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Abbeville, LA

2019-04-05 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Eunice, LA

Easy travel day again.  At least at the start.

We drove over 50 miles today to camp at the Lakeview Park and Beach, just north of Eunice, LA.  It is a beautiful place, and, since it is Friday, the park is quickly filling up with weekenders from the local area.  There is a nice fishing lake, plus a swimming lake and beach, but it won’t open until next week…

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Along the route we passed by typical Louisiana roadside scenes:

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Upon arriving, I noticed that my iPhone was not charging – the cable would not plug in.  After several panicked minutes wondering where in rural SW Louisiana I could find an Apple store, then several more panicked minutes realizing that what I really need is an A&TT store, then remembering that I have insurance on this phone (because I do not believe in those ugly phone cases…), then a few more phone calls and we were back in the truck and off for a one hour drive to Lafayette to an Apple authorized repair shop.  If this proved to be unsucessful, I could get a replacement shipped to me – all I need to figure out is – Where will I be when the new phone arrives?

Lafayette was busy, but we found the store easily.  Five minutes and nine dollars later my phone was fully functional!  All it took was a tiny set of tweezers and knowing what to look for…

So, since we were already parked in a giant Target parking lot, we did a little grocery shopping, and headed back to Eunice.

Along the way we did see one of the better ideas to come out of Lafayette:

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Yes, the drive-thru Daiquiri stand.  Due to recent laws banning open containers of alcohol in cars they now put a lid on the plastic daiquiri cup, and a straw to poke through the little hole in the lid…

So we returned to the campground.  We had missed both the final GAM and a drivers’ meeting.  We took an evening stroll around the lake…

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After our traumatic day we retreated to the Villa and enjoyed an adult beverage or two…

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And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And the all-dressed-up McAnoy family:

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2019-04-04 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Abbeville, LA – We almost meet the Mayor!

It thundered all night long, with a rare glimpse of lightning.  At 7:00 am it started raining in earnest.  It was a real downpour – not the sprinkles that we in California call rain.  The skies opened up and it dumped, with crashing thunder added for effect.  We were supposed to leave at 8:40 am to meet the Mayor of Abbeville and do a walking tour of the town, but this was postponed at about 8:15…

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At 9:45 all of the day’s activities were cancelled… While the campground was not in any danger of flooding, 2″-3″ of standing water makes walking about problematic.

At 11:15 another Airstreamer picked us up in their truck and we drove two miles into Abbeville, to a seafood restaurant called Shucks!  We had a great lunch with good Old Fashioneds, and tasty Louisiana delicacies.  I had oysters on the half shell (raw…) and Gator Bites – deep fried little morsels – way better than chicken… Lynda had crab cakes and fried shrimp, not being the adventurous type (at least when it comes to food…)

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By the time lunch was over the rain had stopped.  We returned to the Villa, then set out again to see what we could of the town of Abbeville…

They have a nice town square – there is a music festival here every Thursday night, with food, dancing, etc., but tonight it was cancelled due to the rain…

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There is a nice big Catholic Church…

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And, in general, it is a fairly nice place, despite there being no viable businesses here (other than attorney offices around the Parish (county) Courthouse…)

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We eventually found our way to Kelvin’s Piano Bar – in a store that sold Kelvinator appliances in the olden days…)

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We had some good drinks and a few bites.  A piano player entertained us for a few minutes.

We returned to the Villa and an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-03 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Abbeville, LA – Crawfish!

We began our day with a trip to Crawfish Haven…

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Today we harvested Crawfish, learned more than we needed to know about crawfish, and ate crawfish for lunch…

We began by walking about 1/2 mile out on the levees around various small ponds where the crawfish are raised.

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These red-topped devices are the crawfish traps.  They are baited with a piece of fish; the crawfish crawl into the trap but cannot crawl out.  Don’t ask me how this is accomplished…

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They have these strange flat bottomed boats which actually roll along on the bottom of the pond – the water is about one foot deep.  The boat is propelled by this strange drive wheel (almost like a paddle wheel) that rolls along the bottom of the pond and pushes the boat.

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The crawfish farmer generally does this work alone, but sometimes they have paying guests.  Here we are waiting for the first group of us to get out of the boat as it arrives at the shore…

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Before the next group can board they want to move the boat to another adjacent pond.  It simply rolls out of one pond, rolls across the land, and rolls down into the next pond…

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They did off-load the “catch” from the previous trip – two bags of crawfish…

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Once we board the boat and we set out into the pond we see how it works:  The driver has these red-topped traps.  He throws in a piece of fish and he sets the trap in the water, picking up another that has been sitting in the pond.  He dumps the crawfish out onto this odd table…

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The table has bars that slope towards openings where the bags are attached.  You sweep the crawfish towards the openings and they fall into the bags.  Small crawfish fall between the bars onto a surface which allows them to be swept back into the water…

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Lynda tries her hand at assisting the crawfish in sliding along the bars and falling into the bags…

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After twice around the pond our two bags are full and we land and climb off the boat.

We watch the next group board, and we walk back to the crawfish house.  Here we gather for lunch.

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But before we eat we learn a little about the crawfish.

Crawfish grow for about one year, molting about once per month and growing one size each time.  If they are not caught sooner, they might live two-three years.  The growing season starts in September, and, depending on the weather, the farmer might get two crops per year.  The optimum water temperature is 72 degrees; it is a little cold this season… They can harvest about 500 pounds of crawfish per acre per year.  Major predators are otters and minks.  Alligators keep them away, but there are not many alligators around these parts…

Lesson over, we get in line for our crawfish.  These have been boiled, the most traditional way to cook crawfish – similar to boiling lobster.  In case you don’t know what a crawfish looks like, it is a miniature lobster, sort of like a fresh water lagostino…

Here is what each of our lunches looked like:

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This is my platter (I asked for a small portion)… Before…

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After…

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You see, you pull off the tail, pull out and eat the meat from the tail (the meat is about the size of a tiny cocktail shrimp), and throw the shells back of the platter.  It is quite a labor intensive operation.  I believe your fingers will wear out before you get full…

Along with our meal we were treated to a Cajun singer and musician…

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We enjoyed our meal; soon we were on our way back to the Villa.

We had a relaxing day; the GAM scheduled for 4:00 was called off due to about 20 minutes of thunder showers…

At 6:00 we set out for The Barn, to hear Cajun music…

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The building was built in 1946 as an cattle auction barn.  There was a small rustic amphitheater overlooking a pen where the animals were brought in to be bought and sold.  Today the amphitheater seats are still the same, but they built a stage atop the animal pens…

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We found a place to sit fairly close to the door, because you never know when leaving is the best option… The rest of the Airstreamers found their seats, too…

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There were three musicians, being introduced here by one of the owners of The Barn…

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When they got to playing it was a real toe-tapping scene…

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They finished after more than two hours – longer than I can sit on a hard, backless bench… But it was a fun evening to see how the locals have fun, and to hear (more) Cajun Music…!

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-04-02 – Airstream Cajun Country Caravan – Travel to Abbeville, LA

Today is another travel day.  However, all travel days are short here in Cajun Country.  In total, we travel only 160 miles from campsite to campsite.  In fact, the only reason we move as much as we do is that a minimum of five locations are required on a National Caravan, according to the Airstream Club (WBCCI).

So today we drive from New Iberia to Abbeville – a total of 21 miles…!

The countryside is quite varied, but for the most part it is wide open spaces…

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The pictures above and below show sugar cane…

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There are a few small (very small) towns, and a variety of houses:  ramshackle, modest farm houses, very nice older farm houses, and, of course, starter castles and McMansions…  This trip was slow and easy…

This campground is a total opposite of New Iberia; it is small, hidden back in the woods about one mile from the highway, full of trees (no satellite TV for me!), and no amenities other than full hook-ups.

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We parked and set up the Villa and had the rest of the day to catch up of my to-do list – I need to be finalizing the next leg of our trip after the caravan is over.  We will be heading to the east coast, travelling north a bit, then back west to Kentucky, where we begin Springtime in Kentucky Caravan on April 25…

We did a lot of walking around the park to keep our Apple Watches happy.  We found this tree with a nest of three baby owls…

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This was probably the mom, watching nearby…

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We had a GAM again and turned in early.  And an enjoyable time was had by all…

And of course, the McAnoy family on a hiking outing…

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