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January 16th, 2008 | categorizilation: all categories,USA (Alabama),USA (Mississippi)

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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.

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    Permanent Link     Comments (2)

Comment by Cousin Tim — January 19, 2008 @ 6:03 am | post a comment

that'll teach you, just cos we don't have many nasties here to bite/poison/eat you, just something to keep in mind.

Comment by Lazarus — January 19, 2008 @ 3:49 pm | post a comment

As you head west in the states you'll notice that the roads are engineered in quite the auto-centric fashion to greater and greater degrees, if I recall correctly. This isn't to say that it's necessarily entirely unpleasant, but sprawl has certainly driven road design and road design has been conducive to the perpetuation of sprawl. From a functional perspective it's a nasty little conundrum we've created for ourselves here in America over the past century, I'd say. That said, aside from the occasional irate motorist, you should by and large be fine in staking out your 12 inches of roadway.

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