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Started: Oct 17, 2010 7:22:39
Ride Time: 4:37:34
Stopped Time: 2:34:16
Distance: 68.82 miles
Average: 14.88 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 50.82 miles/h
Climb: 4678 feet
A relatively short day today. I’m in a chunk of the country where there aren’t a lot of likely places to stop, so I don’t have the luxury of picking the distance I want to ride and being able to expect a town anywhere near there. But that’s irrelevant, because I’m staying with great Warm Showers hosts, Perry and Lep, and it would have been worth making a destination of this place regardless. They’ve been hosts for 10 years, and have a pretty amazing setup for accommodating cyclists.
Rolled out of Simmesport good and early and crossed the Atchafalaya. Followed a little-used and very rough road. Saw the mist rising off the earth. As I approached the town of Morganza, I had a view of a body of water whose name I’m unclear on. Perhaps it was the Tunica swamp. It seemed to spread out for miles, with trees growing from the middle of it and flocks of waterfowl arranged with almost military precision on its surface. It was beautiful. I wish I could have gotten a picture, but it was a narrow road with no pullouts and a fair amount of traffic.
Following Morganza, I went slightly off route, choosing a road that looked like it would have smoother pavement over the parallel road that the ACA would have put me on. It was along this stretch that I met a westbound Southern Tier rider, Russell (?). He’s fresh out of college and shooting interviews along the way for a film he plans to put together when he’s done. He interviewed me, there along the highway. Probably didn’t get great sound.
I wound up rejoining the ACA route within 10 miles anyhow, riding a road that ran right alongside the levee for the Mississippi, and then boarding a ferry to cross the river. There was about a half-hour wait to get across—there was enough traffic trying to cross going east that the ferry could only handle about half the cars backed up waiting to get on. So I had some time to chat with the locals.
The ferry ride was unexciting, and once I was across, I was in St Francisville. This is exactly what you would want every small town in Louisiana to be like. Massive trees dripping with moss and shading the streets below. Old, well-maintained houses. Very picturesque. I had spoken to Perry the day before and she suggested stopping at the Magnolia Cafe there, so I did. It was great, and I ate a lot.
Riding out of St Francisville, I missed a turn and wound up staying on a busy highway that’s currently under construction for longer than I should have. By the time I realized my mistake, I was pretty far past my turnoff, but figured out that I could make it into a shortcut to Perry and Lep’s place, so that’s what I did.
I arrived in their absence, but Perry had warned me of that and told me I should make myself at home anyhow, so I did. When they did return, we had dinner together and a nice natter about cycling, houses, pets…the usual.
It’s good that today was relatively short, and with plenty of good eating, because the next couple of days may be the longest of my tour, depending on how I hold out.