I started from Savannah to get back on the trail due to a detour from
the river ferry being closed. I always cringe at thought of having to
find my way to an unfamiliar trail. I think it took me a better part
of an hour with the help of some locals to find it comparing my maps
to their phonebook.
on the trail it was nothing but dirt roads and winding hills. I crossed
into Mississippi and noticed immediately the roads were less maintained
yet better marked. I now needed to change my roll chart and maps. Something
that should take about 15 minutes, but since I was tired from the 85
degree weather and the ride, I rolled incorrectly, I put it on backwards,
wasting 20 more minutes, but it is always good to laugh out loud!
get on the trail and still a bit out of it, I turned when I should have
gone straight and ended up going into nothing but tight trails and deep
red clay mud. I kept thinking, if this is what the Mississippi section
is going to be like, it is going to be one long state. I get to a pond
and realize I must have made a wrong turn so I head back up a very steep
rutted slope. I misjudge a rut and got the back tire stuck and the bike
sideways in the trail. Now it is like 99% humidity, mosquitos and I
should have taken a break 50 miles ago, "how could I have messed
this up"? I ended up tipping the bike, but fortunately it is tipped
up hill. So I get off and lift the bike up, then pull the front tire
back down the hill. I hop on just before the bike can get away and coast
down the hill. On the second attempt I make it up just to find a hillbilly
getting out of his Chrysler K Car (and I thought they all drove pickups)
with an unhappy look. All he keeps saying is "You better start
reading the signs, this is private property" I apologize but he
just says it again. I don't know which I was more fearful of, the old
man or driving through that deep red clay mud.
get my bearings corrected and I continue on through poor farming areas
of Ole' Mississippi. I think these hologram goggles are something of
a blessing, if anyone would see them they just stare like I am some
Martian or kind of like a savage mask to scare away all the evil spirits.
continue on for a few hours and come to one of my many turns and it
has a road closed sign. I look at my roll charts and maps again carefully,
but this IS the turn. I decide to go around the barricade and risk any
troubles with a torn up road. No more than 5 miles later I see a big
mound of dirt and a sign that says, "Bridge Closed". I park
the bike and take a look. It was either a big tractor or a rain storm
that washed out the first quarter of the bridge. I test out the bridge
and it feels plenty sturdy. I guess you wouldn't take a car across,
but a bike is just fine. I go another 5 miles and come to the gas stop.
Unfortunately, since Sam's last update 2 years ago, it is now a gravel
graded highway under construction. I am down to my last half gallon
of gas, so I stop at a police officer's house and get directions for
gas. By now I am thinking I need to go and meet Sam. I ask at the gas
station where Madison, Mississippi is and they say, "it's about
3 howa frome heya". I tell them about the trip and they are amazed
to hear about it and that the destination is Oregon.
I try and see how far I can get before dark as it was already 6:30.
I get to the beautiful university town of Oxford, MS at 7:30. Oxford
it turns out is where Sam went to school to become a pharmacist. I now
have Sprint PCS coverage here so I give Sam a call and ask him if I
could come over on Saturday since it is getting so late. He agrees and
I check into a motel for some serious R&R.
I drive down to see Sam and have me a good ole' catfish dinner. He was
such a host and allowed me a spot to update my web site in his pharmacy.
I plan to leave bright and early tomorrow and drive north by highway
3 hours and reconnect with the trail.