Thursday, November 2

Dallas to Baton Rouge

I woke up yesterday in Dallas. Looking through city attractions online, I picked one to see, the Frontiers of Flight Museum. En route I stopped at Burger King for a coffee, the last time I'm doing that. (Let's just say coffee isn't their primary product.) Dallas is a big city, more a metro area than a single city, and I wasn't sure where I was on my map. So while sitting in BK I asked two local guys if they could help me. They looked at the map, and looked some more, and had no idea how to find their own neighborhood. One of them kept saying West End was down the street, but there was no West End on the map.
I eventually located myself with a nearby airport and navigated to the museum. It was a little disappointing, with very little I hadn't already seen somewhere else. (Unlike the Cowboy Museum it didn't bring anything to life.)

Then I got on the freeway and started the long ride into Louisiana. I stopped in Shreveport for dinner at Subway and decided to keep going to Alexandria. There I decided to keep going towards Lafayette, but at the junction of 190 I decided to go all the way to Baton Rouge. Three motels were full, so I checked into a run-down Days Inn and slept for a long long time.

The whole Dallas to Baton Rouge stretch was a little over 400 miles, I think. It was raining most of the time and pretty cold. There were two accidents along the way, both of them cars that went off the road and into the muddy median ditch; one looked like a two-car collision and the other like it just lost control. My tires didn't seem to notice that the road was wet. My one remaining sidebag cover blew off, and I lost the tarp I was using to cover the bike somewhere. (I must have dropped it on a parking lot and forgotten to tie it back down.) I also left my little shampoo bottle in the motel in Dallas. I bought a new tarp and shampoo at a Walmart near the motel this morning, but the tarp is too big, so I'll have to fold it over to make it work.

There was construction at one point along the highway, and the right lane was closed. There were warning signs several miles in advance, and then a quarter-mile notice to merge left. Everyone did, creating a very slow line, except one bitch in a Sebring who thought she could just cut to the front and skip the line. Then an amazing occurence of collective thought occured: every one of the hundreds of drivers she passed (including myself) decided to make sure she couldn't get in. Long after I had passed the block and was back in two lanes, I looked back in my mirror and could still see her trying to break in. Sweet justice.

I couldn't quite understand the language in Shreveport. I think it was a dialect of English, but "cookies" were pronounced "kickers," the letter I is "ah" and the words were generally incomprehensible to my foreign sensibilities. I'm at a coffee shop on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge now, so the accent is gone, but I assume it will return in New Orleans.


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