We have decided to simply pass through New Orleans at this point and return to it by car for a few days after I complete the bike journey. My relatives at the end of the road are asking about my progress and await my arrival. I have one nasty bridge to cross in the city proper. To get there I biked down Magazine Street which seems to be the hippest section of town with everything from yoga studios to coffee shops filled with brooders to eateries with impossibly fresh, local fare. Sue meets me and ferries me across the US highway 90 bridge to the relative safety of Gretna the neighborhood across the river. It is the last bridge that crosses the Mississippi. I recalled the very first one just a few yards down from the outlet of Lake Itasca, a mere wooden footbridge.
|The Mississippi River just south of New Orleans near Gretna.|
This is the last night on the road before we reach it's end. Le Matidora Inn is a delightful place and we seem to be among the few paying guests. It's a bit of a celebratory splurge. It consists of a 10 room main lodge and 4 cottages. It has a wrap around porch, swimming pool and it's own orange grove, banana plantation and pony ranch surrounding it. That night we are invited to help ourselves to an oyster cookout. A bunch of guys are shucking a burlap sack of fresh oysters off the back of a pick up truck under headlights and grilling them on a charcoal grill in batches. I lingered around long enough to get offered a huge platter that I had no problem refusing or finishing off.
|Tommy Lincoln, proprietor of Le Matidora.|
I rolled up the next day at my in-laws place in Buras, LA just 10 miles from the last town of Venice. Sheila Nixon is Sue's sister and recently retired as a housekeeper at a local motel and her husband Leonard, a shrimper before Katrina, now catches baitfish to sell to sport fisherman. Their daughter Cristina who lives nearby has graciously arranged for us to stay just down the road at a fishing camp she knew the owner of. He found out about my journey and offered it's complimentary use.
Over a decade ago I had spent several months here over the course of a year helping rebuild their place after Hurricane Katrina.
|There are still reminders of Katrina in the Delta.|
On Sunday, October 31 I pedaled the lasted 12 miles to the end of the road. It crosses over the levee that wraps around the town of Venice like an old fashioned bathtub rim.
|Venice Marina is home to a major commercial fishing fleet and|
"Sport fishing capital of the south"
|The happy road warriors.|
|Ceremonial dipping of the wheel in the waters of the gulf.|
|2,100 miles upriver where she starts. I am told it takes 90 days for a drop of water to reach the gulf. I beat it by 10 days.|
It is with a bittersweet farewell, I thank all of you who helped me all along the way (especially my wife Sue), who took an interest in my "incidents of travel" and encouraged me onward for I have truly reached the River's End.
David and Murphy