I had done a little tuneup on Mz Guzzi. She likes the attention even if it is only psychologically beneficial. After our session, I checked to see if she was carrying all the support equipment she needs as a big boned Italian wench. We hit the road headed south. This was going to be a short putt so I headed to the most scenic stretch closest to the house. I think Section 28 road fills that bill. I was most distraught to find there is clearing going on in the once haunted woods. I hope the the landowners reap their due. It is a travesty. Let's move on.
Long story short, I ended up in New Iberia, coming in from the east on 86. I crossed Main and St.Peter and headed west. Let me say right here that I was almost tempted into doing a photo article on NI. It is a magnificently pretty and historical place. That is not true of all its area, but what town is 100% pretty? I knew I'd cross the Union Pacific tracks soon. I was south of the old Southern Pacific depot, an unfamiliar area to me. I came upon this large, rather ugly cement building which looked like it was a product of the post-Civil War, Reconstruction Error or maybe, the obamic novel, "1984". It was the parish courthouse, I think. It should have been painted gray. It was right at the tracks. It was closed for President's Day, I saw no American flags. February must be a happy month for our bureaucratic zombie clones with an attitude. That made viewing what was to come a lot easier. No traffic, no pedestrians, no winos, no screaming baby parades, no knife fights, no guns.
What interested me were the curbs on either side of the tracks and, was this the main line, this one set of rails? Here's looking up and down the tracks. It's the addiction. I was only out for a short ride and here I was looking down the rails again.
Why do people walk down railroad tracks? The obvious answer is that it's the shortest way to get somewhere. A deeper reason is that it gives the home bound a connection with the rest of the world. I remember, as a kid, kneeling down and touching the tracks and knowing I was touching the whole country and, even, other countries. Actually, I probably didn't think about "other countries". Looking down the rails is looking into adventure. Even if you are unable to go on an adventure, you know it's there when you are ready. It's hope. "Hope you can believe in", quote BO. I may vomit. If you believe his crap, you are being railroaded.
I saw this signal and wondered why it was there. It is for cars that might turn left across the tracks. I looked and looked and there were no tracks ahead of the signals, only to its left. It seemed confusing to a country boy. I now see a deeper message here. There it is America, your warning against turning left. Clarity comes with a second look. Better do that before you cross over. You do see the cemetery on that side, don't you.
I zoomed down to the depot to see if the curbs extended that far.
The rest of this article, which is not much, will require a map. Click on it and it will open up. Open it in a new window and you can keep it handy as we ride on. The rails that you see veering to the left go to Delcambre, seen on the map. New Iberia was a railroad hub. This map will show that.
I rode down to the depot just to ride down to the depot. I was there, why not?
I went to the west side and shot the rails leaving the main line. Notice the old rails stuck in the ground. Need some mystery rails to figure out, there you go. This was on Pershing St. Note the very long ties. Those mystery rails had tied into the active rails not that long ago. At least there has not been a tie change in that period. How long do ties last? I've attributed ties to 150 year old railroads. I may have gone out on a limb.
I heard the horns. No, no, no. I'm starting to think I'm a train magnet. I rushed back to the courthouse because I wanted to have the curbs as part of the pictures. I made it.
The train was slowing, really slowing.
Then, the engineer tooted the horn in two quick burst at me. There is no quick 2 toots in the book. It was a "Hi". I was reduced to 6 years old or maybe I was there already?
I continued shooting. See him waving at the window? (Imagine it Fred)
The train stopped just short of the far switch that leads to Delcambre. Even in this age of robots, I guess the brakeman still has to switch the switch. Was he a robot? I'm a Terminator fan. This was zoomed way out and I didn't know that I was catching this drama until I saw the shots at home. I had to further enlarge the pictures, the reason they are blurry.
Maybe I could get some feedback on this. If you say he stopped to water his flowers, I've already considered that.
There were a lot of cars waiting on him.
The petunias watered, the train was on its way to Lafayette with a great acceleration, was he late? I'm thinking the switch/flowers deal was not planned. He had a red light to stop. Had someone forgotten to set the switch back to the main line?
Feeling warm and fuzzy about my good luck, I decided to follow the tracks south and then east through the unfamiliar neighborhoods. I saw a bump which I knew had been a spur off the main line. I looked ahead and what did I see?
It is the Konriko Rice Mill or the Comrad Rice Mill, I'm not real sure on this.
I just found the answer. "Since 1912, the Conrad Rice mill has been making long and medium grain rice under the brand name of Konriko. Visitors to New Iberia can get a first hand look at the fascinating process that goes into producing this important food". I also saw a claim that it was "America's oldest rice mill.
Whoa, this little ride was getting even better. I started circling and taking pot shots.
I got a little more of the street view.
Mz Guzzi was heard complaining about being blocked by the stop sign. I don't mess with her. If she wants something, she gets it.
Here's the Visitors Center. I didn't go in. I rarely do. I may next time. I always say that.
This was around the side. I think this is where the grain was brought into the mill.
Unloaded from these.
Al said, "That elevated shed over the truck, or whatever that was, I think, is a hopper that holds the chaff and hulls left over from the milling, they haul it off and pile it up. The converted sugarcane cart may have been used for a similar purpose, but definitely was not used to haul rice in".
In my opinion, the place seems to be headed for hard times. See it soon. It is marked as "Mill" on the map. That's it for this one.