Thursday, September 15, 2016

146: Swimming across Central Louisiana

Just open road
Roger and I spent the day swimming across central Louisiana. Not swimming, literally, but if you've ever been to the Gulf Coast in the summer time, you know what I mean. It's still pretty warm, and very humid, so you just sort of get sweaty and sticky and that's really all you say about it. No matter - it is what it is and you keep turning the cranks regardless.  At least while we are moving, it's not too bad.

We left Pineville on the outskirts of Alexandria this morning about 7:40. Not early enough to miss rush hour, that is for sure. Due to the rivers, bayous, and freeway configuration, we really only had one route out of town, and it was booming. Very yucky start to the day - lots of exhaust, so tricky merges and intersections, and bad road and littered shoulders to boot. I thought, "wow - this is going to be a really nasty day!"  But a local cyclist saw us coming through the intersection, turned around, and gave us some encouragement when he said the balance of our route would be relatively light traffic and good shoulders.

And, it pretty much was - except for when it wasn't!  Every now and then, Roger almost stopped in a lurch when the shoulder gave way or he accidentally wandered onto the rumble strip. Ow! It keeps you on your toes, I guess.
Is there a 'gator lurking there?

Another element that provides a little frisson of excitement to one's cycling is the knowledge that there are these little sloughs and swamps just off the road everywhere, and who knows what might be lurking there!  Roger keeps asking if we could see an alligator, and while I suspect the odds are no better than our seeing a bear in the Northwest (which we never did), I guess it's still possible.  We are in their home range, after all.
They are attracted to light colors

Much more likely to show up, and a bit of a nuisance, are the love bugs. These little guys do not bite or sting, but they are everywhere right now, and so we are riding through the flights with our mouths closed tightly.  When I was a kid, some folks used a bit raunchier term for them (I will let you figure it out) because, yes - just as it seems - they really are "doing it" all day long. I had to look them up to confirm this; you are welcome to check my work!  The only real damage they do is messing up your car's finish, and since the bike's not painted, I guess we are in the clear there.

in them ol' cotton fields back home . . . 
As we went past the airfield yesterday on our way in, we saw big signs for FEMA. At both hotels we've been in, there have been guests who did not have anywhere else to go. The manager says that pretty much everyone has returned home now, but it will take a long time before things are returned to normal. In the thick of it, he had a guest that went out each day north, and then south, and then came back to report how far he could get as the cities flooded and the roads closed.  We are taking a different route than we'd otherwise go because of a bridge that's been closed since the flood. Even up north, in Shreveport, the city was water logged.  It's hard to believe now - everything looks just normal. But some folks will have years of work to do before their lives are back to anything nearly approaching normal.

And then, of course, there is the cotton!  Rolled past big fields of cotton today. When that cotton field gets rotten, you can't pick any more cotton!

The day's report:  Alexandria to Leesville, 49.9 miles/7217 to date

Here's the route for the day

A bonus photo for you, just because I loved these paintings so much!  We had wandered over to the local cafe (the only place in walking distance) and got there just as they were closing!  Yikes!  Did not know they closed after lunch.  Anyway, they were nice enough to let us order to go, and so our dinner today was soup, salad and sandwiches, all of which were very good.  Plus pie!

There's just something about the cows - love 'em!


  1. Just love your blog. Can't believe you are in Texas. Enjoy your family down time. See you in California in Late October. Hugs from Gail and I.

  2. Just love your blog. Can't believe you are in Texas. Enjoy your family down time. See you in California in Late October. Hugs from Gail and I.


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