Map of Our Natchez Trace Bike Trip

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dennis on top on an Indian Mound at Boyd's Site
Geri on the banks of the Pearl River

Day 25 - It was quite a shock going outside this morning and feeling the huge change in temperature. It definitely felt like a fall morning with cool, crisp air and clear blue skies.  The temperature was in the 50's and the humidity was low.  We were excited to finally be able to travel in seasonable weather instead of the 90+ degree summer like temperatures we had for nearly two weeks.  We found a bike shop before leaving town and I was finally able to purchase several tire tubes.  I had been traveling with only one spare ever since the triple flats we had on Sept. 17th.  "Knock on wood," we have not had any tire problems for several days now, but our gear slippage had returned.  Although the gear slipping was minor, I wanted to have it looked at.  It appears that the new drive chain I had put on in Natchez was not matching up exactly as it should to my worn rear gear cassette, so I had that replaced.  The bike shop mechanic found another problem, but I can wait until we get home and I have have my regular mechanic, Mark Pace, work on it.  Mark is a tandem bike specialists and he has been my only bike mechanic for over 10 years, except when we are on a trip.  We did not get traveling today until 11:00 AM, which was a concern for us because we had a high mileage day planned.  We left Ridgeland, MS. on the same bike trail we entered the city on.  It was a great way to get through a town that had such heavy traffic on the Natchez Trace.  The bike trail ended at the south end of Barnett Reservoir, a beautiful 50 square mile lake that we pedaled beside for many miles watching startled shore birds leap into the air as we zoomed past.  The wonderful cool weather was accompanied with a NE wind that we had to pedal against, but the thick tree cover along the Trace protected us most of the time.  Despite our need to make up time from our late start this morning, we still stopped at all historical sites and roadside exhibits.  Our favorite today was a nature trail through a Tupelo-Baldcypress swamp.  Geri searched for floating logs with eyes and nostrils, but she never found any.  By tomorrow we will probably be too far north to be looking for alligators anymore.  We passed several sections of road construction on the Parkway, but it did not slow us down and the road's surface is the smoothest road I have ever pedaled a bike on.  I want the bring these road crews back to Missouri so they can teach MODOT how to lay a road.  They are unbelievably smooth, of course, no semis are allowed on the Trace Parkway and that probably makes a huge difference.  Late in the day we enjoyed watching our shadow dance on the trees to the east from the low sun angle as we raced to Kosciusko, MS. for the night.  We were checking into a motel next to a Mexican restaurant before sunset, which made Geri extremely happy.  It was a lot more pleasant cleaning up for dinner this evening without having to remove dripping wet sweaty clothes like we have at the end of the day for nearly two weeks.  Geri went to bed with a very happy belly.  She said the restaurant we ate at had the best Mexican food she had ever eaten and Geri has had a lot of Mexican food in her life!  Even with our late start today, we still managed to cover 64 miles and averaged over 12 mi/hr.

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