Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Carville Loop

Yesterday morning we did a bunch of family stuff, but I had a few hours to jump on the bike and get in a few miles before sunset. It looked like there was some gravel in the vicinity, so I figured I'd try to get in some miles on that.

I'd ridden my road bike on the River Road dozens of times, but never ridden up on the levee itself. Turns out it's legal to ride up there, and though there's an effort to pave it and turn it into a Silver Comet type trail, that effort has only been partially successful so far, and there are still long stretches of gravel.

I parked at the Mount Bethel Baptist Church in Carville...

Mount Bethel Baptist Church

...and took MLK drive north.


There's a big bend in the Mississippi near Carville, the River Road becomes private for most of the way around it, and the MLK drive cross-cuts it. I took it north, picked up the River Road again, and took that north to St. Gabriel.

Somewhere in there a guy passed me and tried to spin his tires as soon as he got past, but only spun one of them, and only for a second.

Poor guy - F250, lift, ambiguously threatening decals on the back glass... Ohhh.... open differential.

How embarrassing.

Near the old Barthel Store and Commissary...

J.A. Barthel Store J.A. Barthel Commissary

I jumped up on the Levee, and found that it was paved.

Levee Trail

A few years ago it was paved near downtown Baton Rouge. I'm not sure if it's paved all the way from Baton Rouge to St. Gabriel or not, but that definitely bears investigation...

The paved section ended pretty quickly though, and the levee was covered with limestone gravel beyond.

Limestone Gravel on Levee

The St. Gabriel Church was striking from that vantage.

St. Gabriel Church

I could see the river a lot of the time, but only little bits at a time. It was tough to find a spot to take a photo, but there were a few.

Mississippi River 1 Mississippi River 2

Eventually the limestone ended, and the levee took on a more natural surface.

Natural Surface on Levee

I stayed on the levee where Hwy 75 diverges from the river, and the road below eventually hit private property. A fence crossed the road, led up, and crossed the road I was on. There was no gate though, just a cattle guard, and no signage of any kind. There were Posted signs down below though, and it made me wonder if it was legal to ride there. As luck would have it, there was a lady standing right there, at the fence, taking in the sunset, right as I rode up. She confirmed that it was ok to ride up there, and she looked pretty official.

The sun was a little below the horizon about that time, but it was still pretty light out.

The road below had become dirt and gravel, and it was super, super torn up from cane trucks running up and down it. One such truck had apparently gotten a little wide trying to merge onto the road, and ended up in a ditch. The poor driver was moping around the field behind it, waiting on a tow or a pick-up. Pretty soon, I saw a guy in a truck headed toward me on the levee. I imagine he was there to pick up the driver. There's no way he could have gotten his truck down the road below.

The levee trail became paved again almost right as it was time to drop down to my truck, but I didn't pursue it further south. I had plenty more miles in my legs, but we still had dinner and a movie ahead of us.

The sun was officially down then, but it was still light enough to enjoy the sky.

And, what a sky it was.

Louisiana Sky

Louisiana sky. That should be a thing: "A Louisiana Sky."

We had Jambalaya for dinner and watched The Crimes of Grindelwald after. Complicated movie. I don't know how they expect people to follow it.

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