06 November 2014

Across the U.S., Day 31 - Baton Rouge (LA) to Houston (TX)

Since traveling on large interstates is fast but really boring, I chose US-190 instead, which runs parallel to I-10 across southern Louisiana. But even this one felt too large to me. So, past Opelousas I took off onto one of those remote roads. ("Guido, here is a grey line on the map. Let's take that route!" Remember?) ;-)

Louisiana has a strong multicultural/multilingual heritage and is the only state in the U.S. with "parishes" instead of counties. One of the questions that could be asked during the Naturalization process (= when a person applies for U.S. citizenship) is "What happened in 1803? Correct answer: The Louisiana Purchase. The purpose was to remove France's presence in the region and to secure the free passage on the Mississippi River including the port of New Orleans.

The official nickname for Louisiana is the "Pelikan State", but it's also called the Sugar State. With 10.8 million tons of sugarcane produced in 2011, Louisiana ranks 2nd after Florida and outplays Texas and Hawaii.

Sugarcane field near Opelousas on US-98

The harvested sugarcane stalks are milled to extract sugarcane juice, which then gets cleaned, evaporated and crystalized.

Today, I got through some truly remote areas ...

... and passed by a dachshund which I hope is still alive by tonight. I saw the little dog from far, standing in the middle of my lane. I had enough time to slow down and before I stopped in front of him, he ran off the street. But only to jump right back onto the street behind me. Either this was a seriously suicidal sausage dog or he had lost a bet to his buddies. Or he was searching for his pack leader? Very strange.

Many people in this region seem to own horses and/or donkeys. I also saw lots of goats, but not worthwhile for me to stop. Sorry goats, but your ears are simply too short for me to take pictures!

The "Lone Star State" welcomed me in the early afternoon.

"Drive Friendly - The Texas Way"? Nice calling! That would also be a pleasant change to the crazy driving style I experienced the last few days. ;-) Texas' motto is Friendship and the state's name is derived from tejas, meaning "friends" and used by the Spanish for the Caddo (confederacy of seven southeastern native American tribes). Ok Texans, now is your time to show proof!

More to come.