, I feel entirely justified saying there are a fair amount of assholes in Louisiana.

  3. Loblollies. Thought you might see a few. It doesn’t become epic until you get a few days of this sh-t. hang in there, bro. PS While in Louis. , I saw guys in the back of pick-ups drinking whiskey while their dogs chased out the deer. Don’t blame the dogs, and dude, I bet I could match you for the “I’m the biggest baddest bitch you ever gonna meet!” bark. Rock on. Stay strong. Keep laughing. Be careful. You guyz rock.

  4. Damn B. Let’s hope you are the Burt Reynolds version of any Deliverance-esque moments. Judging by your bark and rooundhouse kick you are on the right path. Be safe fellas. Every Odysee has it’s 9 headed hydra (or crawfish or shithead kid throwing rocks).

  5. Reading this post reminds me of my month in Lafayette. Lots of dogs under lots of porches…Tony please have some crawfish for me!
    Leonard have 10 donuts for me!

  6. F_ckin’ hillbillies.

  7. Being American, I can truly say that the Louisiana purchase could have been done a little better, by letting them keep Louisiana! Sorry Bill, its not you, its the smell and smarts coming from the underwater wonderland.

  8. I’m going to point out the silver lining to that L’siana turd-cloud and say, of your second pic: nice f_cking eye, man. BEAUTIFUL.

    Oh, and since I read your next post first, doesn’t that imply Jan and Irene are riding into the eye of the hillbilly storm? Here’s hoping Irene is carrying a big (.44 Magnum) stick.

  9. P.S. I love “Quicksilver”.

  10. Aaron & Krista

    Ahhhhh, the south, how lovely! Can’t wait to never go back.

  11. Born and raised in southwest Louisiana..yup..they hate us on our bicycles!

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