Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Creole Trail and on to Texas

Friday we were back on the trail - and not just any trail - 

the Creole Nature Trail!

We left Abbeville pretty early to get a good start on the Louisiana Outback. We continued west on the 14 through Kaplan and on to Lake Arthur eventually turning south onto the 27 at Holmwood. The 14 was a nice easy drive and reminded us of Alberta in the spring with LOTS of water. I don't know if it is a wet time of year or the HUGE storm that came through a few days ago, but the fields were ponds.

Once on the 27 we were officially on the Creole Nature Trail. This is a really nice website - I recommend a visit. Today we will be doing 1/2 of the trail - the rest heads north again on the 27 up to Sulphur.

We had planned to stop at the Cameron Prairie National Refuge Visitors Center for breakfast and to walk the boardwalk. And stop we did BUT


The moment we got out of the truck they descended upon us - hundreds I am sure. We quickly got into and stayed in the trailer - with lunch finished we quickly got back in the truck and drove off.

The view along the 27 south.

It was a pretty quick drive to the main town along the trail near the Gulf - Cameron. From this link you can learn about the history of Cameron - as we suspected it suffered great damage from Hurricane's Rita and Ike. We could tell that this place used to have a lot more going on. There are several new buildings and a lot of people are living in RVs.

At Cameron we took our first ferry ride of the day. It is a very short ride - we spent more time waiting for the ferry then actually on the ferry.

Derek speaking with the fellow in line in front of us.

Waiting to get on the ferry. We were the last to get on - the ferry is shaped like a D. The cars drive on and go around the curve part. Because we are so long we get on last straight on to form the line of the D. Then we are the first to get off - pretty neat.

Continuing on we coame to Holly Beach and the end of the Creole Trail for us. The 82 along this strip travels right along the beach and so it was a nice drive. There are actually quite a few houses along this area - all on stilts. I had a brochure telling me that this was where the good shelling beaches were - I was pretty excited.

Finally! Beaches with whole shells!

Not so fast. Sadly, when Derek stopped the truck for us to get out we were again swarmed with mosquitoes. This was just not our day. My idea of beach walking and shelling was slipping

And so - we just kept driving. You can see platforms in the distance.

As we got closer to Texas we saw A LOT of industry.

 ahhhhhh Texas - it's good to be back. We missed you!

Not many pictures for the next while. We drove the 82 up to Port Arthur. My original plan had been to spend the whole day in Louisiana and spending the night at Walmart in PA. But since we sped through that area we were WAY ahead of schedule.

So on we went along the 73 and south of the 124 turning west on the 87 at High Island. Boy are we ever moving fast. 

Before we knew it we were at the Port Bolivar to Galveston free ferry just as the sun was starting to set.

A container ship was going by as we were waiting to get on the ferry.

The ferry takes about 45 minutes so time to get out and walk around.

And look at our truck for above - hmmm - looks like our roof could use some paint. yikes!

The returning ferry arrived just as we were leaving.

And so that was our very long day of driving. Good thing we had TWO ferry rides to break up the trip.

Sad to leave Louisiana - Happy to be back in Texas.

Happy to be in Galveston. Galveston, oh Galveston, I still hear you sea winds blowin'...............

Another song town if you have been following our blog for a while -  I like visiting song towns. I have been pining to visit Galveston since we missed it in 2008.

Saturday we took a look around this fine city.....

Thanks for visiting!


Today's Interesting Link: Is Galveston on your list of places to visit? Here is a the link to the official Galveston Island website - it will give you a head start on us for looking around. I know we won't be doing it justice since we won't be staying long. More reasons to come back in the future.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Shucks Restaurant, Abbeville La

Once we reached Abbeville we went in search of Shucks. All we knew was that it was on Port Street but without a map we were stumped. We were on the 14 bypass and realizing fast that we needed to do something or we were going to sail right through this small city. 

Would you believe just as we thought that there appeared the Visitor Center and Chamber. So Derek took a hard right into the parking lot. 

What luck! 

And further luck because just as I got out of the truck - Lynn from the Abbeville Chamber of Commerce was heading out the door. Great lady - we had a nice conversation and she was happy to give us the 'easy' route to Shucks. Good thing we stopped, I doubt we would have found it without Lynn's help.

But find it we did!

You may be thinking - boy these guys seem to be eating out a lot these days. And it does seem that way doesn't it. Now - let me explain that the Wood Clan doesn't eat out all that much. We would if we could but our lifestyle doesn't really leave room for such a luxury. If we had the $$ Derek and I would probably be happy with eating ALL of our meals out - it's not that we don't like to eat out....

Anyway, we have been out a bit more lately then usual because we LOVE seafood. We don't get it at home and we know this area is known for it's seafood - fresh seafood. We also knew that Abbeville would probably be our last chance to sample seafood in Louisiana for this trip.

The picture above is the three of us with Shucks Manager Rene' Hunt who was our server for our meal. Now - we just have to say that I don't think we have EVER been treated so well by a server EVER. Rene' took us newbies right under her wing and treated us like gold. Not only that but she was so preceptive to know that, although we wanted to try some real cajun food, we were on a budget. She gave us her honest opinion and really worked hard to suggest the best values and ways to sample Shucks  food.

Thanks Rene' - we so appreciated the time you took with us!

I went and took a few pictures in the shucking room.

I started with a cup of the 'etoufee'. Which I have to say is the one of the best things I have EVER eaten.

Derek chose the seafood gumbo - another great choice.

We then shared the 'seafood platter'. Fried Oysters, Stuffed Crab, Shrimp, Catfish, Stuffed Shrimp, Oyster Boulette and Fries.

The plate may not look big but it packed a lot of food. So much so that by the end Derek and I could barely eat another bite. We LOVED it - it was all great. 

And then would you believe Rene brought us a surprise!!!

Homemade Bread Pudding with Hot White Chocolate Buttered Rum Sauce! Now how can you pass that up - surely we could find some little corner of our stomachs for this!

All finished we bid a sad goodbye to Rene', she had become a friend. Just as were were leaving, Bert Istre, one of the Owners came by to say hello. How nice. Boy how special everyone has made us feel at this restaurant.

And good thing we inadvertently ended up there a little early - about 4:30. When we arrived there were a few people there - but as we were leaving there was a steady stream of cars coming into the parking lot.

No surprise though!

Our meal was one of the BEST I have had in a long long time. The last great meal we had was at Moon Spin Pizza in Thomasville.

The reason is because both of these fine establishments pay huge attention to detail and the QUALITY of the food!

Great people! Great food! at Shucks.

If you are anywhere in say a 500 mile radius :) of Shucks - go - you will LOVE IT!

Thanks for reading.....hungry for seafood?


Today's Interesting Link: Trent and Teresa also stopped in Abbeville. I'm sad that they missed Shucks but they seemed to have found themselves some good food also. They sure must have a lot of good food in this place.

Tabasco at Avery Island, Louisiana

After a morning of enjoying Lake Fausse Pointe State Park we made the short trip over to New Iberia. Since it was still so early in the day we decided to go straight to Avery Island about 11 miles west of New Iberia.

I had first read about the Tabasco Factory Tour from Kevin and Ruth who stopped in back in 2008. 

Hmmmm - sounds like a good idea - and look - we will be going right by. 

So - the Tabasco Factory landed a spot on our itinerary - after all I am the Wood Clan's Events Coordinator. We generally stop for factory tours especially if it is sweet - like our Chocolate tour last year in Henderson Nevada. But - hey - we love hot sauce - actually we like the combo of the two - chile chocolate. At our Mortlach Sweet Shoppe we sold a chile chocolate ice cream - hmmm - one of our favourites. Anyway, I digress....

We found our way to the factory easily after paying our $1 toll to the Island. 

Once inside the tour begins with a 10 minute movie of the history of the McIlhenny Company and that of the Tabasco Sauce - very interesting - who knew? This in conjunction with receiving little itty bitty sample bottles - each of us got three so we really stocked up.

After the movie everyone exits through the next door to watch the manufacturing and bottling of this yummy sauce. Then on to an info room and outside.

Over to the Country Store.....

Everything Tabasco in the Country Store!

The sample counter at the back. Yum - we spent - oh - just a bit of time back here. We also sampled the Jalapeno and Sweet Spicy Ice Cream.

We'll take one of each - please!

After much consideration we purchased a few items. The Buffalo Tabasco Sauce, the Garlic Tabasco Sauce and a little Tin of Chili Chocolate. We COULD have gone crazy - so we chose and left. But first we had a nice conversation with the counter ladies.

One last swing before we leave - with our purchases.

And so that was a fun little trip to the Tabasco Plant. We really enjoy hearing and seeing where products we use come from. 

Initially we were going to also walk around New Iberia and then spend the night at the Walmart there. However, as we were driving through we decided to forgo the downtown tour. Since Avery Island is on the west side of New Iberia it just made sense to carry on west down the 14 since it was also still quite early - 3:30 pm or so. 

We drove as far as Abbeville, not too far away. Along the way I read to Derek the info about a restaurant called Shucks. Hmmm - sounded good. Abbeville, we knew, was going to be our last chance for some good ol' Louisiana seafood.

So Shucks it is!

Thanks for visiting!


Today's Interesting Link: We didn't go to New Iberia this time around but I am sure we will be back. Actually I don't think we are doing ourselves a favour by missing this whole area of Louisiana. BUT we love this State already even from the little we have seen and so I know we are sure to return - many times.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lake Fausse Pointe State Park, Louisiana

Here we are at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park. If you have a few minutes to spare, please get comfortable, I have a lot of pictures and be forewarned there is going to be a lot of gushing about this place.

We found out about this state park from the friendly and helpful ladies at the Atchafaya Welcome Center yesterday. What can we say

this is THE best state park we have EVER been too

Except for maybe Picacho Peak State Park over in Arizona. They'd be tied I guess.... maybe .... hmmm ..... Lake Fausse Pointe is probably ahead by a hair.

Let me tell you - and show you -why!

Admittedly it is a bit of a drive in here to the park. Not so good if you want to tour around but great if you want some peace and quiet - just make sure you bring a lot of groceries.

We didn't - since this wasn't a planned side trip. The store is 25 miles away one way - so come prepared.

Derek and I knew it was the place for us as soon was we turned in and drove over the bridge - another jaw dropper - wwwwwwwwooooooooooooowwwwwwwww.

Site #19 at Lake Fausse Pointe State Park. Nicely parked beside the restroom/shower/laundry building.

speaking of....

Our backyard so to speak BEFORE last nights storm.

While viewing these photos please imagine hearing a chorus of frogs in your mind - or better yet find some on yt to listen too. The sound of the frogs is almost deafening near the restroom building - LOVE IT.

There are a LOT of birds here. I won't even try to photograph any with our camera - beautiful red ones though.

Derek and I were up very early this morning about 6:30 I think. We were just glad to be able to step outside with no rain. We are also just so darn excited to be here we just couldn't sleep in. But some little sleepy head we know did - so it was nice for us to sit out and enjoy our coffee looking out at the trees and water.

The camp host stopped in this morning - there was 3" of rain last night. He also told us the park is 4' below sea level. 

The main entry gate house - nice. Would make a nice house....

Since check out isn't until 1:00 we have decided to spend the morning enjoying ourselves. After breakfast we went for a walk to the nature trails. It is cooler (thankfully) then it has been but not too bad. Still clouds but the sun did shine a few times.

Of course our walk first took us past the playground - there are 2 here if you can imagine. Cassia is looking pretty excited - a full run.

Then off to the boardwalk and nature trails.



The look out.

The trails were a little dicy this morning. Yes - I walked through this to get to Derek carrying Cassia.

Just after this photo the trails got REALLY wet and so we turned back. We met and talked awhile with a couple from Michigan on the bridge. We had been told that little itty bitty alligators were hanging out near the interpretive center so we headed over to take a look.

Hey - you can play 'spot the alligators' - hint - there are 3.

Heading back to our site meant passing by the playground again. Can't pass by without a stop in.


So - these last 24 hours have been a real highlight of the trip. We will definitely be back here - hopefully next year - with a weeks worth of groceries. It is not a bad deal $22 for the first night, $16 per night after that with water, electricity, dump, restrooms, showers, wifi and FREE LAUNDRY.

yup you read right


are you kidding me? 

If those aren't the two most glorious words I have ever heard (at this moment) I don't know what they would be.

I am truly embarrassed to admit just how many loads we did - suffice to say we washed pretty much everything that can be washed in our trailer. 


ahhh life is good. We survived the storm last night - albeit a bit rocked by the loud and thus very close lightening and thunder - but no high winds or tornado!


We have about an hour left here and then we are off to St. Martinville, New Iberia and the Tabasco Factory. Good times.....should be a good day.

Thanks for letting me gush ....... I could go on ........ should I? Nope - better get going to give Derek a hand getting us ready to pull out.

Here's our video!


Today's Interesting Link: Why not get a head start on us. Here is the link to New Iberia and the Tabasco Factory at Avery Island. 

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