I worked on my PHP5 coding project (Google Latitude aware WordPress weather widget) all morning, packed up at 10AM and rolled out at the crack of 11.
After about 25 miles I stopped at B&C Seafood for lunch: the ginormous fried seafood platter with batter fried catfish, oysters and hush-puppies. It combined two of my favorites: fried and seafood, and so was quite good.
I followed it up with a brownie melt just because I could, which was delicious.
I was undecided about staying at the KOA just west of New Orleans, and trying to make it a “few” miles further to some state park. When I reached Edgard I tried calling the state park, but got no answer, so I took the Edgard/Reserve ferry, which was free, and headed for the KOA.
The directions I had said to take Highway LA-44, which had no shoulder and the drivers generally seemed upset about having to slow down and/or go around me, so I climbed up the levee and I rode there nearly the entire way. At times it was paved with asphalt, occasionally it was a dirt two-track, but mostly it was gravel. The LHT with 26×2.0 tires handled it all with aplomb.
As dark fell I found myself once again on a paved section of the levee-top bike trail. I was reluctant to pay $33 for a campsite at the RV-oriented KOA, but I tried to justify it as being less than half the price of the previous night’s hotel room. Less than two miles from the KOA, however, I saw what looked like adequate tree coverage and undergrowth for stealth camping. Changing eyeglasses for my riding goggles I was encouraged by what I saw: a 12-foot wide path cleared through the trees and undergrowth that curved around to the river. Verifying that the spot where I wanted to set up my tent was above the recent high-water mark, as well as being out of sight of anyone driving along the levee-top path, I quickly set up the tent, unloaded everything from the bike into the tent and crawled in before I started shivering too much.
The night was cold, with a low of about 34F. I woke up several times due to loud noises but realized they were carried quite a ways by the wind and did not threaten impending doom. At 5AM the alarm went off, and I packed up and was rolling by 6. Daylight came about 6:30, and I was surprised to see two other cyclists on the trail, both going the other way. I soon warmed up enough to drop the insulating layer, and when I stopped I was surprised to see one of the previous two cyclists pass me again, this time going back towards New Orleans. Shortly thereafter a police truck also passed by, so I was glad I had decided against cooking breakfast where I had camped (the Whisperlite throws off a lot of light while pre-heating, which makes it very observable and not stealthy at all. Regardless of whether the spot where I chose to camp was technically legal, it’s better still if no one is bothered to stop and ask awkward questions. Hence the “stealth” in “stealth camping”).