Friday, March 13, 2009
We only planned three nights at the French Quarter RV Resort — it was all our budget could stand. But, with more yet to see and do, we still wanted to stay in the area. After checking out a couple State Parks near New Orleans yesterday, we decided to move to Fontainebleau State Park just across Lake Pontchartrain, to the north, from the Big Easy.
By “just across the lake” I mean about 25 miles the way the crow flies. Lake Pontchartrain is the second largest salt lake in the USA, behind the Great Salt Lake in Utah. Yesterday I mentioned the bridge that cuts right across the middle of the lake from north to south, a bridge that’s notable as the longest over-water bridge in the USA.
I wasn’t real excited to drive the Bus-House across the long bridge as it’s only two lanes wide in each direction with no shoulders or escape lane. If someone breaks down, you’re stuck in the lane of traffic, with thousands of not-real-happy Louisianans trying to jockey for a spot in the lane that’s still moving. The chances off breaking down at any given point in time are minimal but it’s still the kind of thing I think about when planning routes. It’s nice to have a place to go if you’ve got to stop.
But, after deliberating for about 5 minutes, we decided to take the chance and use the Pontchartrain Bridge anyway. What the heck?
We left the French Quarter RV Resort about 10am, and found our way onto I-10W. Through city traffic and construction zones we progressed until… until we saw our exit for the bridge going by and we’re still on I-10W with the exit behind us. Oh Dang! We were both looking for a big green sign but apparently there was only a small temporary one that directed drivers with really good eyesight onto an earlier ramp because the main ramp was closed for contstruction. Harrumph!
Being intrepid explorers we quickly found a longer alternative around the west side of the lake, the only path around the lake we hadn’t taken when checking out State Parks yesterday. It was a fair trade-off as far as I was concerned… an additional 40 miles instead trying to turn the Bus-House + Toad around in nutty N.O. traffic and try to find the temporary exit from the I-10E side. No, I’ll take an easy 40 additional miles in rural traffic anytime.
So we continued on I-10W until we connect with I-55N around the west side of the lake, and up to I-12E. Then East on I-12 until we exited on LA59S and wended a few miles south and westward to the State Park, which is smack on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain. We settled into our site and felt a joint sigh of relief to be back at a “campground” again for the first time since last November. The cool breeze blowing through the camper, the trees (a lot more pine than along the coast), the woodsy odors, even a place to build a campfire — it felt like we’re home. I think we’ll try to stay here for a while.