Today was a long day where I reached the anti climatic end to the Great River Road.
I had already ridden, drove, and taken a tour of the Plantations along the Great River Road from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in previous visits to the area. But I couldn’t resist doing it again. Plantaation country is so beautiful. It was difficult to get pictures of many due to walls and signs. However, I did get a good one of the Houmas Plantation. I have it as my featured image, but I will show it again 🙂
Construction on the Mansion was completed in 1828. At the same time, Houmas House began to build its sugar production and continued to increase its land holdings, which ultimately grew to 300,000 acres.
Irishman John Burnside bought the plantation in 1857 for $1 million. Burnside increased production of sugar until Houmas House was the largest producer in the country, actively working the crop on 98,000 acres. During the Civil War, Burnside saved the Mansion from destruction at the hands of advancing Union forces by declaring immunity as a subject of the British Crown.
End of the Great River Road
As you know, I have been following the Great River Road along the Mississippi River from Itasca Park in Minnesota. To date, the road has been well marked with tourist information centers about the road scattered along the way.
However, as I reached the end past New Orleans, the signs died out. According to the map I have, the Great River Road ends somewhere near Venice, Louisiana. A rider I met in Whitehorse told me all there was at the end of the Great River Road was a rusted sign. I could find nothing. There wasn’t even a vantage point to take a picture of the Mississippi River as it ended. Very disappointing.
I would have looked longer but a lighting storm was developing around me. I raced back up the peninsula while going through the odd short shower. The goal was to get to the hostel I booked before getting drenched.
As I reached Terrytown, 10 miles outside of New Orleans, it looked like all hell was going to break loose from the storm. I quickly pulled into a Starbucks I spotted (of course). As soon as i did the storm unleashed. Lightening was all around and nearby as there was no time lapse between the lightening and the thunder. The rain was torrential. All I could do is wait it out.
After a hour or so the storm broke and I was able to continue on to my hostel.
Strangely, as I got to the Site 61 in New Orleans, the roads were dry. Check in was 4 pm and the doors were locked. Sooooo once again I sat outside waiting for check in.
I was a bit hesitant about this hostel thing. I had one great experience in White Horse, and one crappy experience in Fairbanks. But it was the only way I could afford to stay in New Orleans for a few days. It was either this or spending $100 USD a night – at least. The US exchange rate of 1.35 has been killing me up to this point as far as finances go.
When I was able to check in I was pleasantly surprised. The people were friendly, the place was really clean, and my room was nice. I got a bottom bunk which I repeatedly requested. I settled in to spend the next 2 days in New Orleans.