While sleeping in the garden at the Catholic church was great (it was hidden from the road, so we could stash our things and go around town), it wasn’t protected from the nighttime heat, which meant that we slumbered through another sweltering evening in our underwear, trying to stay as cool as possible…which is laughably pointless, given the heat, but worth trying anyhow. The effort reminds me of summertimes in my youth and trying to get comfortable on the leather seats of my dad’s old Cadillac. No matter how you squirmed, your skin would touch, and stick to, those hot seats, and you’d have to peel yourself, wetly, off the surface each time you moved. Sleeping in a tent in this kind of heat reminds me of that.
Anyhow, we took off for the day’s ride, and M was still sore about our incredibly unhealthy lunch from the day before. Not to belabor the point, but all of this eating and sampling of regional cooking is not doing wonders for our physiques, and we haven’t lost any weight, let alone gained the lithe physiques that we had fully expected by now. M attributes this entirely to my insistence that we sample the regional fare, and after yesterday’s ordeal, she woke with not just a mission but a holy zeal to have a healthy lunch.
And the Lord said, “let them eat Subway sandwiches for lunch.” And lo, she didst hear the Lord, and agreed that such a lunch would be reasonably low-fat and affordable. And she didst struggle to turn R’s cheek towards the righteous high-protein diet. And though he agreed, she didst struggle all the harder and brought up the topic at nigh unto every moment.
Am I exaggerating? I really don’t think so. You’d have to be there. The truth is that she brought up Subway, the healthy alternative, every time we stopped, and she checked her smart phone CONTINUOUSLY to find the nearest Subway. There’s no hard feeling here, but the girl was just jonesing for some Subway. ‘Nuff said.
Anyhow, it was another hot day and we mainly stayed busy trying to drink cold water while breaking the ride up into manageable sized chunks (“manageable” meaning that we didn’t pass out halfway through). By the time we were ready to eat lunch, just south of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, we had somehow wandered several miles past Subway territory. So I suggested, as gently as possible, that maybe we could just keep riding to the park and leave off Subway for the day.
But lo! M was mighty wroth at this perfidity. And her brow didst darken in furious anger, and R withheld further counsel and didst shut his mouth.
It was Subway or bust, and she was not interested in hearing any more of my suggestions. So we rode to Subway.
When we reached the Subway, which was in a gas station, I looked next door, and saw a funky little restaurant/insurance company called BB’s BBQ shack. I told M to enjoy her Subway sandwich, and that I was going to go check out the BBQ place. M looked disgusted, but followed along with me, just to see what the place was like. And as soon as she saw the menu, she said “okay, let’s eat here.”
Just like that.
I’d love, just love, to belabor this point, but she reads this blog too, so I’ll leave the story at that, and let you all ruminate on what this means about the content of her character.
That said, stopping at BB’s was the smartest decision we could make. BB’s BBQ shack, which sits along a totally uninteresting local highway replete with strip malls and fast food joints, is one of the best BBQ restaurants in the country and was undeniably the best BBQ we had on our trip. It was opened up several years ago in kind of funny fashion. Tommy Brooks was working in insurance and had bought a building for his business, but he had more space than he needed. One of his sons wanted a car, so Tommy bought some snowball-making machinery (a snowball is a cold treat made famous in Louisiana. It’s basically whipped, flavored ice, but available in tons of flavors and with milk mixed in too). Anyhow, Tommy tells his son that if he wants a car, he can sell snowballs from one of the unused rooms in the building he just bought. By the end of summer break, his son had bought a new car and paid off the cost of the machinery. From there, the business grew, and ultimately became a stunning success. It was recently featured as the best BBQ in Mississippi, and the runner-up won an award for the best BBQ in the country the next month. So that’s how good the food is.
Samples of snowballs
We spent hours there. After we ate, we introduced ourselves to the family that runs the place and they brought out all kinds of amazing dishes that we hadn’t thought to order but they thought that we should try. Tommy sat down with us to teach us the finer points of BBQ, and his son mixed us up his own special snowball concoctions. It was a wonderful afternoon.
Brett and Brennan – Thanks guys!
We left, happy and full, and headed to the campground. The campground was largely empty, but we met one of the other campers there, a charming and spunky Cajun lady named Trixie, about whom we’ll tell you much more later. Suffice for now to say that Trixie saw how hot we were, how small our tent was, and owing to the kind of person that she is, she rode her bicycle back to her camper and brought us cold sodas. Then she invited us back to her camper, where she and her wonderful husband Wayne fed us fresh cooked Gulf shrimp, Wayne’s amazing jambalaya [see today’s recipe!] and a salad that they made from vegetables from their garden. All washed down with ice cold beers. It was an absolutely wonderful evening and a great hint about the kind of hospitality that we would come to enjoy in Louisiana. We went to bed, full, happy (and sweaty as ever), after a truly lovely day.
Wayne’s Jamabalaya (with white bean sauce) and salad