After gassing up at the gas station in Duncanville, Mom and I were on our way via I-20 East to our penultimate night's stop in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Before leaving Idaho, my co-worker David gave me an interesting bit of history on Louisiana's capital city. Of course, I knew that Baton Rouge is French for "red stick" but did you know what that red stick is all about? David explained it to me. Louisiana is famous for its hot and spicy Cajun cuisine and lots of hot peppers are used in its food. In Louisiana, they grow hot red peppers for its Red Hot Sauce, and in order to determine which peppers are ripe enough for the sauce, a red stick is put up to the pepper, and if the pepper is the same exact shade of red of the stick, it's ready for harvest. If the red pepper is not ripe, and its color doesn't match the red stick, it is left on the pepper plant. This is how Baton Rouge got its name!
Mom found this information very interesting, and I was glad for the information from David. This was going to be the first time I stepped onto Louisiana soil, and I always like to have a little information on places I visit before I go there.
Friday the 13th wasn't going to be an unlucky one for Mom and me. We were almost finished with our long journey and were looking forward to seeing my sister Erika in Florida the next day, but before we hit Baton Rouge, we had to make a pit stop in Marshall, Texas to meet my friend Ken, who was in the area from his home in North Little Rock, Arkansas to feed his train habit nearby. We were looking forward to seeing each other, and Ken was looking forward to seeing his old buddy Loki one more time. (More on this meeting in another entry).
We made good timing getting to Marshall and were there by 10:30. Mom, Loki, and I spent about 1 1/4 hours with Ken and had lunch with him before he headed to Jefferson, Texas and home in Arkansas, and Mom and I continued onto to Baton Rouge.
The rest of our trip was uneventful and when we crossed the border from Texas into Louisiana, I was glad to be out of Texas. The huge state took three days to travel through for us and $165 out of my wallet later due to that stupid speeding ticket in Claude. I announced to all in car that this was my first time in Louisiana, and wondered if Cajun was on the menu for dinner tonight. Mom and I were hoping to meet her friend Chris, who used to live in Idaho and now lives in Baton Rouge, but Mom couldn't reach her by phone the whole time we were travelling through Texas and Louisiana.
About 30 miles from Baton Rouge, I needed a potty break and pulled into a gas station near one of the two bridges we were to cross that day. It was a nice view for us to enjoy on this short stop, but there was more entertainment at the gas station itself. A policeman from one of the neighboring towns had pulled over someone and had him blocked off with his patrol car in the parking lot right in front of the store. At first, Mom and I wondered if it was safe to go into the store, but after a minute, I saw people going in and out, so I guess the store wasn't robbed. It was a traffic stop. After coming out of the gas station, I took a picture of the bridge and got back into the car where Mom was waiting. Mom thought the cop pulling over the guy in his car right in front of the store was wrong and impeding business, but the policeman had a reason to do that. As we were just about to leave, the policeman had the driver in a spread-eagle position against his car and was slapping the handcuffs on him. Must have been an outstanding warrant on the guy and Mr. Policeman didn't have time to have the guy pull over to the other side of the parking lot.
The excitement for the day over with, Mom and I hit the road for the final leg of the day's trip. We got over the first bridge no problem, but Baton Rouge was in the middle of rush hour and it was stop and go the whole time going across the bridge over the Mississippi River into Baton Rouge. Usually, Mom is afraid of heights and this high bridge would have had her white-knuckled and clutching the dash board in fear, but Mom handled being stuck on a bridge over the raging Mississippi rather well.
After getting over the bridge and through the traffic, Mom and I staggered into our hotel in Baton Rouge about 5:30. We ordered Chinese for delivery (again) and settled in for a good night's rest and happy this was going to be the last night we slept in a hotel for a long time. Mom tried several more times to get Chris to no avail, and later we learned Chris and her husband Bob were visiting family in Oklahoma and had disconnected their phone before leaving. "Another time, I'll take you there.", I told Mom.
In addition to Mom and I being happy this was the last night in a hotel for a long time, I think Loki, Zoe, and Xena were happy about that, too!