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Friday 8 July 2011

Day 59 - Saxon Tire Barn

Todays mileage: 50
Total mileage: 2,898
End point: Crystal Springs, MS

After yesterdays adventures I was in no rush to get out early. The night before I watched Nancy (dis)Grace, no matter how stressed I had been, you can guarantee Nancy will be more stressed than anyone following the innocent verdict. For my UK readers there has been a massive trial over here, Casey Anthony was put on trial for the murder of her toddler daughter, Caley. She went missing for months, a body was found but the prosecution was unable to put together a cohesive case. Through the case Casey accused her dad of sexual abuse, constantly lied and generally acted like a psychopath. She has walked free though - its all very messy, and Nancy, a talkshow host is not happy.

After check out it was time to take a proper look at my wheel. I tightened the two loose spokes next to the massive ding, and then attempted to put a tube in and pumped. Everything was looking ok to start with, but the the tube started trying to escape between the gap between the beading and the dent in the rim.. a few more pumps and BANG! Two people in the car park jumped for cover and I sat on the floor a little shaken. This was not good! A lady who had been I reception appeared to see what was going on. I had thought there was a bicycle shop in Vicksburg, but it had shut down and so my next course of action was a car mechanic. The lady's dad's friend ran a tyre garage and she offered to drive me over. Kim was 2 years younger than me, had 4 kids and was on her third marriage. She told me she had divorced her 2nd husband when she had found out he was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, he would use the 'n' word regularly knowing the klan had his back. You can't make this up. Saxon Tire barn was an organized chaos of cars, the manager was more than happy to help and ordered a teenage apprentice to do his best. Given this isn't something anyone gets trained, in he didn't do a bad job; he managed to straightened the edges of the rim enough for the tyre to make a seal and an inner tube to inflate without mock gunfire. No charge for the repair.

The other issue I wanted to solve today was my lack of phone, this took a huge amount of time, hours and hours. I went to the AT&T store twice, a dodgy guy in the mall and radio shack to assess all my options. In the end I have an LG Thrive; a cheap android phone, but it seems to be doing the job, and my dell streak headphones and mic work with it too. Battery life is good, it plays all my music, job is a good one. The downside was a ridiculously start to the ride in late afternoon. My plan was to get to Lake Lincoln State Park but this was ridiculously over optimistic. I estimted this at maybe 60 miles, but I think its more like 70 miles in reflection. I never made it that far, had to stop at Crystal Springs and am staying in possibly the nicest place of the trip so far. The Wisteria Inn is a glorious southern house, the owner wasn't formally taking bookings but I negotiated my way in at the bargain rate of $40. Its mainly used for weddings at has a great garden too:
The town is pretty cute, but I'm afraid to say my pizza hut coupon finally failed, although the staff in there were very polite and excited to have an englishman in their company.

Riding through Mississippi has been interesting. Cycling the bike feels like you are riding over continous speed humps, I'm not sure how long the wheel will hold; can I go all the way on it? I certainly don't want to buy another rim, but I don't thing the trueness of the wheel is the key problem, it all just comes down to the flat spot from the dent. The landscape here is dense forest which is nice as it provides shade, emerging the forest I would find large swamps which you wouldn't want to swim in. I've also noticed some very bizarre driving. Nearly everywhere drivers have been relatively polite, but if it is clear and there is a double yellow no passing line in the middle, drivers would half cross it to get passed me*. I have had 3 incidents today when the driver refused to cross and would drive behind me for many minutes until they get to a dotted yellow line and a passing sign. This is kind and legal but it can be intimidating especially when lots of traffic builds up behind with less polite drivers.

Mississippi is an interesting place and I am absorbing the culture. It is the only state which retains the confederate flag, despite this being put to a referedum about 10 years ago. It is the poorest state in the US and has the highest percentage of African Americans (no doubt linked.) It is deeply religous, in fact it is illegal in MS for atheists to hold public
office under section 265 of the constitution, this is in complete contradiction to the US constitution. I doubt anyone in Mississippi will be challenging this law ;) I hadn't wanted to dwell on the race issue too hard but the local news tonight brought it back into focus. An 18 year old is accused of a hit and run murder of a 49 year old man:

I got Pam to do some calculations regarding mileage, approximately 600 miles to go, 11 days, with a rest day this equals 60 miles average - acheivable. Not many photos today, didn't want to bore you with the inside of the ATT store although I wish I had got one of the tyre barn. Did enjoy the litter / tax sign though, especially when it was surrounded by rubbish.

*UK readers who haven't visited the states should note that the central lines here are yellow, often with white lines to the side, the opposite of the UK. It was this confusion which led to the horrific accident a few years back were Nathan Doud an american driving in uk mistakenly believed he was on a dual carriageway (a divided highway) and had a head on collision killing the occupants of the other car. Horrible.

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