Wednesday, December 26, 2018

St. Gabriel

Man, I'd have sworn I wrote about this, but it looks like I didn't...

Rewind to a month ago, to Thanksgiving day. I'm in Gonzales LA, I'd ridden a big chunk of the Levee Trail the day before, and decided to ride the rest of it, in the Baton Rouge direction, the next day. Thanksgiving morning, I got up early, headed out to St. Gabriel, parked at an official trailhead...

St. Gabriel Trailhead

...with a cute little water park nearby...

St. Gabriel Community Park

...and headed north.

The trail up there was paved for a while.

Paved Levee

But pretty soon, it reverted to good old gravel.

Unpaved Levee

Ahh, gravel.

The levee itself isn't much to look at. Looks basically like that previous photo for miles and miles. But you do get good views of the river from time to time, and its ships and barges, and whatever else.

Tanker on the Mississippi

Heading north, there are two fenced in areas that you pass through. Both are small. Neither have gates, but both have cattle guards on either end. It would seem that people graze cattle up there. There are No Trespassing signs to either side, but it was much like the fenced-in section that I'd been formally told was ok to ride to the south. There were plenty of tire tracks through those sections too, and what little signage there was forbid unauthorized motor vehicles, but said nothing about bikes or pedestrians. I was a little nervous riding through those sections. No idea what the final word is on them.

I basically rode north until I encountered the L'Auberge Casino.

LAuberge Hotel LAuberge Casino Sign

Where I found out later that my cousin-in-law Chris Paul works.

That was new since I'd last been up that way. The road leading away from the Casino toward Baton Rouge becomes Gardiere Lane, which my in-laws used to live very close to. When they lived there, I'd bring my road bike, take Gardiere to the River Road and do a big out and back on it. No Casino in those days.

I took the River Road back, just to get some variety.

There were dozens of these signs all along it.

Levee Rules

Very specific set of things that you can't have up there. Only a $50 fine though! Ha!

There was a sign a bit north of one of those fenced-in areas that said something like "If you're caught in the fenced-in area, you will go to jail, I promise." (wish I'd gotten a photo of that sign) But it was like a half mile north of the fenced-in area I'd been worried about, and that fenced-in area just had more of those other signs posted around it.

No idea what fenced-in area the threatening sign was referring to.

I got back in decent time, feasted on Thanksgiving goodness, and visited with Uncles Paul, Joe, Dana, and Aunts June and TD, and Missy and Ali, until everyone got tired and went home. It was late-ish by that time, but there was still time to try and get in another ride. And I had calories to burn off. Delicious Tee-Wayne's deep fried turkey calories, in particular.

Too good! Ça c'est bon, yeah!

I parked in some L'Auberge side lot, climbed up to the levee, and headed north again. There was a guy on a road bike coming off, right as I was getting on. Yeah, it was late for sure.

Again, the trail was paved for a while, then gravel for most of the way into Baton Rouge, but close to Tiger Stadium, it turned back into pavement.

Tiger Stadium

I basically rode north until I hit a trailhead that I'd been to once before, way back when they first started building the paved trail.

It was close enough to get a good view of the bridge.

Mississippi River Bridge

And look at that sky.

That Louisiana Sky.

I don't remember much about the ride back, except that I was glad that I had my commuter lights, and glad that the batteries still worked.

It was dark when I got back to the truck, but the lot was really well lit. I also remember crazy lights running up and down the north-facing side of the hotel. I could see them from a really long way away. Long enough to think I was closer than I was.

So, I'd ridden as much of the Levee Trail as was marked at the time, on There might be more sections to the south too. I'll have to check those out next time I'm in town.

Hopefully that'll be sooner than next Thanksgiving.

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