Friday morning was another gray cloudy day and there was a threat of showers. Rudee had picked up a bunch of tourist fliers from the campground office and had been studying them for things to do in the area. Since we are staying for a week and the the weather is supposed to improve starting Sunday we decided to keep the bike covered and take the Dakota today.
We headed for Avery Island, home of McElhenney family and Tabasco brand hot pepper sauce.
The factory was established on this island not long after the civil war ended to produce the now familiar hot sauce developed by Mr. McElhenney. The company is still owned and operated by his decedents using the same recipe he developed all those years ago.
The factory tour was fairly short starting with the history of the company and then the process of changing peppers into sauce was explained. You do get to walk through a glassed in walkway with views of the bottling process with an occasional sign explaining what you were looking at.
The most interesting point I found in the process was learning that the pepper mash is stored for at least 3 years in used wooden barrels. They actually buy the barrels from the Jack Daniels Distillery who can only use them one time to age their bourbon. Once the mash is in the barrels the lid is put on and it has vent holes to allow gases out, to keep water and air from going back in the holes they cover them with salt. The salt is mined right here on the island and was the original business of the McElhenney family. Here are a couple of familier faces taking it easy outside the gift shop :-).
Once we were done at the factory and adjacent gift shop we drove to the Jungle Gardens which got its start as a bird sanctuary to save the dwindling number of Egrets who were being killed for their feathers to be used in ladies hats. We stopped at the visitor center but felt like the entrance fee of $8.00 was a little excessive so we passed on going into the grounds.
Looking at the map we found Cypremort State Park nearby and thought we would check it out. The park sits right on a point separating Vermillon Bay and West Cote Blanche Bay. We paid the $1.00 per person entrance fee and headed for a covered picnic table on the beach for a picnic lunch. We had some company at lunch when a couple of Grackles came by looking for a hand out and kept "yelling" at us :-).
The park is really small and consists of a beach area, fishing pier and a few rental cabins but it made a great place to enjoy our lunch. There is also a large coastal community adjacent to the park and we enjoyed driving through looking at all the homes up on stilts.
We decided to head back to the 5th wheel and made a stop at Wal Mart for groceries. We made it back home a little after 4pm and looked forward to relaxing in front of the TV. The rain never materialized but the sun only peaked out once or twice otherwise it was a pretty cloudy day. Saturday looks to be the worst day weather wise. They are predicting a 100% chance for rain and thunderstorms and we are under a flood watch. Guess we better be ready to run to high ground if need be. I'll keep you posted.