As you may have guessed, it was a beautiful, sunny day here on the Trace in Mississippi. With sun, however, comes the heat. The good news was we only had about 35 miles to ride. Anything around 30 miles is essentially a day off for us and we really needed it. My legs felt better this morning, but we’re still sore. Ethan has had an aching knee since day one so he was really happy to have a short day.
We took our time getting ready and Ethan took the opportunity to reorganize our gear. Since he’s so nice he wanted to take some of my stuff and pack it more efficiently into his bags. I wasn’t about to argue with that, although I did tell him if his knee hurt too much that I could handle the weight (going in record here that he said it was fine!). I did yoga while he did that and we took off about 9:30.
We made really good time to our first 8 mile break and didn’t have to stop for long. We saw the hiking guy again after that stop. He is moving fast! Our second stop was our halfway stop, so we took a bit longer and had some Clif bars and peanut butter. We also loaded up on sunscreen again and we tried to massage Ethan’s knee, but I’m not sure it helped.
Our third 8 miles was very, very hot. I could feel my skin just baking under the sun. It was rough, but we had a decent tailwind which helped the biking and also helped keep us cool. As we got closer to Tupelo, the traffic started to pick up and we were getting passed by a little closer than we had been. We had been warned about the traffic in Tupelo on the Trace. Apparently it is a pretty major road through the city and around the rush hours it can get pretty hairy. We planned on getting there midday and were pleasantly surprised. There were definitely more cars, but the traffic wasn’t bad at all and most people were still courteous and changed lanes to pass us. We probably could have not stopped at our last 8 miles break, but I had to go the bathroom. It not the best place to have to pee because of all the traffic, but when you gotta go, you gotta go! Lucky for me, and the people on the road, the parkway is heavily wooded. After my potty break it was 6 miles to our destination – the Parkway Visitor Center.
When we got there, we checked with the ranger in the center to find out where we could camp. She explained that it was across the street and down a trail. We grade over there and realized it was a lot father back than we expected. But when we finally got there we found lots of picnic tables and a big pavilion. We decided we’d put the tent under it, but first we neede food and there was a Walmart about a mile away. We unloaded our gear and head back out.
Our Walmart trip was a succes. We got stuff to make burritos, restocked our granola bars and some trail mix. Yum! We headed back and I made burritos while Ethan lounged. We stuff ourselves with delicious food and hung out in the hammock for a few hours. Later on, we decided we don’t need a huge dinner, but we did need water. We walked across the street to the visitor center only to find that their bathrooms were locked! Ugghhhh! The drinking fountain outside, of course, didn’t work either. Whyyy? We were also hoping for an outlet so we could charge our phones. We walked around the building looking for water and an outlet, but our efforts were in vain. No outlets. There was a hose, but we figured we’d rather charge our stuff and get water at the same place.
As we were leaving Walmart, we had seen a frozen yogurt place and decided to head there to see if we could get water and charge our stuff. We took our stuff back to our spot and grabbed our bikes. We were in luck!! And that’s where we currently are (were Wednesday night)! Inside in the air conditioning! It feels awesome. Eth had some yogurt and I had watermelon sorbet. T’was delicious. When we asked the girl working for sample cups she immediately had a ton of questions about what we’re doing on bikes and was totally bewildered that we were riding to Nashville and hasn’t showered in a few days. It was funny. She said we didn’t look dirty though, so that was good!
We feel very dirty, but are otherwise in good spirits. Ethan’s knee is still bugging him, but our legs are getting stronger and we are taking tons of notes for the big trip. We are excited to be on the back end of this trip and to have all our aches and pains diminishing. Hopefully Ethan’s knee will get better and the next three days go well!
Thanks for reading!!