Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Goodbye Baton Rouge!

Day 2: Farr park to Sherburne WMA
Road kill count: 6.5 (One angry beaver, two possums, a sly snake, a hawk, nutria, and one little old crawfish)

Today was a very challenging day. My knee was still hurting from yesterday's ride, and we had a 50 mile ride to our next campsite, Sherburn Wildlife refuge. We started the trip around 7:30am and we had numerous problems from the beginning. I had to stop multiple times to adjust my equipment. I moved my cleat position on my pedals, and slid my seat forward a tad. Once I did that the pain in my knee was gone! Also, my brakes were rubbing on my front end and that is why the shorter ride yesterday took so much out of me.
It took us two hours to get past downtown Baton Rouge, I was unfamiliar with the route we were taking and we made a couple wrong turns. We got to the bridge over the mighty Mississippi and faced yet another hurdle. There was no shoulder on the bridge and the expansion joints were sprfar enough to swallow our front wheels. Construction closed one of the lanes on the way up, so we got a break there and used the closed lane. A stroke of pure luck happened when we got to the top. We ran into a nice police officer and he gave us an escort on the way down! Thank you so much officer!
Once we got over the river, we thought it would get a little easier, but we were wrong! We had to ride on a road with holes and grass all over it. It doesn't sound like much of a problem, but when you ride long distances those little bumps start to add up. The speed limit on the road changed from 40 to 65 out of nowhere and we were forced to ride the shoulder. It had these little speed bumps every 20 feet. This went on for 8 miles.
We still had more challenges ahead of us. We missed another turn but we discovered that we could continue straight and meet back up with our route. Our new route ended up being shorter, but we soon discovered why google maps had us go the long way. We ran into a 4 mile long bridge with no shoulder. Traffic was flying by us going at least 70! Cars were having to change lanes to avoid us, and  a few people "buzzed the tower" going pretty fast. I decided to take the rear just in case something awful happened. If I were to get hit first there would still have been a chance that they would miss Rheann. I was terrified, but I was going to protect her no matter what. I wanted to get done with that road as fast as possible.  We were in an all out sprint for the entire ride on that horrible road, I honestly didn't think we were going to make it off that bridge.
When we finally made it across, I pulled over and gave Rheann a huge hug! We were both exhausted and breathing heavily. We took a break for about 20 minutes, just thinking about how much danger we were in. 
We turned down the final road for the day, only 4 measly miles left. We were looking forward to relaxing at camp. Then a bikers worst nightmare for a road surface was laid before us, gravel. (Cue the horror music) Let me explain why a gravel road is so bad for a cycle tourist. Normally, riding a bike in gravel is shaky at worst, not really a thing nightmares are made of. But when you are pulling a 70 pound trailer behind you that wants to go its own way, you have a very high potential for sliding out and wrecking. Getting injured is one of the few things that could end this trip, and most of the time we are in the middle of nowhere, so even the slightest dangers become a lot worse.
We managed to make it through the long gravel road without wrecking. We finally reached the campsite! We met this nice game warden when we arrived, his name was Errel.
He helped us find some fresh water and showed us where to camp for the night. Then we discovered that there were no showers at the campground! We were beyond stinky so we did the only thing a Cajun can do, we took a bayou bath! We went for a swim in the river, then I relaxed and did some fishing. Rheann set up dinner and we had a good night. It might rain tomorrow, and we have a 48 mile ride to the next camp, but we are still in high spirits. We made it through a very challenging day and are proud of it!

Here is a map of today's route.


  1. I am glad y'all made the trip and are okay. Just do me a favor next time and avoid those high traffic, high-speed bridges.

  2. We are trying, we probably won't have much of a problem as we go just because we are in the middle of NOWHERE! But the closer we get to Dallas to more we with have a problem with those busy roads...