St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 7: Cops, Tires and Laundry

Day 7 A New Tire; Cops Raid the Park and Clean Clothes.

Last night, just before dark, a red pickup truck roared around the campsite loop, stopping and starting with squealing tires. It made the loop two times and then we couldn’t hear it anymore. A few minutes later, two police cars came through the narrow campsite loop. “Somebody called in the speeded,” commented Margo. “Probably some kid with his truck showing off,” I replied.

Ten minutes later and a parade of another police car, an ambulance truck, a fire truck and another police car came through the lane. “Wonder if the kid cracked up the car?” I speculated.

That night was quiet except when the raccoon dug into the elevated barrel garbage can with the heavy wood lid and threw everything out on the ground. Early sunshine woke us up. There was a little frost on the car and about 32. The sun was warming up nicely so we made breakfast—French toast, bacon, fried potatoes and coffee on the camp stove outside, eating it inside. Breakfast was excellent!\

The tire was almost flat, so I pumped it up at about 9:00 am, and after a short walk we turned on the computer to c-span to listen to the health-care summit, expecting a call from the Goodyear tire dealer at 11. We listened and cleaned the dishes and got the dirty clothes ready for the laundromat. Mostly the summit started with Reps and Dems restating their positions. However, it did appear that the President was trying to find areas of agreement.

At eleven, the phone rang and Faye DeVille told us the tire was ready and to come on over and get it mounted. As we drove out the campsite loop, the lone RV camper on the other side was walking his dog. The tent campsite was empty.

“What was the excitement last night?” I asked him. “You probably don’t want to know!” he replied. “A man and woman, in their 50s have been camping there for a few days. Yesterday afternoon, they came home and started arguing. I was just across from them and heard everything. The man started beating the woman, so I called 911 and the police came out. They both had gotten drunk in town. He was vomiting a few times and finally passed out before the police showed up. She was polite until the cops found an AK-47 rifle, a shotgun and a handgun in the tent and put her in handcuffs. Then she swore a blue streak. They took the man, still passed out, away in the ambulance and her in the cop car. Someone came and took down the tent and drove away the car.”

We drove on into Ville Platte and got our tire changed and were sent on our way. $143.40 seems kind of high for a single tire. It will be nice not to have to worry about a continually leaking tire. “Use Green Slime,” said a guy waiting in the shop for his tire,” it will stop most any leak.”

Faye, the clerk, told us about camping with her husband in their RV. “He’s dead now, but he always had us carry a pistol just in case. I was more scared of us having the pistol than I was of a thief. We never had any trouble, and I still go camping now that Bill is dead and don’t worry about it.”

We tried Popeye’s fast food for lunch and had the $4.99 shrimp, fries and biscuit basket with a pop. The shrimp were good, as was the biscuit, but the fries were pretty limp.

We stopped at the tourist info center, city hall, to locate a Laundromat. A man there asked Margo “You in here for the census taker test?” “No, just looking for a Laundromat.” “Nothing much open in this town anymore, you have to go to Opelousas or Eunice.“ I was at the library across the street looking for some more 25 cent books to read when Margo came in and asked about a Laundromat. “None in town anymore, you have to go about 9 miles to Mamou—one on main street there.”

We headed out of town to Mamou. Along the road were many 5-20 acre flat, flooded ponds with water in them. Others were dry, with 1 foot dikes around them. In some were red topped things sticking up every so often. The signs had “Fresh Shimp” and “Crawfish” for sale. At one place there was a large wire fenced bin of the red things. They were nets, maybe 2 feet long with the red top end. I imagine they are for catching the shrimp or crawdads.

Margo picked up a local phone book at the tourist center. It listed companies dealing in rice. Possibly some of the wet fields are for rice and others for shrimp and crawfish (locals don’t say crayfish, but crawfish, crawdads, or mudbugs).

We found the Laundromat. No coin machine, no bathroom, but the machines were clean and worked. This small town is like the others in the area in that about half of the businesses are empty. Many of the streets are very pretty with huge live oaks along the way and holly hedges and flowers. There are a mixture of very nice, very old, very shabby houses and buildings. Lots of farming with big tractors and machinery out of town. The tractors have three tires on each of the four corners, probably to keep them from sinking into the mostly watersoaked fields.

The local newspapers are filled with Republican Governor Bobby Jindahl and his efforts to cut his way out of $3 billion budget shortage. Sounds just like MN, as Jindahl is raising huge amounts of money out of state for a presidential run in 2012,, like Pawlenty. Both are trying hard to get all the stimulus money and federal pork they can while telling everyone how terrible it is for the feds to hand it out. Biting the hand that feeds you is what one writer said.

Tomorrow, Friday, with a good tire, a rested leg, and a $20 we are headed to see what tourism spots are around. Walking is still slow and stiff after the first week.