Hank – Waking up at oh-dark-thirty, we loaded up the truck and said goodbye to Mike. We had to return the truck in Mobile, Alabama at 9:00 am. The drive went smoothly.
We left the rental place and stopped by a Waffle House for breakfast. We were on the bikes by 10:00.
Our route follows US Hwy 90 all the way to New Orleans, Louisiana. But today we’re spending the night at Shepard State Park just west of Pascagoula, Mississippi. I called them this morning and they have lots of tents sites so there is no need for reservations.
Hwy 90 in Alabama had shoulder most of the time. Sometimes the shoulder was cut in half by the rumble strip, which can be a pain to work around. But overall it was pretty good.
Things changed when we hit the Mississippi border. Talk about crumbling infrastructure. No shoulder, crumbling shoulder, and buckled shoulder with high grass growing in the cracks. It was very uncomfortable and slow.
While we we’re stopped at the border for the 30th (Alabama) and 31st (Mississippi) state photos, I saw a bike tourer riding out of a field and onto the road. We met Gus from Freedom, Maine. He left Phoenix, Arizona five weeks ago and is working his way to St Augustine, Florida. He was riding on Interstate 10 and cut over because an upcoming bridge had no shoulder. He was headed to Dauphin Island, Alabama today.
After 8-9 miles of crappy road it improved quite a bit, especially as we got closer to Pascagoula. We had what seems like a 20-foot shoulder but we also had three lanes of 65 mph traffic next to us and it was busy. We turned off to go to the state park and it’s been quiet ever since. $13 got us a tent site. Here’s a warning you don’t always get at a state park. There’s a marauding pit bull who’s been outside but near the park and hasn’t been caught yet. It killed a horse. Good to know.
After showers and dinner we relaxed. My butt is a little sore after not riding for a week and knocking out 45 miles with a lot of rolling hills.
Kathy – Our ride in the rental was about 2.5 hours from Montgomery, Alabama to Mobile, Alabama where we turned the truck in. Then our bike ride today was 45 miles where we ended up at a state park just outside the town of Pascagoula, Mississippi. The weather was cool, breezy and in the mid 50’s. This is much cooler than our 75 degree weather in Florida. Yes, I realize all our family and friends up north are not feeling sorry for us and our cold temps today. Rolling hills greeted us 3/4 of our ride today. The flat lands of Florida are in our distant memory now.
We rode in states 30 – Alabama and 31 – Mississippi, yippee! I left my Alabama flower seeds with Mike in Montgomery. He is going to plant them in his yard as the weather warms up.
For the most part we had a decent shoulder in Alabama, but in Mississippi when we had a shoulder it was in pretty poor shape. Hank and I both have sore bums tonight due to the constant uneven surfaces and bumping of the roads. Mississippi is working on being one of our worst states due to the poorly maintained shoulders/roads.
Just after we passed the border into Mississippi there was a young mother with her van parked in the middle of the highway turning lane. She had multiple kids in the car and in between talking to us she would yell at them. She had a flat tire that was shredded to pieces and said her cell phone was dead. It looked as if she had driven on this flat tire for some time. Hank let her use his phone to call someone, but she already had some one else on the way. She kept making comments about how she didn’t know where she was (but her van had stickers on the back that it was purchased in the town she was in). She lived near by. I asked her if she wanted to get herself and the children out of the car since it was parked in the middle of the highway, (and there were houses near by) but she didn’t want to do that. She wasn’t interested in charging her cell phone either. It was very odd. It seemed she just wanted someone else to do everything for her. I found the whole situation a bit unusual. So we helped her as much as possible while two different people were on the way to bring her a new tire, so off we went.
Then, just as we left this lady, we found a large broken up green plastic chair in the middle of the highway lanes. Hank stopped and removed the big pieces as cars were surely going to hit them. Mississippi is not a pretty state. Horrible roads, brown trees and overgrown weeds everywhere, lots of trash on the side of the roads, and swamp land all around us. Then add the many crazy fast drivers that only give us minimal passing room. Welcome to Mississippi! As you can tell, I’m not very impressed with this state so far.
All is not bad though, I am happy for the nice hot shower at the campsite and our delicious dehydrated meals for dinner. We are comfy and tucked into our tent for the night. Ready to take on another day of Mississippi riding in the morning.
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