Hanging out at the airport… Waiting for a friend to arrive… Then off to see the sights!
Fifty miles done…
Only forty miles left until this stage of the adventure is complete.
I’ve got 8+ hours of video footage and over 400 photos from the last 41 days to review and publish. So many stories to write from notes and so many people to thank.
Now, on to today…
Highway 61 /Airline road is ridiculous in its level of danger and hazards.
Louisiana, as a whole, by far has the nicest people I’ve met South of Missouri.
People have been honking and cheering and waving and coming up to say hello, or, you’re crazy, or amazing, but all lighthearted and good things
A sheriff even turned on his lights and sirens as a celebratory greeting today while he passed me.
Honestly my thoughts after this whole trip is that Highway 61 should be avoided complelely South of Iowa/Missouri.
Today, before leaving Baton Rouge, I posted a message along with my route to the New Orleans social bicycle group stating that I’d be biking into New Orleans the next morning if anybody wanted to ride along and I was looking for a places to camp out until my rental agreement started on the fifteenth.
A woman said her family lived right off the route I was taking and I could camp there. I said thanks and proceeded to start pedaling towards their house… 50-some miles away.
I arrived around five pm and they had to r
un to a rehearsal, so off they went and I just hung out in the back yard, set up my tent and relaxed and played with ‘Dogzilla.’
The family of Dara, Sonny, and their two children, Nola, and Freedom were amazing hosts. They fed me a great meal of squash, salad, chicken fried steak, and mash potatoes. I got a hot shower, great company, and now new friends.
The family rescues stray animals and fosters/adopts the critters until they can find a permanent home.
Sonny is a crafty handyman, he just came home from a full day of work and after a brief conversation, he asked if I needed anything on fixed or any spare parts for the bike. I said I’d be nice to have a more secure way to carry the guitar. I thought we’d just be brainstorming…
Instead, he spent until around midnight making a holster for the guitar in the back yard.
Aiming for the trading Post outside of Jackson on the Natchez to stop for the night (yes, I changed plans again.)
$5 camping and home cooked meal… I’ll take it!
A Mississippi dept of corrections officer pulled up along side me earlier today and we chatted while I pedaled down the road, then he handed me these crackers, said, “don’t worry, I’m a police officer,” just before he sped off.
Last night around dusk a couple rolled into the campground on a tandem bike. I waved at them, they waved back and setup camp at the next tent space over from me.
They introduced themselves as Sam and Julie, Sam was originally from London and Julie from Alabama. Julie had been living in Brooklyn when Sam’s job in London was phased out and so he decided to bike across America.
While preparing to start the trek in New York City, Julie and Sam met. Sam kept in touch with her and Julie flew out to meet Sam after he reached the West coast and days later, yes days later, they were married… That was four years ago and now they’re headed to South America on a belt driven tandem bike with an internal hub.
… And now you know… The REST of the story.
As for me, I’m headed along the Trace this morning and plan to turn South midday and work my way toward the next national forest which I think has a $7 campground with electricity and that should charge me up enough to make it to New Orleans without another pit stop for power.
I stayed at Jeff Busby campground last night. It didn’t freeze like I expected, but plenty of condensation on the inside of the tent fly thanks to my exothermic temperament.
I spent some of the morning drying my boots some more and wondering if I should head straight South of keep on the Natchez.
I could motivate myself to leave the sleeping bag earlier than 8am if the weather was about ten degrees warmer at night. I’m just getting anxious with being about three hundred miles from New Orleans and the idea of being off the bike for more than a day.
The desire is to stay here another day since it’s free, but my batteries are low and I need to find a place to recharge them to keep my phone going; and the real reason, tomorrow I’d still be 300 miles from my destination.
Although the dynamo on the bike is good to generate electricity, it needs assistance from time to time. I mailed back the solar panel since I had no plans of sitting around in one place until New Orleans.
I decided to take a day off and relax. It’s free camping here and I’ve got enough food for a few days. If I get off the Natchez Trace and head South I’m less than 300 miles away from my first waypoint.
I’ve seen a few cats around camp today. It seems they’re living in the drainage culverts, part of the time, anyway.
I unpacked everything this afternoon, adjusted the rear fender on the bike, cleaned off some mud, aired out some clothes…
I am carrying a heck of a lot of colorful junk!!
Time to repack and strip, service, and rebuild the stove so I can eat Mac and cheese tonight with flax seed.
Slow going, but made it another 40 miles today. Potentially under three hundred miles to go.
I fired up the stove and made rice, beans, and noodles.
I made a fire to warm up my feet. The temperature was below zero before eight
I expect to see a hard frost in the morning.
And of course I fell asleep before I hit send on this post.
I woke this morning to 0C degrees, freezing, and a hard frost on everything.
I grabbed my bowl and some granola to head up to the HEATED rest room where there was running water to make breakfast. While leaning against the bathroom wall chowing down on six hundred calories of crunchy goodness an older man came into the bathroom, lit cigarette hanging from his lips. He looked at me with contempt, used the urinal, and left without washing his hands. The smell of cigarette smoke overwhelmed the pleasure of warmth and I left the bathroom through the door that was clearly posted with nonsmoking signs. The man stood outside by his car glaring at me occasionally. A few minutes later as couple of women came out of the women’s restroom and they gave me similar looks. I must have completely unlocked the vagrant achievement on my trip now. I smiled at them and continued to consume spoonfuls of granola. They didn’t return the smile. More people pulled up, I said good morning, they said good morning back to me.
All packed up, everything has dried out. Time to get on the road!