Friday, October 14, 2016

Booted from Baton Rouge

Back at Farr Park, Rogue rolled out the tent while I cooked dinner. Without much intention we had divided the tasks that way every morning and night, and it seemed to work well as long as I wasn't setting things on fire that shouldn't be. A man emerged from the motorhome next to us and said hello, and we got to talking about road life.

As the sun sank into the horizon, dusty rays came through the trees and shone on the bikes and on the picnic table. Rogue paused her setup to take some pictures, raving about our excellent timing.

Hades and Bumblebee at sunset in Farr Park

Just as the rice was about ready to eat and the sleeping bags were unfurled, an SUV drove up in front of us and a woman got out.

"You have to leave," she told us. "We can't have tents here. I'm sorry to be the messenger, but my boss just told me to make sure you guys get out of here."

I strolled over. "There aren't any other campgrounds in the area," I said. "That's why we're here. You know of anyplace else we can go?"

She pulled out her phone and ran a search, and seemed to find the same results I had. "You're right," she said. "There aren't any. Well, good luck."

"Where are we going to go?" Rogue asked, clearly annoyed.

"Maybe there's something in Port Allen," the woman said. I already knew there wasn't. "But we can't have tents," she repeated.

"Well," I said. "All right. I'll be a while before we can get packed up again." The woman got back in her car and drove off. Rogue and I looked at each other for a long moment.

"I just got all this shit unpacked," she groused.

"There's dinner," I said, with a big fake grin.

We ate and then started rolling things up again. Our neighbor came out and asked what was going on, and we filled him in.

"That's ridiculous," he said. "And they waited until you were all set up and everything."

I started searching for a hotel, but the first two rooms I tried to book were snagged out from under me while I was entering my credit card information.

"The hotels are full because of the floods," our neighbor explained. "Eighteen thousand people were evacuated from their homes."

"Holy crap," I said, glad our situation was only annoying and not disastrous.

"Try Lafayette," he said. "There should be some rooms open there."

"Are you okay with that?" I asked Rogue. "It's another sixty miles."

"As long as I don't have to set up camp again, I can drive all night," she said. I grabbed a room at the Ambassador Inn, bid our neighbor good night, and told the GPS to take us away. On the way to the exit, I deliberately drove over every piece of grass and open campsite I could possibly put in my path, Rogue following with enthusiasm.

At least the night was warm. In an hour we were dropping kickstands in Lafayette, and I was listening to the host at the Inn chatter animatedly about roads, floods, and bikes. Our room was well-appointed, clean and pretty, and they assured us there would be breakfast in the morning.

Lobby of the Ambassador Inn Lafayette

"We're living large," Rogue said with surprise. "I can't believe this was only fifty bucks." With fewer than 150 miles between us and our destination in Beaumont, we put our feet up and slept in.

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