ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. — Some random notes from the road:
ANOTHER CASUALTY: A rider in our cross-country caravan had to abandon the journey on Wednesday for medical reasons. I understand that he awakened on Wednesday with an eye problem. He was on cooking rotation that morning and prepared a pot of grits and a nice fruit salad for the crew breakfast. As far as I know, he made no mention of a problem to any of his fellow riders.
Our first casuality was during the first week or so of the trip when one of our female riders got wiped out by the 100-degree-plus heat in California’s Imperial Valley and then threw out her back while moving her bike. We lost another woman just before Austin. She chose not to take a layover in the Texas capital with the rest of us, but instead to ride on alone and finish the journey earlier.
NO RENDEZVOUZ ON THE RIVER: I had entertained the unlikely notion that I and Neal Moore, a friend of my son Ben, might have a rendezvous at St. Francisville. But, alas, it is not to be.
Neal has been traveling the length of the Mississippi River by canoe from the headwaters at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to New Orleans. I, of course, have been traveling eastward by bicycle from San Diego to St. Augustine, Fla.
We have communicated with one another before and during our separate journeys. But Neal, a “citizen journalist” who has been doing iReports for CNN, advised on Wednesday that he is still involved with various stories upriver in Mississippi and that a meeting at St. Francisville is not in the cards.
You can follow Neal’s journey on his blog: http://www.flashriversafari.com/
SPOTTY COMMUNICATIONS AND JUST PLAIN FATIGUE: Some faithful readers of this blog may have noticed that — try as I might — I do not post an item every day. Usually, that’s due to very spotty communications as we travel through the rural south. But sometimes it’s due to just plain fatigue or the lack of anything interesting or clever to write about.
On Wednesday and Thursday night, I and a couple of fellow riders are ensconced at a Quality Inn in St. Francisville. The rest of our group rented a van for a hurried overnight side trip to New Orleans and a stop on Thursday in Baton Rouge, where friends of fellow rider Cathy Blondeau were hosting them for lunch.
My room at the Quality Inn is too far from the lobby for a decent wi-fi connection. So I’ve been updating this blog with my Verizon MiFi connection. Most of our campsites have no wi-fi connection, and cellphone service — particulary Verizon — has been spotty in this part of the South.