To Grand Bay 88km
To Waveland Mississippi 117km
For an hour and a half traffic streamed towards me. Every vehicle had at least one occupant dressed in military garb. Many had two or three "soldiers".Three lanes off heavy traffic, heading to work, on one military base. For ten minutes the traffic flow eased, then it intensified for another half hour, as another shift started. And during the course of the day, I cycled past three "military motorways", three lanes roads heading on to military bases. It certainly helps you understand how big the USA military is...... massive.
As I rode down the coast, at least four different types of military aircraft, did low "flybys ", patrolling the beaches.....for what? Protecting me?
The other day, a local pilot lost his life when his military jet crashed. Flags are flying at half mast. My mate, Billy Bytheway explains..... "I'm not sure whether they're mourning the pilot or the aircraft. The cost of that aircraft would pay the food bill of the nation it was training to bomb for twelve months. A crazy waste of resources...."
Bill had lots to say on the military..... "The churches around here are really busy on Sundays. The Military, praying for forgiveness, for spending so much of their time learning how to kill." "Defending our country? When was the last time we were attacked? We need to realise that we are the aggressors." "The corporates and their puppets, the politicians, are the real enemy of the USA." Did I say that Bill was heading to live (hide) in the woods, with his bible....
So I cycled out of Florida, and into Alabama, where I've been warned there are "redneck, rednecks". I get the gist, as I become a plaything for the big wheeled, loud, big motored trucks. I can hear them coming up behind me, as they cross the "rumble lines" to get as close as possible to me. I brace myself for the loud "yeha" scream of delight as they scare me with another close shave. What fun..... not.
And a "City Ordinance" does not allow me to stay at fire stations. However, the local police station is happy for me to camp behind their base. Thanks guys. I'm not so lucky the next night, and am sent to a State Park, where they want me to pay $55 for a powered campsite. But I don't want power. But Sir, you have a powered site, so it will cost $55. Can I have an unpowered site? No Sir. That will be $55 thank you. No thank you..... I will risk the alligators, and find somewhere else. I found Bills bush in the woods, and hid out for the night, without a bible, and with my $55.
But it rained. Heavy. With lots of frightening, very close thunder and lightening. Frightening, because the first huge clap woke me from a very deep sleep. The rain did lower the temperature, which meant I stopped sweating. It's the small things that you really appreciate.
I was taken in by a Warm Showers family just before the second huge storm. I don't think I've seen so much water falling from the sky before. Fiona wasn't as lucky, but all the sand from the previous night was washed off her. She's just been in for her latest 10,000km check. The guys at Bob's Bikes did great work on her rear hub, and those at Ride More Bicycles replaced a few other parts, so Fiona is purring.
And now I'm in Mississippi, at a fire station. Most of the day has been riding past empty building lots, a result of Hurricane Katrina. This coast was really smashed, and is still recovering, eleven years later. Now Im heading to "Norleans", hoping to hear some music, and have a couple of days rest......