Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cycle 51 Miles to Prentiss, MS

Reet hops off her bike to get a picture of a begging emu
Wednesday, April 21, early this morning we watch a 70-something RVing couple go round and round the RV Park. He's running and she's power walking for about an hour. Both have very strange arm positions; she's holding a towel like a Southern belle with a hankie and he's holding his sweat rag in a Heil Hitler position and facing all four directions. Very weird but I admire their fitness routine. They are both in good shape but are wearing short shorts on this chilly 51-degree morning. They both end up working up a sweat and using those towels.

We eat a hearty breakfast and hit the road at 10:30. It was fairly easy to lift both bikes and the rack and put them back on the truck hitch. I didn't need my stool I was going to use as a resting box. We go north on the trail at 10:50 a.m. against the wind. Only a minute or two north of Sumrall we pass two older ladies on big balloon tire bikes with no gears. More on them later but I was thinking they were just out for a couple of miles near Sumrall. A few minutes later we see a deer jump off the trail into the woods. I paced myself on the first two-mile grade this time. We took our first, and only, break between Sumrall and Bassfield at the emu farm. I took pictures through the fence and fed trail mix to this awkward looking birds. There was also a pair of llamas, or are they alpacas? I don't know how to tell the difference.

Just give me a piece of the trail mix already!

The restaurant on the trail in Bassfield is open today. We check out the hours after a short break and pictures of a church and the water tower at the Trail Head. The place is only open until 2:00. It's 12:45 now and we can't get back here from Prentiss by then so the snacks I packed will have to last 4.6 miles to Carson. We zoom past our old mark from Monday and head into new territory. At the Carson Trail Head a guy is cutting grass on a riding mower and ruins our peace and quiet. A young gal is pacing up and down on the trail in front of the restrooms carrying on a cell phone conversation and airing lots of personal issues.

Love those feet!

We hop back on our bikes and to our delight it is completely downhill from Carson to Prentiss-about six miles. My elation was curbed knowing we have to cycle back up when we turn around. s There is nothing visible to eat from the Trail Head at Prentiss so rather than adding miles to our trip we eat our PB&Js at the turn around and take a 25 minute break. If we make it back we can say we rode the entire Longleaf Trace!

Bob calls me over to get a picture of the llamas

There's nothing left to do but face the hill. It turns out not to be too bad as the grade is 1 or 2 percent. Before our first break on the way up the hill we see those two older ladies coming from the opposite direction towards us. We can't believe they almost outpaced us to make it to Prentiss from Sumrall. We don't know whether to be impressed or depressed. They couldn't have taken many breaks. Not bad for 55 to 65 year olds on those bikes. We're inspired to forge on despite the hill. We saw no one else on the trail so far until two firefighters (a guy and a gal) pass us while we take a break halfway up the hill. They came from Prentiss and we never see them again. A little dog chases us as we head up the hill. I barely have enough leg strength left to outrun that little guy.

Quaint church in Bassfield, MS

We take another rest at Carson and make it back to Ward's (a cheap local burger joint chain here) near Bassfield. An older local guy is walking in as we dismount. He's here for the 39-cent coffee mug refills. He asks Bob how far we're going. Bob says "Oh, about 50 today." His eyebrows shoot up and he yells "Miles!?" We splurge on soft serve cones and a diet Coke. Those cones for $1.29 are ten inches high! Yikes, I almost fell asleep eating that much dairy.

Last time we had our lunch at this pretty spot in Faler Park in Bassfield

We make it back quickly with the wind at our backs and downhill most of the way. Even with our stop to feed the emu (one wouldn't let the other one near the fence) we still got back in good time. Three huge dogs were running loose in a pack and gave us a scare but they didn't pursue. Whew! We get back to Sumrall by 6:05-six hours and fifteen minutes and 51.25 miles after we started. We get a newspaper and head home for leftovers. It's 6:05 p.m. and 77 degrees with 28% humidity-perfect cycling weather. The high was 78.

Proof that we made it the entire 40 miles of Longleaf Trace from Hattiesburg on one end to Prentiss on the other

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