Monday, 22 December 2014

DAY 12 - Welcome to Nawlins

For the uninitiated, New Orleans is actually pronounced Nawlins (thanks for the tip, Steve from Shreveport), and Nawlins is exactly where we are now. The trip from Houston, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana is approximately 360 miles/580km and took us around six hours and predominantly followed the I-10 (I = Interstate).

As noted in the map above, the trip took us firstly past Beaumont, Texas, then across the border into Louisiana and past the cities of Lafayette and Baton Rouge. The journey was uneventful with a few stops along the way.

After first stopping for fuel and buying a (wait for it...) Salted Caramel Ice Cream Shake about 50 miles out of Houston, we then stopped just after we crossed the Sabine River into Louisiana at the Tourist Information Centre just west of the town of Vinton, Louisiana. The Information Centre is also situated near Lost Lake which is a tributary to the Sabine River. It seems that Alligators and Snakes are a bit of a hazard here. We grabbed a bunch of Louisiana brochures, grabbed a Cup of Joe and headed off.

According to the sign; Welcome to Louisiana
The Tourist Information Centre in Vinton, Louisiana
Lost Lake in Vinton. Don't you just love the warning signs
Evidence of me at Lost Lake, Louisiana
After passing to the South of Lafayette, we crossed the Atchafalaya River and encountered the Atchafalaya Swamp and drove along the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge that crosses it. The interesting thing about this bridge is that it is 20 miles/32 km long and is actually two separate bridges for the traffic flow each direction. It is the 14th longest bridge in the world and second longest in the US.

Driving along the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge

The next major travel feature was passing to the South of Baton Rouge and crossing the mighty Mississippi River on the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, built in 1963.

About to cross the might Mississippi River at Baton Rouge
Half-way across the Mississippi River on the Horace Wilkinson Bridge
We then stopped for a late lunch just outside of Baton Rouge around an hour out of New Orleans. Further up the road we crossed another bridge similar to Atchafalaya Basin Bridge (but not as long...obviously). New Orleans was a lot larger than any of us imagined and the traffic jam we managed to find ourselves in was pretty big. But we finally made our Hotel in Harvey, just South of the city, late in the afternoon.

The New Orleans cityscape 
Crossing the Mississippi River (again) on the Crescent City Connection twin Cantilever Bridges in New Orleans
We finished the day with dinner at Chilli's Restaurant, during which Schuyler managed to spill e giant mug of water all over the place creating a slip hazard in the Restaurant.

That's all for today...Whew!