Western Louisiana/East Texas

Western Louisiana/East Texas
Late in March RoadRUNNER sent me south to the Sabine River Delta around Lake Charles, Louisiana, and on into East Texas to explore four National Forests and the Gulf Coast. That sounded like a top-notch trip. But from studying the map, it appeared the trip might include too many entrance-ramp cloverleaves and horizons stretched with oil derricks. Happily, those assumptions proved grievously wrong in travels through a landscape filled with great blue rivers, lakes, green pastures, valleys, rolling hills, and lonely white beaches.

Lake Charles, LA.

The blue water of Lake Charles is arrayed under I-10 as I cruise into town on a Gold Wing 1800 in the late afternoon, and as intended, the colorful, glaring design of the Harrah's Casino attracts my attention. I resolve to cash in on a hard day's work by visiting the craps tables after checking out the town and finding a room for the night.

Lake Charles is the only freshwater lake with a white-sand beach in the Gulf Coast area. The I-10 service road feeds traffic along the lake's public banks to the casinos that are Lake Charles's main tourist draw. Pirate Jean Lafitte reportedly made this area his hideaway in the first quarter of the nineteenth century, and the rumor persists that he hid a hoard of treasure around the banks of the lake.

Stowing bags in the hotel, I was set to become Lake Charles's next big winner. Casinos have always captivated me, and I had a great time rolling the dice at Harrah's. But Lady Luck didn't show with the big money (she hardly ever does), and I wound up contributing a few bills to the local gambling industry.