Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Great Bike Ride – Day 25

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Our journey today was a short 287 miles, but it felt like more. We started out from Westlake LA after spending a restful night at the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel. The first 150 miles or so was an easy ride on the I-10 freeway. Then we reached the causeway over the southwestern edge of Lake Pontchartrain and traffic came to a halt. Turns out the DOT was striping the road. Seems like they could have found a better time.

After a quick stop at the HD dealer on the outskirts of New Orleans, we headed into the city. John served as our tour guide, taking us to the St Charles district as well as the French Quarter. For some reason, they don't let bikes park around there, so we just rode around taking in the sights. It was hot and humid, and we soon decided to get out of the city.

When we got back to the previously mentioned causeway, traffic was stopped again. I thought it was incredibly bad luck to get caught again by the stripers, but after a half-dozen police cars and a couple of squad trucks roared by on the berm, we knew it was an accident. We were stuck for a good while - maybe an hour.

Then when we finally got to move, the shifter peg fell off my bike. I pulled the bike over, and since traffic was still moving slowly, I could walk back, stop traffic, retrieve the peg, and reinstall it. However, John and Buss were now far ahead with no place to pull over to wait for me. We had already communicated our next stop, and I could run down the freeway with confidence that eventually I would catch up with them. It's good to ride with experienced and trusted friends.

Dinner was special tonight. Besides the fact that we actually had a dinner (last night was peanuts and crackers), we connected up with John's friends, Noel and Joyce Binder. Noel was a crewman on the USS Kearsarge (CV-33), the ship on which John also served, and both are members of the ship association. They took us to a place called Catfish Joe's, where we had what we all thought was the best meal of the trip. I even had gator as a starter. They were great company as well. Good to have met them.

We have now officially started the final side of the square, and are heading towards home. We had a group discussion last night, and decided to forgo Mobile and Pensacola and instead run the Natchez Trace from Natchez MS to Nashville. John had long wanted to do this, and Buss heard it was a good run as well. We also have some serious rain coming in from the Atlantic to the Gulf that would likely intercept us in Florida if we continue east. So we'll be heading to Natchez in the morning.

Total mileage for the trip is now just over 7,000, and we are less than 1,000 to home according to my mapping software. My rear tire, which was installed new before we left, is now down to about 4/32nds of tread.

My butt feels the same way.

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