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Sunday, March 25, 2001

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Dallas to Baton Rouge

Dad gets me to the bus station just before seven so I.m second in line and get the front seat on the bus. The station was crowded already, but I think Dallas is always crowded. They move everyne through pretty efficiently as they have people checking tickets and keeping us in line. We hea d south out of Dallas on I-45, another park like interstate. The rivers are filled to the brim from the rain yesterday. We ride through land that is very flat or slightly rolling and some low areas are soggy with standing water. Everything is green except for trees that haven't budded yet. There are nice homes and farms and even the shabby ones look nice with the fresh color.

We're multiplexed with US-286 till Corsicana and US-190 from Madisonville to Huntsville. As we get close to Houston tacky sprawl appears. This didn't really happen coming out of Dallas. Their sprawl must be going elsewhere. I find tacky sprawl to be much more realistic but at the same time I enjoyed the nice parklike drive down.

Everyone going to Baton Rouge and beyond was scheduled to transfer to an express bus in Houston as the bus we were on turned into the local to New Orleans. I decided to stay with the same bus as I was in no hurry and I knew the through bus from Los Angeles to Miami would be full of people who had been on the bus for two days and they can get cranky. The first driver, who I discussed this with, understood but I had to be very assertive with the baggage handlers as they wanted to transfer my bag and the lady checking to see we had the right ticket kept trying to move me over to the express bus. Most people have a problem understanding why I wanted to go into all the little towns instead of just buzzing by them on the interstate.

We left Houston on I-10 to Beaumont through very flat, low land that, in many places was more water than land. The lady beside me talked most of the way to Port Arthur. She was heading back home from visiting her daughter in Austin and planned to move to Austin to be near her. She teaches special education and told some sad stories. She also had been left by her husband when her children were small and was so funny as she talked about how she didn't date much and now, that she was 59, had no interest in putting up with a guy.

We took US-69, US-96 and US-287 south to Port Arthur from Beaumont. From Port Arthur we headed north on TX-87 and TX-73 east then TX-87 left and TX-62 north to Orange TX. We started crossing great high bridges over rivers and bayous. As we crossed the Neches River I could see the Gulf from the top. We had water on all sides at times.

I-10 & US-90 multiplexed across the state line into Louisiana. At Lake Charles we took I-210 around to the bus station. I got a new seatmate there. He lives in Rome and works at a bilingual institute of some kind. We had a very good conversation about everything from travel to philosophy. He did most of the talking but I put in my two cents plenty of times. I seem to be getting seatmates that are very talkative this trip. I had hoped to have the front seat to myself to Baton Rouge, like I did from Dallas to Houston but it was nice listening to total strangers talk about their lives and what they find interesting.

It was nearly eight when I got to Baton Rouge and was very glad to get to the hotel. It is a bit shabby but still clean and nice. The really cheap places were way out so I was willing to pay a little more to be close to down town and this was the cheapest. The weather was great today and is suppose to stay nice tomorrow so I'm looking forward to going on a volkswalk.


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Rachel Aschmann 2001.
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