April 18 - 20: Mississippi

4/19 - Wiggins (70 miles 2261 total)
70 miles from the liberty inn in franklinton, LA, to the best western in wiggins, MS
it was already pretty sticky when we went out into the motel parking lot around 6:15 to put together sandwiches & snacks for the road & have breakfast. & the humidity only got worse as the morning progressed. by afternoon, winds picked up & blew some of the humidity out of the air, but it's far from dry. temps were again warm, but the breezes, trees, & light cloud cover much of the day saved us from baking.
not long after riding through bogalusa, about 20 miles into today's route, we crossed the pearl river & landed in mississippi. there was no missing the official state welcome sign. in the photo, from left, are roma, sari, bev, & patty fainer.
i'm not painting a very representative picture of our daily rides if i don't mention road kill (tho' i'll refrain from photos). these days we see squished turtles, armadillos, & snakes. today i had a live snake (a black one about 2 feet long) slither across the road in front of me, narrowly missing my front tire. a buzzard or vulture has often started dining on the morsel when we come past. in texas, i even saw a couple of turkey vultures along the roadside playing tug of war with the intestine of a recently-deceased jackrabbit.
today's route sheet called for lots of turns, some of which were missed by various riders. we missed one ourselves when our attention shifted to a boisterous dog that threatened to nip at us. roma blew a few blasts from her orange marine whistle, & the menacing dog retreated to his yard (& my ears are still ringing). after a while we realized we must've missed the turn, so bev stopped a motorist at an intersection & asked directions. we ended up meeting up with our road in short order....& skipping some hills & dogs that others reported were on the "official" route. so that turned out to be a lucky detour for us.
michelle was ahead of the riders with the van. she found problems with the route & called back revisions to frances, who was driving the subaru. in this photo, taken at the first sag stop (about 34 miles into the day's ride), frances, in the center wearing the red t-shirt & nonbiking shorts, is describing route revisions to, from left, anne, bev, kathy groen, gay, & laura.
the landscape today was much like yesterday's....lots of trees. along many stretches, we enjoyed the sweet smells of honeysuckle blossoms. but today we had more hills, & longer ones. the pavement on parts of today's route was very bumpy, especially the first 10 mi east of poplarville. & traffic was quite heavy between poplarville & wiggins. we went off the adventure cycling route at poplarville so that we could overnight here at wiggins.
sari & i arrived at poplarville around noon. we'd so hoped to find a nice little hometown ice cream shoppe, but soon realized that wasn't to be. we stopped at a large & busy intersection to assess the possibilities, then realized the nearby gas station convenience store might be the best we could do. i went inside while sari parked her bike & was soon met with a voice yelling from the back of the store, HELP HELP HELP. then i saw roma walking toward the store clerk to tell her that someone was trapped in the women's room. the clerk was less than sympathetic & said, "she just needs to turn the handle." it turned out that bev was the trapped one; she can take apart & reassemble her own bike, for goodness sakes, so if anyone could've figured out how to open a restroom door, it would've been bev. finally one of the store clerks agreed to go back with a key to open the faulty bathroom door & free bev, who exited smiling & unscathed.
upon witnessing this episode, i quickly turned & left the store. sari & i peeked around the corner & spotted a sonic drive-in, then noticed that catherine & patty fainer were sitting out front with some lunch. we don't have sonic drive-ins in iowa city, but we've seen lots of them here in the south; they appear to be a throwback to the drive-ins of my youth.
alas, they really aren't designed to accommodate pedal-in customers, as you can see in this photo of catherine leaning over to use the intercom to order some chocolate shakes.
sari & i arrived at the best western here in wiggins at 3 pm. before sari took off all her biking gear, i took this photo of her with her camelback hydration system.
many of you web-watchers are cyclists, so recognize a camelback. but others of you may not know what it is. many of our riders use these to make sure they have plenty of water easily accessible during the day. there's a heavy-duty plastic pouch inside the backpack that holds water; a tube extends from the water pouch to whatever position the biker finds handiest for frequent sipping. the reason i explain & illustrate all this is so that you'll all appreciate a comment sari received the other day from a bystander in a little town we passed through. the person asked her, "is that oxygen?" sari tried not to laugh & replied, "no, but i could probably use some." now we're thinking an oxygen gizmo like that could be very handy for senior citizen bike trips like ours.
after supper this evening at the map meeting, michelle told us that the first half of tomorrow's 67-mi route is especially pretty...rolling green hills, country lanes...but then we get down along the gulf coast. of course the ocean will be pretty, but the roads are highly trafficked, tho' we hope less so on easter sunday.
after the map meeting, kathleen made the day's BITCH socks presentation to kathy groen (on the left in the photo), who has returned to join us for the rest of our tour after being away for 5 days. in this case, BITCH means, "Back In Time (to) Charge Home."
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail me with your request, and I'll save your note and get back to you after the ride. Stay tuned....

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