Saturday, March 6, 2010

Today's Ride

It was a gorgeous day today. I spent the majority of it with just Mr. H. He needed some cables and other stuff for his EWI connection at church, so we headed to Guitar Center in Mobile. We got there at 9 and discovered they don't open until 10. So we decided to kill some time at Academy Sports. As we were looking around I discovered some boots that I thought would make good riding boots. The price was right, so I got them.

We got the stuff Mr. H needed when Guitar Center opened and then headed to Lowe's for something else he was looking for. After we go home, we decided to go riding. I'm so glad I got the boots this morning. I have been using my hiking boots for riding because they are the heavist, tallest footwear I have. I thought they were sturdy on top (for shifting gears), but boy, was I wrong. These new boots are great. It's much easier to shift when wearing shoes with a stiff upper.

View Larger Map

I had to put all those markers on the map to show the exact route. Google Maps kept wanting to show a different way to get from where we started to where we ended up!

if the map doesn't show above, here's the link to the route of our trip.

I really had no idea where I wanted to go once we got on the road. After a loop around Shipman Firetower Road, Mr. H had a suggestion. "How about I show you the best biking road in George County?" So off we went. (if you don't want the exact route, feel free to skip the next 3 paragraphs!)

We headed to the church and turned on Barton Agricola Road. The road he had in mind was across Hwy 63 from Barton Agricola: Grain Elevator Road to River Road. What a beautiful ride! The sun was shining. It was warmer than it has been for a LONG time. There were almost no other vehicles on the road. We road to where River Road ends on Hwy 26. He suggested a road that he had told me about a few weeks ago, so he took the lead and I followed. We traveled out 26 to Hwy 57. This road follows the edge of the Pascagoula River Wildlife Management Area. It was a blast. Then we turned on to a part of Old River Road that I had never been on. From there we went east on Wade-Vancleave Road. This has to be one of the prettiest places I know. It's all wilderness, river and swamp.

We crossed Hwy 63 onto Hwy 614, but didn't stay on it long. We took a back road that put us on the back side of East Central Elementary School. Somewhere along this back route, we encountered a Sand Hill crane. (we had a close encounter with one a few weeks ago) This time Mr. H was in the lead! It headed away from him, then circled around and flew across the road between the 2 bikes. Those birds are big!

We stayed on back roads the rest of the way home: Ellis Hamilton to Gavin Hamilton Road, then Ramie Farm Road. When we got back to the intersection of 612 and Walt Tanner, we found the Sheriff's Department had 612 blocked going east. There was a big fire down that way. Luckily, we weren't going that way!

Our bike trip was about 90 miles today. That's the longest I've ever ridden. One thing about being on a bike is that you notice things. You know when there are cows nearby. You can tell which fields have been recently fertilized with chicken manure. The changes in elevation in the road are very apparent, at least on a small bike. You really have to crank up the throttle when the road heads uphill.

Today was the first time I really didn't have to consciously THINK about every little thing I did. Some of them just came naturally. I was relieved to know that it would happen. Until now, I felt like I was holding my breath every time I rode. Today I was a lot more relaxed. Now, if I could just remember to always turn the blinker off after a turn...

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