Pat and Sari's Honeymoon Bike Ride

Monday, March 31, 2008
Magnolia, MS to Saint Francisville, LA
66 miles (1482 total miles)

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.

The morning roadside and looming clouds

Pasture lands

Mississippi's seat belt sign looked a lot like Alabama's

We didn't see any cows crossing the road, unfortunately

Here's the belated Mississippi welcome, at the LA border

Here's the only welcome we got to Louisiana

And this is proof that we really are in LA

One of the big ranches we went by

Cattle in the field at the Circle H

LA woods

One of the LA roads we were on

One of the cutest highway signs we've seen this trip!

The Amite River, looking pretty dry

A new wildflower along the LA roads - can anyone tell us what it is?

Storefronts in historic Clinton, LS

Gorgeous azaleas in Clinton

A spectacular tree in front of the court house

The front of the court house

A plaque about the court house

A mural across the street from the court house

LA pasture lands

An old railroad car in historic Jackson, LA

The entrance to our campgrounds

One of our close neighbors

Another neighbor, already settled in for the night

A wall of wisteria by the pond

Our tent across the pond