We boarded the bus at 8:15 AM for Avery Island and sights in New Iberia. We arrived at Jungle Gardens on Avery Island mid-morning, and drove through the area, making several stops. Avery Island is the home of the Tabasco pepper sauce factory, and Jungle Gardens was created by a 2nd generation McIlhenny family member, a noted naturalist, who used the area to help save the Snowy Egret from extinction. Jungle Gardens was resplendent with huge live oaks draped with Spanish moss, bayous complete with alligators, azaleas, camellias, and other flowering shrubs. It was a delightful area, but we would recommend walking or bicycling the roads, and making a good half day of it.
Our next stop was the Tabasco factory gift shop and tour. The gift shop had samples of great Tabasco flavored ice cream and jalapeno flavored ice cream as well as many other Tabasco food products, and Tabasco branded paraphernalia. The tour was a bit disappointing in that we just saw the bottling facility. Of course, it would be difficult to see the peppers fermenting, etc.
Lunch was at the Little River Inn in New Iberia, where we enjoyed a great meal of shrimp au gratin and twice baked potato; in our opinions, this was the best meal yet.
Following lunch we toured Shadows-on-the-Teche, a National Trust historic site. Shadows-on-the-Teche is among the oldest of Louisiana’s plantation houses, having been completed in early 1834. It is unique in that all the furnishings are original to the family who built and occupied the house through 4 generations. While I have not see a bunch of old plantation houses, this was by far the nicest.
Our final stop was the Konriko Rice Mill, America’s oldest. I opted to stay on the bus, but Kay visited the company store, and toured the mill. While in the bus, I sneaked a peak at emails on the Droid, and my neighbor and close friend, Wayne, offered a solution to the refrigerator door; he had repaired one earlier for a friend. Wayne can do anything, so we’ll wait until we return home to fix the door.
We really enjoyed the sights around New Iberia, an area neither of us had ever visited. A quiet evening followed our long day.
Kay’s Take: We chose to sit at the back of the tour bus when we boarded. There are several older RVers in our group with a few physical challenges. We noticed when we came back to our bus after lunch that Kay’s jacket was somewhat wet and we suspected that the air conditioner was leaking and we reported it to the driver. After the last stop, we loaded back on the bus and headed north toward Lafayette. The bus took a sharp right turn and all of a sudden water poured out of the condensation vents right above my head. Both of our seats were wet, but most of the water fell on my head and top. I don’t think I could have gotten any wetter if someone had poured a pitcher of water over me. I screamed, of course, and we both got up to shake off as much of the water as we could. I don’t think the driver even noticed what had happened. Another RVer made room for me to sit in another seat and we kept moving on down the road. Someone told us later the driver was either talking on his phone or listening to the dispatch conversations the entire time he was driving. I would say he was a ‘distracted driver’. When we got back to the campground, I had to rewash my hair and our clothes. Who knows what was in that ‘air condtioner condensation vent’ that dumped on us.