The Bumblebee and the Vespa 2014

I think it's time for me to redefine what this new blog is about. In the past I've posted individual blogs for motorcycle/motor scooter rides to places like Alaska, Nova Scotia, Key West, Mexico, Canada, New York, etc. That's all well and good but it seems nowadays I'm dividing my rides into shorter ones comprised of two or more weeks each on different bikes. The total time and mileage is about the same, it's just split into multiple rides with a break somewhere in the middle.

The summer of 2014 serves as a good example of that wherein I rode south to Tombstone, AZ on my '92 BMW R100GS Bumblebee/Ural sidecar rig, (phew!) then returned home for a few days and set out again on my '07 Vespa 250ie motor scooter to visit Canada. That summer has gone and the seasons have changed as will the reports, some will be about shorter rides, some will be about maintenance, and maybe on occasion I'll post a photo or two just for interest. I may even introduce other bikes, a few of which are lurking under cover in the barn...

Navigating this blog is easy, just scroll down the list of posts by date to whatever interests you, click on it and you're in. Photos can be viewed in larger format by clicking on them.

Finally, if you'd care to post comments please do so, I'd love to hear from you. CLICK ON "NO COMMENTS" TO ENTER YOUR REMARKS. That seems really silly but that's how it works. The entry window is located at the bottom of each screen. Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoy your stay.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Aug 31 Day 11 - The Old Spanish Trail - Baton Rouge, LA

I've come to realize the Old Spanish Trail Southern Borderland has most likely gone the way of the old wild west. To date I've not found much evidence it even existed, at least not compared to what you find for Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway. Even the Pony Express has a few signs up showing the way it went. I'm wondering if the northern version of the trail is better marked? That may have to be the subject for a later tour.

Anyway until this afternoon I'd never met anyone who'd even heard of the Southern Borderland part. Then I stopped at the Ben J. Rogers Regional Visitors Center and there I met a couple of nice ladies who knew of it. They gave me a map to the small mostly Hispanic neighborhood that still bears reference to it that's located just a few miles further on and sent me on my way with an ice-cold bottle of water. That's pretty darn nice I'd say.

You're totally lost aren't you? Have some water sweetie, try to relax.
Does the home know you're missing?
The short section of trail was supposedly just a few miles down the road that I was traveling on - US 10 - and  I was to watch for the College street exit. Try as I may I never caught sight of any mention of that on any of the exits I passed. I must have blown past it in the intense traffic without seeing it so I gave it up and continued on my way east. Buggers!

While all this was happening I noticed the sky was turning into a weird collage of colors and ominous clouds were beginning to form. From recent experiences I figured it was about to start raining really hard but I also wondered if my new el-cheapo sunglasses might be contributing to the colors? I stopped for a few minutes and dug out another pair with bright blue reflective type lenses and tried them out. The same weirdness continued but with a slightly different hue. 

Sometimes I am beyond cool. Sorta mysterious like. Eh? 
This is fun, re-entering a 75 mph traffic pattern from a short ramp-up. No sweat.
After spending more time then was necessary evaluating the effects different colored lenses might have on the atmosphere and clouds I stopped again, this time for lunch at McDonald's. This particular one had a real surprise treat on their menu, a sort of pseudo patty-melt with fried onions all nice and greasy just the way I like 'em. I expect their menu may be more regional driven since I've never seen this sandwich at home. Maybe we'll get lucky and they'll start selling it in our area. Or maybe my body will get lucky and they won't.

After scarfing down my burger and most of the fries I again took note of the nasty looking skies. I talked to a couple of local firemen sitting at the next table and they chuckled (evil) and said "Y'all might be able to out run it if you hurry right along." More chuckles. More evil. I left. Outside I talked about it to a guy just getting out of his truck and he said more or less the same thing. Chuckle. Evil sniggers. These guys from Louisiana are a riot sometimes. 
What the heck I thought, I've got plenty of rain gear to wear. Only problem is, it's hotter'n all goto heck and muggy too. Back on the Bonnie I went sans rain gear but within a half-mile there it came, splat! Crimoney I wasn't looking forward to wearing non-breathable rain gear but getting soaked wasn't much fun either. 

I stopped in a convenient driveway apron of a really luxurious looking country home  and struggled into the outfit. It was then that I made an amazing discovery, the pants don't really have a front or back, you can wear them either way. No fly, no pockets, no zippers, nada. As I was hopping around getting dressed up I kinda half-way expected Farmer Brown to come charging out and chase me away from his driveway but no one came. Lucky me.

Getting back onto US-10 took a bit longer than expected due to some construction going on but I finally made it back into the craziness. Man there are a lot of trucks out there, and they all run 75 mph or faster. I only saw a couple of traffic cops and they had cars pulled over, never a truck. I'm not sure what that means but I thought I might mention it. 

Not long after that I crossed over into Louisiana, my first visit to the state. One of the most interesting things I've seen on this tour was the 19-mile long Atchafalaya Basin Bridge. Traffic was smoking along at a rate that prevented me from stopping for pics so I found a couple on the Internet. There can't be too many bridges that long, especially ones that are surrounded by alligators. 

Don't attempt to pronounce Atchafalaya more than a couple of times, you could hurt yourself. Or spray the person standing in front of  you with spittle.

Note to the owners of the following two photos: 
If you wish further acknowledgement or would like these removed please contact me and I will do so. 
Atchafalaya Basin Bridge as posted on Wikipedia - Photo by Mich Aelat
View from the bridge. Owner unknown. There be gators out there.
After bumping along in the ultra-hot-muggy traffic for awhile longer I decided I'd had enough freeway travel for the day and furthermore I think I'll do a bit more of meandering starting tomorrow. 

With that in mind I checked into another La Quinta, this one in Baton Rouge. Dinner will most likely be two Cliff Bars and my last Gatorade which should more than suffice considering the lunch I had at McDonald's. It's early yet, not even six o'clock local time which gives me plenty of time to watch a movie or two. Nice.


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