Nov. 24, Dauphin  Island, Alabama

The night I spent in the hotel was too short. I had a lot of work to get done, but still needed to get on the road early in order to make it to the town of Van Cleave, MS before the post office closed.
I had an interesting thing happen in the hotel. The way I see it, if I am going to pay for a hotel that doesn’t have bugs, then I expect the internet to work. I’m not saying that I am “entitled” to it, just that I have an expectation. This hotel offered free wifi, but you could also pay for the “premium” wifi. Of course, the free wifi didn’t really work at all, and I needed to do some serious planning for the rest of the ride in the USA. The front desk offered to let me switch to the “promotional” internet, and gave me a code.
It turns out that this is next to impossible–switching, that is. The router recognizes your computer by its internal MAC address, and it is impossible to force it to forget who you are, so you can sign up again. This is a major weakness in the whole hotel internet design and I am surprised that it does not come up more often.
I got on the road as early as I could for the ride into Van Cleave, MS.
Beautiful Mississippi

Beautiful Mississippi

Mississippi proved to be one of the most scenic and remote places I have cycled yet. There are so many green fields and trees and endless gentle hills. The ride into Van Cleave was pleasant and uneventful, except for a couple of dogs. I nearly had to spray a pit-bull, but it backed off at the last second. It was easy to find the post office and I had a nice conversation with the postal working and picked up my tire. Unfortunately, the person who packed it (a postal worker on the shipping end) crammed it into an envelope and bent the bead along the rim so badly that the tire is not usable. Pensacola will likely have a cycle shop or two and I will probably be able to find a tire there.
The only campground in Van Cleave catered mostly to RV’s, but said that I could pitch my tent anyway. So, I typed the address into Google maps and headed out. Now–Google maps had no way of knowing that this was a campground, but it screwed up anyway. The navigation sent me along a series of dirt roads into a very isolated area. A local woman approached me and asked me what I was doing “back down here.” I said that I was on the way to the campground, and she confessed no knowledge of a campground. But I was so certain, that I was able to convince her that there was a campground in her area that she didn’t know about. Folks, this was just a bit spooky. There are some places that give you the heebee geebees, and this collection of buildings was one of them. But, I got out of there and called the campground for directions and eventually made it–a couple of miles away.
The RV park was inundated with cats–dozens of them and several large litters of kittens. No rodents, however. The place was a bit run down. I’ve seen this a lot; as the tourism traffic tapers off, they tend to transition to permanent residents and facilities are not kept up. The manager, however, let me stay in once of the cabins. I pitched my tent on one of the beds and slept comfortably.
Indoor tent camping is becoming quite common on this tour

Indoor tent camping is becoming quite common on this tour

I got on the road about an hour after first light. There was a warm shower host on Dauphin Island, but I was not certain if I could make it before dark, so I opted to shoot for an RV park that was about 12 miles shy of the Island. I needed to push and not waste any time–I regretted taking that extra hour of sleep.
Heading for Alabama

Heading for Alabama

At one point, two German shepherds charged me with teeth baring. I was half a second from spraying the leading dog when their owner appeared on the front porch of the house. I have not been bitten on this ride yet, but I think I’d rather risk the dog than the wrath of a dog’s owner. No spray this time either.
After a while, I crossed into Alabama. The roads generally improved and the shoulders got a bit wider. Since I first entered Louisiana, I have seen beads on the sides of the roads–lots of them. This is continuing in Alabama, it seems. Strange.
Farewell to Mississippi

Farewell to Mississippi

As I neared the RV park, I called ahead to verify that they could support tents. They were very polite, but really didn’t want me to camp there, so I decided to push on toward Dauphin Island. I had 90 minutes before dark, and the island was 12 miles away, so I figured I’d go for it. There is a very long bridge to the island, with a big bulge in the middle to allow ships to pass.
Steep bridge ahead!

Steep bridge ahead!

The warm showers host was not home, but he allows tourists to camp underneath his house. All of the houses in this neighborhood are on piers in the event of flooding. I pitched my tent under the house.
House camping

House camping

I spent the day trying to plan a cycle tour across Australia. I am finding that this may not be possible in December. After my experience in Spain, I am reluctant to tackle a route that promises 40 degree (C) days. I have some inquiries into a cycling organization, but I may end up doing a very thorough tour of New Zealand instead. I will keep you posted!
My thanksgiving meal came out of a can today. Yumm! As I was posting this blog, a French couple came to share the camping with me, so I will have some company after all it seems.
Some welcome company for Thanksgiving

Some welcome company for Thanksgiving

Scott

4 Responses to “Nov. 24, Dauphin  Island, Alabama

  • Happy Thanksgiving, Scott. I’m thankful that you’re out there following your dream.

  • Thanksgiving was not the same without you.

    Heidi

  • Scott Acton
    1 year ago

    Thanks Rich! And happy T-day to you too, sis!

  • Kathy Clucas
    1 year ago

    Is it just me, or is the most dangerous part of your trip in the USA? Yeesh! I will pray for safety, warm hospitality, and smooth riding, Scott. Sorry your Thanksgivong was out of a can🙁 But I am thankful you are moving forward on your journey. Love you!

    Kathy

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