This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mardi Gras 2013 in Lafayette, LA

Mardi Gras is over and we returned home today from Lafayette where Carol Ann and I managed to attend four of the six parades.  We missed one on Saturday night because it was pouring rain and we missed the last one on Tuesday afternoon because we had to pick up the food for our club’s Fat Tuesday dinner. 

We watched all four parades from the corner of Johnston and University, in front of the First Presbyterian Church.  This was the approximate mid-point of the 3.9 mile parade route.  It took each parade almost an hour and a half to reach us and about 45 minutes to pass completely by us, as there were dozens of floats and marching bands in each parade.  By the time the parades reached us, some of the marching bands were really dragging and still had another couple of miles to go.

Each float had about 20 riders who tossed beads almost non-stop.  Sometimes it they would throw one necklace at a time; sometimes they were tossed by the handfuls.  I even caught an unopened plastic bag of beads that was tossed out.  Each floats had cases and cases of beads, all made in China.

Carol Ann and I managed to snag 39 pounds of beads (yes, we weighed them today when we got home) at the four parades we attended!  Some of the other club members managed an even greater amount.  It also seemed that most of the other 250,000 people watching the parades did at least as well as Carol Ann and I.  Holding the crowds back were 5,500 metal barricades lining both sides of the parade route.  There were also many police officers spread along each block of the route.

Food and novelty vendors were continuously pushing their carts up and down the parade route.  Local restaurants had awnings and tents set up from which they sold all kinds of food and drink.  There were  coolers and portable tables filled with food brought from home or cooked on grills right there along the parade route. 

At the end of each parade the entire route was littered with beads that didn’t make it to the crowds on the other side of the police barricades.  There were also thousands of empty plastic bags scattered about.  The street cleaners would work for about 8 hours after each parade, moving all of the barricades to the sides of the roads and cleaning up the 210 cubic-yards (about 30 dump truck loads or over 1,200 wheel barrow loads) of litter and debris PER PARADe.  That’s 180 dump truck loads for all 6 parades.  Then all of the barricades had to be moved back into place before the next parade.  The 121 portable toilets also had to be cleaned.   On Wednesday, the day after Mardi Gras ends, all of the Public Works crews have the day off.  I’m sure they deserved it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Aftermath

This is what the streets look like when the parade ends. P

King Gabriel's Parade

I just completed a post of some length bringing you up to date on our adventure. I handed the iPhone to Carol Ann and asked her to take my picture as I sit here in my Mad Hatter's hat awaiting the parade. Not only was she unable to take the photo, but the post that I had spent so much time typing with a thumb was gone and it is too much trouble to attempt a reproduction on my iPhone. Once I am back at my laptop I will write more and include photos.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A HOT TIME on Avery Island

This morning we car pooled down to Avery Island, paid our $1 toll (per vehicle) and visited the McIlhenny Tabasco Factory.  We were shown a short film on the history of the company and given a brief tour of the factory in which they produce 700,000 bottles of Tabasco Sauce PER DAY (Monday – Thursday)!  They weren’t bottling today but it was still a very interesting tour.  It is the only Tabasco production facility in the world and the products are labeled in 21 different languages and dialects for all corners of the globe.  Before finishing the tour everyone was given 4 sample bottles of the sauce (each a different flavor).  After the tour we checked out the Tabasco Country Store where we sampled every flavor of sauce that they produce, plus Tabasco chili fixin’s, catsup, mayonnaise, steak sauce, and several others.  They also let us sample their Tabasco soda, a Tabasco-flavored cola (the only product I didn’t really care for), raspberry & chipotle ice cream (very good) and Tabasco ice cream (cold with a slow burn).  These were some very unexpected taste sensations.  We purchased our lunch at the store after sampling everything.  I had red beans and rice with sausage. It was all good.

After lunch everyone went their own way for the afternoon.  Carol Ann and I returned to the motorhome to take a nap and get ready for the evening’s happy hour and covered dish supper.

Tomorrow morning we will be heading to the Atchafalaya Basin for a boat tour of the swamp, followed by a Cajun lunch at McGee’s Landing.  On the way back to the RV park we will detour by Arnaudville for a tour (with tasting!) of the Bayou Teche Brewing Company (a local microbrewery). 

Once back at the RV park there won’t be much time to rest as we will be heading back into Lafayette for Queen Evangeline’s Parade at 6:00 PM.  It should be bigger than Thursday and Friday nights’ parades, each of which boasted at least 20 floats, all of them tossing out tons of beads.  At the end of each parade the streets are littered with broken strands of plastic beads and empty plastic bags that were once filled with beads.

On Fat Tuesday, the final day of Mardi Gras, there will be three parades, beginning at 10 AM with King Gabriel’s Parade, followed by the Lafayette Mardi Gras Association Parade at 1PM and the Fox 15 Independent Parade at 2 PM.  There’s no telling how many pounds of beads we will walk off with by the end of the day.

I'll post some photos later.  The internet is just too slow at this RV park to wait on photos to be uploaded.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

"Throw me something, mister!"

I am sitting in a folding chair near the corner of Johnston and University in Lafayette, LA waiting for the parade. It's the second night of Mardi Gras and our second parade. By the end of last night's parade we were all loaded down with beads. It is surprising what some adults will do for some cheap plastic necklaces! However, we will all act like idiots again tonight, shamelessly fighting for those cheap prizes.

We are in Lafayette with our RV club until Wednesday and the end of Mardi Gras. Tomorrow we are going to Avery Island to tour the Tabasco factory. No parades tomorrow, Sunday.

It won't be long now until we are screaming "throw me something, mister!"