God says to Abraham Kill
me a son
Abe says Man, you must be putting me on
God says No, Abe say What!?!
God say You can do what you want Abe but,
the next time you see me comin you better run
Well Abe says, Where do you want this killing done?
God says, Out on Highway 61
- Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited
Vicksburg, MS to New Orleans, LA: US-61 South to Port Gibson,
Natchez Trace Parkway South, back to US-61 to Natchez National Historic
Park, continuing through Sibley, Dolorso, Woodville, Hardwood Baines,
to Baton Rouge, I-10 East to New Orleans. (MAP)
Vicksburg looks like an interesting place, one of the largest and
best-preserved Civil War sites in the National Park System. Id like to stay
here for a while, drive the park loop road and check out the restored
Union gunboat-USS Cairo. But I cant. Ive got to get moving
if I want to get to New Orleans before dark. This flat tire thing is
really throwing off my plans.
Two miles past Port Gibson I jump on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Running
444 miles from the Tennessee Valley to the Mississippi River, it is
one of the premier roads in America. There are no towns along the way,
no trucks are allowed, no gas stations, no motels, and no restaurants.
It is just a beautiful road for over 400 miles. The speed limit along
the Natchez is limited to 50 MPH, and thats good for me today
because Id rather not run that plugged tire at higher speeds.
Grass and trees run right up to the edge of the road and there is no
shoulder at all. It reminds me of the better parts of the Taconic State
Parkway, one of my favorite roads back home.
When I get to Natchez, Mississippi, I make a quick stop at the Natchez
National Historic Park to get the stamp and theyve got a
bonus stamp for the William Johnson House that I didnt expect. Im
in and out in five minutes. One of the park rangers says That
was a quick visit. And it sure was, but Ive got to get
to Baton Rouge.
At 2 PM, Im at Hebert
Cycles (http://www.hebertcycles.com/) in
Baton Rouge, a BMW dealer. They take my motorcycle into the service
area right away and start changing the tire.
Twenty minutes later the service technician is taking the bike off
the lift and SNAP, the throttle cable breaks! What? A throttle cable
breaking on a new bike? Theyve never seen that before, and obviously
neither have I.
I cant believe my good luck! I could have been ten miles down
the road when this happened and then the bike would have had to be
towed back to the shop. But it is already here, on the service lift.
timing! About an hour later a new throttle cable has been installed under
warranty, and Im back on the road. Interstate 10 is flat
and straight, leading me across the swamps of Louisiana to the city
of New Orleans.
As the light fades, I ride around the French Quarter trying to figure
out where Ill stay for the evening and, importantly, where Ill
park the bike. I should have planned this better, and perhaps made
a reservation somewhere. I end up opting for a somewhat pricey room
at the Marriott on Canal Street, but it has a spectacular view from
the 27th floor and safe parking for the motorcycle.
I dont have much time here so Im not going to waste it
sleeping. There is way too much cool stuff going on down there in the
French Quarter. Music is wafting up the 27 floors, from the House of
Blues down below, and it makes me want to get down there into the mix
of everything that is New Orleans. After all, it is Friday night. At
10 PM I go out for a stroll.
The city is alive with music and mystery. Every street has a different
story to tell, and a different scene waits around every corner. Who
knows what secrets are lurking in the shadows?
Dozens of Tarot Card readers tell their tales along St. Peters Street,
on the western edge of Jackson
Square. Outside Preservation Hall the
music pours into the street. To enjoy the show I only need to stand
outside on the sidewalk.
The corner of Bourbon Street and
St. Peters is a madhouse, a non-stop party. Drunks outnumber sober
people. Hot dog vendors charge $4.50
for a frankfurter because they can. People walk around with drinks
in their hands and the entire street is closed to vehicular traffic.
It doesnt have to be Mardi Gras for women to flash their breasts.
People are everywhere, drinking, exposing themselves, and throwing
Ill be ready to leave in a few hours.
Miles Today: 248.4
Total Miles: 24,447
Time on Motorcycle: 4 Hours 42 Minutes
Average Speed: 101.7 MPH
States Visited today: 2 (MS, LA)
Total States Visited: 38
National Park Service Passport Stamps: 3
NPS Stamp Totals: 179 Stamps, 34 States
Weather: Sunny, as usual, and getting warmer.
Total Cost for new rear tire, including installation, and a new tire
repair kit: $202.45
ON THE ROAD:
Come Back Soon
or well come git ya. sign
as you leave the Battlefield Inn, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
While gumbo is not my cup of tea, Im glad to be in a city
like New Orleans where fine food is placed in such high regard. I think
the last good meal I had was in Kansas.
Well, Im not in Kansas anymore. In New Orleans they live to eat.
There is of course a great wealth of seafood, some of the finest chefs
in the world, a strong culinary influence from the Creole and Cajun
history, and something like 3000 restaurants. When it comes to food
in New Orleans, they even seem to have their own language. Some highlights:
Andouille (ahn-doo-ye) -- Plump and spicy country sausage, used in
Red Beans & Rice and other Creole recipes.
Beignet (bane-yea) -- Sweet, square doughnuts that are heavily sprinkled
with powdered sugar.
Boudin (boo-dan) -- Hot, spicy sausage that has pork, onions, rice,
and herbs mixed together.
Cafe Au Lait (caf-ay oh-lay) -- A half and half mixture of hot coffee
and hot milk.
Chicory (chick-ory) -- An herb that is dried, ground, roasted and used
to flavor New Orleans coffee.
Crawfish -- Locally known as Mudbugs. Served in many different New
Orleans dishes. Only the tail of the crawfish is eaten.
Dirty Rice -- Pan-fried leftover cooked rice sautéed with green
peppers, onion, celery and giblets.
Etoufee (ay-too-fay) -- A tangy tomato-based sauce. Etoufee is used
in many New Orleans dishes.
Grillades (gree-yads) -- Squares of broiled beef or veal.
Grits -- Coarsely ground hominy grain. Looks like mashed potatoes,
but tastes like corn.
Gumbo -- A thick, mostly okra-based soup that is poured over cooked
rice. There are many different types of gumbo, including, Chicken Gumbo,
Shrimp Gumbo, and Crawfish Gumbo.
Jambalaya (jum-bo-lie-yah) -- Tomatoes, cooked rice, ham, andouille,
chicken, celery, onions and seasonings. Similar to paella.
Muffuletta -- A huge, round sandwich consisting of ham, salami, and
other meats, cheese, pickles, and olive salad.
Praline (praw-leen) -- A New Orleans candy. Flat and sweet, it is made
of sugar, water, and pecans.
Po-Boy -- A large sandwich served on French bread. Po-Boys can be stuffed
with fried oysters, fried shrimp, roast beef and gravy, softshell crabs,
turkey, or hot sausage.
Red Beans & Rice -- Red Kidney beans mixed with rice, seasonings,
spices and (andouille) sausage. Traditionally, Red Beans and Rice was
served on Mondays, because Monday was wash day, and the Red Beans could
simmer and cook all day without attention.
Thanks to http://www.alanet.com for their food dictionary. And a special
thank you to Jack Schatz who wrote me a long e-mail about all the great
food and restaurants in New Orleans. Look out Zagats, here comes Jack