David Freeze Day 14 — Hottest day still nets a nice experience!

Published 1:06 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Editor’s note: David Freeze is cycling along the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa, to New Orleans. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

I mentioned earlier that Mississippi is a long state based on my route. I started to plan it last night, hoping to begin to make sense of my days and where the nights will be spent.
Things ended up OK at my second motel last night. After a longer day than I had hoped, I still got great food, WiFi and sat down just in time to watch the Yanks attempt to play winning baseball. They didn’t.
It was already warm and humid when I left the room this morning just at sunrise. South Memphis is rolling but had plenty of lanes for the traffic heading out of town. Almost as soon as I left town, I crossed into Mississippi. Back on the Great River Road and U.S. 61, I started Mississippi with rumble strips forcing me into traffic and rough roads.
Tunica was the first real town after North Tunica which must be a gambler’s paradise. A golf course and several tall buildings set in the distance had signs pointing toward casinos. I stopped briefly there at a visitor center and blues museum, but didn’t take the time to tour the museum. I did get some good maps and information for what is coming up as I pedal south into Mississippi. Two things I got were a better Mississippi map than I had and a list of famous people from the state. None of my ex-wives made the list but a massive list of notables did. Did you know that Greenville, Mississippi, is the towboat capital of the world? I am headed there tomorrow!
After Tunica, a nice little town of just over 1,000 ( I thought it was bigger) according to Wikipedia, I had 50 miles of flat and hot without a town for my much-needed ice. Sort of reminded me of last year’s ride. Endless crops planted in huge fields on both sides of the road included some corn that is close to maturity, lots of soybeans, cotton and rice. All of it looks beautiful. Speaking of hot, the highest temperature I heard today was 97. I started with another headwind that came around thankfully as a side wind this afternoon. Various road conditions came and went, but only a short section with a bike shoulder. I was very dry when the first convenience store finally came into view.
A ride of 72 miles netted me an evening at the Quality Inn in Clarksdale. I spoke to the desk attendant around noon and she gave me a good price and suggested I come by. I did, and right away met Shaquille, the general manager, at the front desk. He helped with my reservation, got my cycling clothes washed and set me up as a Choice member, plus he gave me a way better water bottle than the one I have been draining constantly.
Here is my plan for the next few days, all of this having come together this afternoon. It was 72 miles to Clarksdale today, should be about the same to Greenville tomorrow and then another ride of about the same distance to Vicksburg on Wednesday. Then on to Natchez for Thursday and again about 72 miles for that trip.
One reader was disappointed about my ice cream consumption on this trip. It hasn’t been neglected, as I have had at least some ice cream for the last five days. The South Rowan YMCA for some reason did away with their ice cream budget support for this ride, a real disappointment! But there have been few other disappointments on the trip so far and I hope you continue to enjoy riding along. Join me tomorrow as we pedal deeper into Mississippi!