Thursday, November 6, 2014

Day 47 - Easleyville to Poplarville

Today is a long ride, and after a very cold start, we were looking forward to things warming up. Tents were put away with ice on them and we discussed the possibility of using the cabins at the place we are camping in Poplarville for the night.

We will be in Mississippi tonight.

The day went along pretty well, warming up quicker than the prior day and by the time I was getting close to Franklinton I was shedding some of my warm weather gear.

A few miles before Franklinton I encountered a rather aggressive female dog. She got in front of me and so I stopped. She then backed off. I started to ride again only to have here come after me again and nip at my right leg. She actually contacted the cloth on my cold weather pants with here teeth. I stopped again. There was also a smaller dog that was barking a lot but not chasing. I yelled at them a bit and then eventually a girl came out holding another dog and tried to control the bigger dog. I eventually was able to ride away unscathed but somewhat distracted by the whole incident.

Just before Franklinton I made a wrong turn. Which I corrected after a bit. When I got into town I rode past a couple of fast food places hoping to find something better, then failing to do so backtracked and had lunch at McDonalds.

There I talked to a couple who were interested in my ride. He talked about taking his motor bike and doing a 2 month ride around the US as one of the things he would like to do some day. He told me that there is a paper mill in Bogalusa, which is the next major town on the route just before we cross into Mississippi.

After lunch I got back on the road. The roads in Louisiana have been better than I expected, but every once in awhile we hit one with really poor surface conditions or no shoulder. Overall I would rate them as on par with Texas for bike riding quality.

As I rode today I noticed that my chain was skipping a bit when I shifted. I'm hoping that we will be near a bike shop soon so I can get a replacement.

At this point I think I was behind everyone. I figured I would probably catch up with someone around Bogalusa. Which I did. As I entered town I noticed 4 bikes in front of a convenience store. I decided to ride on.

After a bit of a confusing ride through town, where one resident was less than courteous about space and honked at me, I exited town. There is a bridge over the Pearl River that marks the border between Louisiana and Mississippi. Upon approaching it I saw 3 of our group just getting started at the middle of the bridge, but I never caught up with them to see who it was.

Upon entering Mississippi we were welcomed with the worst rumble strip ever. About 6 inches of pavement to the right of a foot wide rumble strip. This forced us to ride to the left of the white line. Our route deviates from this road and it was a welcome relief to get off of highway 26.

After leaving 26 we wound our way through a series of more and more remote farm roads. We saw a lot of dogs. Most were relatively friendly, although at one point about 5 dogs greeted me in the road. This seemed somewhat of a problem but they turned out to be not very interested in chasing me so it worked out.

As the day wore on it became clear that I was flirting with darkness. I entered Poplarville at more or less dusk, stopped at a convenience store for a Gator Aid and then rode into camp just as it started to get dark.

As it worked out we had cabins to sleep in. I was informed by the guys in the first cabin that I needed to see the camp host about a key to cabin next door. I did so and when I came up to the cabin I noticed that there was someone inside because the lights were on. Then the lights turned off. I wasn't sure this was the right cabin, but as I got close I saw that it was indeed the right numbered cabin.

As it turns out two little girls, probably 10 or so, were playing in the cabin. One of them told me that her grandmother used to live in that cabin and pointed out where the beds and tables used to be.

After a bit they were called home to one of the places next door and they left.

We had a warm place to sleep. Some of us slept on the floor, and some on beds, but it was great to be out of the cold. It seems to be warming up.

At our map meeting there was mention of a bike shop in Vancleave. I hope that is true as my chain is starting to worry me a bit. I had also noticed a wobble in my rear tire as well so it probably needs a small tune up as well.

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