The wind is really ripping in from the north when I leave. It’s all I can do to make it over the bridge from Dauphin Island brack to the mainland. There it settles down.
It’s backwoods and glades through Bayou LeBatie to Grand Bay. There I decide to leave the bike route and ride 90 across the coast of Mississippi to New Orleans. I meet mostly easy riding with big shoulder. Outside Pasagoula I stop and talk to Thomas, a hitchhiker. He’s been on the road for two and a half months, going as far as Corpus Christi. Now that he is 12 miles from home in Ocean Springs he can’t get a ride. I give him a buck and some water, wishing him luck.
When I get to Ocean Springs I’m lured into a Chinese buffet. The food is not great but the waitress is cute and there’s plenty to appease my appetite. I also buy some groceries. When I get going again, someone yells at me, “Dylan!” It’s Thomas – he made it. He’s now going to work cleaning up some parking lots. I tell him I hope to find a free spot to camp tonight and calls it “living in the seams”. I like it.
Crossing the bridge to Biloxi I catch a flat. After patching it and putting the tire back on, I bust the valve pumping it up and have to take it off again. Major frustration.
Biloxi, Gulf Coast, Long Beach, and Pass Christian are pretty much one long beach on the Mississippi coast. The road sucks for biking, but there is a stairstep seawall along most of it that I discover I can comfortably ride along the top of. I do this for many miles. When I catch another flat, I know I’ll have a tough time getting out into the sticks by nightfall. It’s nice riding along the beach, though, so I just keep going. Just when it gets dark, one perfect little spot appears. A nice seam to tuck myself into – a wooded lot between a drug store and a park. I pitch my tent under cover of trees and darkness. I walk around a little before bed, feeling like talking to someone, but there’s no one around.