Day 547 – USA (MISSISSIPPI and LOUISIANA): From Biloxi to Slidel

Today’s distance / ???????: 58.6 miles / 94.2km
Average speed / ????: 9.6mph / 15.5km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 6h 05m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 1814mi (plus 266mi) / 2919km (plus 430km)
Ascent / ??: n/a
Descent / ??: n/a
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N30.15.42.1, W089.43.18.4

I had to have my smooth roads radar set on high today, weaving in and out of neighbourhoods in Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, and Pass Christian along the Gulf of Mexico coast of Mississippi.

Canon G9 camera in Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

Traffic was not much of an issue – their were no houses in the vicinity. Just slabs of concrete where houses used to be.

Hurricane damage in Pass Christian, Mississippi, USA

This whole area was once packed with luxury beach-front mansions. Not any longer.

Hurricane damage in Long Beach, Mississippi, USA

The wind was behinf be however, and the road surfaces were smooth on the whole, with US Highway 90 from Bay St. Louis with wide smooth shoulders all the way to and past the Louisiana border.

In Bay St. Louis I chanced upon the local Rotary Club’s annual Chilli Cookoff. I went in to see what all the fuss was about.

Cilli cookoff in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA

I asked each competetor to describe to me their chilli. The Bay Carpet’s entry was green based chilli with duck and pork. Peneguy CPA’s was ‘football chilli’. Hancock Medical Center was “out to win!” with their green curry. Pest Control Specialists Bugman’s Special Chilli was suspect, but was a “home brewed Mom and Pop recipe”. Coast Choarale’s effort was made with love, the chilli sung to while it was cooking, aparently. Dr Charlie West’s entry was spicy, for a party, and will “keep you coming back for more, just like this part of Mississippi”. Silver Slipper Casino’s chilli, served by a chef (who just grunted when I asked him whether he was here because he wanted to be or whether he was just there coz he was paid to be there), said he didn’t make the chilli. “How’s you chilli?” I asked. “Good” he replied.

Hancock Bank's chilli in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA Dr. Tuminello's Mighty Molars chilli in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA

From Bay St. Louis, I continued on west into Louisiana, past swamps on either side of the road.

Swamps near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, USA

I asked for directions at around 5:30pm and was promptly invited to stay at Renee and Jamie’s place for the night at their horse stables. With the weather forecast for rain tonight, it was a welcome invitation!

Doing the diary in Slidel, Louisiana, USA

Day 546 – USA (MISSISSIPPI): Updates and some skating

Today’s distance / ???????: 22 miles / 36.6km
Average speed / ????: 7.5mph / 12km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 3h 02m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 1755mi (plus 266mi) / 2825km (plus 430km)
Ascent / ??: n/a
Descent / ??: n/a
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N30.23.42.2, W088.56.37.7

Well, the day is not over yet, but I am currently inside the temporary Biloxi Public Library, doing my updates. This whole area is still a bit of a mess with reconstruction still going on after hurricane Katrina.

I started the day in good spirits after I found a nice back road as an alternative to US90 with its rough shoulders. These good spirits didn’t last long. The back road incresed in traffic, and I was forced to get off the road on numerous occassions to avoid holding up traffic. No shulders seems to be the story of my life here in Mississippi.

Argh! Bad roads in Mississippi, USA

The road above was closed, so there was no traffic. It was all torn up ready for re-paving however, so it was a mile or so of bumpy skating scum.

Eventually I made it to Ocean Springs, and to the newly constructed Biloxi Bridge.

On the new Biloxi bridge, Mississippi, USA

Cruising into Biloxi, Mississippi, USA Bridge reconstruction in Biloxi, Mississippi, USA

I rolled into Biloxi just before noon, and made a beeline for the public library. Time to get some batteries charged and some blog updated.



  • Carlos Fernandez of Key Largo, Florida has very kindly supplied me with a new digital camera, a Canon G9. The camera is fantastic, and already I am discovering new ways to capture my journey on it. Thank you very much to Carlos for this wonderful support.
  • You may have noticed that on the individaul posts you can now navigate to the previous or next post, in chronological order. That means that if you really wanted to, you could read the blog all the way from day one. Just click on the ‘next post’ link at the top right section of the text area.

Day 545 – USA (MISSISSIPPI): Holed up in the tent

I awoke today to rain and wind. I didn’t even bother to look outside. I slept in till 11am.

By 1pm it was still raining, and I had completely given up any idea of skating today. The rough shoulder of US90 was not exactly beckoning to me.

Lazy day in the rain near Gautier, Mississippi, USA

So in the end I spent the whole day napping. The only serious work I did was do another international radio interview – this time with a radio station in Brisbane, Australia. I was getting low on power on my cell phone, so I was hoping it wouldn’t run out duing the interview!

Day 544 – USA (ALABAMA and MISSISSIPPI): Tough going from Daufin Island to just outside Gautier

Today’s distance / ???????: 60 miles / 96.6km
Average speed / ????: 8.4mph / 13.5km/h
Time on skateboard / ????: 7h 08m
Total skateboarding distance to date / ????????????: 1732mi (plus 266mi) / 2788km (plus 430km)
Ascent / ??: n/a
Descent / ??: n/a
End-of-day GPS coordinates: N30.23.43.1, W088.40.39.6

Daufin Island, Alabama, USA

(Daufin Island)

Bit of an epic day today. I left Daufin Island with smooth roads.

Daufin Island bridge, Alabama, USA

Passed by ship building yards at Alabama Port.

Ship building at Alabama Port, Alabama, USA

Amazed by the tranquil beauty of the surrounding area. Locals oystering in the morning’s calm.

Oystering near Alabama Port, Alabama, USA

The smooth roads were all to change by the time I got to Mississippi. I made the executive decision to cancel the Adventure Cycle Association route plan that I had intended on after I realised that the country roads that the route would have me follow had too much traffic and not enough shoulder. I eyed up the ultra nice smooth shoulder on Interstate Expressway 10 as I skated over it on an overbridge. How nice that would be…

It was not to be however, as I was sure that I wouldn’t get too far on that highway before being pulled off by police. I continued my trek by ways of US higway 90. To my dismay, the shoulder was grooved, apparently as an extra ‘rumble-strip’.

What a grand idea - on the shoulder of US90 in Grand Bay, Alabama, USA

I get the impression more and more as I skate away from Florida that roads in this part of the country were meant for one mode of transport only – automobile. This got only worse the further into Mississippi I went. Granted, the area is recovering from some fairly serious hurricanes in the recent past, but these shoulders are terrible.

Rough, rough shoulders on US 90 at the Mississippi/Alabama border, USA

Ask a local if there is any alternative to US90, and they’ll say “No sir. That’s the only way west.” I have all but given up on asking locals about roads. A quick scout of the area showed a short section (about 5 miles) of nice smooth blacktop back road that let me into Pascagoula.

By the way, what’s with all the flags?

So many of these flags near Grand Bay, Alabama, USA

These little suckers line the road-side, apparently indicating the location of buried wires. Seems a little excessive at times, with hundreds of the little fellas flapping in the breeze.

There is a story behind the above photo, also. I was crouching down to take the photo. Intensely focussed on getting the flag in focus and well-framed. Wating for the wind to blow it just-so so that the text would show. A moment later, the stinging began.

Unbeknownst to me, I was crouched atop a fire-ant hill. Hundreds of the blighters had crawled to the nest’s defence, up my back, down my trousers…what a palaver. I must have made quite the sight jumping up and down on the roadside with my hands down my trousers trying to get the little stinging insects out of all sorts of unmentionable places. I was itching for a while afterwards.

Fire ants near Grand Bay, Alabama, USA

(click on the image for a BIG view)

I pushed on past Pascagoula, into the night. Well after dark, I skated my way through Pascagoula, over the bridge to Gautier.

Pascagoula shipyards, Mississippi, USA

I pushed on past Gautier, hoping to find a church to camp behind. No such luck, and the US90 shoulder deteriorated once again. I finally pitched my tent behind a wall at the entrance of Shell Landing just west of Gautier, exhausted.