Cycling thru the heritage or rural America, swamps and dense pine forests on our endevour to Ride Around the World (RTW) and see Gods Creation, what a great ride it has beenfor the most part. Some minor discomforts, to be expected. And some minor annoyances as well, also to be expected. An RTW would not happen without a portion at least of both, God sees fit to wrap both discomfort and annoyance in sunshine, bluesky etc. Making it all easier to tolerate.
Jeremiah in preparing to leave the small Alabama town of Marion, took his host and teacher friend out for supper at Lotties Soul Food Restaurant in Marion. What a great meal, if ever thru that way be sure to try it out, you wont be dissappointed. The plan was to be up and out of town early, but broken glasses sort of had us make a few departure changes. The eye-glass repairs took until 11.00pm to finally get it all wrapped up. Under a bright blue sky and crisp winter air, Jeremiah finally turned a crank taking him further west. Pretty much took State Road 14 west, but for a few kinks and turns. Rode thru the day with a small steady bump sensation from the backtire ( bells should have been going off ) stopped a little early and pulled the rear wheel for a reset and inspection…..all looks fine.
Got up early again the following morning, just rolled up camp without bothering to eat. I find that Iam really loosing my appetite and it happens at both ends of the day pretty much. Its not because I load up during lunch in town, thats not my routine. Just a lose of appetite……could it possibly be my cooking? Yeah, didn’t think so……must be my colon needs cleansing. The day greeted me with slate grey sky and a soft damp breeze. Jeremiahs inner weather forecaster was predicting rain by noon. God however had different intentions, and by nokn I was as stripped of as can be and still legal. The sun blazed, my face burnt, and the sweat poured. Some time around 10, pulled over at a tiny poorly stocked roadside store and bought a cup of coffee. Sat there in a cane seated rocker, wood floor with all the ancestral creaks, chipped and peeling paint, looking out windows that needed a serious cleaning………and two very elderly black fellas playing checkers not 6 feet from me. They bantered back and forth, they would laugh and slap thier leg when they pulled of a surprise move that the other was not expecting. They discussed Morty’s sick hog, whoever he is. The grand daughters “bad missbeehavin chillens”, Lordy the yungins dont got no respec fo nuttin dees daze. Sorry folks, but it was just too much for Jeremiah to handle, the muted interior colors, the shadows, the characters…….it required an image or maybe 2…….but I soon found, that very suggestion also snapped the magical spell that had kept the tiny store wrapped in a time envelope. Both players refused the request with much animation, one would soon get up and leave as a result.
Further on down the road, I passed by a Rodeo Complex which was part og East Mississippi College complex. Dang I thought, I better not pass that up, first sort of sight in almost 9 months. So, I roll up by the big front doors, park my bike and look around for someone to snap a pic for me. I done that and more. As it turned out the rodeo coach’s name is Goodyear. He actually rodeoed in my hometown of Coalinga california, and was on the West Hills College rodeo team for Bruce Hunt. He had met another freind of ours, Jason Clark when he competed against Salinas Hartnell College. He knew the secret town name for the backroad that I live on……the State calls it #198…….while the locals call in “whindyeight”. He had been up the canyon and branded calves at the Johnsons. Once again, I was shown just how small the world really is……..pssh, and someone expects us to believe they never heard of the Bible nor the promise of Salvation………right. the latter part lf this day had us riding into a stiff headwind and much bigger steeper hills. Quiting by days end, felt very good.
Rolled out early, grey sky greeted us for a second day and like the previous day the cloud parted for afternoon sun. Just not near as warm. We rode all day, had 2 cups of coffee was all for breaks. Never took a single picture, just rode. Racked up 93 miles with mostly headwind and hills. Jeremiahs camp for the night was nestled into some trees with 4″ or more of leaves to lay on, gfeat sleep. Camp was within 3 miles of Canton Mississippi, so we had decided to have a full brakfast in town that morning. Gotta say, I could spend sometime around Canton, very pretty little town. Lots of antique and junk shops, many little restaurants, and a beautiful town square repleat with a stately white Courthouse.
Someplace along the road after leaving Canton. I noticex a fella out fencing, by himself, digging and setting posts. Decided I would walk kver, say hello maybe take a few pics if it worked out. Thin, taunt muscles, the dirt that comes with an honest days work was this mans business suit, and it fit him like a piece tailored for him. “Eyebe Dan Brown, eyebe jiss a workin an’a prayin upin cheer” . Took me a moment to decode and figure out just what was said, but before long we could converse. Jeremiah learns languages quick. “Yessir, eyebe 75 yeahs old heer ness week, doon never drink no smok……ahh tinks dat’s da reesin eyebe guud shape like ah is”. Couldnt argue with Dans medical observation, he was in great shape, and spent his time Prayin while he worked……dont think that hurt his healthcare orogram none either.
It was the word “BISQUIT” that caught my eye. A small locally owned establishment that is part of the central town square. Jeremiah was not looking for yet another danged morning franchise place…….Jeremiah was longing for a “just like Mom cooks breakfast”. The Frisky Bisquit was the place, hoppin busy, and smikes all around as folks got thier meals. Mine was great, most dishes had a bit of a cajun twist to them, a little spice, some chickory in the coffee etc, making for a fine meal and a fun stop. Sat at the counter, had a great visit with a fellow who would love to do just what I am doing. Fear would be his main opponent in making it all hzppen, fear of the unknown out on the road in far away lands…..a very real concern, and then fear of what his wife and family would say…….this one amazed me as I pondered that and promptly excused myself. I knew from past expierience that I could help this young fella (maybe 35-40). Jeremiah returned with what was left of his roll of silvery ductape……….take this I said, if properly applied it will solve things a marrizge councellor can’t…..its yours for free son, good luck! I noticed as I stood, the felka had alot of small red marks on the back of his neck above his shirt collar…….strange……those look like hen pecks.
Closed out the day with many more hills, the sunshine gave way its lofty moorings to heavy grey cloud that boiled in the sky. My rode took me further and further west, closer to my own loved ones and home. Gone for 9 months, maybe 11 by the time I got home……..I just knew that Collens tape would be due for replacement. Camp that night was not the best, but we ditched around the tent, staked out the corners incase she came a toad strangler ( for my European readers, that is an American term for a big rain event). Just a lot of wind to start and then a long slow drizzle till early morning.
Not but 5 miles to Vicksburg, as we headed that direction it all began again…..that rythmic bump in my backwheel. Pulled over in Vicksburg, let the air out of the back wheel and pumped it up again, thinking that the tire bead was not fully seated. Sprinted across the I-20 bridge, some 3 miles total. Took a turn off on the old highway 80 headed for Monroe. By the time I got to Tallulah, the thumping had become pronounced, but still I could see nothing as a cause. Just another 5 miles or so down the road and it would all become very clear. The sidewall of the sturdy aluminum rim would collapse, sending a chard into the brake pad which inturn would hold it fast while the knife edge of that section slashed a groove into the sidewall of my tire. The rim, missing a huge section, the tire slashed but not fully thru…..and quite a few miles yet till Monroe. Just kept chugging towards Monroe sincd it was the only place close with a bike store. Rolled into town that evening about 5.15.
Many thanks to David, owner of Bike Solutions as he will rebuild my back wheel for me. Thanks to Danny from my hometown bike store back in California, Rubber Soul Bike Store, he helped source the rim for us. With any luck I will be rolling out of Monroe tomorrow Wednesday the 4th, “Shirley Surly” and Jeremiah will be closing the gap on thier round the world escapade with sunshine in thier faces and a Prayer on thier lips.
Wed 28, left Marionat 11.45am Had to get my glasses fixed before I could leave. Took rd 14 all the way thru Greensboro etc, turned onto 39 headed toward Dekalb. Set camp at 67 mile mark, good day considering I left late. Also had to take back wheel off again to try and reseat the tire, no flat, just a steady bounce because of poor tire seating
Thurs 29, up and riding by 7.45. Day started cloudy lookin like rain. Had coffee in a 4 house town at fork in the road, sat in pretty sparce general store in an old cane seat rocker watching two old black fellas play checkers as i sipped my coffee. Tried for a picture but they would have none of it. Stopped at East Mississippi College rodeo grounds for a quick pic and met coach Goodyear and his wife. Turns out he rodeoed at West Hills for Bruce Hunt in 87 and 88 and knew Jason Clark art Hatnell. Camped about 15 miles from philidelphia ms, talked for 2.5 hrs on phone with john temple today. Total miles 55 today, many big hills and mucho wind today.
Fri 30, pretty much just rode all day. Not one picture and met no one. Done 93 miles, camped in the trees on the side of the road.
Sat 31, up and going in good time. Rode into Canton, very nice town. I could spend a few dayz here hunting junk and antiques. Nice old town square. Had a great breakfast at “The Frisky Bisquit” xuperb if ever thru Canton and right on the square. Had a visit with Mike while sat at the counter having breakfast. He wants so much to do my trip, but on a motorcycle….hes just afraid what all his friends would say. Rode on, met and visited with some cyclists on a day trip. Further down theroad mdt 75 year olx Dan Brown, no smoke, no drink and work 6 day week give the Lord the7th day. Rode on thru Edwards out on Old Hsy80, very rough, talked to Wilson a color fella about my age out gettin exercise…..no pic. Covered 64 miles today. Lookin like rain maybe tonight.