Monday, April 18, 2016

Westward Ho! Le quatrième (that's 4th) because we are deep in Cajun Country

Mar 31-Apr 3 Lake Fausse Point State Park, St. Martinville LA


Our drive across the Achafalaya and then down along the levee from I-10 to Lake Fausse Point State Park was quite beautiful.  I am endlessly fascinated by the trees growing in water even though I grew up on an island with mangroves in several lagoons.  To me the trees in LA look like Christmas trees and they just don't belong in a huge expanse of water.  

We arrived at Lake Fausse Pointe with plenty of time to look around and get an appreciation for the huge amounts of water this area had been getting.  The hiking trails were closed due to flooding. the nice sitting area behind the bath house was completely under water and the mosquitoes were fierce!  But the irises are beginning to bloom and that makes things much better! 










Once again, we had no cell signal and barely any internet so my plans to work on the blog went by the wayside yet again.  Well, I had laundry to do (of course!) but luckily there were washers and dryers (nice new, clean and free ones!) right on site so with that task out of the way and a nice conversation with a man who came to see if they were free and turned out to be from Smithtown, NY "right down the road" from where we used to live, I went exploring a bit.  The campground was quite full and with limited space that was accessible I started looking for things to do in the area.  That's when I found the Tabasco factory in New Iberia or, more technically, Avery Island.  That evening I spent time talking to a couple in tents next to us.  They also had hammocks with very cool mosquito netting so they could sleep in them.

The next day dawned with mist on the lake and blue skies which foretold a beautiful day.  Our neighbors told me they had not slept in the hammocks as they had heard two very active alligators on the bank of the lake which made me feel old as I thought about feeling lucky we were inside the MoHo. We set off under the bright beautiful to New Iberia/Avery Island and because we have been, in Don's words, "relying too much on the phone and not paper maps," we would end up going the long way around because I could not get a signal for the maps until we'd passed the shorter road.  Oh well, it was a beautiful drive.




Avery Island is home to the McIlhenny Tabasco Company and many of their workers and what a good visit we had.  Since we were camped in nature we passed on the the tickets to Jungle Gardens, but in retrospect I wish we'd taken the time to see them as well.  We toured the interesting museum which traced the history of how Tabasco sauce came to be, how it is made and the various family members who have run the company; then we went from building to building observing the steps involved in creating the sauce and finally we ended up at the restaurant where we each had delicious meals.  I went again for Cajun food-crawfish étouffée and Don had a Corn and Crawfish  and we both liberally doused them with Tabasco sauce from a selection on the table.  However, I sort of exaggerated when I said the restaurant was our last stop because I was drawn, as if by magnets, into the store where there was the most unbelievable assortment of Tabasco related products.  I am not that much of a consumer BUT when dark chocolate is mixed with Tabasco sauce I must have.  I got a bot carried away with Tabasco Jelly Bellies and a few items for gifts and I sampled jalapeno Ice Cream which was delicious! 

Technically Avery Island is not an island but a salt dome and salt is mined there. Normally it produces tons of salt but an accident in 1980 led to the evacuation and a very weird set of events



Corrugated insulation

The barrels in which the pepper mash is stored for 3 years

The barrels are sealed then topped with a thick layer of salt

When they have fermented long enough the pepper mash is sent to the mixing tanks where vinegar is added

where it is weighed and bottled

Got a lot of empty Tabasco bottles?  Here's an idea.

1868 the year they were founded and the name of the restaurant

Museum and patio by the General Store

Our visit to Tabasco done and plans to do another tour cancelled because we were both tired, we headed back to the campsite to pack up and ready to leave the next day. On to Texas where we had no plans for campgrounds and were going to wing it...boondock where we could find a place.


Next Post: Westward Ho! No. 5 Into Texas and onto the Gulf

Previous Post: Westward Ho! III Red Stick Country (yup that would be Baton Rouge)

2 comments:

  1. We are so enjoying your many adventures and the way you search out the history and interesting things to do in each place you stop. And your photography is exquisite!!

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  2. Thanks again Susie and we certainly look forward to seeing you in SB. There are several options of places for us to stop and then we'll hop in the car and come say hi!!

    ReplyDelete

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