Slidell, Mandeville and the Tammany Trace

After leaving New Orleans, we drove the short trip on east I-10 to the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline community of Slidell. Our destination was Indian Hills Nudist Camp. As you may remember, Bill and I are naturists and enjoy spending time “au naturelle”. For the most part, we go to facilities targeted to gays and lesbians. But, occasionally, we choose one that is for the all, regardless of sexual identity.

Indian Hills is just that. Clearly a long established facility, that is clean and well maintained. Indian Hills was a convenient stop for us, because amazingly, I had a bike ride planned

The pool and hot tub area was very large, with lots of chairs, umbrellas and shade to control sun exposure. Although, surprisingly, they kept the pool temperature a little warm for our tastes. 95° is just warm enough to not be refreshing. I did enjoy the 24 hour access, so I could have my first coffee in the hot tub.

Slidell is known for its seafood restaurants and Bill and I decided to try one of the local favorites, Vera’s, which was just down the street from Indian Hills. Even though it has good reviews online, both of us were a bit unimpressed and although we did take leftovers with us, we didn’t actually eat them.

After having several dry days, while in New Orleans, the rains returned. Luckily, these were not full day affairs, but passing storms with breaks. So, we planned a nice little ride on the Tammany Trace.

The Tammany Trace is 31 mile trail, along the path of the, now defunct, Illinois Central Railroad. The Trace goes from Slidell through Lacombe, Mandeville, Abita Springs and terminates in Covington. Our plan was to ride from Slidell to Mandeville for lunch.

Thursday Morning weather looked promising, so we were at the Trace Trailhrad, ready to ride by 9 AM. With cool temperatures and partly cloudy conditions, combined with a good amount of canopy, we had perfect riding conditions.

We enjoyed the well managed trail. The trail is fully paved and the staff regularly patrols for safety/security. Once we arrived into Mandeville, we left the trail and rode down to the Lakefront.

Apparently Mandeville has historic significance. It was here that the remaining British forces surrendered to the Colonial Navy, ending Louisiana’s participation in the War of Independence. I do note the plaque refers to the Revolutionary War. But, that is a distinction I am not inclined to discuss here.

After leaving The Battle of Lake Pontchartrain plaque, we rode along the lakeshore for a few blocks and stopped at Kona Coffee, a shop located in The Beach House. Called Kona, because they actually offer a locally roasted Kona Coffee blend. It was quite good.

The stop at Kona bought us some time, it was now after 11 and our lunch destination was now open. Old Rail Brew Pub’s name is a tribute Old Rail Spur of the Illinois Central, which served the Northshore timber industry. Located right on the Tammany Trace, it was a perfect stop for lunch. Bill and I both had a Hobo Helles, brewed in the German styled “light” beer. It was very tasty and refreshing after the ride to Mandeville. We both had one and shared a second. We did have to ride back. For lunch I ordered Sonora style hotdog with all the trimmings and Bill a traditional wedge salad. Unfortunately, although the menu did not reflect this, they no longer had the Sonoran dog and instead offered a bratwurst with sauerkraut. Now, there is nothing wrong with a brat with kraut, but my tastebuds were really anticipating the Sonoran dog. The good news is, we will be in Tucson soon, and I will have many opportunities for Sonoran dogs there.

After lunch we made quick work of the return to Slidell, stopping briefly for a photo op at the Trace Bridge over Bayou Lacombe.

Once returning to Indian Hills, we spent the afternoon chilling by the pool, until the heavens opened again. We’ll, at least we got in the bike ride before the rains. Speaking of rains, you might be wondering what we do when it rains. Well, we play Rummikub, lots of it. I have, historically, not played games. But, our friends, Brian and Dave, from Mission Viejo, were visiting and introduced us to Rummikub. It really helps to pass the time on rainy days.

Not far from our campground was a streetside fruit and vegetable vendor. So, we stopped to buy boiled peanuts. Many of you may not heard of boiled peanuts. Well, they are boiled in a brine until the are just soft and the nuts tender. I remember these from my childhood, when we still lived in Loranger. Dad would take me to the livestock auction in Amite. There was a boiled peanut vendor there. Dad would buy us a little bag to share. I sure loved those little treats. So today, when I have the opportunity to have boiled peanuts, it puts a smile on my face as I remember those special moments with my Dad. In addition to the peanuts, we also bought some local peaches and a little watermelon. We haven’t tried the watermelon yet, but the peaches were so tasty, perfectly ripe and juicy. On our last day in Slidel, we tried to buy more, but the vendor was not there. On, well!

So now, we are off to Texas for a series of stops there. Here’s hoping for better weather. The rain is beginning to wear us down.

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