We are concerned that I-10 will be a rough ride but with Storm fighting a cold and not in the mood for long stints at the wheel, the straightest route seems best. I-10 turns out to be very smooth and good traveling until we get half way across Louisiana. Crumbling, sometimes narrow lanes on the elevated Bayou Bridges bump us up a bit. The construction segment near Beaumont, Texas has about a 8′ wide lane with a concrete wall right up against the right edge of the road. I am not sure I can handle driving the jeep, much less our big rig against a concrete wall in such a narrow lane. Kudos to Storm for keeping us out of trouble and on this sometimes straight and always downright narrow strip of I-10.
All the states along this stretch of I-10 have excellent rest areas and as we move further west, the employees get more and more friendly. In Florida, some rest areas offer automatic truck windshield cleaners where you can pull up and water down your windshield without getting out of the vehicle. Storm won’t try it, but you can find videos of them on YouTube if you want to see how they work. Louisiana provides a dump station in their rest stop at Slidell. If you can stand the interstate traffic noise generated by the elevated road which bisects the Atchafalaya Welcome Center, a huge rest area with separate RV parking offers free overnight stays here just off Exit 121 at Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.
At the Exit 2 Rest Stop in Mississippi they greet each traveler with a free cup of coffee and great information about the Infinity Science Center which is the visitor center for nearby Stennis Space Center. Entry to this attraction is from the rest area ramp and there is plenty of parking for big rigs. On each hour, they have bus tours to NASA’s largest Rocket Engine Test facility at Stennis where you can view a test stand from the bus. It is nice to find a big rig friendly attraction with convenient access from the interstate.
At the Texas Welcome Center, they have a boardwalk from the lobby out into the marsh where on a sunnier, warmer day than our visit you can see wildlife including alligators. After loading us up with maps and brochures, they map out a route for us to Galveston that avoids the dreaded I-610 around Houston. Thanks to them we enjoy a lovely ride along the Gulf Coast along Hwy 124, across a ferry to Galveston.
Compliments of Texas DOT, the Bolivar Peninsula is free and can handle a rig at least as big as ours though you do have to turn off your LP gas for the short crossing.