Today was the type of day that we had dreamed of when we set out on this tour. It was a short hop (40 miles) from “Fast Food Kingdom” (“FFK”) down to the coast and along to Long Beach, Mississippi, our stop for the night.
The day started well. Not only were we excited to be cycling out of “FFK”, but we also found that the sun was shining, so much so that we didn’t need our winter hats and gloves. Kat even shed her legwarmers (mainly because they kept falling down rather than because she was too warm). Toasty. We had bittersweet feelings when we found Ocean Springs, a lovely little town only about 10 miles down the road, with cute cafes, restaurants, shops etc. We had been planning to stay there but had rescheduled to save a day on our route into New Orleans. Oh well…you win some, you lose some…
It was a tad early to stop, so we pedalled on, only for Kat to get a puncture just as we were about to cross over a rather long and busy bridge. However, nothing would get us down today, and we were soon on our way again. A bit later and we found ourselves in the middle of Biloxi, Mississippi’s version of Las Vegas. Rather like Vegas, Biloxi is not particularly cycle-friendly. The 6-lane highway had no shoulder at all, and unfortunately for us we had arrived just around lunchtime. After pootling along on the sidewalk, on and off the kerb, through piles of sand etc for a couple of miles, eagle-eyed Anthony spotted a great path starting on the other side of the road, right next to the beach. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The remaining 15 or so miles were spent cycling next to an expanse of white sand and clear blue sea (Mississippi - who'd have thought it), along a promenade which runs right from Biloxi through to Long Beach, with a few gaps where they are still constructing it. Yes, we should mention that this whole stretch of coastline was the worst hit when Hurricane Katrina arrived in 2006 (yes, Kat is definitely using “Kat” rather than “Katrina” for a while). While New Orleans, as we all know and as was very well publicised, met with real disaster, the cause of its suffering was flooding. This area of Mississippi was actually hit directly by the storm, and most of the bridges (including the ones that we used today) as well as many of the buildings, were razed to the ground. They are still rebuilding. And we were grateful today for the progress that they have made, even if some of the guys working on the prom did have a bit of a chuckle at us as we passed by…
Tonight, we were ecstatic to find a Chinese restaurant to get our take-out…yay, no pizza or burgers for us tonight, and even a liquor store for some wine. This evening has also involved Anthony carrying out some fairly major bike maintenance following the various punctures we have been getting, and the rate at which we are getting through our tyres. We did stop off at a bike shop earlier today, Competition Sports in Gulfport, to stock up on some supplies, and because Kat’s tyres really need to be changed. Thanks to Jeff for his recommendations and info.
Tomorrow, we’re off to the Big Easy… we can’t wait.