A nice looking slide of an onion specimen, stained with methylene blue. 400x mag with a little camera zoom as well. Home school biology on the road.

This went down the way all cities should go: school in the morning, explore the area in the afternoon.

Home school usually gets officially underway by 9 more or less, with some staring early, sorting out breakfast, doing bus chores etc- and we try to finish up within a couple of hours, with the 4 older children having math or language arts to work on during their own time- in addition to reading and science textbook prep… Trevor prefers to work on his at night- after the little ones are in bed and the table opens up, Lauren is flexible- but we hear her most nights outlasting us and laying in bed either working on her journal or school- and Ethan’s best time is before everyone gets up. Lately he’s been good about focusing his best time on school work. It works best if Kelly works on a plan with him the night before and he lays the material out…

We parked the bus next to the levee, across the field. This 'museum' is a real oil drilling platform that sits on the bottom of the river, on 60' legs.

Today we had the pleasure of meeting Jamie, who led our tour at the Oil Rig Drilling Museum- the Mr Charlie Rig. This 1950’s movable oil drilling setup is currently standing in the water at Morgan City, and is used for training new oil crews on the platform, inside, rescue operations, etc etc. The big yellow crane was pivoting back and forth under the guidance of a new oil crew member.

On the platform, next to the 'kelly' (the tall thing with a handle at the top), a device used to pump the drilling fluid, or 'mud' through the drilling pipe which lubricates, cools and removes debris. It's big.

Of course, the size of everything is massive, built for exceptional strength and proportionately sized for the job to do under the sea, drilling for product. You see, there are 2 types of platforms: drilling and production. One of ‘em has drill bits. Those drill bits are about 8” in diameter and 30’ long, weighing about 200# each and go way way way down into Mother Earth, clearing the way for her to release her resources for our pleasure.

Looking across the platform work area. The drilling bits are visible to the right of the view, and have orange caps on the threads The crane lifts those bits into place and the men swiftly thread them on and push the bits as deep as necessary to find the money, aka the oil or gas.

The inside of this platform is much like the aircraft carrier that we visited in San Diego, probably due to the designer having been on a seagoing vessel during his military tour, and his general lack of exposure to anything else that might influence him at that time. There are several different designs in use today, for which they had detailed models of to understand how they function. Jamie was very personable- having her own home schoolers at home, and a firm commitment to Christ that surfaced every now and then in her comments about work ethic, morals, choices and other very pertinent topics that came up while discussing oil rigs! (i.e.: “Ask WHY you’re getting paid too much for the job you’re doing”. Referring to a clothes washer making $18 per hour as an entry level position. “It might get really difficult to do that same laundry over and over for sometimes weeks on shift” she explained as a possible reason for the good pay. The story about oil drilling is very interesting, and the atmosphere is quite family friendly. We found out about this one on Roadside America.

It always looks so much higher from the top of things, as this view shows from the platform. Kelly didn't even complain once about her fear of heights. There is allegedly a well fed alligator along the banks, but it was cold, and we didn't see him, or her.

Quick sewer dump at the free city owned RV park (although it costs handsomely to stay overnight- $40), and we were off to the Crescent City: New Orleans. On the way we contacted the staff at Pontchartrain Landing and arranged to be let in after the office closed up for the night. Stuffed Bussie into a little waterfront space and grilled burgers for a hungry crowd! Kelly remarked about how much and how thoroughly everyone ate, then glanced at the clock for the answer: 830pm when we finished eating. That is the trick to getting everyone to eat without complaint or leftover. Local forecast is for a cold night, but not yet a hard freeze- of course, it’s unseasonably cold here- while we’re in the area. I figure it’s just going to keep getting colder as this adventure progresses over the next few weeks. We have decided to head back to Colorado for several weeks primarily to help out with a family surgery coming up the first week of February, and try to handle some other business and personal stuff before continuing on our US tour on the East coast…. Not to mention the utter cold temps all over this great country! A friend in Florida reports sleeping under her electric blanket (!) Another RV traveler laughed at me the other day when I described our trek to stay warm by staying South- and he replied “not quite far enough South, huh?” It has been cool for the last few weeks… But not the Colorado sub zero weather we’re about to dive back into. Lots of logistical and mental preparations underway to put that detour together, including the question of if we keep the toilet tank full or empty? In just a few weeks I’ll report on winter preparations, which is an unexpected chapter of this adventure.