Silsbee Texas to DeRidder Louisiana
Brace for weather. I don’t usually look at my weather app. To tell you the truth, there really hasn’t been a lot of reason to look at it. Due to the storm that blew in behind me yesterday, I figured I’d better have a look. According to the app, I’m dry until noon then things will likely get wet, possibly very wet. The forecast at noon is 40% chance of rain, increasing throughout the afternoon to 90% by 5pm. I was planning to do another 60 miles or so today and camp tonight. I’m revising that plan as I write this. I think I’d be smart to try and make it 73 miles (to DeRider Louisiana) and get a hotel room again tonight. That’s the plan. One thing I have learned about cross-country travel by bicycle, plans are just that. Often the best laid plans somehow manage to get changed.
End of the day
Louisiana greeted me with a downpour about 10 miles in. I consider myself lucky. It only rained for about 5 miles. It stopped with 15 miles to go before reaching DeRidder. By the time I got to DeRidder, I was mostly dry. In Arizona they say “but it’s a dry heat.” I don’t know what they say about rain in Louisiana, but based on my experience today it wouldn’t surprise me if they say “but it’s a warm rain.” It was not nearly as uncomfortable as a Seattle downpour would be. Things will start cooling off as we get into November, so I’m told.
DeRidder doesn’t have a bookstore, or a bike shop, so I won’t dally here. They do have a liquor store (of course every town has one of those). This one was well stocked. Tomorrow my flask will be carrying Barrel Finish Select Woodford Reserve Double Oaked bourbon. What doesn’t fit in the flask is my reward tonight for surviving the second rainstorm of the trip. That is something worth toasting; the surviving, and the fact that there have only been two. (Note the use of a semi-colon, the first one on this blog - I’ll have to toast that as well.)
This is day seven out of Austin. My body is beginning to need a rest day. I’m hoping that when I arrive at Chicot State Park on Friday, the weather will permit camping for a couple of nights. I’m just playing this day-by-day at this point. I won’t see a large town (10,000 population) until I get to Alabama. I won’t see a big town (50,000 population) until I get to Pensacola, Florida. The Southern Tier bicycle route is a pretty rural affair.
Now that I am out of Texas, things have change. The humidity is way up, the terrain is flat, and there is a lot more water in the form of creeks and streams. I’m guessing the water will become even more prevalent. Today I saw my first road-side crawfish shack. I didn’t stop. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t even tempted. I also passed a Cajun Snack Shack, but I didn’t stop there either. Before this is over I will have grits and hush puppies for sure, if I can get them without catfish. Kolaches are big here. That’s a fancy name for a hot dog in a pastry bun.
Louisiana, where the roads are narrow and the shoulders non-existent.