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Tour de Ruston

With all the running around we've been doing, I haven't had a chance to really examine or talk about our current residence, Lincoln Parish Park. It's small, with just 33 sites. The camping area surrounds a 30-acre lake, which is ringed by a paved trail for walking. Most of the back-in sites are directly on the lake, as ours is, and the pull-throughs are very close also. At just $20 per night for full hookups, it's a bargain.

But the best feature is the world-class mountain biking trails all through the park. Scott wasn't kidding about the mountain biking here. This part of Louisiana has hills and just enough elevation for trails that can challenge beginners and advanced riders. A whole bunch of triathlons and competitive mountain bike rides are held here each year. I wish I had a mountain bike just for a day ... I'd like to at least look at the fabled "Tomac Hill" drop-off that goes 120 feet down followed by a big jump.

We picked up mail yesterday, and found a few surprises. Since I announced our General Delivery address to the world last week, two friends sent things for us. Dr. C sent a couple of books: A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo, and On the Border by Tom Miller. (I'll report on these later.)

Spotted Dick.jpg

Brad and Mary sent us a can of Spotted Dick, with this note: Enclosed you will find what you have all been looking for all of your lives. Portable English pudding.

Ruston Mary Margaret.jpg

Today we met with Mary Margaret van Diest, a reporter for the local newspaper. Mary Margaret interviewed us (I'll provide a link to the interview when it comes out) and then gave us a tour of the Ruston Daily Leader's office and printing facility.

Ruston muffaletta.jpg

The tourism guys took us out for lunch at Ponchatoula's, a local spot. Eleanor and I ordered a muffaletta to split, but the darned thing was so huge we could only eat half of it. Chris, the owner, came by and chuckled about it: "I love to watch people try to eat the whole thing."

Ruston military museum.jpg

Just a couple of blocks from downtown there is the small Louisiana Military Museum. For $2 admission (kids free) it's well worth visiting. The two main rooms are jammed with display cases of artifacts from the Spanish American War, Civil War, WW I, WW II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War. The collection of weapons and uniforms alone are very impressive. There's also a Douglas A-4 Skyhawk and a Huey outside. I've been told they have far more in the collection that can't be displayed simply for lack of room, so the parish leadership is trying to find the museum a larger location.

I also took a quick tour of the Parish history museum, which is housed in an 1886 mansion. So now I know the secret of why Ruston is where it is ... Mr. Russ cut a deal with the railroad to come through his 600+ acres and the railroad company laid out his town. Good politickin'.

Ruston Governor Blanco.jpg
Me, Governor Blanco and Scott Terry

Speaking of politics, you'll never guess who I ran into today. Well, you might since I let the cat out of the bag yesterday. Governor Kathleen Blanco was visiting and my buddies insisted on introducing us. I showed her my new "Hurricane Relief" wristband and told her that people all over the country were still thinking about what happened. (It's not over ... not by a long shot.)

This is supposed to be our last night in Ruston, but we're looking at a nasty weather system west of here. There may be icing or heavy rain in Texas this weekend. If things look bad on Saturday morning we'll spend another day here.


Hi Rich -

And I would have loved to join you on those Ruston Mtn. Biking trails!

I still remember fondly our many miles of Mtn. Biking in MA!


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