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Freeze waits for Ida to pass, plans next route

Editor’s note: David Freeze is riding from the West Coast to the East Coast along the southern border. Email him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

I did what I planned today, watching the news coverage of Ida, and especially looking out my window. Early morning, Lucedale had a powerful rain and some wind for about 90 minutes. Then just moderate stuff the rest of day so far. Apparently the brunt of the storm went farther west than expected. But the newscasts say that there will be weeks of power outages.

Just now, heavier rain started again and this time pushed the wind from the north, directly opposite of the east breezes from the coast. I slept a little bit extra, washed out my riding clothes and think I have a plan to head east by hopefully tomorrow. My idea is to head east on the north part of Mobile Bay, then quickly join the Adventure Cycling route. It will take a few miles of riding on the interstate to do this, but it is worth a shot and saves me lots of miles.

If the forecast is right, the rain will continue here tomorrow as the storm races north. I am only a few hours riding from Alabama, and Florida isn’t far away either. With some luck, the damage east of here will be minimal and the terrain should be the best yet. So, I am excited to move east, sort of bored actually.

Several years ago, I met a cyclist going west across the northwestern states. Those of you have followed my trips may remember her name as Ali Cooper. Ali had bought a yard sale bike, put her stuff in bags on the bike and went exploring. I found her to be the single most interesting person I have ever met on my travels. Ali is a huge Christian and offers prayers often for those she meets. We have been in touch off and on, then I didn’t hear from her for several months.

Just as this trip was well underway, I heard from Ali again and she explained that a hit-and-run driver left her beside the road to die. Ali is recovering slowly and is in a long-term rehab facility. She said, “I will be back on the road again!” And I think she will. Please add a prayer for Ali as you continue to pray for me. She is currently reading my updates and commenting every day.

Another question sent in by a reader concerned what type of tires I use and how I keep them inflated. I use Schwalbe Marathon tires, made to be tough enough for gravel and rough roads, and to be resistant to flats. The problem with them is that they are stiff and hard to change a tube in one. I use CO2 cartridges to inflate them, because I can’t carry a large enough pump to inflate the tire easily. I always want to use really good tires, to avoid as many flats as possible and to support the weight of my gear and supplies properly.

With that, I plan to be riding tomorrow if I can get accommodations and the weather is safe. I will have an estimate on how many miles are left if I can get around Pensacola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico without encountering too much damage or travel problems. The trip will be in the home stretch once I enter Florida. It’s been challenging, but I sure am glad that all of you are riding along! Thank you!

Hoping to ride tomorrow!

I am still safe in the Western Motel at Lucedale, Mississippi. The overwhelming rain and the ever-present tornado threats have kept everyone tense. We had at least three local tornadoes and the fire department responded about 2 a.m. At one time, the local Walmart just two-tenths of a mile away, disappeared from sight during the heavy rain.

Still pouring and blowing early, I knew couldn’t ride today. So I have over-planned everything and think I know how to make a big positive move tomorrow. Rain is still in the forecast, even as Ida heads off to drench the Carolinas on Wednesday. I know you guys need some rain and this area doesn’t.

My goal is to cross into Alabama mid-morning tomorrow. I will pass through Mobile and see some areas from the Underground Railroad adventure. I know nothing about what to expect with road conditions but note that the flooding could get worse. I will probably battle the wind some tomorrow but better weather conditions should resume for the rest of the week.

Depending on where I make it to, I can estimate tomorrow night how many miles are left to complete this incredible adventure. But one thing that is sure, all those who have and are suffering with this major storm and mostly farther south and west of me, need your prayers!

I hope to see you back here tomorrow with real progress if at all possible. Knowing you are there pushes me forward. Thanks again!

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