11/2/17 – Poplarville, LA to Ocean Springs, MS 

It poured rain till 2 AM, last night, but we stayed toasty and dry, because our campground hosts let us ‘camp’ under covered decks and patios.  And when we awoke, the skies were perfectly clear again. Ready for another day of cycling. 

We got an early start on the day, and Chris joined us, which was a first.  For most of the tour, he has ridden alone and been the first to make it to camp.  But he seems to be slowing down a bit, now that we are nearing the finish. 

If you zoom into the photo above, you’ll see Rocket, the squirrel stuffed animal on the back of his left pannier wearing Mardi Gras beads.   He also carries 2 cooking pots, a bunch of group food in the white bag hanging from of the center pot and 3 cutting sheets.  Chris is the most helpful guy in the group–always offering a hand with dinner and clean up, and always willing to carry more than his share of the group gear and food.  One other thing about Chris is that everywhere we go, the dogs and cats all come to him, so we jokingly call him The Animal Whisperer. 

With 3 of us riding, we did not stop for as many photos and breaks and kept a faster pace, which was wearing me out. Chris was riding in the rear, and I believe he caused our first stop.  

As we rode past a huge pasture that was probably 75 yards deep, we heard high pitched whinnying coming toward us and fast little hooves heading our way. It was a little white pony trying to catch up to us, followed by 2 other ponies. In what universe do ponies run to people? They stuck their noses through the fence and wanted to be patted–because The Animal Whisperer was with us, I swear. 

Back to the ride, we had to rely on GPS data instead of our maps, today, because the campground we planned to stay in for the night was so far off the Adventure Cycling route.  The problem with that is that running GPS apps on your phone burns through the battery.  During the morning, we didn’t have many turns, so it was easy to remember what was coming up ahead. But in the afternoon, the route the Google Maps bike route had so many turns in it that I ended up pulling out a handlebar mount for my iPhone and plugging into my backup power supply so I could keep the map up and hear the navigation cues.  

I ended up splitting off from Ed and Chris in the afternoon and rode by myself into Biloxi and Ocean Springs.  

All he it’s stopped to eat out in the route, so I was the first to reach Camp Journey’s End, which is an RV Park, not a kids summer camp.  The park manager was super nice. She gave me a tour of the facilities, bought me a can of Sunkist Orange soda pop and showed me where she keeps quarters for the laundry. She left the community room open for us to blog and exchange photos later. 

The pool and bathroom facilities in the RV park had some challenges. Sorry. Not providing photos of the potty issues.

Have I mentioned my voracious appetite?  I am a little worried about what is going to happen when I finish this ride and get back into my normal routine at home. Will I be able to throttle the appetite back when I throttle my activity back?  I bring this up, because lately, some of the best parts of my day involve food. 

That’s my lead in for today’s highlight:  Dinner at The Shed, a barbecue and Rhythm & Blues joint adjacent to our RV park.  

Our first clue that this was going to be a good meal was the local newsman in the parking lot, filming a segment on the Food Network’s visit to The Shed, which was underway.  

Ken ordered 3 large platters with a variety of meats and side dishes, and we had a feast.  Everything was prepared to perfection and was super delicious.  

While we ate, cameramen cruised around filming random customers, the owners and the food. There was also a little area where the producers were viewing the 2 camera angles and giving each other a lot of attaboys. 

Neal eating with a camera in his face. Awkward.
The owner being interviewed by the Food Network host.

I wished we had a restaurant like this in Phoenix, but after thinking that through, was glad we don’t.  I would want to eat there all the time, and eating out that much is not in my budget.  

After dinner, it was the normal night time routine:  Doing laundry while blogging and telling stories about our day, then off to our tents. 

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