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13 January 2009 @ 01:18 pm
really enjoying southern Louisiana  
I am typing this late Tuesday morning from the library in Franklin, Louisiana, with my car at the Firestone store in downtown Franklin. They are replacing my master cylinder and my rear brakes after I asked them to do a thorough brake inspection yesterday. Last week they replaced a brake line I discovered leaking slightly. I am paranoid about my car because I'm out in such remote places.

It was about 33 overnightlast night and the night before, but I'm getting really good at using the little wood stove. I got some little screens yesterday to put a little cage around it because James put her but right next to it and singed a little tuft of fur. She sits outside too, entertained by the kildeers that are very active all night in the huge sugar cane fields next to the tent.

Yesterday, I found some canes that were left behind in the very recent harvest. They snap right off and the center is pure sugar.

Now let me take up where I left off about last week...

Well, first of all, I absolutely love Franklin, Louisiana here, and the campground out by the levee. There's no sprawl here. -Everything's right here in town, including lots of pretty mansions, which you'll see pictures of if the link I mentioned in the last two posts works. It's too difficult to work with picture galleries from my little Tilt phone, and here at the library, with wi-fi, where it would be easy, I can't access my journal, because it is filtered out as a "social network site".

This town of about 9000 is extremely walkable and wonderful, with a large grocery, a bank, the boat ramp to Bayou Teche, the daily newspaper, the Chamber of Commerce, and a gas station right on the courthouse square. The library, City Hall, a tiny technical college, and the beautiful Catholic Church with parklike grounds are another node here 4 blocks away. In between, on Main Street, are three nice restaurants, the Firestone, several clothing stores and other businesses. The auto parts/hardware store and the outdoor equipment store are both downtown, too.

The first day I was camping here, a hunter stopped at my tent and asked if I'd be on the lookout for his beagle, which ran off after a coyote the night before.

A few hours later, I found the dog dead, next to the main highway several miles away when I was visiting Calumet Locks.

The other thing I love about here is the confluence of waterways which I could explore for years. There's Bayou Teche, the most scenic bayou in Louisiana, right here in Franklin, and looping up to within a two mile walk of the campground. A few blocks from the Teche ramp are two ramps into the canal which leads direct to the Gulf of Mexico about 15 miles south. This canal connects to several others through wildlife refuges, and to Bayou Teche. And at the campground, which I've still had all to myself, besides the big ramps into the whole Atchafalaya floodway system, there's a pretty little linear levee lake very close to my tent.

My boat's been in that lake for three days. Maybe I can get everything done here in town and get out on the lake some more this afternoon.

Late last week, I drove down the scenic lonely highway to Burns Point on the Gulf, where there is a little park. I took some pictures there, too.

Yesterday, I found a way to walk across the gravel paths through the sugar cane fields from my tent to a woods next to Bayou Teche. I took a photo there, and I found some delicious Passion Fruits on the ground, and a grove of gigantic Oak trees, one with a trunk at least eight feet in diameter!

(The latest photos I've referred to are, once again, at latest Louisiana pictures for now.)

What I'm especially happy with is how I'm really honing my outdoor skills on this vacation.

The key to everything, for camping and for boating, and for travelling in remote places, is careful attention to where everything is at every moment. This means each bag and pack always has the same contents, which are memorized, and everything is immediately put back into the correct bag. -The tent or car or boat floor are always spotless because nothing is ever left out.

The two reasons for this are: the ability to move things quickly in an emergency (sudden rain or wind, for example) and, to never need to search for anything, because everything is ALWAYS in its correct place.

Finally, I have to think about when I will have to leave all this April-like sunshine and return to Ohio, which is now receiving a major frigid blast.

I checked the extended outlook, and things up there won't be tolerable for me again until a week from today (Jan. 20th). So, I am thinking of leaving Saturday and being back in Dayton sometime Monday, January 19th.