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  • Writer's pictureTrail Guide Joe

My Overlanding Trip to the Louisiana Gulf Coast

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

The details!

  • Length: 5 days

  • Miles: 1,876.7

  • Fuel used: 132.23 gallons

  • Fuel cost: $281.23

Having already handled a much larger trip to the Rockies just 2 years before, this trip, much shorter in days and miles, didn't seem so bad to pull off. Similar to the trip to the Rockies, I would be driving my very high mileage truck, somewhere around 259,000 miles at the time, where odd things could go wrong. Unlike the trip to the Rockies, I was far less nervous this time on this trip.


The truck! With the exhaust replaced, wheels, tires, and rear differential upgraded within the last two years, and even the transmission rebuilt earlier in the year, things were looking much stronger at the outset of this trip! That's not to say I didn't still have my nerves about it. The battery was two years older then when I set out for the Rockies


The gear! With my new trailer on order, I loaded my gear into my Rain-X soft carrier and the soft carrier into my Yakima MegaWarrior. Within, I would have my tent, bug net equipped hammock, sleeping bag, and clothes for the duration of the trip. Nothing I hadn't packed before to be honest. Feeling I might have a shot at some sand, I had my recovery equipment with me as well in case I wasn't as ready for the sand as I would have thought. Like the trip to the Rockies, I would also carry my extra automotive fluids and standard repair tools. Always good to bring whether you expect to need them or not! This time around, unlike the trip to the Rockies, I wouldn't have the same oil problems. To this day, I still have no idea what happened.


The story! Unlike when flying, a road trip gives you the benefit of leaving whenever you want. No schedule but your own! For me, the first stop would be the Homochitto National Forest in Mississippi. Just a one night campout to put me within striking distance of my final destination. The next morning, however, would not be as easy going as I would like as I now need to make my destination by a certain time. Thank you airlines... You got me anyhow.

 
 

To say it was an early morning was an understatement. Having gone to sleep at a shockingly early 8:30 PM, I was up on my own about 8 hours later at 4:30 AM. I suppose by not flying I had hoped to avoid the early morning nonsense but here I was, up at an insane hour of the morning. Not bad when you have adequate sleep to get going! I also found a minor flaw in my minimalist camping plan.... flashlight. Fortunately my phone has a flashlight to it and I had my phone with me otherwise I would have been completely in the dark. Literally!

It was quite awesome to finally get some real use out of the extra lighting on my truck! More than just for fun or to annoy a horrible driver out in front of me. It was dark and remote and I had no reason not to and every reason to light 'em up! It put a smile on my face for at least 90 minutes as I made my way out of the forest and out to the main roads. Being near dawn, I definitely appreciated my KC lights as far as deer spotting. I saw plenty of deer and thankfully, long before they were a possible hinderance to me!


The visit to Holly Beach would give me the chance to test my new differential in the sand! If I am to do beach camping, possibly on Rutherford Beach to the east of Holly Beach, in the future, it would have to perform. Should it not perform, and I find myself buried in sand up to the differential, I did have my Maxsa Escaper Buddy traction pads with me to get myself out with ease. If things really got serious, I had my hilift jack, chains, straps, and land anchor to manually winch myself out if needed! I would hope it didn't come to that and, to no surprise at all, the differential powered its way through the soft sand like it wasn't even there! Future beach trips are now a must!

 
 

As is pretty common around the coast, the weather wasn't all sunshine. Later in the trip, the weather would take a turn and bring us chances for rain almost every day. I figured this wouldn't be an issue as I had my weatherproof, Rain-X brand, soft carrier to protect my gear. Wrong. Apparently there is a limit to the amount of rain "weatherproof" covers. There is, of course, no limit to the amount of water a sleeping bag can hold. In a pinch, it makes for a very good sponge. Not what I was looking forward to while still facing a return trip... One where I had intended to make a one night stop to break up the trip and give myself some rest. Plans changed with this development and, although I had never done so before, I was now facing a 14 hour straight trip home. The drive down felt pretty comfortable and, had I actually planned for it, I could have made the trip in one day. Now I was looking to put that idea to the test.

This minor issue had also put in jeopardy my plans to drive across Lake Pontchartrain on the causeway. This was a bit of a stretch goal but one I wasn't giving up on easily. Fortunately, my family would be flying out early and needed to be up earlier. That gave me plenty of time to make the whole trip, Lake Pontchartrain causeway included, all in the same 14 hour trip! This detour might have added 2 or more hours to my trip but it was well worth it in my opinion! The longest bridge in the United States would now join the list of accomplishments of the highest tunnel and highest through road in the United States


Happy Trails!


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