The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

A Spooktacular Night

Helen invited us over for a great dinner on Halloween so we could see the kids costumes before they all left for a Halloween party and Trick or Treating. I did hair for Helen and Morgan and the next thing I know, DH is sitting out in the car waiting to go home because he was afraid we would already be having Trick or Treaters at our house. Thank Heavens Helen got pictures of them all.


Cameron looks huge here now that he isn't standing next to his 6'4" dad. lolf

So does Morgan. They are growing up way too fast.

They all had a really great time Trick or Treating and spending the evening with friends at their Halloween party.

It is Rayne(ing) Frogs in Louisiana

Saturday, we hopped in the car and headed to Rayne.....the Frog Capitol of the World. First stop was the old depot.

The mural here was just the beginning of the frogs we saw.


The fountain must be on a timer as it was flowing when we arrived and then stopped.

We made a stop in this very old five and dime store. They had lots of old unique items along with things people would use every day. The staff was very friendly and recommended "Gabe's" for lunch.

First frog statues.....many more to come and we probably only saw 1/4 of them.

Some beautiful murals graced the outside walls of buildings.

Each of the frogs is decorated differently.


Frogs have been the business of this town for a long time. The Weil brothers from Paris started shipping frogs in 1901. Up to 10,000 pounds legs were shipped in a week.

Some of the frogs were dressed in accordance with the business they represented. This is a banker.

We saw an old hardware store that also looked interesting.

Some of the frogs had business names on them.

Some had sayings.


This mural was a little faded but still neat.

This one was especially neat.

The newspaper had lots going on in front of their building.

This was all a mural on the blank side of a building. Looked like you could just walk into the shops.

This pretty lady was in front of a jewelry store. Two middle-aged ladies were painting the trim and columns sprucing up the building for their brother who was inside sprucing things up....a real family project. When they also recommended "Gabe's" for lunch, we were sold.


Another beautiful mural on the outside of a building.

This little shop was closed but had lots of interesting things in the yard.

Another blank was turned into "little shops".

We did have lunch at "Gabe's" which turned out to be very popular with the locals. They are well-known for their fried chicken and seafood as well as their daily specials. It's pretty small but shriving business with lots of takeout going on in addition to customers inside. It looks like a fast food restaurant but the food is much better.

We saw only about 1/4 of the frog statues and 1/2 of the murals. It would be nice if Rayne put together a pamphlet and map for visitors but we still had a lot of fun.


Diversity is the Spice of Life (in RV Parks)

Abbeville is an interesting small town with lots going on around the area. If you want to learn about Cajun, this is a good place o come.

Old Abbeville Train Depot.

Another interesting place to visit is Palmetto Island State Park. We decided a visit to the park to check it out would be a great way to spend the rest of our day after the trip to Avery Island.

The sites are a nice size and have decent spacing and privacy from each other.

There are nice restrooms and even laundry rooms.....and laundry was free.....a definite bonus for campers.

There are also plenty of nice places for day visitors.

Just keep an eye out for the gators. There were also three connected ponds for kayaking and canoeing.

The park was named after these palmettos......it is an "island of palmettos" not an actual island in the water.

Another nice view of the water for kayaking.

If you don't have an RV, they have some really nice looking cabins for rent too.

So now you have seen camping out with nature, here's another very different kind of camping or maybe we should call it RVing instead. Betty's RV Park is quite well known among RVers. It's also different from a lot of other RV Parks. For one thing, it's small....only 15 sites with a couple of boondocking spots. The RVs are basically parked in a graveled yard around Betty's house. The spots are pretty close together. There are full hookups but there is no pool, no laundry, no restrooms.

BUT, what this park does have is Betty herself. She has made this into a destination visit prized by RVers.

There is a large outside patio under a cover plus a deck in front of that. Decorating is an ongoing project whenever Betty finds something she wants to add. There is plenty to look at.

Birdy and I were parked next to each other behind the house. RV spaces are set up to use every inch of space.

There was only one other RV there while we were there but there will be a big influx of people as the snow birds travel south. Betty's RV Park is not open June, July or August. She has a rally scheduled for September of next year and the following year, she plans to close June, July, August, and Septermber.

As I said , what is unique about Betty's RV Park is Betty herself. That is Betty on the far left. Every day at 4:30PM, it's Happy Hour. Everyone brings something to share plus their own drinks. Betty made homemade pizza two of the days we were there. Our friend Martha came to join us. Betty knew Martha's husband from the time they were kids. She knows everyone in the area and everything that is going on that might interest her guests. At Betty's, you feel like you are her personal guest that just happens to have their own living quarters. She makes sure everyone gets to know each other and feels comfortable.

If you come once, you'll be back and best call ahead just to make sure she can fit you in.

Birdy and I enjoyed visiting with Betty so much that we all went out to dinner one night to the Riverfront. They have inside seating or a deck outside and music on the weekends. The food was good too. Special on margarita's the night we were there. Betty had Crabcake Ciabatta.

Birdy had fish tacos.

And I had Shrimp Tacos. They were delicious.
 
Just some more of the fun available in Abbeville, Louisiana.

It's a Hot Time on Avery Island

Monday morning Birdie and I headed back west again. Our first stop was just down the road on I-10....the Atchafalaya Rest Stop. If you are traveling I-10 east or west, this is a great place to stop. For one thing, they have a section that is just for RVs......completely separate from the semi-truck parking which makes it really nice if you want to spend the night. Cars have their own lot too. Of course, you will always run into the odd idiot who thinks they have to park their car in the RV area but you can't fix stupid, right? Anyway, there are quite a few spaces.

Then you get to the very nice welcome building.

They have all kinds of things to look at.....just like a small museum.



They even have a short movie presentation about the Atchafalaya Swamp and, of course, all the information pamphlets you could ever hope to need.

It didn't take us too long to get to Abbyville which was our next stop. We were heading to Betty's RV Park which many RVers know about but more about that later. Martha came up to visit us at Betty's and we went downtown to a music event in the park. It was great....lots of people enjoying it. One guy was especially entertaining.....not sure if he was inebriated, different stroke for different folks or what but his dancing with or without a partner was hilarious, very exaggerated movements and facial expressions. I think every woman there held their breath every time he looked around for a dance partner.

The next morning, Martha came to pick us up and we headed south towards New Iberia.

We were on our way to Avery Island, the home of McIlhenny Tobasco Sauce. There is a $1 toll to cross to the island. The McIlhenny's started making Tobasco pepper sauce in 1868 and the company is still family owned.
 
Edmund McIlhenny, a food lover and avid gardener, was given seeds of Capsicum Frutenscens peppers from Mexico or Central America. He planted the seeds and loved the spicy flavor of the peppers they produced. After the civil war, food in the south was very bland so he began picking the reddest of his peppers, mixing them with Avery Island salt and aged the mash for 30 days. Then he mixed the mash with French vinegar and aged it again for 30 days. He bottled it in old perfume bottles with sprinkler tops and sealed it with wax. He gave some bottles away and then sold it at local grocery stores for $1 a bottle.

Other than the fact that the aging process for the mash is much longer, up to three years in white oak barrels and high quality distilled vinegar is now used, the process is much the same over 140 years later.


The Tabasco sauce is bottled and labeled in 22 different languages and sold in over 180 countries. It is even included in soldiers rations. It is so well-known that all pepper sauce is called tobacco.





We were invited to join a 1965 class reunion for their tour.

The bottles we saw being bottled and labeled were in Japanese.
 




The white stuff on the top of the barrels is salt which hardens like concrete while the sauce is being aged.




Expansion is underway which will make a visit to the bottling plant even better. Over half of the 200 employees actually live on Avery Island and are later generations of the first employees.


On to the store where samples are available. Ever try Raspberry Chipolte Ice Cream or how about Jalepena Ice Cream or numerous kinds of specially flavored sauce.


It's a very colorful place. Needless to say, we all picked up a few items.
 
 
Just as we were ready to head out to see the other sites like the Jungle gardens and Bird Sanctuary, Martha got a call. Her husband fell and she had to head out to tae him to the hospital. He is a stubborn one just like mine. He is 88 and still rides his cutting horse every day. Not on the horse this time but he had two broken ribs. The next day, he was on the treadmill.....you can't keep Harold down.