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Lake Charles, Louisiana…

Posted by on April 4, 2015



The Creole Nature Trail at Lake Charles, just minutes from the RV park where we’re staying. The sun was setting when we arrived this evening. 

“HELLO, GOODBYE.” “Hello, Goodbye” sang the Beetles in Paul McCartney’s famous song that topped the charts in 1967. Well, today was kind of the reverse for us. We said “So Long” to the Lone Star State of Texas and “Hello” to the state of Louisiana, as we drove to Lake Charles to spend the Easter weekend. Oh, boy! I can place another state sticker on the laminated RV travel map affixed to one of the slide-outs on our motorhome. We haven’t set a goal for ourselves to necessarily visit every state in the lower 48, but I confess that I do enjoy adding stickers to our map and charting our “progress.”

GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS. There’s good news and bad news about visiting Lake Charles. The good news is that it’s a nice city located on a beautiful lake. The bad news is that there’s a very daunting bridge on Highway 10 approaching the city. I have an aversion to driving across high bridges.

IN FACT, VERY BAD NEWS. “Oh, oh! There is one hell of a tall bridge on Highway 10 directly on our route from College Station to Lake Charles” I told Florence as we plotted our route. This is a problem for me…in fact a big problem. As those of you who know me are aware, I have a pretty serious fear of heights and specifically a fear of driving over tall bridges. I get dizzy standing in the shower with my eyes closed just rinsing shampoo from my hair! I’m uneasy climbing a step-stool to reach a can of stewed tomatoes on the top shelf of the kitchen pantry. I’d let the birds live elsewhere for the season rather than climbing a ladder to hang a birdhouse on the eaves of the roof at home! You get the idea. We’ve been able so far in our travels, all the way from California, to navigate around these monsters, although at first blush this Highway 10 Bridge appeared inevitable. But I just had to find a way.


Calcasieu Courthouse in Lake Charles. The laws in Louisiana are based on a diverse set of sources, different than in the other 49 states. 

“HOUSTON, WE’VE GOT A PROBLEM.”  Remember? That was the report by the crew of the Apollo 13 moon flight to the control station on the ground when reporting a major problem aloft. Well, if I had a control station that would have been my report about this damn bridge “in my way.” I just couldn’t make myself resolve to cross it. Even if it required a long detour to reach our destination, “that’s just the way it’ll have to be,” I told Florence. She informed me after looking at the map that the only obvious detour would be akin to traveling from San Diego to San Francisco via Mexico City! “That’s not good,” I thought, “But so be it.” Here’s why I was adamant:


The Hwy. 10 Bridge approaching Lake Charles. This one’s enough to scare you even if your weekend hobby is sky diving! And oh, it looks like the fog’s rolling in…that would make the trip across this monstrosity even worse!

THE I 10 BRIDGE: Here’s a little about the I 10 Bridge: This bridge is  so tall that even Superman couldn’t leap over it with a single bound! And listen to this: On a scale of “1 to 10” this baby is only rated “2.” Honest. I’m not exaggerating. The technical classification is that it’s in “critical condition.” Remember the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis about a decade ago? Well, its rating was twice as good as this one! Although still in use, the state of Louisiana rates this one “structurally unsound,” and the state’s Secretary of Transportation himself refuses to drive on it. “Well that makes two of us, pal!”

A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE AND SAFE ARRIVAL.  Without boring you with the details, suffice it to say that we found a circuitous but effective route to avoid the bridge and we arrived safely at our Lake Charles destination on the day before Easter, as planned. But I still feel the same way about bridges. Fact: More than 72,000 other bridges in the United States, or about 12 percent, are also rated “structurally unsound.” I intend to avoid each and every one of them! As a consequence, our travel route may include lots of “zigs and zags” but we’ll get there, and we’ll get there safely. So there!

WELCOME TO LOUISIANA. We crossed the border and entered Louisiana late this afternoon. We’d been driving for several hours so our first stop was to take a short break at a Welcome Center and Rest Area right on I 10. The sun was setting over an inlet of water and the area was beautifully landscaped with lawns, flowers and gazebo-covered picnic tables. As I sat down I sarcastically quipped to Florence, “Hell, we’ve been here 10 minutes and I haven’t even seen one alligator yet.” Just after the words left my mouth I looked out toward the water and saw the two signs I’ve posted here. Can you believe it?











ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL RV PARK. We’re parked in a very nice RV resort for the Easter weekend. The roads in the park are well paved and wide, making it easy to maneuver our big rig effortlessly right to our pull-through site. The site itself is huge, and its constructed with clean-as-a-whistle concrete that’s so level I didn’t really even need to use our hydraulic jacks. Our patio area is surrounded by freshly mowed bright green grass and our “front yard” is easily the size of a pickle-ball court. We have a large, sturdy picnic table. There’s a large pond stocked with catfish and bass…guests can catch and keep three of each, per day. I’m not personally interested but it sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Don’t you think?

HUMOROUS PARK RULES. Each RV park has its own rules dealing with quiet time, swimming pool hours, open campfires and that sort of thing. But this park has one rule we’ve never seen anywhere else. “Fishermen: Please dispose of all remains (fish, crawfish, crabs) by the fish cleaning station on the bayou, located at the back of the pond. The alligators and turtles will enjoy this and it will prevent an awful ‘fishy smell’ from accumulating in our dumpster.” I don’t even know what a “bayou” is yet and I’ve certainly not seen a real live alligator, but I have a hunch that’s going to change before we depart! I’m going to try to post a picture of a ‘gator tomorrow. Come on, admit it. You’re pretty excited about that, right?


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