Wednesday 4/10 De Soto National Forest Mississippi – New Orleans, Louisiana
Some days are easy and some days are hard, but sometimes you’re ready and sometimes you’re not and this complicates. We weren’t ready for this humping day.
The sun rose and the birds chirped and we spent a nude morning in the Mississippi woods, in a field of our own. The potatoes and eggs cooked slow and we swayed in the smoke. The last packet of ketchup (from an Ithaca Badonalds) squelched with glee and the saucy pan talked back like a middle schooler.
The weekend approached, and we were headed to hiphappening New Orleans, so we sought to claim land with immediacy. St Bernard State Park would be our next home. This is the most expensive campsite we’ve occupied thus far, despite being less valuable than many others. That said, St Bernard offered a few things the others did not. What St Bernard lacked in views and privacy it attempted to make up for in good woofers and better full-timers.
St Bernard State Park is the Winter home of many a retired RVer. They have patios outside their RVs, picket signs with last names and butterflies, televisions and offices in their cars. Most importantly, they chit as the walk their dogs around the camp loop, and chat on the way back. Why do they come to this park and not another? Proximity to New Orleans, the water park, and, of course, the free wifi.
That said, we did not interact with St Bernard’s human dwellers immediately. We met the more nefarious, instectoid dwellers first. Lukas has told me a lot about fire ants, tragic sagas from his tortured youth, but I didn’t yet understand. I stepped on their mound. I will not attempt to explain what follows because you can’t fully understand it til you expwerience it yourself. Several scabs remain and the itching still wakes me in darker hours.
As my shock dissipated we decided to escape to the city and let the frenzied freaks rebuild their mound in peace.
In later days, I would come to like New Orleans. This was not that day. The parking was stressful, we lost our bike lock on the way, the heat was obscene, and the tourists overwhelmed. Similar to the ants, it would have been easier were it not for the shock. I wasn’t expecting the sweating or the traffic or the crowds. Biking through new cities on hot days with bloody itching feet, I could not love New Orleans.
Eventually, we escaped the crowds and rolled with humid waves through french caribean architecture and jazz idol statues. Still, I was too beat to love that town. We biked back to the car, defeated, sweaty, and hungry. We drove off in search of remedy.
Rolled ice cream, air conditioning, and crosswords are the cure, if anyone is wondering.
We went back to camp, exhausted but in a place where that was welcome. Naps were followed by dinner and Dr Who and sleep. But, as with crashing anywhere, there was some blood and panic in between.
Lukas cooked dinner because that’s what Lukas does. Unfortunately, our swampy Louisiana neighbors were hungrier than he was and the mosquito bites have left him speckled as an english setter. Food was spilled, exhaustion.
Our little iPad lay against the tent wall and we huddled over our bowls of rice n veg as Capaldi met his newest companion. We were dazed and defeated. Our HP was low. We thought the campaign had ended and we thought we had lost.
Enter Boss, who Lukas would later dub Ransem (a lame name I know, but he got there first). From within our pillows, behind our Whovian retreat, he made his entrance. Roughly 8” long, Ransem grinned and his Wolf Spider shined in the light of our lantern.
There’s a big spider, we need to get out of the tent and figure out what we’re gonna do.
Doesn’t matter, let’s go. Carefully.
We escaped untouched and Ransem didn’t notice. We hid in the car and schemed. 30 minutes later, a fully emptied tent, some kicking, an empty coffee tin, and a piece of paper, Ransem disappeared without a scratch. I wonder if he felt us yelling in his sleep that night. I felt him crawling up my legs all night.