IRON HORSE MOUNTIE

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I first met Jean Lemay nearly six years ago. At the time the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer had shipped his Harley from his home outside Montreal to New Orleans. He was touring Louisiana before riding it all the way back home on a three-week journey which included 11 states.

Jean had contacted me on Facebook and asked for some riding recommendations but I did him one better and took him on one of our favorite rides up LA Highway 22 to Madisonville, Louisiana for lunch at Friends on the Tchefuncte River.

Apparently, Jean enjoyed the ride and the good food. He promised that when he retired from his job as a Mountie he would be coming back to Louisiana.

A few weeks ago, Jean made good on that promise and this time he brought along his wife Jocelyne whom he calls Jo Jo. Last year Jean and Jo Jo retired from their jobs in Quebec, sold their house, cars and most of their belongings. They then bought a 41-foot motor-home they nicknamed “Monster” and a trailer to haul their Harleys behind it. In October, they headed south.

Now Lemay is picking up where he left off six years ago, and showing Jo Jo many of the sites he saw on his previous trip down south.

We met up with Jean and Jo Jo in Baton Rouge a few weeks ago for another ride and lunch. This time we headed north to the Felicianas.

Our ride took us through the countryside outside Jackson, Louisiana and up highway 421, which makes a nice 20-mile loop through the region.

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The highway is a favorite of backwoods riders, motorized or not. It is lightly travelled and provides a great scenic view, just perfect for our Canadian friends to sample the south Louisiana countryside.

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At US 61 we turned south and headed back toward Saint Francisville, for lunch at one of my favorite places in the area.

The Francis Southern Table and Bar has only been open a few years, but already it is one of the most popular places to eat in the region. Jean and Jo Jo both ordered shrimp poboys and were delighted to find a poboy is not just another sandwich.

After chowing down on poboys and salad we took a tour of Grace Episcopal Church, where we talked about the history of the region and I showed them the grave of Captain John Hart.

During the Civil War, Federal and Confederate forces stopped fighting long enough to give Hart a Masonic burial. Masons from both sides participated. After the funeral the fighting resumed. It is known as the day the war stopped.

We then headed over to Rosedown Plantation for a walk through the gardens and a view of the old home.

Following their Baton Rouge visit Jean and Jo Jo headed to New Orleans to take in as many Mardi Gras parades as possible. Once they get their fill of beads and doubloons they are off to Daytona Beach, Florida for Bike Week.

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After that they will turn Monster north for the long journey home. But they plan to head south again as soon as the weather in Quebec starts turning cold again.

“Laissez le bon temps rouler,” Jean and Jo Jo Lemay. Two French Canadians who not only know what that phrase means but are also living it each day.

See you on the highway.

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T.W. Robinson

~ by larider on February 24, 2017.

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