Friday, April 15, 2011

April 15, 2011. Bogalusa, LA to Wiggins, MS. 60 miles.

We started our day early today due to the weather prediction: strong gusty winds, severe thunderstorms, and tornado watch. Yikes! But it was all supposed to happen after noon, so we figured we could ride 60 miles before noon if we left before 8 AM. Piece of cake. About 5 miles into the ride, after crossing a river, I saw this sign (above). We were in Mississippi! But Dianne and Kathie were ahead of me and did not hear me yell or see me stop. So here is my bike at the border of LA and MS.
I remember an old Dave Barry essay about fireworks stores and state lines.... he said there are always fireworks stores at the state line, and people from one side of the line cross to the next state to get fireworks that they can't get at home, and vice verse... they all think they are getting away with something. And there it was, right at the state line!
A couple of miles later we stopped at the official Welcome to Mississippi sign to take photos. Dianne and Kathie and I took each other's photos. Here is Kathie with me (above). I lost count of the number of state line photos I have taken with Dianne!
At 10 miles into the ride we saw this detour sign, but the road LOOKED open, so we went on ahead. We were supposed to ride just a mile and a half on the road, and there were no other cyclists coming back at us. We made the right choice--the bridge was completed and we could cross it, although the approaches were not yet paved and we had to walk our bikes a short distance.
There were a lot of horse and cattle farms (they're not called ranches in MS; that's a TX thing). We enjoyed rolling hills and farmland for most of today's ride. I noticed when we entered LA that the roads were named after people, first and last names. And that curious custom continued into MS. Sometimes there are many roads with the same last name.... there has to be a system or a reason, but I sure don't know what it is.
Then we came upon this detour sign... this time the road was truly closed. Lisa was there with the sag car, and all the riders who were ahead of us were held up. We waited around for what seemed like a very long time for the leaders to find us a suitable detour. I suppose it was less than an hour, but we all wanted to be on the road to dodge the thunderstorms (or worse). Tex, Victoria, and Nancy did the hokey pokey, while Lise (not in the photo) did yoga. We started the Granny Small game, which could last to the end of the ride, depending on how clever everyone is. Finally Lisa got the phone call with the detour instructions and we all took careful notes on our new route. However, one of the cues was to turn on West North road, and that there would be a Baptist church on the corner. Well, there was a Baptist church on 3 of the 4 corners we passed while riding on the very busy Hwy 26. There are a lot of churches around here, mostly Baptist! I think only one rider missed the turn.

The flag photo was taken in Poplarville, where we rode with a crosswind. I wore my bandito bandana when it was cross or head wind--there was a lot of stuff being blown around and it really does help to filter what I breathe.
Shortly before the second sag stop we saw a logging operation--we have been sharing the road with log trucks since Texas (maybe before then, but I joined the tour in Texas). Note the lovely clouds in the background... By the time we got to the sag stop it had started raining, and we had a brief violent downpour. We just got in the car for the 10 minutes until it passed.
Then we were back on the bikes--I did not even have to break out the raingear! I absolutely HATE wearing raingear.... dodged the bullet again. The winds were very squirrely the rest of the ride. They were very strong and gusty and changed directions many times. I kept my eye on the sky for funnels but did not see any. We were lucky enough to have a tail wind for most of the very hilly 12 miles on old highway 26. After 3 miles of hills on the new highway 26, with the traffic all around us, we were here! There is still a tornado warning, but it's not such an issue now--we all arrived safely to ride another day.


Rita Rowe said...

Hi Linda!

Your photos and accounts are so fun to see! Could you take some close ups of the riders? I read about the names, and no one has really taken any "head shots." It would be great to see their shining faces!


Anonymous said...

I agree with Rita - the pictures are the best thing. It would be too much to hope that someone got video of the Hokey Pokey! How super cool! Wonder what the people on the road were thinking?

Rita Rowe said...

PS Has Linda shared that April 18th is Carol Wilder's birthday?

Kat said...

Why is Katherine a celebrity?

Kat said...

Sounds like you are having the time of your lives (again!) Swim meet was FANTABULOUS!!!!!! Had a blast! Guess it is time to get serious!