Saturday, April 2, 2011

Good Times and Good Byes

We wrapped up our stay (the longest we have spent in one place) at Betty's with more of the good times we enjoy so much. We met Valerie and Richard in Lafayette for lunch one last time. We are hoping to see them this summer when we travel through Michigan. We finally stayed in one place long enough to get the washer/dryer repaired. We used the mobile service of Good Shepard RV in Breaux Bridge. After a couple of false starts Mitch got the appliance and a couple of other things repaired. So now we will be spending less time at the laundromat. We also did one more casino trip so we could return our past winnings.

One of our favorite things about this place is the music, especially the Cajun Jam Sessions every Saturday afternoon. This last week's was at the Museum Cafe in Erath where two of the tables were filled with people from Betty's. This was the first time we heard Rick on the squeeze box and he was great. Rodney got several of the ladies on the dance floor. This was our last chance to see our dear friend Ollie. She told us she graduated from Erath High School in 1945 in a class of 13. Ten of her classmates are still alive. It must have something to do with the Cajun lifestyle. I have to agree, as my blood pressure has been way down during our visit. We will miss talking with Ollie and look forward to seeing her on her favorite stool when we return. Another favorite thing about this place is the food we get to try. Bryan Champagne, the swamp tour guy, gave Betty ten pounds of gator and she fried some of it and made the rest in a sauce picante. It was much better than the gator I had in Florida a couple of years ago. Even Nanc tried a little as it is an animal that spends part of its life in the water. Everyone also contributed side dishes for a great tasting potluck.

One day we did a road trip on the Creole Nature Trail to Louisiana's Outback, the large swampy area along the Gulf of Mexico. We saw many animals along the way and at the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge. Above is a black-necked stilt, some mallards, a heron, egrets, several glossy ibis, a stink pot turtle, a black and a yellow crowned heron together and of course a large gator. We also saw white pelicans and many roseate spoonbills but did not get good pics. This is a great road trip to see a lot of wildlife.

This area was totally devastated by Hurricane Rita several years ago and there is still much evidence of the destruction. Many of the buildings including the school are new and are built up off the ground. Others are being raised and refurbished. There is a heavy oil industry presence here and several offshore rigs can be seen from the beach. Along the way we saw the small beginnings of a swamp fire that we often see throughout Southern Louisiana. Rutherford Beach is one of the few places you can get to the gulf waters. We were the only people on the beach and found many interesting shells. You can take a ferry into Texas on this route so we will have to travel this way in the RV in the future.

One of the traditions at Betty's is her famous folk art that is ever growing and changing. The bottle tree had just taken root when the Mardi Gras gang arrived and was fully grown by the time they departed. The gator is a live root by the pavilion and the new garden sprouted with more art where Betty removed some overgrown plants. As Betty says, "It's folk art and if you don't like it, folk you."

Of course there is often music performed by guests at the park. Top are Wayne and Larry and bottom are Judy Bailey as she serenades Jim & Cookie for a dance on Jim's birthday and Dan playing some blues. Even though my musical talent ends with cd's and the radio, I do love listening to all the different musicians who play at Betty's

We extended our stay when we learned there were plans for a surprise birthday party for Betty on the 30th. Her birthday is the 31st but the casino doubles your "free" money that day so the party was held the day before. Also, Marvin told us the party would be our going away party the evening after we had departed. We showed him and got stuck in Betty's web one more time.

Without a doubt Betty's is our most favorite place and this visit just reinforced that thought. We had a great time with our old friends, including a visit from Tom and Georgie, our get togethers with Valerie and Richard, all the people who were at Betty's whom we have met there or on the road previously. We plan to see many of them on our travels. Tony and MaryBeth in Michigan, Jim and Cookie at the Escapade, Jim and Bobbie in Q and maybe even Marvin if he gets those wheels turning. As always happens at Betty's, we made many new friends who we are looking forward to seeing in the future. We may see Dan and Merlene as they travel through PA and George and CeCe if we make it to Oshkosh. We met so many people that I can't mention them all but thanks to all for making our stay more enjoyable and, of course, a special thanks to Betty because without her none of this would be possible. She truly is the best.

Even though this is our favorite place, our house is on wheels so we are back on the road. We decided not to do the Final Four and are now near the Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas. The "plan" is to visit Oklahoma City, the tall grass prairie in Kansas, Branson, Kansas City and St. Louis on our way to Michigan to have the rig serviced at Spartan Chassis in early May. We then will be staying in PA for a month before heading west while we keep Running Down Our Dream. What a wonderful life.


Jim and Bobbie said...

What a great post!!! So enjoyed reading about all the things you did after we left. Safe travels.

Merlene + Dan Goan said...

Sure enjoyed meeting you guys and hope to see you on the road....or of course, back at Betty's! Happy & safe travels.
Merlene & Dan