Marilynn’s Place, Hurricane Zeta and other Adventures

Last Updated on April 5, 2021

On day 115 of our Great American Road Trip, my husband Daniel and I planned to drive from Hot Springs, Arkansas to Texas. We hadn’t banked on driving through a hurricane, however. So we stopped off in Shreveport for lunch at Marilynn’s Place and a welcome break from the rain and wind.

Rain fell from the sky in sheets as I drove down the highway. I’ve driven through some heavy rain before but this was absolutely epic. I held on to Appa’s steering wheel as another gust of wind rocked the motorhome.

“Wow, this is some storm!” I said, my eyes glued to the road.

Daniel and I were on our way to Austin, Texas. We looked forward to milder temperatures and some Texas-style barbeque. But first we planned to drive to Shreveport in the northwest corner of Louisiana.

Daniel glanced down at his phone. “My mom just texted. Hurricane Zeta is supposed to make landfall in New Orleans today. This could be related”.

Uh oh. That wasn’t good. We had just left Hot Springs National Park earlier that day in order to avoid a cold snap. I hadn’t anticipated also having to avoid a hurricane.

Cajun and Creole Lunch at Marilynn’s Place

Thankfully it wasn’t a long drive and we made it to Shreveport without incident. Marilynn’s Place is a Creole and Cajun joint with a hipster vibe inside a converted gas station. The building’s garage doors were all opened to promote air flow  and everyone wore masks. I felt immediately comfortable there.

I parked Appa and we watched the torrential downpour from inside the restaurant. We nervously checked the news as we ate. It was 2:00 pm on October 28 and Hurricane Zeta had just made landfall near New Orleans. It was a Category 2 storm.

The weather forecast was encouraging, however. The storm was headed east and we were headed west. By the time we finished lunch, the rain had slowed to a trickle.

It’s been a long time since I had decent Cajun food and I wasn’t disappointed. Daniel and I had chicken and andouille jambalaya, crawfish etoufée, and a giant poboy with fried shrimp and catfish along with bananas foster for desert. Yum!

Chicken and andouille jambalaya
Crawfish etoufée. This was my favorite.
Catfish and fried shrimp poboy. This was also my favorite. I can have two favorites, right?
Bananas foster. The ratio of banana to caramel sauce was a little strange but it was yummy.
That’s one big poboy!
Waiting out the storm at Marilynn’s Place

Camping at Tyler State Park

After finishing our lunch at Marilynn’s Place, we headed east. Before long, Appa crossed the state line into Texas. It was a long drive to Austin so we stopped off at Tyler State Park to spend the night. The campground was fairly deserted given the crazy weather that we’d experienced earlier in the day.

Before breaking camp the next day, I walked over to the lake. It was a lovely morning. I brought my camera and shot some photos as I strolled along the lake’s edge.

Welcome to Tyler State Park
Post Oak Picnic Area in Tyler State Park
Tyler Park State Park Lake just after sunrise
Most of these boats were partially filled with water from yesterday’s storm
Tyler State Park Lake Panorama just after sunrise

Texas-style Barbeque at Danny’s

Now that we were in Texas, Daniel and I could finally indulge our craving for some Texas-style barbeque. According to the map, we would be in the town of Athens around lunch time. So I picked a BBQ joint at random.

The restaurant turned out to be Danny’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q. We both ordered the brisket with some sides and pie. Yum!

Brisket sandwich, potato salad, green beans, and chocolate cream pie? Yes please!
Close-up of brisket sandwich goodness
Daniel ate brisket with macaroni and cheese, beans, deviled eggs and coconut cream pie for lunch
Danny’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Q

Cotton Fields

Later that day, we saw some cotton fields along the side of the highway. Now that’s something that you don’t see every day. We stopped at a church parking lot to take some photos.

Lots of cotton
This is what cotton looks like close-up. Who knew?
Appa surrounded by cotton fields in Texas

Where are we now?

We are at Tyler State Park in Texas!

Dates: October 28-29, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Days 115 & 116
Total Trip Mileage: 8669.3

Day 115 Starting Location: Gulpha Gorge Campground – Hot Springs, AR
Day 115 Ending Location: Tyler State Park – Tyler, TX
Day 115 Miles Traveled: 272.3

Day 116 Starting Location: Tyler State Park – Tyler, TX
Day 116 Ending Location: Austin, TX
Day 116 Miles Traveled: 243.9

For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:

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