Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Kampground and the Southside Cafe

This was the oddest of evenings. So many strange and also surprising events happened.

I went to the Kamground in Slidell, LA. It was about a 4 mile detour each way off of Hwy 90, but I was spent for the day and it was time to camp. My alternative was about another 25 miles or so (I think) before I hit more places to camp. It seems that when I stop at a gym to get a weight lifting workout my ride always seems to tail off sooner and more abruptly. Almost without much warning that my energy is gone. And I had a really strong workout at World Gym earlier that day.

So Clare and Lohoma were waiting outside of the Kampground office when I pulled in. They very pleasant and inquisitive about my adventure. Clare instructed me to go the Southside Cafe and Lahoma just kept shaking her head about me riding my bicycle to Seattle. Nice to meet both of you.

This is where you will usually find Clare as you pull into the Kampground. :)
I pitched my tent, took a shower (very nice clean bathhouse - thank you) and biked bare clipped to the Southside Cafe about 3 miles away. Claire promised good food and I promised to hold her to it. She was right, of course. I had two large filets of blackened salmon, sweet potatoe fries and cole slaw... PERFECT! Best catfish I have ever had (sorry Ed).

I sat at the corner of the bar which is right next to the front door. Overhead was the USC / Oregon St. game and everyfew minutes a new party was sitting left or right of me waiting for their table. With my computer, camera and phone with the according charge cords and my meal, I took up more than my share of space. Some folks were nice and interested in what I was doing and others just mumbled grumpy under their breath about it. I thought it was funny when a group of seniors sat next to me looking at each other talking about the space I was taking and then didn't even order a drink while they took up 4 seats waiting for their table. Just a reminder of how I don't want to behave when I am a senior. Honestly, I wasn't even taking up more than half of another seat.

At one point a couple, Bill and Sharron Newton, tapped me on the shoulder and asked me where I was riding to. I had on of my panier's with me which is how I assume they knew I was on a bicycle. They are bicyclists as well. Bill asked we where my road support was and I didn't even know what he was talking about. I said it was packed on my bike. Bill has taken some longer rides and apparently road support is when someone is following in a car with gear and other comforts. They asked me where I was staying and then offered for me to stay with them the following night. The Newton's are a couple that immediately give you a sense of "good peoples" and I gladly accepted. I want to be in the french quarter for the Saints game on Monday night, so I have a day to spend off the bike (more time for a jog and and another workout - my legs feel like they could use a different motion then pedaling).

Mr. Newton.... What a guy!
My tummy was satisfied and I started to pack up my things when one of the waitresses came up behind me and said, "I have to tell you, you have the nicest legs I have ever seen... I've been looking at them...". I was actually embarrassed for some reason. She was really a very pretty gal and quite fit looking herself. I just said "thanks, lot of biking lately". I left that scene with an accomplished feeling, a boost to my ego and yes still about 4000 miles to ride. Thank you for the compliment.

The ride back was nerve racking. I saw how the people were drinking and I remember the road I had to navigate back to my tent. It didn't help that on 4 separate occasions during dinner that other folks warned me about all the drunk driving in the area. So with caution I grinded the pedals and scurried to camp.

I found Cati online (well her friend Erin on Cati's log in). Cati was eating breakfast and Erin went to get her. It took a while for Cait to get there and I feel asleep looking at the computer in the tent. I was laying face down with my chin resting up on my makeshift dirty laundry pillow (I tried baby... sorry). She left me some nice words, like she always does, and I felt bad for dozing off. She is climbing Kilamanjaro and this was my last chance to talk to her online for a week.
I woke to some men arguing with each other. It seemed like a fight was breaking out and it was close to me. It's not easy to get in and out of the single man tent. I feel all couped up and it was dark so I tried to ignore the scene. Then a motorcycle and a truck started and vehicle were moving and more people yelling. I would have ignored it, but I was honestly worried about getting run over in the tent from someone skidding off drunk and angry. I was dangerously exposed from the position of my tent for getting run over. I will remember this in the future. I fell back asleep and woke up a couple of hours later to another argument, but it was minor in comparison. At daylight I woke up to seeing poor little Claire in her golf cart supervising the eviction of the adult children. Claire is really an adorable lady and it was said to sad to see her frustration as I am sure this wasn't the first time she has been through this mess.

So... an eventful evening worth writing about. I hope you enjoyed hearing about last nights chaos!


joshnelson said...

Hey Travis, This is Josh Nelson, hope you remember me from lcc days. I dig what your doing, a little jealous. What an adventure. I wish you the best and will be looking back often hope everything is going great.


Kukie Monstr said...

Hey Josh. Of course I remember the LCC days. Good times!! Thank you for the encouragment. It is nice to see new faces on the blog. Email me at and let me know what is going on in your life. Take care. Travis