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A Texas-Louisiana-Arkansas Hipcamp Road Trip: Louisiana Camping in the Heart of Summer

We had our second longest drive halfway done by the time we had passed Houston and reached Beaumont, Texas.

It was definitely starting to look more like Louisiana and less like Texas.

I had found some kind of soul food restaurant in their downtown only to find out that it didn't exist. Whoops.

Instead, despite Brooke's protests, Meadow and I picked the Hut in Orange, Texas on the border with Louisiana.

Since we didn't get BBQ in Austin we had to get some. I wasn't feeling it.

I'd wanted bbq ever since we'd got to Texas despite Brooke's protests. We finally got some hella good ribs and a brisket sandwich.

Meadow chose the ribs.

 We were already in bayou country way back near Houston, but it wasn't until the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge that we were in the heart of it. The 18.2 mile, kind of ugly, bridge takes you right through the bayou. In fact most of the time your driving right over one of the basins channels.

Eventually we made it to Baton Rouge.

We meandered through the capital city, some subdivisions and eventually we were in the Louisiana landscape you imagine.

Tonight we'd be staying at Horseshoe Bend River Camp. We weren't actually on the Amite River, but across the road on a pond.

I'm not sure what is worse. Super hot and dry or hot and super humid. 

This was the first time on the trip I felt it was truly unbearable.

We would regret parking here later.

The soil here was basically sand.

Our host wasn't home when we arrived, but his kids were. They said people usually camp in this spot. We later found were actually supposed to go by the pond.

I'd later find out from host Damon that the pond does in fact have one 6 foot alligator, but since his boys and cat were fine, so should we.

Another pond we couldn't swim in.

I had to pry Meadow out of the tent to go for a little walk to the river and around Horseshoe Bend.

The Amite actually will take you all the way to New Orleans by way of Lake Pontchartrain. That would be an epic canoe ride.

We saw people swimming up the way so maybe the alligators aren't around too much.

A flood had come through recently that was the highest in a century. A few of the homes were abandoned along the road.

Despite them all being on stilts or raised.

The water went over everything.

We saw the hugest crickets ever.

I think that's a grasshopper. They call it the devil's horse.

We didn't have much to do since we didn't have a canoe, so we cooked, read books and chilled out in the not so chill air.

Minutes earlier I had accidentally poured out our boxed mac and cheese. Luckily the cheese had survived and I had a bag a noodles.

See the cat near our tent. In the middle of the night it did the same thing on Scott. Except in the middle of the night Scott automatically assumed it was the alligator.

I thought it was something more than a cuddly cat. That's for sure.

Their kitty was friendly.

It was getting dark, so we did dishes and then hit the sack early.

Day 9 - Wednesday
In the morning we were set to cook some instant oatmeal and head on out. Only I soon found out Louisiana's sugar ants had invaded our car. We emptied the Insight and I went to town to vacuum it out.

Too bad. It wasted a bunch of our time.

We arrived in New Orleans two hours later than we'd hoped. We were hungry, still fuming from the ant incident and had a few hours before we could get into our urban Hipcamp. So, we stopped at Bud's Broiler just because it looked cool.

It was cool and had a/c.

For some reason this place felt like it should be in Chicago.

I love this city.

New Orleans is the only city we can both agree on that we would want to move to. The architecture, the parades...what's not to love?

I had stumbled upon a place called Storyland in City Park in one of my travel books. It was just like the Storybook Gardens that Scott and I went to as children in Wisconsin Dells.

Meadow thought this place was the greatest. She loved seeing the characters she recognized.

This is about the time that Brooke made me think that I had Zika. So, I didn't really get to enjoy the fairy tale setting.

I had read that there had been Zika mosquitos found in Louisiana. I read over the symptoms so we could watch out for it. When Scott woke up this morning his eyes were red and then I noticed on his leg he had a rash. I was only worried for him.

Thanks, love.

Meadow and I still had fun.

They should have these stationed throughout the city. It's as hot and humid as you would expect, on par with the worst days in Minneapolis. Only this was normal in NOLA.

Next to Storyland was a little amusement park. The tickets were pretty steep.

That meant only one ride and of course Meadow chose the carousel. This is the oldest wooden carousel in Louisiana.

In the early evening after driving around for a bit we arrived at Athena's Magic School Bus just north of Tulane University.

Of all the Hipcamps we've been to, this was, along with the South Dakota Tipi, our favorite place we've stayed.

This Hipcamp isn't so much a camp, but a converted school bus on a leafy driveway in the greatest city in America. It's what dreams are made of.

We were expecting it to be pretty basic, but it had a/c, a mini fridge, running water, a toilet and shower!

I think this was Meadow's favorite too. She had been excited to stay since we told her we were going.

Our original plans actually fell through. We were supposed to canoe to our own island in the bayou (now more of a canal), but the site was taken down in the beginning of our trip. As awesome as that sounded, I was a little relieved. The thought of running into snakes or alligators had me dreading the trip. Luckily Scott was able to get the school bus in its place.

I would've been bummed had we not made it to New Orleans on this trip.

Though they gutted the bus, there are a few nods to its past life.

A brief storm was coming, so we relaxed in front of the a/c for awhile.

Our host Dru lives in the duplex next door, which is on a dead end street.

When she showed us around she mentioned wanting to talk with us later, but we never saw her again. After our previous trips, I wasn't expecting to be left on our own so much.  

A freaking C! This was so nice. We've always shunned a/c back home, but if we did ever move hear we'd need to get one.

Did I mention we really enjoyed the A/C.

Meadow loved the school bus door opener.

Marylville-Fountainebleau isn't on top of the tourist destinations, so we decided to eat nearby and walk around the neighborhood.

Notice the large puddles. This city seems to flood easily.

That's because most of interior of the city is below sea level and only habitable thanks constant pumping of water.

Past the oh-so-New Orleans homes is a small business district that seems to cater to the nearby university.

We chose the Pyramids Cafe.

And then were not even a bit disappointed. I know it's not cajun or creole food, but we'll survive.

We got way more food than we were expecting. Good thing we all shared.

After dinner we decided to walk around the neighborhood.

As we were walking I wondered why the street we walked down had dead end streets.

It turns out the next block over was a subdivision that was built later with mansions lining it.

We noticed the city lets the trees grow as large as they want, leaving the sidewalks to bend and crack with the growing roots. I do love how shady the city is.

Too bad the local diner was closed. A root beer float would've been perfect.

We went back to the bus debating on going back out. Scott wasn't sure about taking Meadow out to the French Quarter at night. After awhile she put herself to bed. So, that was that.

Day 10 - Thursday
We had another long drive and sadly had to get on the road early.

So long New Orleans. Next time we come, we'll spend more than a day.

And we're staying in the school bus.

Hello, Mississippi.


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