Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 26...Forrest City AR to Olive Branch, Mississippi

113.62 miles in about 9 hrs...averaged 12.6 mph for the day...1656.65 miles for the trip over 21 days for an average of 78.8 a day. Ascent 1230 ft....30,387 for the trip....
Not knowing how difficult it was gonna be to get across the Mississippi River, ended up costing me about an extra 25 miles, the way I figure it. I could have used Highway 49 out of Brinkley yesterday instead of going on to Forrest City. This morning I had to head due south on AR 1, into a head wind to get to the nearest bridge that bikes are allowed to cross. If I was in a big hurry, or really wanted to visit Graceland, I would have snuck into I 40 and made a run for it. Who knows how that would have turned out!AR 1 wasn't a bad road, mostly four lane with a nice shoulder, for 40 miles to Logan's Corner, into a 10 mph headwind. That took about 3.5 hrs, but as soon as I turned onto Highway 49 to go to Helena/West Helena, the wind became my friend. When I got to that point I was ready to say goodbye to the state that gave us Walmart and Bill Clinton. The roads were very nice, however, and I would travel Arkansas again. Not so much for Mississippi. I've spent the last 1500 miles of the Mississippi River in only four states. The 60-70 miles I've spent in Mississippi so far, have all been harrowing, death defying, and just downright unsafe. I can't believe they make a biker ride what I rode today. I 40 would have to be safer. The roads in Mississippi have zero shoulders, and the ones that do,like US 61, have deep gravel shoulders. The drivers were overly cautious, because they probably thought I was a Martian. When I got across the bridge, GPS girl had me take some dirt roads, which deteriorated before I finally found some pavement. These back roads ran through farmers fields, and Delta waters before I came to 'old' US61. That road wasn't bad because it had a smooth surface and no traffic, and by then the tailwind was rocking, since I turned to come back north after getting across the bridge. I got to the town of Tunica, which I had never heard of, but after a nice downtown area, there were miles if casinos. All the big names, on 'new' US61. There was a 25 mile stretch I had to travel on, and it was four lane, like an interstate, with gravel shoulders!!!! That didn't do me any good at all. Fortunately, the wind was wailing, and I averaged 16-18 mph to get off of that road before I got killed. That's when I turned onto Church Road, a 20 mile death trap that took me to my motel in Olive Branch. This road was two lane for ten miles, then turned to four lane, but there was zero shoulder, heavy traffic, because it was near five o'clock by then. The road began to climb out of the Delta, and I got 90% of my ascent on this road, after 90 miles of going down, then up the Mississippi Delta. I got to a motel pretty late for me, and got the last room....a smoking room of course. It only choked me when I walked in from outside. When I was in the  room, I was nose blind. I ate at a BBQ fast food place that filled me up, and it even tasted good, because I was starved!!

This is the town where my ONLY way across the Mississippi River was located

The de Soto bridge, I believe

The Mississippi River is a BIG RIVER!

My fifth state of the trip

.....which deteriorated to this

I guess the snake didn't mind the dust!

I finally got pavement!

The scenery in the Delta was beautiful.....

Really it was!

This is what passed for a shoulder in a four lane highway!

This was the best shoulder I found in Mississippi!

The new Mississippi flag

The safest road in Mississippi!  Loose dust and packed gravel.....

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