We switched out through the day, and for most of our shots we pulled over off the road. That's part of the reason why the trip from New Orleans to Dallas, a 7 1/2 hour straight shot, took us more than 14. That's what traveling with us is like; we pursue the "shiny."
We do take recommendations, by the way. Please feel free to follow us @TieDyeTravels or @GravWeldon on Twitter, through Facebook, and on what we affectionately call the Gravagram.
I decided beignets were the obvious breakfast choice, so we hit the drive-thru at Cafe Du Monde in Metarie before we left. Grav enjoyed some egg potato salad from Rouses instead.
Also, you'll notice some strange spellings and capitalization errors. I do voice-to-text.
This single large frozen latte lasted four hours and was incredibly potent.
We got to talking on the way to Baton Rouge about places we'd been, and Grav asked me about the place that was like Wormsloe in Savannah... I assumed he meant Oak Alley Plantation, and when we saw the sign we decided to leave the interstate and head south. This big bridge immediately caught our attention.
Louisiana politicians surprise me. I can't see someone with the surname of Baloney running for office in Arkansas.
This place was intriguing. I thought about stopping, but I'd just wiped out the three beignets a short while before. Apparently its location near "plantation central" helps business a lot. I was impressed with a real boat being used to advertise a seafood shop. We've added this location to our list of places to try out next time we're through the area.
There were tour vans parked in the lot when we pulled through, and one that came right up behind us while Grav was shooting this out the window.
The three plantations sit in a row on LA Highway 18. I shot this while Grav shot Oak Alley's alley.
He was standing just to the left of this shot. There are signs on the highway to discourage parking, so I dropped him off, went back to St. Joseph's plantation, took the photo above and picked him back up. Oak Alley Plantation saw my tweet.
Grav's Instagram filtered photo. Can't wait to see what the big camera got.
A French lady and her partner had a similar idea -- the two of them stood at the end of the alley and shot, and each bid the other good day.
Past the plantations, there are several sections where large pipelines go overhead. To the left are gigantic storage cylinders (for Arkansas readers, the same sort you see at Galloway, except here there are dozens of them within view). Since there were no cars coming, we actually stopped at the highway to capture the blue sky and pipe-crossed road.
A short distance west on LA Highway 18, there's St. James Catholic Church, and this cemetery across the road.
After we took our photos, we noticed this sign.
I was confused at all the signs ahead that said "Welcome Senior Citizens Center" and "Welcome Park." It didn't occur to me that we were in the town of Welcome until I saw the water tower.
This bridge was mostly sheathed in what appeared to be canvas. Considering the size, I felt it deserved a few shots. I've never seen anything like it. The sheathing covers a good deal of the bridge and extends almost down to the roadbed on the inside, with just enough clearance for cars.
Of course, the abandoned homes got Grav's attention.
After miles of sugarcane and tiny burgs, we came upon the town of Donaldsonville, where this home caught Grav's eye.
I was more impressed by the massive elk on the BPOE lodge.
In case you're wondering what that is, my Honda has a short that sometimes causes a failure of the car's internal dome light. It's a backup, just in case.
I thought the combination of trees overgrowing the roadway and the historic structures deserved attention.
Finally hungry, we decided to stop in at the First and Last Chance Cafe. We figured if it'd been around since 1921, it had to be decent.
This should have been a warning to us.
I was somewhat disappointed, too. But I was also happy with the fact that we'd agreed to share dishes on this journey, so we wouldn't overdo. If we hadn't, this might have been a much more expensive meal.
Also, there were two guys at the table across from us who'd ordered burgers. They were massive, and cheap. One of their $7 burgers was far more food than the $20 Broiled Garlic Shrimp we shared.
I love how our friends help provide color and analysis for our trips.
After Donaldson, we decided to take LA Highway 1 to Baton Rouge and join US Highway 190 there. By this point, we'd been on the road for five hours. In case you were wondering about the time stamps, Grav and I traded out and I started grabbing screenshots a short time later.
What you can't see here are the two ultralight planes that were darting above this particular field -- one of which was also a cropduster. Grav has images he'll share later from the big camera.
There's apparently oil in them thar fields.
By the time we'd gotten to Krotz Springs, we were getting pretty tired of stopping and getting out of the car. I pulled over to the side of the road and took this one before crossing.
This startled me. It's been nine years since Katrina. I thought these had been distributed and possibly disposed of. There were small trees growing in between many of these.
We hopped onto I-49 at Opelousas, and took a much needed rest stop a short distance north. This may be the first rest stop I've seen with a boat ramp.
The inside was extraordinarily clean, too.
Yay, Big Ass Fans, for your attention to social media!
I missed the friendly flagman, but he seemed to be happy as a clam. I just wondered why they needed a flagman. All the work was in the right lane.
About 4:30, we were hungry for something substantial. I wasn't in the mood for restaurant roulette, especially since I knew the amazing place on the north side of Alexandria. It was time to introduce Grav to Cajun Landing.
By this point, we had decided the hell with the splitting, we both needed a good and decent meal. Gennie, our waitress, took remarkable care of us and was patient, especially since Grav was pretty road weary and had a hard time making a decision.
I wanted seafood, and I got it. Oh did I ever. I took half with me.
But Grav's dish was even better.
And then there was dessert.
Sorry, Gennie, Autocorrect got me.
We got back on the road pretty quickly after that, but were held up by a moderately short train.
We gassed up, and while Grav drove the interminably long section between Alexandria and Shreveport, I wrote my notes and answered messages. And the sun set.
Once it was dark, there wasn't much to shoot... but there were still comments.
And rest stops.
We switched again west of Tyler, TX. Grav did another bug scrape... there are SO many bugs in Louisiana.
Because I was driving, I chose the stops, and that included a 10:15 p.m. layover at Dairy Palace in Canton.
There wasn't anyone else in the drive-thru, so I just pulled out the camera and snapped my cone there. The lady in the window seemed amused.
After Grav shot his cone, he handed it to me while he went and shot the signs. It got drippy.
By 11:15 we were in East Dallas, I was tired and we realized we had most likely left ear plugs in Kenner. When I pulled off the exit, I saw this:
At 12:08 a.m., we finally pulled up to our final destination of the day, The Adolphus Hotel, and were greeted warmly. The hotel looked splendid, but this is what sealed the deal for me.
You can't really tell from the photo before, but the room was huge. I was too tired to care. I think Grav was too.
So now you know how the sausage is made. What do you think?