Day 25: Mamou to Simmesport

Started: Oct 16, 2010 7:37:51
Ride Time: 6:16:49
Stopped Time: 1:38:12
Distance: 85.18 miles
Average: 13.56 miles/h
Fastest Speed: 48.52 miles/h
Climb: 2460 feet
Calories: 3799

Today was a slog. I spent much of it on the rough roads that I had been promised. They didn’t so much slow me down as beat me up.

Stopped for a poor approximation of breakfast at a poor approximation of a coffee shop in the town of Washington. Ground onward to my destination of Simmesport. I am staying at a combination motel/convenience store/liquor store/video-rental shop/take-out pizzeria/U-Haul rental agent. I suspect they are equally competent at everything they do. I also suspect they could shut down everything they do but beer and cigarette sales and still clear 90% of what they’re bringing in now. But they sell an incredibly bizarre assortment of junk, including colored contact lenses, hair extensions, glass pipes, and mobile phones.

There’s not much to remark on about the riding itself today, except that after four century days in a row I was feeling kind of tired. Even so, I would have pushed on farther if there were a town worth reaching in a distance I could have achieved today. There wasn’t. But I did make some general observations.

Most notably, Louisiana drivers seem way more patient with cyclists, and more laid-back in general, than what I’m used to. At least that’s what I observed on the back roads I’ve been riding on. In fact, many drivers seem perfectly content to drive at speeds well below the posted speed limit.

It’s also been interesting to note the different patterns of settlement. In the western states, there may be no sign of human habitation between towns, or very little. Here, there’s almost continuous settlement between towns—I doubt I’ve ridden a miles in Louisiana without seeing a house.

Dogs, however, are the same, and I have gotten chased by plenty since entering the state. I had one funny moment yesterday when I saw two small lapdogs sitting in their yard at the edge of the road, just observing my progress. Some vestigial hunting instinct that hadn’t been completely bred out of them must have risen in them and said “Come ON! You need to react to that!”. Each dog gave me a single yap. I laughed. So far I’ve been able to out-sprint every dog that has chased me, but there was a Rottweiler today that got pretty close.

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