October 29th – November 4th On Our Cross Country Bike Trip

 

Date: October 29th

Spending more relaxing time, working on the website and uploading video’s and pictures.

The Fort Morgan Ferry has been closed due to high winds.


Date: October 30th

Ferry opened for a couple of hours, but is now closed due to repairs.

Date: October 31st

We are not heading out the ferry is still closed. Hoping to go trick or treating later! Luke can wear his Spiderman costume we brought with. Then we’ll leave it with Aunt Sharon and she can donate it to the resale shop. Thank you Aunt Sharon! One less thing to carry with us…must weigh at least a pound! 😉 I have to add here that the candy probably weighed 3 or 4 pounds! Not that I’m adding up the weight…lol.

Spiderman after trick-or-treating

Spiderman after trick-or-treating

This little video was inspired by a neighbor here in Pensacola. To make a long story short…we were loaded up with our gear heading to the bikes and ran into Jim and his lovely wife, Karen, the winds had kicked up and were coming from the west…Rob knows that it would be difficult for me…so…after a little discussion and watching the palm trees blowing we decided to stay. Loaded the bikes with all but the necessities and went on with the day.

As we were pulling out of the garage in Ed’s truck (thank you Ed!), Jim was heading towards us. We stopped and told him rather sheepishly that we decided to go to the air museum and take Luke trick-or-treating. He said it was like the old 40’s song ‘Mañana’ and starting singing the last verse. We loved it…so, here it is! We wanted to add that Jim’s rendition wasn’t too shabby (maybe even a little better)!

– Gail

Date: November 1st

Time Pedaling: 4 hr. 31 min.
Miles: 46.11
Avg. Speed: 10.1 mph
Max Speed: 20.6 mph
Trip Odometer: 462.51
Weather: sunny and warm, 76 (Pensacola, FL) to 74 degrees (Dauphin Island, AL)
We could feel the wind against us most of the ride.
Time of Departure: 1:00
Arrival Time our warmshowers host in Dauphin Island, AL: 7:00
Repairs: Rob’s rear tire lost air on the ferry but still holding.

Rather odd how quickly one assimilates. We were enjoying Pensacola from the friendly confines of Ed and Sharon’s condo. We had been delayed several days due to the Mobile Bay Ferry. We got on our bikes when we got the ‘all clear’ for the ferry being opened, and we pedaled. Twenty miles of pedaling in, and none of us could be certain that we were ever in Pensacola in the first place. We had been though.

Speaking of Pensacola. The day before departing, we visited the National Aviation Museum. We had a most wonderful time there, mainly due to the tour guide extraordianaire named George. He has been volunteering at the museum for over 14 years. Almost everything he shared with us revealed something new to us. I was surprised to learn that there are many battle planes at the bottom of Lake Michigan (in our neck of the woods). It turns out that more than 17,000 pilots completed their aircraft carrier qualification training on Lake Michigan in the 1940s. Good place to do such things, out of the reach of the German u-boats. We appreciate the time we had with George and Pensacola.

Our tour guide, George at the national naval Aviation Museum

Our tour guide, George at the national naval Aviation Museum

Another good guy we met in Pensacola was Jim. Jim is originally from our neck of the woods. He has a captains license (as in sailing). He volunteered to take us out on the intercoastal water way. He gave us a history lesson also. He also has good stories. It may be a prerequisite to being a sailor. First, good stories, then, the license. Either way, Jim has both. We were glad to have met him and his wife.

A woman who stopped to show her support of our cause! Thank You!

A woman who stopped to show her support of our cause! Thank You!

After 11 miles we hit the Alabama border. After nearly 20 days of pedaling through Florida, it was now slowly fading behind us. It will be tough to beat. It is where we cut our teeth. A family of four flatlanders, out of shape, with 2 Walmart bikes tackling the adventure of a lifetime. We couldn’t have picked a better place to start. Thanks Florida and Floridians!

We needed to pedal over 40 miles to make it to the ferry in time. Tough day getting back. The wind hit us fairly hard (about 10-15 mph gusts). The good news is that there weren’t many hills. We ended up making it to the ferry with about 5 minutes to spare. That was a good thing because no time was lost in loading the ferry and leaving the dock. First time any of us had been on a ferry. The Captain was nice enough to give us free passage in support of our cause. Thanks!

The sun set while we were on the ferry. Between that and the dolphins, the trip that was 6 days in the making was worth it. We hit Dauphin Island at about 6pm. I called a Warmshowers host I had spoken to a few days earlier and he directed me to his house. It was only about 3 miles away. That gave us about 46 for the day. Not bad after the long break. After setting up our tent, we walked the 2 blocks to the gulf shore. The stars were sparkling. A nice end to our first day back in the saddle.

Date: November 2nd

Time Pedaling: 4 hr. 14 min.
Miles: 41.66
Avg. Speed: 9.8 mph
Max Speed: 18.4 mph
Trip Odometer: 504.17
Weather: sunny and hot, 80 (Dauphin Island, AL) to 80 degrees (Pascagoula, MS)
Wind was a little stronger today.
Time of Departure: 11:01
Arrival Time in Pascagoula, MS: 6:20
Repairs: Rob’s rear tire needed some air and Luke’s pedal needed to be tightened.

We enjoyed our nights rest on Dauphin Island. We ate breakfast with our Warmshowers host. We were aiming for Pascagoula as our stopping point for the night. We hit fog early on in our ride. It wasn’t dangerous, but rather enjoyable. We climbed a bridge leaving the Island and then were on a causeway for a few miles. At the top of the bridge I happened to glance over the railing and noticed stingrays at the bottom. We stopped and took some pictures and caught our breath. Seeing animals and creatures of any sort in their own environment is special for all of us. That has been just one of the many pleasures of our journey to this point.

We pedaled out about 41 miles before the darkness descended upon us. We arrived just inside Pascagoula at about 6:30pm. We ended up settling on an inexpensive motel. Indeed, it was not ideal, but after we got past the smell and uncleanliness of the place, we were able to fall into a well-earned sleep.

Date: November 3rd

Time Pedaling: 3 hr. 16 min.
Miles: 33.73
Avg. Speed: 10.2 mph
Max Speed: 21.8 mph
Trip Odometer: 537.90 plus
Weather: sunny and hot, 83 (Pascagoula, MS) to 81 degrees (Gulfport, MS)
Time of Departure: 9:00
Arrival Time at our warmshowers host in Gulfport, MS: 4:30
Repairs: Rob’s rear tire needed some air. Luke’s pedal needed tightening.

We left Pascagoula at about 11:00 am. We are still working on getting earlier starts…to be continued. We had a bridge that was particularly challenging. It was heading into Biloxi. We started our climb and about half way up Luke told me that we should stop at the top and encourage Gail and Dakota. As proud as I was of him, on second look, I realized that we were only ascending the first part of Godzilla. I told him we would stop at the very top. It was nice to have a bicyclist on the other side of the bridge going up at the same time. The race was on! In fairness, he was on a BMX type bike. Fair or not, we left him by the wayside (wink-wink).

We stopped at the top of the bridge and were able to see some dolphins below. Quite invigorating. Dakota shared with me that it was the hardest that she had been challenged mentally on the entire trip.

In Biloxi, we stopped to call our hosts for the night (Bernie and Barbara in Gulfport). We happened to stop at a park downtown where a safety awareness program was taking place. We took the chance to take some pictures and eat some tasty and free food (excellent hamburgers). We had pleasant conversations with several officers, but especially enjoyed being educated by Officer DeGeorge on working in a K-9 unit. He was thorough in explaining the type of dog he had, and the best ones to work with, etc.
Our short impression of Biloxi was nothing short of excellent.

We left the park and pedaled a short way to the outskirts of Gulfport. We were flagged down by a motorist on the side of the road, so we stopped. A woman named Ida Wilhelm wanted to make a contribution to the cure for breast cancer. Ida is a survivor and was kind enough to share her story with us. There is more to the story that will be shared later.

We finally made it to our hosts for the evening at around 5:00pm. We were greeted by a French family (the Gorze’s) who were also staying at Bernie and Barbara Walkers. It turns out that they are traveling across the US in a van. They are a family of 6. We bonded quickly with this wonderful family and the Walkers.

Bernie and Barbara Walker, the B&B of warmshowers.org

Bernie and Barbara Walker, the B&B of warmshowers.org

We were invited and decided to stay another day and visit New Orleans with the entire group. We will allow our pictures to tell the rest of the story of the time we had with this special group of folks.

The Walker's, The Gorze's and The Adelphia's

The Walker’s, The Gorze’s and The Adelphia’s

Date: November 4th

Took the day off from pedaling and went to New Orleans with our warmshower hosts and the family from France that they are also hosting. The twelve of us had a great time despite the rain. Barbara and Bernie are awesome hosts and made us feel quite at home.

Human Statue in New Orleans

Human Statue in New Orleans, Man and his dog.

The balconies that New Orleans is famous for

The balconies that New Orleans is famous for

Washington Artillery Park in New Orleans

Washington Artillery Park in New Orleans

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