I have to preface this blog by addressing yesterdays. This morning I woke up to a text from my friend Amy, pointing out a contradiction I had made. Towards the beginning of the post I emphasized the importance of maintaining a presence and living in the moment. Later on I wrote about my urge to breeze through the next 600 miles in order to see my sister essentially eliminating any sort of presence between here and my goal. Well today I was present. I had no idea of the undeniable beauty Southern Mississippi possesses. Maybe it was the fact that I slept in a storage barn the night before, or the sugar rush I was feeling after 5 Cadbury eggs, but the Gulf coast had an inconceivably alluring quality about it today. I felt compelled to get off my bike and dig my toes into the sand. I know it’s not the Pacific, but damn I can sure taste that ocean. It smells like progress. It looks like victory. It feels like presence.
I have spent about 24 hours in this state, and within that time I have encountered some of the most curiously inquisitive folk and gazed at some of the most humbling landscapes. A vast body of water carries so much potential with it because there is now definitive end in sight. Much like the deserts or the west, this land is brimming with life; and much like the deserts of the west, that like is difficult to find. Gulfport and Biloxi were overflowing with casinos. As a result I spent most of my time marveling at the liquid abyss.
Mississippi reignited my love for the waters and reminded me how much fun it is to ride across a bridge. I must add that that state was very accommodating towards cyclists. Everyone warned me otherwise. Prior to crossing the state line, I had envisioned gnarly, angry drivers cursing at me as I rode on beds of glass and nails. Not the case at all. The roads are much smoother than Louisiana’s and there was actually a bike lane for a short stint.
Now I’m in Alabama. Great Bay to be exact. I have some work to do here. My bicycle feels odd. Something isn’t right. After the crash it just hasn’t ridden the same. I feared this would be a reality and tonight I will have to try to pinpoint and rectify the problem. Luckily it’s a balmy 40⁰ out so that should be fun. I also found a patch of woods that isn’t deceptively swamp, so I can finally sleep in my hammock. Last night I planned to do that. I found a nice patch of woods and as I walked closer to it, I ended up ankle deep in mud. At least I hope it was mud. It smelled like poop. Ok it was poop.
I listen to a podcast called the Duncan Trussell Family Hour. Duncan is a stand-up comedian/ explorer of the mind. It’s a thought provoking podcast and keeps me sane on longer rides. This episode is pretty impactful. At least it was for me. I highly recommend listening to it. Basically he says goodbye to his dying mother on her deathbed. Yeah, it’s pretty powerful. Ugh. I love you, Mom.
Total Ascent: 881 ft.