Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Easleyville, LA to Poplarville, MS. We enter Mississippi! Longest Day Ever! Puppies spring from a Swamp!
94 miles Whew!
Today started out pretty much like any other day. That is until we had our own rainstorm. You see, we camped under a metal awning last night, and it got so cold that everything, I mean everything froze. Our water was almost completely frozen and our tent was covered in ice. When the sun came out, the thick frost on the metal shelter began to melt and then drip heavily to the ground underneath. Our already damp tent became drenched in our own rainstorm.
Despite our very own meteorological conditions, we still got off to a rather early start. We had a slight tail wind that actually increased some as the day progressed. The riding was not nearly as flat here as it was on the other side of the Mississippi, so it made for entertaining riding. We rode through some very poor looking towns, which is directly correlated to how often we were chased by dogs. You see, we have noticed that as the neighborhood becomes poorer, the chance of us being chased by dogs increases exponentially. We have a new strategy to stave off these attacks though. Instead of yelling, or swerving, or even accelerating, we now talk to the dogs in our best “aren't you a cute little puppy” voices. This cooing baby talk seems to confuse them and they just stop chasing and look at us with confused faces, except for the black mouthed cur that actually chased me and grabbed onto the BoB trailer.
We cruised right along until we reached the town of Franklinton. The first thing we saw in this town was the good ol' golden arches. Usually we stay far away from McDonalds, but we are finding that in the South, they are a reliable source of wireless internet and always have a nice clean dining room. We went inside, bought some side salads to earn our keep, and Dani sat down to apply for some jobs for this upcoming summer. It took awhile, but the wait was worth it if she gets a good job.
When we left this town, we still had 50 miles to go, and it was already after 1 o'clock. Luckily we still had a pretty good tailwind, but it did shift more to a side wind at times. We blasted through Bogalusa, the last town in Louisiana, crossed a bridge, and we entered Mississippi! Another new state for us both! At this point, we knew it was make or break as far as getting to Poplarville at a decent time. The main highway here is much too busy for riding, so the route took us on roundabout roads that would have been nice if we were not already pushing our limits.
Not more than six miles into this new state, I noticed a tiny white blob moving from the swamp and out onto the road right in front of me. I realized it was a poor little puppy that looked very malnourished. We stopped to see if it had an owner and followed the poor little thing to the other side of the highway where we found a woman with six more puppies from the same litter. Apparently someone had come out into the country and dumped these little things to die a slow and mournful death. These little puppies are not old enough to care for themselves, and in this cold weather without food they would probably die tonight. The woman was trying to figure out what to do with the other six and asked us if there was anything we could do. We felt bad enough as it was and decided we would take this one we found with us and see if we could find it a home in the next town. By the time we finished talking with this lady and making room in my handlebar bag for the little pup, it was getting dark. To make matters worse, the distraction of having a puppy on my handlebars caused me to lose track of navigation and we flew right past a turn and ended up three miles out of our way.
When the sun actually went down, the air instantly became chilly. We had already gone way over 70 miles and with the cold air, lack of water, and lack of food I was hitting the wall hard. We decided to stop for a very quick food and water break, and then kept pedaling for Poplarville. Luckily, this cute little puppy wasn't too much of a fuss. She was probably too weak to struggle, and actually laid down and fell asleep in my bag. I would get worried every few minutes or so and wake her up to make sure she wasn't dead. By the time we got to Poplarville, it was pitch black. We made a few more wrong turns and finally asked directions to the camp ground. We were looking for it, but went by it in one direction. At this point I had such low blood sugar that I was very cranky and was getting pretty short with Dani. We stopped at a gas station and I chugged some chocolate milk and bought a soda.
We had to ask directions twice more before we found the campground. We finally found the owner's house and asked about some cabins they had on site. At this point we were so cold that w needed a roof over our heads to take care of this little puppy. We were happy to hear that they had a cabin open and took it even though it was more than we wanted to pay. Once we got inside Dani held the dog in front of the heater while I went off to get groceries and some pizza for supper. At this point we realized we had gone 94 miles today. What a day. I came back to the cabin with two pizzas, some snacks, and food for the dog. Dani got this cute little thing all washed up and we gave her some food and water. In no time she got her energy back and was running around and causing trouble just little all little puppies do. We kept giving her little handfuls of food as long as she would eat, but we did not want to over feed her. After we relaxed and ate and took some showers we sat down on the couch with this pathetic little thing and thought about what it is we should do with her. She is just skin and bones, but looks healthy otherwise. She craves our attention and whimpers when we set her down on the floor, so I have a suspicion that we will not sleep well tonight.