2015 South-East States Tour travel blog

Our motorhome view at the Lakes End Campground in Morgan City, LA

Sitting at our motorhome watching a Blue Haron fishing

This campgrounds is loaded with black squirrels

The "Gilmore Red Lion" raceing plane designed by the Wedell-Williams team

In 1936 Harry Williams died in a plane crash in one of...

Jimmie Wedell designed this WW-22 racing plane in 1932

logging cypress trees in the swamps near Patterson, LA

1910 log saw

"Mr. Charlie" off shore oil drilling rig

"Mr. Charlie's" 4 man bedroom, just room for 4 bunks and 4...

Our tour guide talking about the older and newer model drilling rigs

Remote controlled underwater service vehicle

Oil Rig Drilling Derrick

Basket to transfer workers between oil rig and supply ship

October 5, 2015 Day 56 New Orleans, Louisiana to Morgan City, Louisiana

We had a short 87 mile drive to Morgan City and we are staying at the Lake End Campground which is operated by the City. There is a canal along the road that leads to the campground that has several alligators and turtles in it. The camp sites are very nice and we picked site that are on a point with an unimpeded view of the lake. After setting up camp, we drove back to the visitor’s center for information on what there is to see in the area and places to eat. The region between Morgan City to Lafayette is considered Acadian country because this is where the majority of the Acadians settled when they were exiled out of Nova Scotia. We plan to spend several days in this area.

October 6, 2015 Day 57 Morgan City, Louisiana

After a leisure breakfast, we headed to the town of Patterson a few miles west from Morgan City to visit the Wedell-Williams Aviation and Cypress Sawmill Museum. Both are housed in the same building. Louisiana aviation pioneers Jimmie Wedell and Harry P. Williams, who formed an air service together in 1928 in Patterson, also competed in air races in the 1930s. The museum houses several air craft designed by them that they raced. There is a film with narration that transports you to one of their air races.

The Cypress Sawmill museum documents the history of the cypress lumber industry in Louisiana. Cypress lumber harvested and milled in Louisiana was shipped in mass quantities throughout the U.S. Patterson was once home to the largest cypress sawmill in the world. The exhibit features a variety of artifacts, photographs and film that document the Cypress logging industry in Patterson.

Next on our agenda was a visit to “Mr. Charlie” in Morgan City. Built in 1953, “Mr. Charlie” was the first off shore oil drilling rig. From 1954 to 1986 "Mr. Charlie" drilled hundreds of offshore wells off the coast of Morgan City, Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. He was the first transportable, submersible drilling rig and an industry springboard to the current offshore rig technology. "Mr. Charlie", whose legs sat on the bottom, limited drilling wells in water depths up to 40 feet. It was converted to a museum and training facility when off shore technology advanced with rigs that can drill in water depths of 15,000 feet.

Our tour guide Virgil, dress in mechanics overalls, gave an excellent detailed tour of the facility and what life is like working on an off shore oil drilling rig.

As a training facility, people who want to work on off shore drilling rigs can experience what life would be like, are sequestered on the rig for up to 2 weeks. Work shifts are 12 hours on and 12 hours off 7 days a week. The sleeping quarters are 4 person rooms with a common bathroom. The room is just large enough for 4 bunk beds and lockers. There is also a small drop down writing table. There is a common lounge where workers can watch TV or read or play board games. The galley reminded me of the one in the military. On the top deck is the business end of the rig. There are several 20 feet sections of pipe stacked next to the derrick where the drilling operations take place.

Once the rig is on station, crew changes from supply ship to the rig are made by a basket attached to a boom.

“Mr. Charlie” after being towed to location its barge is flooded with water allowing it to sit on the bottom of the ocean floor. Once "Mr. Charlie" was on location, with a crew of 58, was an independent island and nearly totally self-sufficient with room to store drinking water, food, and supplies for the crew. "Mr. Charlie" generated his own electricity, disposed of his own waste, maintained supplies and equipment to perform the drilling operations.

This evening we went to Dinner at Rita Mae’s . Rita Mae’s is a quaint restaurant in a converted house in a very old neighborhood with 6 tables and serves sole/Cajun food.

We were going to leave tomorrow but decided to stay 2 more nights

October 7, Day 58 Morgan City, LA

After breakfast, we drove east about 25 miles to the town of Houma. Houma is a destination for people that want to go fishing. We don’t fish so we stopped at the visitor’s center to see what else there was to see and do in Houma. We were interested in taking an air-boat ride but none were running. We also wanted some boiled crawfish but they were not in season. So we settled for a visit to the Bayou Terrebonne Waterlife Museum located next to the bayou that runs through the center of town. It is a small museum that had video clips on the waterlife in the area.

October 8, Day 59 Morgan City

This is a kick back and do nothing day. Well not nothing, Cherie got caught up on the laundry and I washed the motorhome; it needed it. The last time it was washed was in Sevierville, TN. I paid to have it washed and the rims polished and of course it rained that night and the following day as we drove to Nashville.

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