Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Friday, March 28, 2008
Laurel, MS to Prentiss, MS
49 miles (1354 total miles)

OK, I admit it, we wimped out. After hearing about a 30% and 50% chance of thunderstorms for today and tomorrow, we decided that a campground would probably not be a great place to be for those 2 days, and certainly not on a rest day. So we did a little more research and found a nice, inexpensive motel in nearby Prentiss, MS. We may (if we have the energy and the weather's not too bad) take a day trip tomorrow into the Lake Jeff Davis campground where we had planned to stay tonight and tomorrow night. Hey, we're old folks, we need our creature comforts!

Today's ride was short and mostly uneventful, except for the logging operation we came upon. We were on Hwy. 84 - a 4-lane, divided highway - all day. It made for easy riding, but was not as scenic as the narrower back roads. We were on the road for only 6 hours, from 7:20 to 1:20, covering 49 miles in 4 hours and 40 minutes of bike time. It was, however, a very hot and humid day - 66 degrees when we left Laurel, hazy and muggy, with almost no breeze. It cleared up later, maybe around 11, and we had big, white, poofy clouds after that. We were glad when the sun was behind one of those clouds, since it was really baking us otherwise. The hills were mostly low but long, with a few bigger ones, and the wind got gusty again right about noon. We only came across 2 towns today, Collins at about 25 miles, and Prentiss, our final destination. Both of them were fairly small. We reached Collins at about 10, and the 2 restaurants were not open yet. We stopped in the Seaside Coffee Shack for coffee and a snack and had a nice chat with the lady who owned the place. She talked about the devastation Hurricane Katrina brought them a few years ago (the town is less than 100 miles north of the Gulf); they were without water for 2 weeks and without electricity for 27 days. She talked about how much worse off the people were who lived in Biloxi and Gulfport, right on the Gulf, though, people whose families had lived in houses there for 100 years and had them totally destroyed as well as everything in them.

About 10 miles past Collins, we heard what sounded like a logging operation off in the trees to our right and then saw an opening where a truck was being loaded with logs. We stopped to see how it was done - see the pictures below for details. The foreman supervising the operation said that these logs would be processed into paper, and that there was some fluffing process that sometimes made them into diapers as well! His trucks went to nearby Monticello for processing. It was very interesting to watch, after seeing so many of these trucks pass us in the past few weeks. The last 2 or 3 days we had seen fewer trucks filled with logs and more trucks filled with wood chips. Both kinds of trucks always left a heavenly pine smell in the air when they passed. We've also seen a big increase in the number of WalMart trucks passing us in the last few days.

A little before noon, the sky started to clear up and the sun started blazing. The afternoon gusty head wind kicked in on schedule, but even that did little to cool us down. It was very hot and humid. We didn't see a temperature reading but it must have been in the high 80s. Even after such a short day, we were glad to see our motel shortly after we pulled into Prentiss. There were a few sprinkles earlier in the morning, but no sign of the storms that had been predicted. We'll see if they turn up tonight or tomorrow. After 6 days on the bike, we're looking forward to our weekly day of rest tomorrow. Almost forgot - the lady in Collins told us there was a Rail-to-Trail(an old railroad line that's been converted to a walking/biking trail) that ran from Prentiss to Hattiesburg. We saw the Prentiss end of it a couple of blocks from our motel; maybe we'll take a little ride on it tomorrow. Unfortunately, bike trails almost never go where we're headed.

Just some trees by the road

Thick, gray clouds all morning

Today's road - 4-lane, divided highway, no rumbles, some shoulder

More scenery along the road

Silos and farm buildings

A small stream

A tempting road sign, but Pat kept us on-route to Collins

The road ahead - it was very hot, humid, and hazy

A spectacular tree

One of the bigger hills of the day

A building in Collins - this haze may have been partly condensation from the camera

A cute sign in front of a florist's shop in Collins

A big farm equipment lot outside Collins

Filling a logging truck, step one: grab some trees from the pile

Shake off all but one and put it in the scraper gizmo

Pull it back and forth through the scraper to clean it off

Place it in the logging truck

Pat chats with the manager of the operation

Another road picture - the haze has cleared up, still hot and humid

We are now in Jefferson Davis County

The view ahead

Our welcome to Prentiss - note the Rails to Trails symbol at the bottom

Pretty purple flowers by the side of the road