Everyone was stressed – except for me. Money troubles, whining children, and edgy dogs filled the unschool bus, but we made it through. Although we were stranded in Louisiana until Jeff was paid for the work he did in New Orleans, I thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
We parked in a lot in Morgan City for the night. The next day we were planning on some sightseeing, but unfortunately we were awoken at 7:00am by a Rouses employee to tell us we had to leave (although the police the night prior had told us it was a public lot where it would be safe for us to stay). We didn't leave. Fifteen minutes later, the police arrived to tell us that we were officially being kicked out. Needless to say, we no longer felt like staying in their town. What happened to good ol' Southern hospitality?
So, the first town to explore was Rayne – frog capital of the world. The brochure sure looked pretty, but where did all the frogs go? A sign read that many of the frogs were given to restaurants and universities. Great. A serving of frogs legs and animal testing for the vegans. From the murals decorating the buildings, we concluded that they also used to race frogs in the town. When we asked a random passerby where all the action was in Rayne, he was honest and told us to head to Crowley. Unfortunately, Kelly didn't get him on camera, but he was quite the character. Apparently he was only in Rayne to deal with some legality concerning some, if not all, of his 39 kids? We were as lost as you were reading that last sentence.
Anyways, we left for Crowley – America's rice capital. We stopped in the music store, where I was able to pick up an organized table of ukulele chords. One of the four brothers who own the store was kind enough to show us around the studio in the back as well with photos of all the famed musicians who had stopped in as well. Next we took a tour of City Hall, which housed an enormous amount of information about rice, Ford Motor Company (since Crowley had been the third largest car manufacturing city in Louisiana), the music industry in Crowley, and the city itself. Mambo and I had fun dancing along to the selection of blues, cajun, pop, and rock music from the mid-twentieth century.
After that we headed to Jennings. We heard there were gators to pet in the welcome hall. They were cute. Bubba was about a foot long, and Hampton was probably half that size. It was pouring rain outside, but we checked out the bigger gators outside as well. We were getting worried about the payment we needed before heading to Austin. We were really running low on cash, but finally Jeff was able to convince Esther (the landlord) that yes, he really had fixed the toilet at the house in New Orleans, and the resident, Jim, had been doing everything in his power to make it look like it was leaking.
We decided to have an Internet day at a Starbucks in Lake Charles while waiting for payment to be deposited into the Paypal account.. I've been reading My Big TOE by Tom Campbell online for free through Google books. It's captivating, but I can only read it sporadically, since I'd rather save every cent and not just download it. However, I highly recommend the book whichever way you choose to read it. Campbell is a NASA physicist who discusses a theory of everything that accounts for both our physical matter reality and the non-physical matter realities of outer body experiences, lucid dreaming, remote viewing, and other psychic occurrences. I consider it a must-read.
After Esther finally came through, we headed to an RV park in Vinton for some much needed stress relief. The review of Nibblit's Bluff online was poor, but for $13.50 a night, we couldn't understand who had sabotaged their online review. The place was quiet (we were the only ones there for the first day), there was an animal farm, multiple playgrounds, hot showers, and best of all, it was right on a river connected to bayous! I had been waiting to see a bayou, and only a mile away from Texas, I was afraid we weren't going to. It was a gorgeous place, and a generous man from down the river named Don came to visit us and let us borrow one of his canoes. He's an amazing artist, but mostly loves diving into the bayou to haul up old logs that were dropped by the many old logging companies in the area, and then selling them for wood. On our third day in the park, Don even took us out on his motor boat to explore the bayou. It was absolutely amazing and an incredible coincidence. I remember standing in the welcome hall in Jennings looking at brochures of swamp tours, but also thinking about how expensive they probably were, yet here I was, enjoying a personalized tour for free!
Also while at Nibblit's, I wrote my first two songs on the ukulele. “The Unschool Bus” is a quirky introduction of our life, and we're now in the process of making a music video for it. My other new song, I've named “Dreaming Life Away.” I was sitting on the dock strumming some random chords and began to feel inspired. It has a bit of a southern touch to it. Enjoy.