Day 24: near Kirbyville TX to Mamou LA

Started: Oct 15, 2010 7:39:17
Ride Time: 7:48:38
Stopped Time: 1:02:39
Distance: 106.03 miles
Average: 13.58 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 35.89 miles/h
Climb: 2755 feet
Calories: 5294

Started the day with Jerry, my Warm Showers host, fixing me an omelette that wound up powering me through my longest day yet—though not my hardest, not by a longshot. The distance shown above is wrong—more GPS flakeouts. My actual distance was 111 miles.

He also served me some raw goat milk from their goats. Carol had explained to me that it was contact with male goats that made goat milk goaty. She keeps her goats segregated, and so the milk she gets isn’t goaty. That’s what she told me, but I was skeptical. Skepticism: unfounded. The milk really just tasted like milk. A bit richer—I think there was more fat content than I’m used to—but that’s the only difference I noticed.

I got rolling when the sun was out, but not quite shining over the trees, so my first few miles were in shadow and really cold. If I had been smart, I would have stopped and put on my tights (and if I had been smarter, I would have had full-finger gloves, too). I wound up getting a bit of a cramp in my right calf that didn’t work itself out until nearly the end of the day.

The day’s riding was almost featureless once I crossed into Louisiana. A few trees, but mostly flat farmland. I think there’s a lot of rice cultivation here.

Roads varied between exemplary and poor, and just as one road will have very different qualities as it crosses different counties in Texas, so too here as it crosses parishes. On balance, the roads were pretty good. When I stopped for a snack in DeRidder, I got to chatting with someone who asked how many miles I could ride in a day. I told him I could cover 110, but could probably do more with favorable wind and good road surface. He replied “So about 70 in Louisiana.” From what I’ve seen, the roads aren’t that bad.

With nothing to slow me down and nothing to slow down for, I made good time, and in fact was averaging over 16 mph on the last 25-mile stretch between Oberlin and Mamou. In fact, I was feeling fresh enough that I considered pushing on an additional 15 miles to Ville Platte, but decided against it.

So I’m in Mamou, in a curious hotel. The building is pretty nice. The interior was recently redone with quality materials. But my room is just small enough that I can’t open the bathroom door without banging it into the bed, and even weirder, the room has no windows.

After four days back on the road, I’m a little farther than I had planned on being after five. I need to spend some quality time with my maps and re-figure my daily targets.

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