South to Picayune

The Wedding-Guest sat on a stone:
He cannot choose but hear;
And thus spake on that ancient man,
The bright-eyed Mariner.

Date: 29/11/11
Departed: Hattiesburg 0930
Temp: Low – 30 High – 60
Weather: Clear and Sunny NE Wind 8-12 mph
Distance: 63.7
Av Speed: 14.4
Max Speed: 31.5
Height Gain: 2980′
Arrive: Picayune 1605

Last night Sarah and I came to the agreement on my suggestion that I would be taking over the blog every other day. I have been posting infrequently due to the fact that Sarah always seems to take care of the biographical work. I figured that for me to go on and write up the same thing from my own perspective wouldn’t be that interesting. So I had to try to come up with something a bit more off topic or interesting in its own right. I still plan on doing that but also taking part in the biographical work as well. So here goes.

Last night Sarah went off to a bar with another CSer and I stayed in and worked on my bike and did some reading. Passed out sometime after 10 pm and didn’t move again till 7 am. After the alarm went off I took a quick shower and set to making a quick breakfast and start packing. Mat and Chevaun were up and we had a great chat about the area and the way into Picayune.

Sarah got out of bed round 8:15-8:30 and headed into the kitchen. I sat down and started packing up my gear and had everything ready to go before 9 am.  We then took a quick picture with Mat and Chevaun.

Mat and I set to working on the bikes a bit. Checked the tires and gears, added a bit of air to everyone’s tires and loaded up my bike while Sarah finished packing. We were set and ready to leave the house around 9:30.

I had a really good time with Mat and Chevaun. Mat has a good wealth of knowledge on a great many subjects. He was kind enough to take some time to teach me how to weave a basket out of willow. I always enjoy learning new skills and I intend to put this one to good use in the coming years of travel. Chevaun was very generous, caring and a great cook. I look forward to seeing them again sometime in Nola, perhaps around Mardi Gras if not sooner.

Shortly after departing we made way to a local market to pick up some snacks for the day and to get Sarah a good breakfast. Sadly the market did not have any prepared food so we settled with snacks and took off for route 11 south. It was a cold morning which I greatly appreciated. The heat and humidity has not been particularly pleasant and the crisp coolness of the morning actually felt like northern winter air. Sarah did not share my sunny disposition in regards to the weather and seemed to suffer greatly from the cold.

After 6 miles on the road we stopped at small rest stop that had coffee and a subway so that Sarah could get something to eat and a warm drink. After she finished her coffee we set off once again. This first 35 miles of the day was constant rolling hills. This was another one of the rare days where I consistently held the lead on Sarah. It seems that the cold and lack of a good breakfast took a harsh toll on her morale and spirit. I also think that I am better at hills than her as I always tend to make ground on her if not pass her on them. It may be that I just push harder on the hills or that I may have more strength but less stamina as she easily overtakes me on flat terrain.

We took our first real break of the day around 11:35 at 27 miles. Sarah changed out of her damp sweaty clothing for a dry set and laid everything out in the sun. We dug into our food quickly. To my great chagrin Sarah informed me that she had forgotten what was left of our honey at Mat and Chevaun’s. It was really good honey. I shall have to find more of it in New Orleans.

We set off again after twenty minuets. We have been on route 11 for the past few days of travel and while it has not been the best road safety wise I can not really complain. The narrow shoulders, if they are there at all for the past 150 miles has been cause for slight concern. However all but a small minority of drivers have been very courteous to us and often give us a wide berth when passing us so I really have only praise for Mississippi drivers, Go you guys!

I did get one honk on the road today. This brings up one serious problem with cars in the world. There is no clear or uniform way to communicate between vehicles or to pedestrians and cyclists. Usually when someone honks at us we have no way to interpret what they are trying to express unless we are able to see their face (or gestures), like smiling and waving, or shouting and furious gestures. So when someone honks and they pass far to fast to see I like to think that they are supporting us or wishing us well. Its much more useful than to get negative. We need some sort of simplified Morse Code for honks that should be taught in all drivers ed courses, seriously.

Sarah caught up to me around mile 52 and we took our second break. Had a quick snack and took off on the last 11.3 miles of the day. We arrived at the Picayune First United Methodist Church. So far the Methodists have been extremely kind to Sarah and I on this trip and the congregation of Picayune was no exception.

I spoke briefly to the secretary who directed us to the exercise center to find the Minister.  We were welcomed into the center by Brother Jim. After quickly explaining our mission and situation he very warmly told us he was happy to have us there and that he would find us a place to stay. While he made a few phone calls on our behalf we began recounting the tale of our travels. After a short period Brother Jim had found a wonderful place for us to stay.

We followed him and another very kind man ( I think overheard his name as Ray) to his truck. We loaded up the bikes and they drove us over to Barbra’s house. On the way we discussed (Rays?) facilitating work as an Aerospace engineer. He and I also briefly discussed the fact that he was working on his masters in  medieval history. Its not very frequently that one meets a historian let alone one involved in my area of study. I would have loved to have more time to speak with him.

We arrived at Barbra’s and after they helped us to unload the bikes we were welcomed inside to smiling faces and a cacophony of barking. We were introduced to Barbra and Chris who live in a beautiful house with a great many animals, dogs first and foremost and numerous farm animals. After a quick chat Brother Jim and (Ray?) left to get home and to work. We talked about a number of things before being shown to our room to unpack a bit and shower. After showering we had a great dinner of pasta and chicken pot pie with pecan pie and ice cream with a cup of tea to finish it off.

We talked for a while before the subject of New Orleans came up and what our plans were. On learning that we had no real idea of where we were going to live for the brief time we would be in Nola Barbra pulled out her address book and called up a pair of friends who have an apartment in Nola. We chatted briefly about what we were doing and our plans and arranged to call them to visit the apartment whenever we were ready.

Shortly after the phone call Chris retired and Barbra Followed shortly after. I honestly can not fully express my gratitude for all the generosity that I have received on this trip. It really means so much to me to be so warmly received by so many kind strangers. I hope that one day I will be able to return all of the kindness that has been given me on this trip.

Now I lay in bed composing this post and I do believe that this will do it ladies and gentlemen. Have a good evening everyone and thanks for following us and being part of this awesome if not crazy adventure!

Phil, signing out.


Posted on 29 November 2011, in Providence to New Orleans. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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