Day Seventy-four, Date Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Time in Saddle: 2:49
Distance for the Day: 27.47 miles From Norco To New Orleans
Accumulated Trip Distance: 3323.85
Altitudes: Starting/Ending 270’/274’, Highest: ?? Accumulated: ??
Speeds: Avg: ?? mph, Max: ?? mph (didn’t get them, today)
Weather: Warm and somewhat humid, but not too bad
Sun rose at 6:15am. Got up at about 6am; the hammock worked great, and a light breeze made conditions very pleasant the entire night. Also, oddly, the mosquitoes seemed to be attracted a lot to the pack bags on my trike – don’t know why. Maybe they were frustrated by the mosquito net and were trying to extract some sort of buggy revenge. Anyways, I was able to get packed up without much trouble; whacked a lot of mosquitoes with a glove off of my trike, and took off at about 6:50am down Hwy 61. I stopped in at mini-mart to get supplies + a choco milk and Danish for breakfast ($14). I was also able to charge up computer and even do a light bit of blogging and email by hopping onto an unsecured wi-fi signal from a nearby business. I got a bit of bad news: the tent I’d ordered from REI, and thought was being delivered to my Warmshowers host in New Orleans, was getting sent to my home address, instead. Demitol! Now, I’ll have to have it forwarded to yet *another* future destination, probably somewhere in Florida. I’m sure to need it in the mosquito-thick south. I will have to take special care to always find places to hang my hammock, until I can get my hands on that tent. There were some stores nearby, so I went looking for rope to replace the rope I’d lost for my hammock, and for a new hand towel (I lost my red one) – can’t survive without my towel! I got the towel, and some cheap-but-good trail mix from a Family Dollar store ($3), but didn’t find any rope. I continued a little further down Hwy 61, and on the spur of the moment, I decided to try the River Rd. one more time, to try to ride atop the levy into New Orleans, now within 25 miles, or so. I left Hwy 61, and headed almost due south along State Route 626 and hit River Rd. in about a half hour. It was just the same as ever: no access to the levee, but a nice enough road; no shoulder in parts, but at least it wasn’t rush hour traffic next to huge industrial plants. Several miles down the way, I finally found a cycle path leading to the top of the levee. I was so happy, I took several pictures of it, and got the GPS location for the entry I found for it (N29° 58.465’ W90° 16.678’) (apparently, it actually starts a few miles further back, but I never saw an entry for it). It was nice. I could see the wide and mighty Mississippi River, and there was a pleasant breeze to help against the somewhat uncomfortable warmth of the day. The Bill Keller Memorial Cycle Path was like a mini-road; mostly level, paved, with a dashed line up the middle to keep cyclists from crashing into each other. I happily started down it, helmet cam in place. Very soon, I noticed a cop car riding toward me. I wasn’t worried, and he even got off to the road to let me by, which was a bit of a trick, as the sides of these levees are a bit steeply slanted. So, I rode and rode along the top of the levee, seeing houses and businesses on the left, and the trees, wetlands, and river on the right. Every now and then I’d say ‘hi’ to joggers or other cyclists I’d meet, and just kept crusing along this smooth, level, traffic free path. How nice! I stopped to walk down to a bar and bought a bottle of water ($1), and continued on. About 15 miles later, the path dropped down off the levee, and shortly ended up in Audobon Park. Somewhere along the line, at about 2pm, I had entered New Orleans! My Warmshowers hosts’ (Ray and Emily) address was not very far away, so I headed to it through quaint, old neighborhoods (which had quaint, rough roads), until I found the address. I took out my cell phone, and found that Ray had left me a voicemail letting me know neither he nor Emily would be in, but gave the location of a spare key I could use to let myself in, with. Cool. I parked my trike in their backyard, and let myself in with the key. Their dog, Texas, greeted me with wagging tail and licks, while I transferred all my packbags into the room they had prepared for me, and took that long anticipated shower (ahhh!) I also found the mail package from Walt T who mailed the socks I bought in Houston and left behind at his place (thanks, Walt!) Ray and Emily’s place was small, but had everything two people would need to live comfortably and still have guests. I was a bit thirsty, and went out to look for a soda. I found a corner restaurant, so also got a small sandwich, as I had only had that Danish about 6 hours previous, and was a bit puckish. After eating, I wandered back to the house, but found that while it still worked on the deadbolt, the key was not working on the door lock. I tried to get that doorknob lock to open for 25 minutes without luck. Hmmm. TMALSS (To Make A Long Story Short), Emily arrived home, had to go visit their landlord for another key, and got us in. Ray was on a big project at work, and wouldn’t be home until late, so Emily and I went out to a nice Thai restaurant ($42 - I treated, after having caused the lockout fiasco), and compared notes about our cycling trips and experiences. Back home, I blogged away, and Emily watched a bit of TV. A little later, she showed me where the local stores were so I could buy some sodas and food ($12); along the way, Texas found and began eating a dead bird, which Emily had to pull out of his mouth (yechh!) She went to wash her hands at the store, while I stocked up on sodas. Ray showed up around 10:30pm, and we all three chatted a little before they had to go to bed. I stayed up blogging until about 1:30am, before I hit the hay, myself, clean, well-fed, and mosquito-free. Life just don’t get no better’n this!