Tammany Trace & Biloxi Blues

After leaving Sumrall, we spent the weekend in Slidell, Louisiana at the Elks which was right on a lake and close to the Tammany Trace. We have ridden the whole Trace and it is a great trail. They need to make some new ones!

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The lake we camped on had fish to feed and lots of turtles. A bluebird nest was in a hollowed out tree and the heron came to visit. We were there for the supermoon but it was behind some trees until higher in the sky. We had the place to ourselves except for the caretaker. There was a kid’s playground and Carmella loved running around on that. She even tried to go up the slide and ran up the seesaw until it moved and she jumped off.

After a couple of days riding, we decided to continue our Gulf Coast seafood crawl with a stop at Darwell’s Cafe in Long Beach on the agenda. The shrimp creole and crab cakes did not disappoint.

We  landed at the Elks Lodge in Biloxi, right across from the beach and next to the old French Cemetery. Carmella loved the cemetery!

And, as the Elks Exalted Ruler (yes, that’s really what they call the Lodge leader!) pointed out, they have no problems with the neighbors. The live oaks draped with Spanish moss provided shade and atmosphere for the graves, some dating back to the 1700s. Of course, being right across from the beach, it saw major damage in Hurricane Katrina but a restoration project was launched and except for a couple glued-back-together tombstones, you would never know. Those live oaks must be tough because all along the coast we saw places where homes had been. The houses were completely gone but the trees remain. Toward Gulfport the land across from the beach was completely devoid of buildings and lots of property was for sale.

We didn’t get the bikes out here but instead walked to the Ohr O’Keefe Museum to see the work of George Ohr, “the mad potter of Biloxi.” In a career spanning about thirty years until 1910, he produced an astonishing amount of carefully crafted ceramics. Many had whimsical handles and others were formed then obviously imploded or deconstructed, making the viewer look twice. Mugs that you don’t notice at first have holes in the sides. Elaborate handles, some pieces with several handles. The museum is right across from the beach in a complex designed by Frank Gehry. So a double treat to see. A friend had told me about it on our way east, so we walked the few miles to take a look. Wow!

Unfortunately, George never achieved the fame or financial success he desired from his art so he closed his studio and his collection sat untouched for many years until his family sold it to a collector in New York. He was quite the character.

Afterward we were ready for some more seafood so we found the Half Shell Oyster House and settled in with some oysters and a couple of martinis. They go great together. These oysters, while tasty, did not measure up to Peg Leg Pete’s in Pensacola. We really got spoiled there. The martinis were good though and much appreciated.


A live oak along the way in a lot empty of house.

We scouted out a laundry in El Campo, Texas and there was an Elks Lodge there too which was completely deserted that night. In preparation for our winter in Texas, we washed everything in the bus, blankets, towels, rugs, clothes, bike stuff, cat stuff, quilts and seat covers. The El Campo Super Wash was brand new and had three 6x size washers and plenty of 4x washers. I figured out we did the equivalent of 28 loads of laundry! I need to get rid of some clothes! Planning on that soon.

On to Padre Island for some beach biking.


One comment on “Tammany Trace & Biloxi Blues

  1. you are in the places I want to go back and see some day. isn’t washing clothes great/ ? lOL.. take care, Have a great turkey day love too both, Cherie.

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