Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cycle 36 Miles to Liz's Where Y'at Diner

Alligator about ten feet from Tammany Trace Bike Trail!
Friday, April 2, I slept like a rock until 8:15. I would cycle for no other reason than it makes me sleep like a baby. Before we could make breakfast I had to wash up all of the pots and pans from last night's pasta and chicken dish I whipped up. It's unusual for me to leave dishes in the sink overnight and this morning I know why.

We decide to have a lighter cycling day and just go to Mandeville. We hit the trail at 11:00 a.m. and go north. Today the 5 1/2 foot gator is on the log sunning. A five year old boy with a cute dog points us there. His Dad and sister were down there taking pictures. We slide down the steep bank; Bob on his feet and me on my rear. My knees wouldn't take the stress after hopping off my bike after 12 miles at 12 mph. We could see bigger gator eyes and a forehead sticking up nearer the bank. The smaller one slips in the water and swims away.

Eyeballs of a larger gator sticking up above the water line nearby in the same Bayou!

On to Mandeville for us. We cruise in front of the Kickstand Cafe and discover Shrimp Gumbo and their famous Potato Salad on the whiteboard. We keep cruising to Hwy 190 just before the tunnel and go to Liz's Where Y'at Diner on Florida St. also in Mandeville. There we meet Liz herself. Judging by the signs and the atmosphere it is quite an upbeat place. Liz greets everyone with "Where Y'at?" Must be a Cajun thing.

Front window of Liz's Where Y'at Diner, Mandeville, LA

I get up to read the special board and Liz introduces herself and hands me a printed menu of the daily specials. I choose Crab Cake Salad with oranges and grapes smothered in a spicy Remolaude. Bob has Shrimp Salad Stuffed Tomato that gets high marks for presentation. The diner is easy to cycle to from the trail so we'll be back.

Off we go back to the Mandeville Trail Head to use the restrooms before cycling out 5 blocks or so towards Lake Pontchartrain to Mae's Antiques. On the way we pass Vianne's Tea Room which looks interesting and Rusty Pelican another lunch spot.) There is a sidewalk the whole way so we can avoid the street. It is a cute antique shop in an old clapboard house. Mae is kind of quirky and is painting a "Collectibles" sign for the front fence while we browse.

Shrimp-stuffed tomato salad

Bob finds two old lures he can't pass up. They have some neat stuff to look at. I find nada. We cycle back to Mandeville to use the rest rooms again before our long trek back. But then we ride east to the road out to Lake Pontchartrain where we find a gorgeous couple-mile ride along the lake shore. There is some construction still from Hurricane Katrina but most of the stately old homes have been re-done; landscaping and all. Mae in the antique store said traffic is bad on the Northshore after Katrina because so many folks moved inland.

Spring flowers are blooming everywhere on The Tammany Trace Trail

We rode west almost back to 190 then went north back to the Trail winding around on the back streets. After we got four or five blocks inland the houses were no longer built on stilts. As we turned east to head back to Slidell the wind really got strong. We have to cycle one more time past Mandeville Trail Head. I feel like I'm going in circles. It takes us over two hours to get back. We collapse at the truck at 5:10. We're both exhausted. So much for our easy ride. We only went 35.6 miles today. Two days ago we made 45 miles but it seemed harder today. It was fun to explore new places though. The trail was crowded earlier since folks are off for Good Friday but things cleared out after 3:00.

Strong winds whip up the waves on Lake Pontchartrain's Northshore

We head home to cover the bikes, read the paper, take showers, stretch and have leftovers. We even stayed awake long enough to watch recorded NCIS LA and The Good Wife. It's 9:45 p.m. and the high was 74 degrees.

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