Margaret and Dick   

     

    
Atlanta to Austin - Day three: Demopolis AL - Brandon MS
 

Distance:  138 miles

Rolling speed:  14.7 mph

Total time:  11:30

Calories burned:  5,459

Weather: sun with a headwind

Close encounters of the dog kind:  2

Irate motorists:  0

Other cyclists seen:  2

Roadkill report:  wide variety, but notably one Rotweiler and no cats

Sore muscles:  oh yeah

 

Our 23rd anniversary:

Not the most romantic anniversary we've ever had.  If I were asked if I'd do it again, I'd say yes in a heartbeat.  I think Dick would also say yes, but he'd probably take a longer time thinking about it.

 

Mississippi blues:

My fantasy was that today I would fly like lightning over wide smooth roads and virtually flat terrain.  The sun would shine winds would be kind.  Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind, says Ruby Tuesday, and that's about what happened today when reality intervened.  Most of Highway 80 through Mississippi uses an older road technology that effectively lays 18-foot slabs of concrete end-to-end, then covers them with more concrete to smooth it out.  It was state-of-the-art in the Eisenhower era, but it could use a little more smoothing now.  The result is a ride that goes slam! slam! slam! every 18 feet.  There were times that I thought the welds on my bike would pop, and I had no hope of my wheels making it through the day.  Me either, for that matter.  I would also like to know why Mississippi was described to me by people who know better -- you know who you are -- that Mississippi is flat.  A brisk headwind kept me company through most of the day.  In midafternoon Dick met me in Forest with a snack of pasta, nougat, banana, and V8, the locals became an impromptu cheering section (see below), and then the pavement became kinder.  

 

Atlanta to Austin BY BIKE! is a big hit in Forest:

We followed Veloman Mike's suggestion and turned our rental SUV into a rolling advertisement.  The back window says "Atlanta to Austin BY BIKE!", and the side windows say "Lance Armstrong Foundation" and "Support vehicle".  It was a big hit in Forest.  One driver pulled over to tell us how wonderful we were, how happy it made her to meet us, and to have a nice day.  A walk into the convenience store became an impromptu presentation to the locals who were all questions.   

 

People:

So many pleasant random encounters with locals.  Our description of Forest is just a snapshot.  A bicycle tourist is a conversation magnet, and a bike is a passport into anybody's yard or office to ask questions or just take a breather.  The people of Mississippi have been fabulous.

 

Day four:  137 miles to Monroe, LA, including the Mississippi bridge