By the time I reached Port Allen (across the Mississippi river from Baton Rouge) I was hungry again, and I had second lunch at the Court Street Cafe: a bacon-blue cheese burger and the best coffee I’ve found since leaving Highway 61 Coffee in Vicksburg MS.
Just after I headed outside the rain started in earnest. I made the mistake of trying to take LA State Highway 1 south out of Port Allen, and had a horrible experience trying to cross the canal on the narrow, shoulder-less highway bridge, in heavy rain. In hindsight, I should have crossed over the river to Baton Rouge and taken the bike trail along the River Road. Oh well.
Given the rain I was tempted to stop at the Econo-Lodge just over the bridge, but the forecast indicated falling temperatures and more rain, so nothing would be gained by waiting and I pressed on. (You can only get so wet before your clothes saturate, and the 68F temperatures made it merely wet, not miserable.)
I was heading for Carlos Campground in Plaquemine, but found the road to be well-and-truly closed just a few miles shy of my goal (there were several large trees crashed across the road, and it was completely impassable, with water on both sides of the road). Foiled, I turned around and headed back into town. Seeing a church with that shared a driveway with a house I knocked on the front door, and asked if it was the preacher’s house. The man that answered indicated it was, and asked me to go around to the side door.
There I met the preacher, who told me he 94 years old. I told him I was a weary bicycle traveler who was unable to make the campground 10 miles away because the road was blocked, and said I was hoping he would let me put up my tent in a back corner of his yard for one night. He said if it was only one night, then yes.
Props to Rick B. in Cape Girardeau MO for suggesting this technique, a variation on Willie Wier’s suggestion to find the house with the nicest garden in the neighborhood and ask permission to camp.