Jim & June's Odyssey 090408
Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
57Trip End Ongoing
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The landscape from Galveston, TX to Shreveport, LA gets greener as the coastal plains turn into mild hills and higher land. Within 100 miles, palm trees disappear and pine trees predominate, HUGE pine trees, vastly larger than what we see in Canada. We also noticed several of patches of wild flowers in shades of yellow, blue, violet and red. Apparently, in 1965, Ladybird Johnson started a project to beautify Texas by removing junkyards/scrap yards/auto wreckers close to highways (and to control rats), controlling outdoor advertising signs and planting colorful native flowers along the highways. It looks nice!
The further north you go, the dirt changes from a sandy brown color to an orange/red. The water in dugouts is orange and is a muddy dark brown in rivers and creeks.
When we crossed the border between Texas and Louisiana, the highway went from 4 lanes to 2 and for a moment, we thought we re-entered Mexico...... yikes!!! Logansport, LA is an old town with narrow roads, old houses, curvy highway, old pavement, no shoulders...... (Come to think of it, it could have been any Saskatchewan border town.) After 5 miles, everything changed! The never ending acreages are beautiful - underbrush, poplars and weeds have all been removed leaving only the tall pines and lush lawns underneath. From then on, the sights got better.
The bayous near Shreveport are similar to muskegs but they have big trees growing in them. We think they're Cypress trees. Egrets ply the shallow water for frogs, insects and the odd fish. You can always tell when they are about to strike because they stand on one leg and have their neck cocked for a quick jab.
SHREVEPORT: Known as Louisiana's "Other Side," Shreveport is somewhere between Texas' cowboy heritage and the Cajun's culture where rock-a-billy meets rock-n-roll and BBQ'd T-bones meet spicy Creole crawfish. Suspecting that there are fewer ranch hands and more urban cowboys, more Negroes and less Mexicans; the radio plays more jazz, folk music and bluegrass but less George Strait and Latino mariachi tunes.
· We saw a few saw mills and lots of logging trucks on the highways. Recently, one golf course even hosted the "Lumber Dealers Association of Texas" annual golf tournament.
· There are more and bigger oil sites, bigger service companies ie Schlumberger, Weatherford, BJ Service, Baker Oil Tools, Nabors, Varco, etc.
· There are NO casinos in Texas so they come to Louisiana for their gambling fix. In Shreveport, there are 10 of them but the most popular appear to be Harrah's, the Horseshoe and Sam's Town (built on a docked paddle wheel river boat).
· Louisiana Boardwalk - A large statue of the "River Goddess" welcomes visitors to a
shopping district along the Red River which divides the cities of Shreveport and Bossier. All the name brand stores are represented and the area itself is eclectic and modern. The Red River is actually a reddish brown color. We noticed that the dirt in the fields is a very red color. We didn't spend much time in this district as Jim is not much for shopping or "browsing".
· Mardi Gras Floats - These floats are used every year during their February celebrations and bequeathed to the Mardi Gras Museum for viewing the other 11 months of the year. Most have mache' faces of famous people on the front of them - we recognized Elvis and a few others but most are ghastly gnomes.
· Subdivision S of Shreveport - This was along one of our "Lets go this way instead" trips. We found an absolutely gorgeous subdivision about 2 miles south of Shreveport. Right here, we agreed that we are 'bush' people - it has huge trees, lush grass and a number of flowering shrubs - all in a rolling hills setting. The houses are set back 100ft, most are constructed of brick and several have corrals for horses. Very nice!
· Crooked Hollow Golf Course - We hadn't golfed for awhile so decided to try this 18 hole tree-lined fairway course with lots of water hazards and double tiered greens surrounded by GRASS bunkers - talk about frustrating! The course was not in very good shape - the fairways were rough with sparse grass and some of the greens were actually brown and dry. All in all, it was a little disappointing.
Things we Learned:
The terrain reminded us of British Columbia - very lush and green. There are lots of magnificent pine trees about 30 ft. higher than the ones we have at home and much bigger around.
I think it would have been great to spend more time in Louisiana. Shreveport-Bossier seems to be a thriving, modern metropolis with beautiful shops and quaint stores as well as huge casinos and a big football stadium. We were impressed with the cleanliness of the area. We didn't see any garbage laying around and pride of ownership was shown in residential areas. We would like to have tried crawfish, catfish and creole cooking but that will have to wait for the next visit. Unfortunately, our stay in the US is running out and we have to be across the border by the end of the month.