Hitch Hiking to Mardi Gras

I set out Friday morning from Jennings headed to New Orleans! Kayla was nice enough to drop me off at interstate 10 a few miles from her home. I did not have one care in the world, spectacular feeling! All I knew was that I was heading for New Orleans and it was going to take as long as it took. The sky was a bit overcast and it was humid as hell because it had just rained hard the night previous. The surroundings were beautiful deep greens. My legs were feeling strong and I kept thinking that I could cover a lot of ground before I would have to stop and set up camp. I walked for maybe three miles and a big ford truck pulls over in front of me. The gentleman asks where I am going and tells me throw my bag in the back. He had to have been in his early 60’s and was a fellow Army Vet. He told me he could take me about 60 miles up the way. Awesome! Its about 172 miles from Jennings to New Orleans. We talk a little about hunting, mainly me listening and trying to learn because I know nothing about hunting. As we are driving he gives me a history lesson on points of interest. He points out the shacks on stilts way out in the bayou where people are living like they have for many generations. The swamp looks beautiful and scary at the same time, it being overcast it gives off a scary movie feeling. There is old decaying moss hanging from tree limbs forming ominous creatures, ready to wrap you up and drag you to your deep murky doom. After driving for a bit Rudy says he wants to pull over to the welcome center and get some free coffee. Since I don’t have two pennies to rub that sounds real nice. Inside there is an exhibit about the surrounding bayou and the people and critters that inhabit it. I thought it was pretty awesome, plus I had a legit tour guide. The coffee was a kick in the pants. It is a brand you can only get here in the great state of Louisiana, Community. After a bit Rudy says,”Alright partner, we gotta head out.” Everything Rudy says sounds cool because of his born in Puerto Rico, been living in Louisiana for the last 30 years accent. We get back on the road and before we know it he has arrived at where he needs to be and the end of the line for me. He tries to tell me that you can’t walk on the bridge thats a mile up the way, I tell him I will figure it out. I get back on the highway and start truckin’. I maybe make it 3/4 of a mile and Rudy pulls up,”I got some time, I will take ya cross the bridge to the other side of Baton Rouge.” Whata guy! We get outside and once more we say goodbye. Im back walking down the highway. I walk another four miles and have a bit of a equipment malfunction with my back pack so I hop off the highway towards a gas station to fix it and munch a tuna sandwich I made earlier that morning. A soggy tuna sandwich never tasted so good. Im sitting on the side of the feeder lane for maybe three minutes and another gentleman pulls over and tells me to toss my bag in the truck bed. I am kicking myself for not remembering his name. He tells me he can take me up the road ten miles to Prairie, perfect. During these ten miles we talk about religion. This man has a great heart. Before he drops me off he reaches in the back cab and hands me zip lock bag that has a scripture, tooth paste, new tooth brush, deodorant, and a new wash rag and soap. Blessings bag is written on the outside in magic marker. Wow! I am and continue to feel blessed. I hop out and say our good byes. I walk across and sit on the side of the feeder. I sat there for about an hour with my thumb out watching people smile as they drive by. Right as I’m getting ready to start walking and looking for a place to set up camp, Dan and Toma pull over. I hop in and they ask where I’m headed, ‘New Orleans’. “Thats great, we are headed there too.” They had Reggae playing and Toma is passing me a bottle of wine to swig. It’s about 5pm and I am on my way to Mardi Grais for the first time in my life!!!!!!! We get into the outskirts of New Orleans and they have to drop me at Canal street because they are running late for a prior engagement. I text Renne’ Peggy Savant and tell her I made it to town. She text back, “Come on over we will be waitin’ on the stoop.”…. To be continued!

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2 thoughts on “Hitch Hiking to Mardi Gras

  1. Matt, I am overwhelmed with emotion, love and respect for you. My heart soars with you. I am proud to say you are my nephew! Love you…Aunt Marla

    • Wow! Thank you aunt Marla! That really means a lot to me. It’s funny, I walked about 8 miles today before breakfast. I wanted to stop for a while and I saw a sign for a truck stop. I knew if I stopped it would be hard to get back going, legs might cramp. Anyways I dedicated that last mile to uncle George and asked him to give me strength. Needless to say I made it! I love you, thank you for reading.

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