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I am writing to you from a jail cell in Derry, Louisiana.  It’s warm and dry and yet another first.  The ponies are unconcerned since they are grazing a 40 acre pasture nearby and the promised storm has not yet made an appearance.  The good news is that the door isn’t locked and I have access to hot water and electricity – and an internet connection!  I’d been warned that the people in Louisiana were “clannish” and “suspicious of outsiders” but what I’ve found has been exactly the opposite.  People here have been incredibly friendly and helpful and really fun!  The food is rightfully legendary and the weather has been perfect for riding, in the 60s during the days and not too cold at night.
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The terrain, on the other hand, is challenging.  Somewhere around Colmesneil, TX I went from dry to wet – it’s been a bit of an adjustment (for the ponies as well) and I’m grateful that most of the drivers have been horse-savvy and friendly.  Along the very edges of the roads there’s usually a narrow strip of solid ground but it quickly cedes to ankle deep muck and swampy water.  There are frequent narrow bridges and many of the enticing small roads that show up on my maps no longer go through.  I spent most of last Sunday lost in the woods, trying to follow the old ways through, only to be stopped by gates or roads that simply end.  I’m learning to rely almost entirely on local knowledge of road conditions.  There are few places to get over or around any given river, bayou or other body of water and I’m trying to find the smallest roads and bridges that seem possible.
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Out of three possible routes across the Red River, one isn’t horse legal and one seemed quite far out of my way so I opted to cross at Boyce.  Yesterday I learned that a bridge is out between here and Boyce and the horse legal detour would take me 3+ days out back and around.  I’m opting for a 20 minute trailer ride instead.  I’m laughing at myself because after all my bravery about bears and wolves and snakes and mountain lions, despite all the warnings I’d received about those creatures, I’m now totally freaking out about Alligators!  I haven’t seen one yet but I’m watching every least puddle we pass, expecting one to jump out and get us.  I know I’m being ridiculous.  I can’t help it.  I’m sure I’ll be disappointed if I don’t see one (which is actually likely)  but when I hear about somebody shooting one in their horse pond which measured 9’1″ it makes me pay attention.  Fear of the unknown.
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The upside of all this water is the graze along the sides of the roads which is lush and green and abundant and a delight to the ponies.  Yesterday it took us an hour to cover the first mile because I didn’t have the heart to tell them No when it was so obviously the best salad bar buffet they’d encountered in months!  I recognize grass and clover and some sort of wild pea, but mostly I have to trust them to know what’s good for them and what’s not.  I’m using the voice command “heads Up!” and “chow Down” and they’re learning quickly, tho’ sometimes I’ll see something that looks tasty and give permission and they just look at me like I’m a silly biped.  (Obviously I’m still learning too! ;-))
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The storm that was predicted for today is rolling in now, thunder and lightning and the beginnings of rain coming down from a heavy grey sky.  Oops – make that a deluge dropping from the heavens!  I’d wanted to mention the town of Natchitoches, where I went to pick up mail.  10 years ago I did an on-line quiz at www.findyourspot.com – a bunch of questions designed to tell you where you’d most like to live in the USA.  Natchitoches, LA was in my top 5 and I’d never even heard of it!  Tuesday morning I got a quick drive through and it’s lovely, picturesque and a nice size (they filmed Steel Magnolias there) and I really hope to return some day.
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The photo sharing idea is starting to turn into a reality on facebook, which makes me happy that I finally broke down and put a page up there.  The wee notebook was found over 48 hours after it was lost, along the side of the road, by KT, who’d known I’d lost it and was looking on her way home from work.  The amazing thing that came out of that situation was that I’ve gotten e-mails from several people that I’ve never met but who found out about the blog and have been following and want to be on the mailing list!  That sort of thing is really exciting for me.  WordPress lets me know how many hits I get each day, broken down by country.  I’ve now had visitors from 91 countries – how cool is that!?  (and of course arouses my curiosity – who are you all?)  My ‘phone just beeped and let me know that there’s a tornado watch for this area – I guess a jail is as safe a place as any!
PS – went back and put a few photos up on the last blog post…

About Sea G Rhydr

Sea G Rhydr and her trusty steeds, Jesse James and Finehorn - embarking on a grand adventure to cross America.
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6 Responses to Louisiana

  1. Lisa Higgins says:

    I forgot to tell you about alligators. They should still be hybernating right now. They will be coming out soon as April is the month that they mate and lay eggs. The female will defend her nest vigerously. They will rarely take a meal if the temperature is at sixty-five degrees but you can’t count on it. They absolutely won’t take a meal if the temperatures are below sixty. They need the warm tempertures to digest the food. That is information that I got from FL Freshwater Fish Commission. They prefer guiet waters with a good food supply but you can find them in any water her in the south. The farther north you go the less you will see them as they prefer the warmer climates that don’t freeze in the winter for long.

  2. Beth Yerby says:

    Waved at you on Hwy. 8 before you reached Colfax- knew you were on an exciting trek! Our Colfax Chronicle did a good story on your journey. WishI could have spoken with you- we could have given you & your horses shelter& a respite from the elements just a mile off Hwy 8. Have a continued wonderful trip!

  3. Donna Roberts says:

    Your Journey is inspiring ! I love to ride early in the morning and listen to the sounds of the creatures of the woods awakening to a new day. There is nothing better ! I wish you all the luck on your trek to Maine. I hate that I missed you coming through Pollock, Louisiana. I would have enjoyed meeting you. Best of Luck !!!

  4. Heather Bailey says:

    Enjoyed meeting you. Sorry my ridgeback was barking. Good luck from Colfax La.

  5. Gene Coleman says:

    Really was nice to met you. Good luck on your journey. If there is anything the Rough Riders can do for you just holler. (318)729-7829

  6. Marcia swenson says:

    I think that jail cell is the berries! As long as the door comes open when you want it to?
    Are you feeling better with head ,neck, and other alien parts aching?
    You remain my vicarious thrill story! Keep it up! ( easy for me to say)!
    You have a wonderful gift of writing dear Sea!

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