Franklinton, LA to Poplarville, MS
1020 ft of climbing
After over a month of dry riding, with the exception of our ride to Fort Davis, TX, we finally saw some weather.
After a week of high mileage riding, we're moving a bit slower in the mornings. Not on the bikes, but getting ready to go.
Thursday began with me waking up early to write and taking a break just before eight o'clock to wash up and walk across the parking lot to the Laundromat to put our clothes in to wash. While I was at it I stopped at the Dollar General next door to get milk, OJ, and a few other breakfast items.
When I got back to the hotel, I made coffee and we ate breakfast in the room. As we were about ready to leave, the skies opened up in a thunderstorm downpour. We decided to wait for it to let up before setting out.
The rain came down pretty hard for about half an hour before the storm cell passed over us. It was almost eleven before we hit the road.
Our first stop was at a CVS pharmacy where I hoped to pick up a battery for my bike computer. As we got ready to leave the drugstore, a gentleman stepped up on the curb and stopped to look at our bikes. He asked a few questions explaining he was a cyclist. We had a pleasant chat with him when I noticed a piece of jewelry around his neck that looked like the Ironman logo. I asked him about it and sure enough, he was a triathlete.
I introduced myself and he introduced himself as Raymond Miller, from Poplarville. He had recently returned from the ITU (International Triathlon Union) World Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia. I received a bid to go to worlds a couple of years ago but it was due to a technicality and I prefer earning my slot to an event requiring qualification.
We talked tri for awhile. He told me about fifty three degree water and three foot seas. Brrrrr. That's hand, foot, and head numbing water. He said he had also raced Ironman in Florida.
We had a really nice talk and exchanged e-mail addresses. We told him about our ride and gave him the blogsite address. He wished us the best of luck and looked over our route while telling us about the roads. We would be riding the roads he trains on.
As we rode off I told Chris how significant it is to qualify for worlds. My hat goes off to Raymond.
Every time a donation is made to the Lance Armstrong Foundation, using the link on the blogsite, I receive an e-mail. Raymond made his visit before dinner time. It was fun talking tri. I felt a kinship, a brotherhood of sorts with Raymond and I wish him luck in his future endeavors.
We left town not knowing exactly where we were going to stop for the night. We had hoped for a relatively low mileage day, in the sixty range, but the distances of various towns would give us either fifty or so to Poplarville, Mississippi or around eighty to Perkinston and another five, off route, for a place to stay.
We figured one town at a time was the way to go.
The night before was a ramen in the room night and we were feeling undernourished and woefully short on calories.
After about twenty five miles we came to Bogalusa, LA and stopped at Glynn's for lunch. It was cool, clean, and super good and friendly. After lunch, I managed to change yet another spoke without even removing the wheel from my bike, much less removing the tire. I am really tired of my rear wheel problems.
Having been caught out once before, in Round Top, saved only by the kindness and fortunate presence of Lenore Prud'Homme, we have learned to confirm the night's lodging during business hours.
I Googled lodging in Poplarville and found nothing at all. The way the skies were looking I was anxious to find something before Perkinston just in case. I looked on the back of the map and there was a guest cottage listed with a phone number. I called the number and it was answered by a lady at a retail store in town who introduced herself as Pam. I told her we were two cyclists who might need a place to stay in Poplarville that night. She said her parents had a guest cottage and she would call them to check availability and call us back. She called back in a couple of minutes to say it was available and give us directions. She said the door would be unlocked and gave me her father's number to call when we arrived.
We left from lunch and stopped at a service station for water on our way out of town. While we filled our bottles, the clouds opened up again. We waited for a break in the weather and off we went.
After no more than ten miles we were riding down a fairly straight farm road and looking down it, we could see the wall of rain coming. We found the thickest overhead growth we could and took refuge just as the rain hit. I have seen heavier in Ohio, Delaware, and Key Largo, but never from a bike saddle. We waited about twenty minutes and decided w might as well get going. The air temperature was around seventy degrees and pretty pleasant but a bit cool not riding. The rain continued as we began riding again but the activity warmed us right up.
Fifteen miles or so and about an hour of riding brought us to our place of refuge. It was wonderful. A lovely little three bedroom house complete with central air conditioning, satellite TV, how about those Celtics last night, a washer and dryer, and a fridge stocked with drinks.
I called the phone number Pam had provided and after a few minutes the owner, Bob Applewhite, came over to meet us and chat. Bob is a very friendly man and after settling up on the nightly fee (seventy five dollars) he insisted we use his truck to go have dinner. He recommended a couple of places, including an Italian restaurant.
We showered, relaxed a little, and headed for Deb's Pizza and Pasta. We ordered take out to bring back and watch the game. We ate a huge dinner of absolutely excellent food.
Then it was off to bed.