I’m sleeping under a house on stilts on an island in Alabama. Well not right now. Right now I’m about to be sleeping under a house on stilts on an island in Alabama. I didn’t even know there were any islands in Alabama before now.
Let’s do whatever they do to Bruce Willis in 12 Monkeys and go back to when Kelley is hooking up biscuits, fried chicken and gravy for breakfast. The coffee is on point too. The chats with 14 year old Mason are on point, three. He’s definitely more in touch with his reality than most kids his age, and probably more than a good amount of adults. I appreciate when parents parent and it shows in their children. It’s something that is much needed. It also reminds me why I’m not a parent. It’s apparent. Anyway. Both Kelley and Mason are awesome people and I wish them the best. I’m so happy to have met them and hope they come visit me in the Western New York area sometime. I thank them for their extraordinary generosity and hospitality; Kelley takes a selfie; we head back up US Route 90 for the second straight day. Also, for the second straight day, The Meters and A Tribe Called Quest dominate the Sunday morning airwaves.
Beaches and boardwalks along the coastal towns of Mississippi populate the forward progress we make into a steady headwind. Pass Christian. Gulfport. Biloxi. We have a gorgeous view right on the Gulf of Mexico. Mardi Gras Mambo leads into Award Tour as funky grooves blare loudly while I cruise along. Through about 80 total miles in Mississippi over two days, we encounter six Walmarts and thirteen — yes thirteen — Waffle Houses. No waffles, thanks, but we’ve got a hefty serving of mileage on the plate for today; it’s smooth sailing for the first 45 or 50, near the beach… boy!
I catch a goddamned flat. I don’t feel like patching it on the side of the road so I replace the tube with my last new tube and keep it moving, to the K.I.M.. With only another mile left in Mississippi, we make yet another pilgrimage to the aforementioned sixth Walmart and I grab the last 700c tube on the shelf. It’s not as robust as some other Walmarts but it’s just as entertaining out front of this one. Let’s call it season two. Or maybe three? I dunno. Some dude is walking along the storefront, running his mouth to a couple Walmart employees who walk 6 feet closer to the storefront and run their mouth back — and for some reason they aren’t allowed to cross a line just outside the front door. Walmart straight got their employees on Pavlovian lockdown. It’s kinda like if one of the many dogs that barks at me were to come running and get zapped by an electric fence or something.
1/2 mile up and I get another flat. What the fuck. Mississippi ain’t trying to let me leave, yo. The entire seam is blown out. Cheap tube that cost me $10 at some bike shop in Gonzales. I pop in the $5 Walmart tube I just copped ten minute ago and hope for the best.
We finally make it to our seventh state, Alabama. I am out of spare tubes so I’m hoping it’s a sweet home for me. At least for one night.
It’s getting late in the day. A 95 mile day. The sun’s getting low big guy. I’m getting tired little ones. Riding and writing. I’ve acquired permission to set up camp under a house on stilts on a small island called Dauphin Island Alabama. There’s not much beside bayou before that. With ten miles left and the sun setting in 30 minutes we decide to go for it.
This bridge and the sun set provide inspiration and motivation to finish strong. The bugs do not. But we make it. And I’m exhausted so y’all get no more words today. The photos will do the speaking, I’m going to do the sleeping.