Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and into North Carolina. The childhood mnemonic rhymes come in useful when travelling through these parts. I decided to make the two day run to North Carolina and ride the infamous ‘Tail of the Dragon”. 318 curves in an 11 mile stretch! But that is for later, right now I finished a long ride through Louisiana and into Mississippi.
I decided yesterday morning to buy a road atlas. I felt like I was breaking my own road rule. Getting soft! My reasoning was pretty simple though. Interstate road travel is quick. You put on a lot of miles in a hurry and pulling over to the roadside every so often is not an option. Cruising along well over 80 miles an hour with truck and trailer traffic. The turbulence they produce can be challenging. Having a clearer idea of a game plan and a map made sense.
Bayous, swamps and lakes. Interstate 10 East through Louisiana was visually inspiring. Foggy morning start that was a little cool. Heated grips and vest were very welcome. From Lafayette to Baton Rouge is a 30 mile stretch of road that only Anne Rice could describe. The highway is elevated about 30 feet off the water, swamp, bayou. Concrete pillars lift the highway so you can seen right underneath the structure. Two lanes going in each direction, but they are completely separate and 100 feet apart. 4 foot guardrails are the only thing between you and a swim. Lichen covered trees everywhere lining the road and the fog hanging around just to add to the effect.
The fog lifted after Baton Rouge. I crossed over the huge Mississippi River and got back to roads less traveled. Heading onto Louisiana 21 North which turns into Mississippi 26 East. After three hours on the interstate this was a great change.
Mississippi is covered in forests? I had no idea that the forestry industry is so big in this state. Pine trees and hardwoods are everywhere. Small towns, Lumberton and Poplarville are an instant introduction to the areas history in lumber mills. The city of Hattiesburg is bustling. Clean and perfectly manicured. Car lots are full of new vehicles and at no time did I see boarded up shops and restaurants that I have seen in my travels. I did start to see some of the historic segregation. Even now as you ride across the railroad tracks, cities and towns noticeably move from white to black. It feels more like a comfort of culture rather than race. Churches and communities built around the people living in them.
I made some great distance yesterday and I am leaving this morning half way to the Carolinas. I will travel through three different states today and overnight in Tennessee. Sun is shinning and I am thinking about the weather at home…