Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday Road Trip, Part 1

Eventually we get to Shiver Me Timbers Millenium Park in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Best playground I ever played on. You have your Lord of the Rings-evoking style which is a hallmark of Leathers and Associates. You have your alligator in pirate drag up on the entry gate. (See him again here.) You have splinter-free composite-lumber bridges and contraptions, all built by the community. This is so cool that I want to be a playground designer, too.

Random kid, not mine, in photo.

Photo not so good, but hopefully you get the idea.

The next leg of the journey brought us to Avery Island for the Tabasco Factory and Jungle Gardens.

We arrived in time for last tour of the factory. The Kid actually wanted photos taken, as conspicuous Tabasco consumption is currently ‘hot’ at school.
Some tour gleanings: The seeds of the peppers not selected for next year’s crop are sent to Wrigley’s. Wrigley’s extracts the oil and uses it in Big Red chewing gum. Peppers are picked when the color matches the red on ‘le petite baton rouge’, and you can get a baton of your very own in the factory store. (Why? For wannabe hot sauce contenders?) I stocked up on Tabasco Cheez Nips, Tabasco Slim Jims, Tabasco soy sauce, but not petite batons.

The Tabasco factory was calculated to soften up the Kid for a dreaded garden tour at the adjacent Jungle Gardens. But dark came and we retired to Lafayette till morning.
And then...

Dwarf palmettos (Sabal minor) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum):

A fine, 900 year old statue of the Buddha sits inside this hilltop shrine:

Camellias were literally humming with bees. Not possible to show on film. Note to self: Get a real camera.

Home hole in the foot of a massive oak named ‘Cleveland’:

Another camellia, festooned with blooms and Spanish moss:

There were an absurd number and variety of birds in the Jungle Gardens, not just the white egrets the Gardens are famous for hosting in nesting season. This kinglet, a cartoon-like bird of eyestrain-inducing size, cheerfully came closer and closer, to within a few feet of us:

Then it was on to the business of locating the husband in the city of New Orleans, and navigating into the woods of Mississippi where the GPS unit goes blank. We will say nothing of the distant banjo music. Check back soon for our adventures there and back…Holiday Road Trip Part 2.


I likE plants! said...

Awesome, I want to go, I want to go, hahahaha!! I've heard that Edward Avery McIlhenny was an avid plant collector here's his wiki
thanks for sharing I'd like to visit there someday!


Bailee said...

It sounds like a wonderful holiday trip.

clare said...

some views of playground looking rather cathedral-like

Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I

would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have

enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Muddy Mary said...

Eric, Seems like visiting when it's warmer would be better because you see the alligators and egrets then...Wait, maybe Avery Island looks exactly like Florida!?

Clare, Appropriate observation. We were on a pilgrimage to the temple of fun.

Susan, I'm glad to hear you like what you're reading here! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello.

Bailee, Yes, it was good to get out on the road. I am already thinking about the next big trip for who knows when...