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Day 144 - Logistics Problems & White Pelicans

Problems with the propane fill valve derailed some plans, but we did get to see White Pelicans in Baton Rouge!

overcast 64 °F

Having stayed put for two days, we are all caught up and ready to move out. An occasional break is good, but this isn't a trip where we like to sit around in RV parks - we could do that at home, so we were both itching to get out and start enjoying sightseeing again!

My propane tank was almost empty, so I stopped to fill it on the way back to the freeway. Ugh, the canoe leaks (well, Lewis & Clark didn't have propane tanks so I tried to think of an analogy - they certainly had equipment problems). The new valve they installed in Virginia is stuck and won't allow any propane in (It probably wasn't in good shape when they installed it or may not have been the right valve for this tank). We tried an RV service place about 40 miles down the road. After spending a couple of hours running in circles, we finally determined that the part needed to repair the tank isn't in stock anywhere in that area. I am not willing to sit tight for two or three weeks waiting for a part to come in, so we finally drove on to Baton Rouge. (OK, I'd stop if this was a safety issue, but it's just an inconvenience, we can work around it.)

Any thoughts we had about slipping down to New Orleans first before starting west again were eliminated by this delay. Both of us have been to New Orleans before, albeit pre Katrina. Since we have a limited amount of time for this trip, I felt I'd rather see some other parts of Louisana, specifically Avery Island - home of Tabasco Sauce. For Mom, she wanted to see a doll museum in Baton Rouge and really didn't want to see any more hurricane damage anyway.

So, with one almost empty propane tank - we drove on to Baton Rouge. We found the museum, with a little help from a phone call, but I decided not to go through it so I could work on the Propane problem. Mom did go through the museum and really enjoyed it - and has even written it up for the Blog! So you'll get two entries for today.

In the meantime, I fired up the laptop and - ugh - bad internet connection, yet again. This time, I finally bit the bullet and called Sprint. They confirmed that they are having network problems down here and there wasn't anything wrong with my data card or laptop. However, while the service rep didn't quite resolve the problem - she did get me to a screen where I was able to force the data card to use the slow dial up connection. While this is slower, it works. The faster connection doesn't. So for the time being, I'll use the slow dial up speed. The service rep also assured me that the problem shouldn't persist once I get past Louisaina.

Mom got back from the museum as I was finishing up with my Sprint call, so I'll work on the propane issue again tomorrow - try to call ahead and set up an appointment somewhere farther out, so the parts & service can all come together at the same time. In the meantime, we'll stay in RV parks where we won't need propane for heat or cooking and eat out a little more often. Not my ideal choice, but we should be fine.

There were more things in Baton Rouge we had thought of visiting, but it was getting late and we needed to get going if we wanted to spend Thursday at Avery Island. So we went directly back to I-10 and had just started west again when I saw something I just had to pull off for - a Great White Pelican, just swimming around in a pond in a city park just off the freeway. Not knowing whether it was worth the delay or not, I got to the pond and started taking pictures. Mom was looking through the binoculars and noticed that there were more on the other side of the pond (the one I saw was in the middle and quite far away). We couldn't see whether there was a road or not, but decided to give it a try anyway. There was a road, we got to the other side of the pond just fine and the flock of six Pelicans just kept going about their business. They swam in a group, then all of a sudden, would all pop their heads into the water for a minute to feed, then come back up.

Day_144_-_..elicans.jpgDay_144_-_..Feeding.jpg

This was really a treat. Great White Pelicans are not that common in the US. We had seen one in NJ. Then we saw more at Flamingo Bay in the Everglades - but they were too far out to get any pictures. So here we saw seven (one in the middle plus the group), and got to enjoy them for quite a while.

There were several other types of waterfowl around this pond. Here are shots of a Snowy Egret and Great Egret I also took today at the same pond.

Day_144_-_Snowy_Egret.jpgDay_144_-_Great_Egret.jpg

The Snowy Egret is smaller and has a black bill, black legs, and orange feet. The Great Egret has a yellow bill and black legs. For comparison sake, the Great White Heron looks almost like a Great Egret - but has yellow legs and is a Heron, not an Egret (although they are related). This is all from someone who was never much of a birder! I seem to recall back in ND we saw (egrets?) and I had to just call them white birds. I may never be much of a birder, but I have learned a lot.

Amazingly, it was really easy to get back to the freeway and turned out to be not much of a delay at all. Well worth it IMHO. So we headed east to Lafayette, then turned south. We stopped at a nice little RV campground just north of New Iberia, and will have a very easy drive to the Island in the morning. We are really in the heart of Cajun country now - I hope to see a bit more of it after we finish at Avery Island tomorrow - if we don't get side tracked there too long.

BTW - RV repairs along this trip haven't been too bad. In case you're wondering about earlier troubles we've had: Door repairs seem to be holding this time, I added 4 or 5 screws in addition to much glue and bigger matchsticks. Closet shelf repairs (duck tape) have also done the job - no more collapsed shelves. I might be more suited for the Lewis & Clark Expedition then you thought! Oops, I forgot I did hit the roof of the RV on a board while trying to get out of the lumber yard where we tried to get propane this morning. I don't think I did any serious damage, but forgot to get the ladder out to check tonight. Maybe I'm not quite ready for the Corps of Discovery afterall, but will keep working at it...

Logistics:

Miles Driven -150, cumulative for trip - 13,894
Camped at LaBoulaie, Broussard, LA

Shopping Stops (e.g. 2008 version of hunting trips?): Walmart & Dollar Tree (Mom's word puzzles)
Ate at Taco Bell (first time this trip).
Gas - $31.08 for 10.72 g at 123715 in Baton Rouge, LA

Animals spotted:
(a) Domestic: Cattle, horses
(b) Wild: two different kinds of hawks, weren't able to identify specific type, white pelicans, snowy egrets, great egrets, mallards, coots, comorants

Posted by jl98584 17:53 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Welcome back to the blog! No, it takes longer than 2 years to get back to anything approaching normalcy after a hurricane like Katrina. Especially with all the government fumbling. You aer finding some new interests on this trip, aren't you? I got interested in waterfowl when I was living with Geffin. I am more interested now that I kayak, as I see them quite a bit when I'm out. I guess after being in
southern Florida 50 degrees would seem cold. right now it would seem downright balmy as it has been in the high teens to low 30's here. Some ice doesn't melt all day. a friend of m ine told me last night that snow from last Monday's storm hadn't melted on the North side of her building yet. For you, msj, another friend who lives in the Casacde foothills, said it was 3 degrees at her place yesterday morning. Enjoy Cajun country, listen to some zydeco and eat some crawdads.

by drque

Well, I still have a slow internet signal from Sprint, but at least it works. Probably was worth the bother to sit on the phone with tech support then. I have some more video's to upload, but will have to wait for a faster signal. They don't seem to be as popular anyway, so I guess that's not a problem. Enjoy

by jl98584

By the way, your shots of the pelicans are neat. I watch the videos from my laptop as it has sound. charlie installed my new harddrive on my home computer, but somehow it doesn't recognise my soundcard and even charlie couldn't get it to do so last time he stayed with us. the office computer's speakers don't work anymore and its so old new speakers don't work in it. oh well.

by drque

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