Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tabasco anyone?

Odometer 28,063

Trip meter 116 miles

Tabasco sauces are made at Avery Island, Louisiana and we are off to see the factory today on our way to Breaux Bridge. Our friend Richard Burris, in Rockport, suggested an RV park named Poche's near Breaux Bridge about a hundred miles from Myers Landing where we were last night, and we are anxious to check it out. It just happens that Poche's is a Passport America park and that means as members we can stay for 1/2 off- Score!

The roads in rural Louisiana have two things in common.

The roads don't have any shoulder at all, and they are patchy and bumpy by-and-large. Some of the concrete slab roads near Lafayette were so curled as to launch us in to a bounce-bounce-bounce cadence for miles at a time. We wondered how the poor coach could hang together- everything in it sure got pureed.

We were following our GPS routing to Avery Island when we suddenly rounded a curve to see signs telling us that the road had been closed. A local told us it was due to a bridge being out of service- and that we'd have to turn around.

Any of you that follow this blog know by now that is not an easy task for a 36.5 foot motorhome and toad.
    The process is to: Stop in the middle of your lane,
    Get into the towed car and set the handbrake
    Disconnect the safety cables by opening the quick link on each side
    Undo the clips holding the Tow Defender (protection barrier) between car and MH and roll the cloth up and secure it.
    Unhook the airline for the braking system.
    Unhook the lanyard to the break-away switch from MH to the car.
    Pull up on the levers on the tow arms to release tension
    Remove the locking pins at the ends of the tow bar arms at the car
    Back the car away
    Turn the motorhome around and
    Reverse this process to hook the car up again!
To say that we avoid this at all costs is and understatement. We got turned around and a very nice man heading to the lake with his son stopped to see if he could help. He gave us alternate directions that got us around the bridge closure. Two more people stopped to ask if they could give us directions. What friendly people!

We arrived at Avery Island at a little before noon, and since the next tour didn't start till noon, we had a quick lunch of soup and crackers before heading to the factory.

The tour starts with a video telling the history of the island and the McIlhenny family who invented the sauce and started the production.
The actual factory tour is pretty short, after the video we got to see the bottling, and packaging lines and then a small museum of historical facts about the family, the process and the island. One of the most interesting revelations is that Avery Island is a salt dome, and the family has a very large and successful salt mine. Salt domes formed in a line along the Gulf as the tectonic plates drew apart, they can be miles across and many thousands of feet deep. The island vegetation grows in a surface layer of earth 60-80 feet thick.

The gift shop was pure gold!

We had an opportunity to taste all the Tabasco products and there were a lot more than I ever imagined! A short list in in order here. Tabasco coke!- yep, Tabasco Cheez-its- Uhuh, Chiplotle Tabasco sauce, Tabasco Ice cream. We bought Tabasco catsup, Tabasco Steak Sauce, and some Avery Island salt. What a fun side trip!

By 2 PM we were ready to head for Breaux Bridge and Poche's RV.

We started seeing some swamps along our route- the first for this trip, but probably not the last

The park is very large and is mostly lakes, which means everyone gets a lakefront lot!

The weather forecast for tonight is somewhat ominous. A cold front is approaching the warm gulf air that we are currently enjoying. The result will be strong winds, and possible tornadoes- ?? The front should pass through around 3 AM and be gone by tomorrow noon, leaving blue skies and cooler temperatures. The winds are kicking up now and thumping us at 8 PM- should be an interesting night.

Jeff and Joan

Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel's immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way. -Ralph Crawshaw

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