Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Leaving Louisiana

 Hi all,
 Winding down the stay in Louisiana. It has been so much fun and we have been so busy.
Monday Betty arranged for us all to attend a high rollers party at a local casino. For seven bucks we got a bus ride there, free drinks, food and some good dance music. And you got five dollars back in match play. We were there for four hours. A good time was had by all.
 Tuesday one of our fellow campers arranged a tour of Martin Accordion. Located in Scott La. a close suburb of Lafayette. This is a small family run business with three generations currently employed. They manufacture very high quality accordions mainly used for Cajun music.

 They gave a good history of Cajun/Zydeco music and demonstrate with live playing. They explained how they build there accordions allowed us to wander through the shop and see them in different stages. These tours need to be arranged if interested.

 Wednesday our last full day at Betty's. Betty sent out an email that we would have a pot luck dinner party as there were a few campers (funseekers) scheduled to leave on Thursday. One of the campers also leaving Thursday here would walk in each night to happy hour with a big "Hello Funseekers" welcome.

     We also had the musicians group do some great music for us again. Marie led us all in song.
Jello shots
   Tomorrow we will sadly leave. We have met so many nice people here and know we will be back.
 If you haven't been to Louisiana or got a taste of Cajun culture there is no better place than Betty's in Abbeville. It is a place where you come a stranger and leave part of the Betty family.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What happens at Betty's stays at Betty's

Hi all,
 Still having a ball in Louisiana. On Friday Betty got the group together and we went to lunch at Chef Roy's in Rayne. We had a big group of 22. They did a good job handling the group and everyone seemed well satisfied with there meals.

  We got up Saturday and got ready to attend the annual Cracklin Cookout. This event was held by Touchet's bar just north of Abbeville. This had been postponed from January due to weather and boy we were happy it was. They set up tents and different people set up to deep fry cracklins and other fare. Before this we had no idea of what a cracklin was. Well, you take strips of pork with skin, fat and meat, cut it up in small pieces. Then they deep fried it once then let it cool. They then deep fry it again and then put a nice Cajun seasoning on it. It was amazing. Some of the other food was sweet potatoes, chicken, steak, and  boudins (ground pork mixed with rice and seasonings.)
 People were free to waltz through the area as they cooked the food and eat as much as they wish. (or as much as they dared.) We couldn't believe they did this and all we paid for was drinks which were very reasonable.

 While this went on they had live bands playing music inside the bar. There was a good mix of Cajun, some zydeco and a variety of other. It was a great day.

 Sunday morning Wendy and I drove to Rip Van Winkles Gardens. This was an estate that Joseph Jefferson had built in 1870. Joseph was a famous actor. Later bought by John Bayless who developed the gardens.

Beutiful gardens
 The big story here is the area is by one of the salt domes. In 1980 while drilling in Lake Peigneur for oil a rig pierced one of the giant salt caverns and swallowed the lake. The vortex sucked down barges and all the drilling equipment, It also destroyed homes and land nearby. It was a miracle as they were still mining that everyone got out alive.
Chimney is all that is left
Sunday afternoon we were entertained by some of our musical talented neighbors. We snuck in a quick supper and then it was time for happy hour. Now mind you happy hour is at 4:30 and we were finally back for the night at 10:30.That's all I can divulge as WHAT HAPPENS AT BETTY'S STAYS AT BETTY'S!

Betty and Marie

"Time flys"   when your having fun!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mud bugs

Hi all,
 Wendy and I have been talking about how we seem to have gone into vacation mode since getting here. While we were in Alabama we had gotten into almost a routine and thought we were really slowing down. But now in Louisiana we have been trying to cram everything in. And there is just so much that we want to see and getting in the local cuisine. Well with only being here for two weeks it should change after that (or will it?).
   On Tuesday we took a short 200 mile loop drive. It was part of the Creole Nature Trail. It was a nice sunny day with a cool breeze. This is the brief recap. From Abbeville we drove south on 82 passing many crayfish fields.( I will post more later on the crayfish). The south part of the drive hits the gulfcoast.
Rutherford Beach
Water wasn't very clear. Lots of shells
 We headed north on La27 and took the three mile Pintail Wildlife Drive (part of the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge). Which I thought was the best part of the trip. We then headed back west and took a drive by the Lacassine National Wildlife Refuge. The balance of the drive was mostly small towns and crawfish/rice fields.
Alligator splashed

Roseate Spoonbill  (2 alligators behind them)
Snow geese
  Along the way we saw many birds, some gators,turtles and a lot of marsh land. This area is a major bird flyway and would be awesome to see in prime season.
  Wednesday we took a short drive of only about 10 miles and toured Palmetto State Park. This park has only been open for three years so maybe that explains the light usage. It borders The Vermillion River. It has some old swamp and many palmettos growing.

Nice sites
  It has a nice campground with about 96 sites (water & elec) and some nice looking cabins. Both bath houses have a laundry (free).
 There are three small lakes fed by a small river that feeds into the Vermillion. It looks like a great area for a short canoe ride. A couple in the campground have offered their kayaks to us and if the weather gets better we may take them up on it.
 While there we saw some wild pigs and some more gators. Yeah, kayaking with the gators- cool.

Mama pig with babies
       Okay, now about crayfish, crawdads, crawfish, or mud bugs.
  As a kid in Wisconsin I had netted crayfish in the shallow running river in town. We maybe caught a coffee can full and sometimes gave them to a neighbor.
 Well, have we learned alot! These things actually live in the ground here. They thrive in the rice fields and have gotten more profitable for the farmers than the rice. Also gives them two crops for one field. And as they needed to flood the rice fields it is a perfect match.
  They add a sack of males and another of females as seed after rice is harvested. In December or so they place special baited baskets in the fields. They then use a small paddle wheeled flat boat to harvest them. This goes on until April when it gets to hot for the crawdads and they retreat deep in the ground. We watched them when they were picking and it was quite neat.
 If you want to see more view this short clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6k5qUCPFck&feature=share

Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting our Louisiana on.

    Well since moving from Alabama to Louisiana it has been go-go-go.
 We are at Betty's RV in Abbeville, La. It is a 17 site campground that is run by a very nice lady- Betty Bernard. She is a lively fun person and will help to steer you to any activity that interests you.
 At 4:30 each day they hold happy hour (or happy hours). The people gather to share snacks and discuss what they did or are planning to do.
 So we have been busy. On Friday we toured the Tabasco Factory. Nice free tour and samples to.
 We also took in the Jungle gardens and Bird City that was built by the son of the inventor of Tabasco.
 Saturday we did a Cajun Swamp tour.  The weather was quite cool and not the best for gator viewing, but we did see a few. We spotted a large one right away and we all thought it was a stuffed one for sure, especially when one said the could see through its head. But turns out it had a split lower jaw, quite amazing this thing survives. We also saw a couple snakes, a bunch of turtles, and a hawk up close. 


 On the way home we stopped at a neat restaurant  called Crazy Bout Crawfish. I had a gator Po boy and Wendy had a crawdad Po boy. Both were good.
 Sunday Betty had arranged jam session for the campers. A local lady (who had a great voice) and some of our camp neighbors entertained us for a couple hours.
 Today, Wendy and I took off and toured a couple near by towns. Rayne is touted as the Frog Capital of the World. The town is decorated with frog statues and murals. They also have a cemetery listed by Ripley's as the only cemetery facing North-South. We also tried the frog legs for lunch, yummy.

 Then we drove to Crowley and they are touted as the Rice capitol. The area is the largest rice producer in the states. We took in a nice museum there.