Never underestimate what your kindness does in this world…

So tonight I met and hung out with Miss Ruth, celebrating her sixty sixth birthday and the godmother of Judy, the owner of the Ooh Poo Pah Doo club.


She came out of her chair and into the dance floor to show me the secret to dancing.  She called me over to her when the band went on break and I thanked her for showing me how to dance (she got up from her chair and gave pointers (in a loving way) too me when i lost time.) … She told me she that she felt she had to meet the guy who took his time when he sliced his porkchop… “She said when I saw you cut it up and give pieces to the other people at the table before eating it yourself, I knew I had to meet that man. You didn’t know anybody was looking and you did an act of kindness anyway.  You never know who is watching.” I replied, “it doesn’t matter, does it?” and she replied, ” to you it doesn’t and that’s why I had to meet you. ”

We had such a wonderful conversation after that and I told her it was my privilege to meet her and she asked me how long I was staying in NOLA and I told her my bicycle story and she clapped her hands and exclaimed, “now the privilege is all mine! And the world sent you here to me on my birthday!”

We talked some more and she said, “you’re home here. We all got your back when you’re around here or on the street.”

Yesterday was amazing and today has topped that!

Total Miles… 1,607.6

So apparently I wandered around a bit… as Google estimated the route to be 1,322 miles.  Of course, I’ve learned (frequently) that you should really just ignore what Google suggests for route planning on a bicycle.

I have been relaxing today and just resting and putzing on the computer.

I tallied up the mileage for the trip and it looks like it took me just over 1600 miles of pedaling (not including the couple of lifts I got along the way.)

Not once during the entire trip did I wear a bicycle helmet, nor did a crash the bike.  That statement was not made for political reasons for or against, just stating that being aware, observant, and performing routine maintenance are key to safety.  Accidents still do happen, and they did, but they helmet didn’t work for or against any of the incidents that occurred.

That gives me a 38.27 mile per day average, if I include days off… if exclude days off, I did 44.65 miles per day!

A little under my 60 mile per day desired average, but the days were short and cold.  I wasn’t tired on many of the days, there was just no daylight left.



Day 41: Baton Rouge to Laplace…

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.


Day 34: what’s new, pussycat?

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.

Day 31: 50 miles on the shoulder of death

.. Or how I converted to living in the now and accepted that eventually, I too, will die…

I headed out, late, as usual, from Seller, Tennessee and started off on US Highway 45.  The shoulder was nice and wide like most US highways.

Once I’d hit the Welcome to Mississippi sign, the shoulder became packed stone set about two inches lower than the main roadway.

No problem, I can work with that…

South of Corenth, Mississippi the packed shoulder tapered off and I was left with anywhere from between six and eighteen inches of space to the right of the white lane line. This was also a space I was forced to share with persistent rumble strips.

Since it’d been another day of all rain I was damp after only a couple hours into the ride. My strategy today was switching out of my boots and into my sandals. That way at least I’d have dry, warm footwear at the end of the day.

After three and a half hours, my pruney feet and soggy socks were number to the first metatarsals. I pulled off the road and was preparing to dig through my bag to change into new dry socks when I looked up and saw a man coming towards me. I stepped back and he held out a bag of snacks and water. He introduced himself as Michael, a fellow Cyclist, from the Booneville area. He offered me the food and water and I thanked him. He also offered a ride and advice about local routes. We chatted for about twenty minutes about the local cycling, Michael’s employment at the Caterpillar plant as an engineer, and just general South North things. He was incredibly helpful and generous. Thank you again, Michael!


I’ve got a few minutes of shoulder of death footage on the GoPro to share at a later date when I get WiFi. The most dangerous part occurred between Saltillo and Tupelo because not only did I have about eight inches to work with, but the traffic increased at least three fold.

You can browse what the road looked like using Google Street view…


Imagine riding that “shoulder” for over four hours today. I don’t have to imagine it because I did it.  Insanity.  Based on my anecdotal evidence from today, I believe the majority of Northeastern Mississippi drivers also have no regard for cyclists. Routinely the left lane was completely open and still cars would pass me in the right lane at over seventy miles an hour… All day.  I got used to the cars, but the semis were always a surprise.

After it had gotten dark, the shoulder hadn’t improved, and the traffic had become constant, I finally gave in to the weariness of trying to focus on staying between the divots in the asphalt and the edge of the paved surface. I pulled off the road and checked my map. I saw that I’d just passed the Natchez parkway which was supposed to be the highway to heaven for cyclists. So I proceeded to look for a way to reach the overpass to the Natchez. The ditches were soft and flooded with water due to the three inches of rain the area had received in the last twenty four hours. I discovered a break in the fence that separates the road right of way and an empty field near the Natchez, so I pushed my bike through the brush and into the field. I immediately found the field was even more saturated with rain than the ditch, so I abandoned the bike and scouted the tree line on the far side of the field on foot. Unfortunately the trees were shrouding a swollen creek, so I abandoned that plan and returned to the bike. Standing the bike up, I discovered that, in the fading daylight, I’d inadvertantly left the bike leaning against a giant mound of dirt that houses thousands of ants.   I ignored them and pushed the bike back through the muddy water towards the highway and the Natchez parkway overpass.


When I reached the overpass, I could see a freshly mowed hill through the trees.  Unfortunately, I could also see a four foot with multiple runs of barb wire along the top.

I removed my panniers from the bike, tossed them over the fence and then lifted the seventy pound bike halfway over the fence and then tried to push the rear over, but I snagged a pedal in the overgrown vines that enveloped the rusted barbwire.

I stepped on the fence and climbed over and then gave my bike a tug and broke it free from its entanglement.


After pushing the reloaded bike up the embankment, I hopped onto the bike and road to the house of my warmshowers host, Rufus.

I met his dog, Lucky, took a shower, and we went out to eat and grocery shopping.  We chatted about life in the South, Tupelo, and each of our life experiences while Rufus made cookies and I repacked the bike.


Day 30: Jackson to Selmer, Tennessee



My new experiement for today is wearing plastic bags over my feet to attempt to keep some of the rain out.

SPOILER ALERT:  It didn’t work.


Most of my day consisted of doing this:


…and this:


The craziest part of the day was when Google routed me down this “street” …

CAUTION:  Strong Language when I realize where Google has sent me… 


Watch Part 2:


Tomorrow I’ll be heading to Tupelo, Mississippi to stay with Rufus, a host.


Day 29: RECAP – Martin, TN to Jackson, TN


Today I woke up late after resting all of Day 28, the day before.  I said goodbye to Matt at the front desk of the Len Haven Motel and headed out.

I stopped just outside of town to put on gloves, hat, and jacket.  Since I was already stopped, I figured it was a good a time as any to eat, so I devoured leftover pulled pork and a banana.  A Martin police officer stopped to see if I needed anything while I was putting on the clothing and we chatted for a few minutes.


The rain started about then and after biking for over an hour, I stopped in Greenfield to have lunch.  I opted for the buffet and was waited on by a sweet young lady named, JJ.  Shortly there after another woman stopped by and we chatted about what I was doing.  She introduced herself as Renee and explained that had gypsy blood and traveled all over the world during her life.  Renee brought JJ over to the table and introduced her as her daughter.


I rolled out of Greenfield and down the country roads on my way to Jackson.  I reached Jackson just after dark and booked myself a room to dry out my boots and clothing.

When I got to my room I opened up the dessert that Renee had boxed for me and found a delicious piece of pie and a very gracious note.




Day 2: RECAP – Fridley to Red Wing, er, Prescott



Ready to Roll Out after a photo opportunity.

I awoke on the air mattress from nearly five hours of sleep.  I took a shower and began loading everything onto my bike.  Chris came downstairs and handed me a cup of coffee and we chatted while I ate half the cinnamon roll I’d left out from the night before.

With everything repacked on the bike, I departed around 9:30 to begin the adventure.


Heading into Minneapolis, I decided to take a familiar route down Central Avenue toward downtown.










Autumn was in full swing and I stopped to capture some photos of the golden hue of the fallen leaves against the vibrant, green grass.











Rolling down Central Avenue, I came to Ideal Diner, one of my favorite greasy spoons and so I thought I’d stop in for a proper breakfast.

An order of eggs, toast, and hash browns took 35 minutes to arrive, but they were still delicious.







It doesn’t seem to matter when you cross the St. Anthony Falls pedestrian bridge, there are always people on it.






The Minneapolis Skyline from the St. Anthony Falls Bridge pedestrian and bicycle bridge.


… and then onto the Midtown Greenway “bicycle highway” that cuts East<->West across Minneapolis.


I took the Midtown trail past Hollywood Cycles and stopped in and said goodbye to the owner, Jay, who’d previously done some of the work on my bike this summer (bottom bracket, crank, the failed attempt finding an alternative handlebar setup.)

Continuing East, I passed one of the many pieces of public art along the trail.







Overlooking Eastern Minneapolis from above Minnehaha Falls.


…Past Minnehaha Falls…

They weren’t roaring or raging, so I didn’t bother to take a photo of the falls themselves.

At Fort Snelling, I came across a military veteran who was picking himself up off the ground and cursing sporadically in every direction.  I stopped and said hello, he asked if I’d seen him break the fence moments earlier while attempting to take a photo.  I said, “no,” he them proceeded to express onto me his opinions about the government and how he’d wasted his entire day going out of his way to drive to the Twin Cities to meet with Veteran’s Affairs and receive a government issued cell phone.  He was unsuccessful in receiving the phone.  I wished him a good day and he did to me the same.

Full of energy and enthusiasm, I began the long slow climb over the Mendota Heights Bridge that crosses the Mississippi River.


Crossing the Minnesota River on the Mendota Heights bridge


The trail runs along the Minnesota where it meets the Mississippi through Lilydale and past one of the many “yacht clubs.”



The St. Paul Skyline along the river.


I continued to push out the miles along the river past Newport and toward Cottage Grove.


A tug boat pushing barges up the river.


Cottage Grove toward the Wisconsin border was hill after hill after hill.  The weight of the worst-case-scenario packing I had done was really starting to weigh on my back and legs.  The questions began to pour into my head:

Did I really need my camera gear?  nah.

Did I really need a notebook?  no.

Did I really need four pairs of socks?  … hmm, maybe.


I pushed on and on and my host for the first night, Shawn, had foolishly offered me a ride if I needed one.  So after climbing another hill and starting to see the sun set in the West, I sent Shawn a text saying I’d accept his offer.

We were, after all, in daylight savings time and this “Mississippi Regional Trail” (MRT) I’d heard so much about wasn’t so much a trail as I was finding out, but rather riding the shoulder (when there was a shoulder) of 65 mile per hour (mph) traffic at 5pm on a weekday.  No bueno.



Descending one of the final hills before crossing the river into Wisconsin


I pedaled into Prescott, Wisconsin, twenty miles from my goal for the day and I arranged for Shawn to meet me here in exchange, I’d buy him a drink.

Shawn picked me up, we had a few, including a conventional Wisconsin Bloody Mary (re: the Happy Meal) and then we headed back to Shawn’s place, unloaded the bike, and proceeded to Andy’s bar/restaurant for about another 10 rounds and some wings for dinner.

I met a British guy who was terribly offended when I thought his accent was similar to that of Ringo Starr’s.  He blamed that on living in Minnesota for 11 years.  I met the lovely bartender who was quick with the unnecessary bucket after pouring me an 8oz glass of whiskey at last call.  Youch!   And the pro-fisherman who chatted social media and marketing with me.  I’d go into more detail if I could remember it or if it was important.  It was a great time and a great send off.  Wobbling back to Shawn’s at 2am, I proceeded to charge my phone and immediately pass out on his couch…


Happy Meal bloody mary with a New Glarius Spotted Cow back at the No Name biker bar in Prescott, Wisconsin


Day 1: Getting Moving

I stayed up most of Saturday night finalizing all the packing up of my things and cleaning of the basement and house before leaving.IMG_1411

Iwas struggling with figuring out how much to take and what exactly to take (see the gear list.)

So after spending all day doing “just one more thing” before I finally headed out around 6pm and said goodbye to my neighbors who met me with some questions and some with drinks and shots.













I knew that even though I’d be leaving late on Sunday, I needed to get out of the house just to get started.  So I jammed everything on a wobbly bike and headed down the road five miles to my friend Chris’ house.

We spent the night hanging out with him and his girlfriend and unpacking and repacking everything discussing the rational reasons as to why I’d need to travel with four spare tire tubes or four pairs of socks.

Some things left behind: Harp neck holder, notepad, and a few other items.

After finally getting to bed around 4am I prepared to the early AM wake up call to work my way out of the Twin Cities along the Mississippi River to Red Wing, Minnesota.