Alligators and Hand Grenades

November 4 – 5, 2012

The 4th was a day of driving. We left Weatherford pretty early after having breakfast with Aunt Rosie and family. Our goal was to get to Palmetto Island State Park in southern Louisiana. The drive was nothing to write about except we started ‘The Wrath of the Khans’ podcast which discusses the history of the Mongol horsemen and their conquest of parts of Asia and Europe.

We got to the state park in the dark and went meet by a friendly little warning.

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Watch Out

Scary, but not a problem, we sleep in the back of the truck. We found a campsite and went through the usual motions of moving stuff from the back to the front so we could sleep. We sat outside and had a beer while I did blog stuff and Chandler studied the atlas. I got a few mosquito bites so I moved to the back of the truck for shelter. Eventually we decided to go to sleep. It was really warm and humid, but with all the bugs I was sleeping with my sleeping bag on and the windows shut. I woke up drenched in sweat covered in bites. The truck topper is definitely not “bug tight”. It was awful. I could not fall back asleep and woke up Chan with my thrashing.

Groggily, he suggested we set up the tent. Genius idea. It was cool and enclosed but now I could hear everything. While camping in Alaska, I was always terrified of grizzly bears and used to keeping an ear out. The forest around us was loud with crashing from lots of mysterious things that go bump in the night, but I finally fell asleep and didn’t get eaten.

The next morning we had a few hours to kill before we could check into our hotel, so we decided to hang out in the park. There were canoe rentals for $5 and according to the attendant on duty, potential to see some alligators.

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Canoe ride, lucy on point

The canoe ride started out pretty mellow down a creek with nothing to see but fish jumping. The attendant said the fish jump to get away from the alligators. If that was true, it seemed there were dozens of alligators in the water. We got to a little lake and Chandler saw something jumping the water and suddenly there were two alligators swimming around. One was much larger than the other, so naturally we name them mama and baby.

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Let's go swimming

We hung out for a bit and then continued down the creek. We saw a huge heron and a vulture. The creek led to the Vermilion River which we had to get out and cross a weir to access. The river was slow moving and had an island we could paddle around. The water was shallow around the island and since neither of us wanted to get in the water if we got stuck, we turned back for the creek.

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Scarves or moss

On crossing the weir again, I saw a snake swimming in the water (as if snakes in the grass are not scary enough), but we didn’t get a photo. We hustled back to the lake to get another look at the gators. We were in luck because mama was sunning herself on the bank.

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Big Mama

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Lucy's new friend

We hung out for as long as we dared so not to piss her off. On the way back to the take out point we also saw a turtle.

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Teenage mutant ninja

After our canoe adventure, it was off to New Orleans. We had a three hour drive before we got to the hotel. Once Lucy was settled and we each had a shower, Chandler found us a place downtown for dinner. Just our luck, there was a Saint’s game and people were everywhere. Parking prices were inflated, so Chandler drove around for awhile until we found street parking. We just happened to find a spot on the corner of Bourbon Street.

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Bourbon Street

Chandler’s mom said that we had to get hurricanes because they are an iconic drink of New Orleans. I am allergic to rum and someone needed to drive, so it was up to Chan to do all the drinking. The only places we found with hurricanes had basically alcoholic slurpie machines and weren’t sure of how it would be.

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Slurpie heaven

Instead, Chan opted for the hand grenade. A very alcoholic beverage in a large green cup with the base shaped like a grenade. I’m sure you can imagine how the rest of the night went with one drunk guy and one sober driver.

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Coolest guy on Bourbon St