Our goal for the day was 430 miles, fortunately we had good driving conditions and engrossing landscapes to accompany us. We set off on the I10, soon exiting Florida and retracing our footsteps, so to speak, re-entering Alabama.
The people of the United States have road travelling down to an art form, and we were constantly struck with new sights (the transportation of cars across America being one!)
We transitioned from the I10 to the I12, and at Baton Rouge picked up traffic (although manageable), and another awesome moment crossing the Mississippi. Coming from drought ridden Australia where the Murray is what I gauge as a river, to see a river of this scale with the Riverboats and docks and heavy traffic, and the engineering of the bridges elevated to such an artform, was unmissable.
Had we not had to rush back home to Australia, we would have overnighted at Baton Rouge, and enjoyed one of the Bayou swamp tours and Riverboat cruises.
At Breaux Bridge, we pulled over to a truck stop for the restrooms and a quick break, and even that was entertaining!
They had everything here!
Travelling back on the I10, we were struck by the scale of the length of the highway and seemingly endless miles with water underneath (of course being at or close to sea level, the risk of flooding is always present).
We started heading up north on the I49, for a long stretch of road with minimal traffic and a lot of trees for company. It was a long day, and dark as we arrived at Natchitoches, for our overnight stay at another Quality Inn. (which we had booked enroute using the Choice Hotels App)
We were able to nab a room with 3 Queen Beds set up in the one room, upstairs, which meant carrying the baggage, but it gave us a great view. At the time we had intended to drive into the main part of town for a chinese meal, low and behold, we were immediately adjacent to a Subway.
After 7 long hours in the car, walking 10 metres for a meal became a very attractive option. With friendly service and comfortable booths, we were happy to collapse here and recover, then making the short walk across 2 driveways to our hotel room.
From our room we enjoyed the night lit view of the outskirts of town, and fell asleep to the background hum of orders being placed through the Subway drive through (take note Australia, we need drive through!!)
The next morning counts as the most memorable for me of the whole trip. On awakening, I found still air and an enveloping mist that covered miles of flat land, in the warm and humid conditions that I just could not capture on film. As per personal tradition, I snuck down to the breakfast room, and with a slasher movie on the tv, enjoyed coffee and eggs, and watched the sun rise. I will never forget that morning.
With the sun and heat up, we discovered we were truly in the thick of conveniences, and also low on fuel, but right next door to a fuel station (could have pushed the car to the bowser!). We understood now (nearing the end of the trip), that the historic town centres were often a bit off the highway, and so we went in search of the french architecture this town is so famous for.
With its glorious wrought iron and brick pavework, every inch of this town was a feast for the eyes. The town is famous for more than its beautiful buildings from the 1700's. Also, its meat pies, many historic sites, and the location of the filming of Steel Magnolias (just to name a few!).
And it is this architecture, the food, and the people, that make the South so very special. I came back to Australia awestruck and felt truly changed, which is what travel is all about. I wholeheartedly urge anyone and everyone to travel these states.
All we can think about is planning our return, (stay tuned for updates on that, but looking at Dec/Jan two years from now!)