Karen is right I'll have enough material for a book and a half when this is done. When I finished doing the blog Friday night I was suddenly aware of more than 100 US Army Military Police descending on McD. Got to talking with them (as you can imagine!) and many of them were off to Iraq and Afghanistan.
I then set off from the car park before I was painted into the space as they had decided to repaint all the ground markings at night. No sooner had I gone a few miles than there was a loud bang and the machine fell into a large hole in the hard shoulder. Fortunately it seemed to have not come off too much for the worse but after a few miles I felt that I needed rather a lot of effort to maintain 15 mph. No doubt you've guessed it - I had blown the rear inner tube.
Reminders of the dangers of driving here are very common!
I limped across the road into a filling station and replaced the inner tube. Paid my Dollar for air as I didn't have the energy to do it by hand! Just as I was about to leave at close to midnight several large American cars pulled in accompanied to the sound of Rap style music. It appears that this is the meeting point of the local 'gang'.
They asked me what the machine was and I made the mistake of telling them that it was a new undercover cop car. Not clever as they took me seriously and asked if I was packing. They were extremely difficult to understand and I eventually convinced them that I was English and was not carrying any weapons. They then accepted me as being something a little odd, loosened up and we had a laugh. I must say that if they had been drinking heavily instead of being into other substances they would not have been so easy going. Nevertheless I decided to make a rather speedy getaway before the novelty died off - especially as one of them was persistent in wanting a go. My haste was such that I managed to rip the side panel slightly but bodge tape sorted that out the next day.
I eventually headed off and managed to find a Cajun Campsite whatever that means. There was no one around at that ungodly hour (2am) so I found a nice spot and was so tired didn't bother with a tent despite it hovering just above freezing. I laid out my Exped Downmat placed my down sleeping bag inside the synthetic one and hit the sack until 10am. I then made my way to the office only to find it was one of those 'we don't like tenters' type. They appreciated though that instead of absconding I paid the 77 Dollars - no only joking $15 for the night.
I set off at around 11am but spent a frustrating two hours trying to resolve a problem with my mobile phone. Fortunately Joshua the manager of a local grill and store was really helpful and after 10 minutes or so I was in business again.
It seems that when you move areas in the States and start picking up another provider it is treated as roaming and suddenly costs 20 cents per minute. Anyway even though I had 200 minutes of talk time remaining once I recharged my phone I was sort of able to use it again.
Spotted some interesting things on the way including someone who had an oil well in their back garden.
The roads were much better now that I was on the smaller ones. Stopped at Oberlin for lunch but nearly everyone was unfriendly. Don't know why they looked so miserable. Even the posted signs everywhere were OTT.
Thought it would be nice to go to the Oberlin Inn but thought better of it.
Beautiful white sandy beaches at the rivers edges
I also noticed that virtually all the animals including dogs obviously took a great interest in the machine - now they know a good thing when they see one!
So I have arrived at McD in DeRidder not far from the Texas border and nearly a third of the way across!