Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride
Monday, March 31, 2008
Two milestones today - we entered Louisiana, our 11th state, and we completed our first month of traveling! It was a long day - 66 miles - and we started late, given we had been camping and had to pack up the tent before we left. We had a nice breakfast at a cafe in Magnolia but the service was very slow. We finally got on the road at 8:50; we made it to our campsite in Saint Francisville, LA by 4:50, having made excellent time, mostly due to the relatively flat roads (most of the day) and relatively calm winds (most of the day). We were worried about the chance of thunderstorms we've had promised for days, and in fact the skies were pretty cloudy all day, but we made it through without any rain. The percent predicted for tonight is higher, so we may get rain overnight, but hopefully not when we're trying to pack up tomorrow morning.
We started out on our usual 2-lane road in MS, with wisteria dripping off lots of the trees, and azaleas blazing from almost every house - from the large, expensive ones to the modest trailers. It was windy and hilly at the beginning, but the breeze kept us cooler. The sun was very hot early on, when it was out, and it was humid, so we were grateful for the clouds and the breeze. We went on a number of small roads today, but the navigation went smoothly. The big disappointment was that, like Mississippi, Louisiana did not greet us with a welcome sign. In fact, when we got to the state border, there was a welcome sign for Mississippi going the other way! So we finally got our MS welcome sign when we left it; maybe LA will do the same. We did like LA's Rt. 10, which we were on for about 20 miles - it was smooth and had a wide shoulder for at least the first 10 miles or so. Most of the rest of the day was on narrow, sometimes rough, no-shoulder roads.
Lousiiana started out with lots of open pastures and cattle/dairy farms. Later, there were lots of dense, lush woods. There were several creeks, but many of them looked fairly dry. There were also several ponds, small lakes, and swampy areas. We did not see many towns, like yesterday, we went about 47 miles before we went through a town. We did find a place for lunch though - a gas station/food mart at an intersection of 2 roads. We found a similar place closer to our destination, where we got some ice cream and the attendant offered to fill our camel-backs with fresh water. We gladly accepted since we were running low and the water was pretty warm by then. The 2 towns we went through were both very impressive. Clinton, LA, the East Feliciana Parish county seat had a monumental court house and historic downtown section. Jackson, LA, was another lovely historic town. Unfortunately, we got to it near the end of the day and we were getting anxious to reach our campground and set up before it got too late or started to rain, so we flew by it fairly quickly.
Our campground tonight was very different from last night's. It was in a beautiful setting, had nice bathrooms, a laundry facility, an enclosed pavilion, and lots of friendly campers. We were again the only tenters, and got to set up next to the pond, which has a friendly goose and mallard duck, besides several frogs who apparently will be serenading us tonight (a much more pleasant sound than the trains we had last night). Oh, and the showers had hot water, not that there's anything wrong with an invigorating cold shower at the end of a hot day. Tomorrow will be an exciting day - we cross the Mississippi River! - and thankfully, somewhat shorter than today.