Friday, October 30, 2009

Hitting Bottom

If Port Gibson ever gets something going, Oak Square Plantation will be an extraordinary place to stay. As it is, it's really a great place.

On top of being beautiful and very comfortable, they had wifi (which enabled me to post last night's entry). They also did a great breakfast this morning for RandoGirl and me.

The owner ate with us, telling us about some great places to see in town. We intended to stop by them, but as we rolled out of the driveway the clouds were looking foreboding and the breeze was getting blustery, so we instead hit the road.

The rain held off until we got onto the Trace itself, but then came in with a vengeance. The wind was pushing us back towards Nashville, and within a couple of miles were were soaked and chilled to the bone.

Fortunately, we only had just over 40 miles to ride by then, so we worked our way thru the first half of the trip and stopped at a rest area for a short break. RandoGirl went inside the bathroom to squeeze the water out of her socks, and I watched the rain while eating a quick candy bar.

By the time she came out, we were both freezing again. We had no sooner mounted up and started down the road, however, when we realized the front tire was flat. We turned quickly around and went back to the rest area, wheeling the bike into the men's bathroom. There, dry and relatively warm, we quickly changed the tire and got back on the road.

At first, it was hard to get moving, but when we decided it was either bike hard or freeze, the miles started clicking by. Within 30 minutes we were passing mile marker 10.

Although the rain never eased up, our mood lightened as the single-digit mile markers passed. We kept noticing just how much the Trace at the bottom looked just like the Trace at the top, although the hills were generally milder. The signs were similar, the bridges and overpasses almost identical, and the rest areas were virtually interchangeable.

When we passed by the southern terminus sign, it looked just like the one at the northern terminus. We quickly pulled over in the rain to film one final movie.

You know you're cold when you can't talk.

Traffic was light but somewhat ill-tempered as we headed into town. A few cars passed us in less-than-perfect spots, as if they were the ones getting soaked by the rain and were in a hurry to get somewhere. Also, I had originally programmed our route to let us stop at Under The Hill, so we actually went almost right past our hotel once before we wound up at the river. From there, we stopped, looked at a map, and figured out how to get to the hotel. It took a lot of turns, and a couple of blocks walking the bike down the sidewalk, but we finally got there.

As we were checking in, a lady came in to ask us about our bike. Her name was Amarins Harrison, and she was actually touring on a quintuple Co-Motion (that's a bike built for five) with her husband and three kids. They had started in Kentucky, ridden to Charleston, SC, then gone down to Pensacola, FL, and had arrived at Natchez the day before. From there, they planned to head west, and then eventually north to Alaska. She was impressed by our 90-mile-plus days, but we were much more impressed with what she and her family was doing. The wealth of memories that this kind of trip would give to a family makes me incredibly envious.

After we checked in and got the bike put away, RandoGirl and I shivered our way to our room.

RandoGirl had to be careful taking these pictures, as our stuff was soon strewn all about.

A couple of long, hot showers later, finally wrapped in warm dry clothes, we soon headed down the street for coffee and hot soup. Thus reinforced, when we noticed that the rain outside has eased, we started walking towards the river.

Unfortunately, the rain was far from over, and we had to dodge the drops as we passed various barbecue joints heading back towards our hotel.

Smart pig -- he wasn't out there walking around in the rain wearing biking sandals.

1 comment:

  1. Splendid accounting of your adventure! Thanks for sharing it.