Day 36: Ville Platte, Louisiana, to St. Francisville, Louisiana

We met Jan about 25 miles into our ride today -- she's riding the other way with her friend Irene driving a support van. Her husband refused to let her bike across America by herself ...

Deckhand on the Melville Ferry, looking at our bikes: Where y’all headed?
Us: Florida.
Deckhand (laughing): F%$# that shit.

I had my tail between my legs after our day of bad juju yesterday, until we stopped at a grocery store in Lebeau, Louisiana, today just before noon. The owner of the store insisted on giving Tony some free Boudain so he could have his first taste of cajun food. After that, it seemed that everyone who came in and out of the store for the next 15 minutes wanted to say hi — a sweet old lady, a guy using the car wash, people stopping in to pick up a can of pork and beans.

The rest of the day, every car that passed us drove all the way into the other lane, people smiled, waved, and chatted us up, the sun shined, the wind was at our backs, babies everywhere stopped crying, complete strangers hugged each other in the streets, and the rivers of Louisiana turned into champagne.

Due to a math error by 1993 Iowa Junior High State Math Bee Participant Brendan Leonard, we looked at our maps this morning and realized we were going to have to do some serious mileage to keep up our schedule. Instead of doing a 108-mile day, we stuck with a tailwind and rode to Melville, Louisiana, where we were to take a ferry across the Atchafalaya River. Except we got there at 1:00, and the ferry didn’t start running until 4:00. So we hung out at a table in the back of the local gas station until then.

After the 3-minute ferry ride, we rode about 6 miles of gravel roads and nearly 10 miles next to the levee for the Mississippi River on the way to our second ferry of the day, across the Mississippi to St. Francisville, Louisiana. We were pushing 21 mph for much of the last 16 miles of riding today.

And then, at a pizza place in St. Francisville, we walked in the door at the same time as a couple of ladies who asked us where we were riding. I told them that we were raising money for BCM, and that we had about 900 miles left. On their way out, while I was stuffing another piece of pizza into my mouth, they yelled over to tell us to have a good trip.

Then our waiter informed us that they had paid for our meal. What a day. Tomorrow, 96 ass-chafing miles to Franklinton, Louisiana!

Check out Tony's sweet new watch (tan)!

The railroad bridge across the Atchafalaya River. We talked about maybe trying to run across this rather than wait three hours for the ferry, but it's pretty obvious they don't want you on there.

The Melville Ferry. Is it sagging if it's over water?

Time to take these road bikes on some gravel!

And here we go across the mighty Mississippi.

-Brendan

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6 responses to “Day 36: Ville Platte, Louisiana, to St. Francisville, Louisiana

  1. WOOT!!!!!!! 🙂

  2. Glad you had an Awesome day today ! We all deserve those kind of days once in awhile.

  3. Whew. A damn fine day; you guys deserved it!

  4. You just can’t go wrong with a red bike.

  5. Aaron & Krista

    I bet the gravel roads were a strange twist to the day. Keep going, only a little farther!

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