Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

Opinion

December 20, 2013

Bypassing the friendly skies for a road trip

For the longest time, Americans by the millions were pampered and charmed by airlines in general. One ad urged us to “fly the friendly skies.” And we did, with pleasure.

The horrific 9-11 tragedy changed everything.

Suffice it to say that folks who formerly chose to fly when facing trips of 150 miles or more have upped the number greatly, say to a minimum of 300 miles.

———

Facing a 600-mile trip to New Orleans recently for the inaugural cruise of the Carnival Sunshine, we chose to drive. We “drank in” geography we’d not seen “up close” for several decades.

Instead of “pedal to metal” driving, we opted to cram “one day into four.” After all, my spouse could help greatly — driving part of the time and pointing out missed turns when I was at the wheel.

With GPS turned off and no specific route in mind, we headed east on “roads less taken.”

———

Averaging 150 or so miles daily — many of them barely above sea level — we smelled few roses, but aromas of Cajun food wafting from one-of-a-kind restaurants made up for it. And the stretch from Lafayette to Baton Rouge is home to a culture we mostly have heard jokes and stories about.

“Cajun Country” is the real deal, known for a work ethic to be envied and delectable menu items to be savored.

May it long include names ending in “eaux” and dialects to spice up stories from the swamps.

———

Who would guess that Breaux Bridge, by any measure a small town, claims a tiny eating place with the world’s best “po-boy” sandwiches and hamburgers? A local said so, and we found it to be true — for the burger, anyway.

We bragged on the burger as a dozen other diners nodded. “Do you bake your own buns?” I asked the Le Cafe owner.

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