How can this even be possible? The trails just keep getting better and better! Ever since we rode our first fully paved trail, The High Trestle Trail in Iowa, the Average Speed on our bike computers has just been going up. It is easy to cruise along at 13-14 MPH, taking in the scenery and the breeze at the same time.
We headed for Fountainbleu State Park on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain to ride our latest discovery, The Tammany Trace. It covers 27.5 miles from Covington to LaCombe and we rode the whole trail twice. The surface was great, the trees very tall and the wildlife close-up and personal. We were hoping to see some alligators, but they are elusive and probably getting ready to hibernate. After all, the temperature was only about 70-75 degrees. Perfect biking weather. We were extra fortunate that we got good TV reception and were set to watch the next two games of the World Series while we rode the trail. BONUS!
It was an easy ride into Mandeville, where we carb-loaded big-time before setting out both days. An omelet with lump crabmeat, some potatoes and biscuits and gravy? Why not? I have to admit, it took hours to work off those breakfasts! They were good though. The first one, at Liz’s Where Ya’ At Diner was exceptional and they had cool restrooms.
Those long pants came off before we started riding. We had to use both sunscreen and bug stuff. We rode to Covington through Abita Springs. Some scenes along the way…
I always hate seeing these ghost bicycles, but did not think to ask the Rangers about the specifics. Brain death from biking.
The Tammany Trace was very well maintained and the Rangers were all friendly and very informative. Cindy was at the Kids Konnection Playground Trailhead, a playground designed with disabled kids in mind where all abilities could play together. What a cool idea. These guys have the best job in the world; they can patrol the trail on bikes but most use scooters or Diahatsus. She offered us water, even ice and a detailed mileage map of the Trace. Dispensing friendly information and conversation, the Rangers and good restrooms made this trail unique.
We saw lots of monarch butterflies on the trail, one collided with me while I was riding. no damage done.
After the first day’s ride, we explored Mandeville on the north shore of the lake and discovered The Beach House where we enjoyed a cocktail (or two…) and early dinner. I got the Yelp app on my iPad and we have been eating like crazy ever since!
The next morning’s breakfast of champions was at The Broken Egg. It was also delicious. Set in a small house right in town, the coffee and food were good and they went all out with the chicken decor. My sister Cherie would have loved it! This is for you, Cher.
We picked up some kale salad and Sriacha chicken salad from Opal Basil at the Mandeville trailhead for dinner. It’s always nice to have something prepared when we’re done with riding. And the Royals were playing that night too. The food was seriously delicious and I could have eaten a pound of the kale salad myself. The Mandeville cemetery was like all the New Orleans cemeteries, everybody, mostly, buried above ground because of hurricanes and low water table. Makes for some interesting photos.
Then on to the other end of the trail at Slidell. Derek was one of the friendly Rangers at the drawbridge, which they open every evening for the boats to pass through the bayou. Herons and alligators there too. We didn’t see any alligators. But the turtles were friendly. There were about twenty of all sizes gathered under the bridge. Derek told us later that one of the Rangers feeds them, so no wonder. Wish we had something to give them.
Jim rides to the very end of the trail. Once back at Fountainbleu I rode around a little bit to get some pics of the live oaks there. They are old and gnarly and wonderful with the backlit Spanish moss. There were several large ones along the trail too. The park used to be a plantation. I bet those trees could tell some stories.
Turned over 800 miles on the bikes here.
The next day was scheduled as a travel day for the Royals and for us and we headed south to Beaumont to spend one night at the Elks Lodge there. Then on to Victoria to watch the next three games. Go Royals!
More photos on Flickr.