The bike is waiting for me in the fenced lot, safe and sound. I put her together and set off, but can’t resist stopping to say goodby to Laura. Of all the folks I’ve met I have an especially warm spot for her, I don’t know why. But she’s there and sends me off with a big hug and two bottles of water.
My state of mind is not perfect for riding, but luckily the streets are deserted. I head west, not really caring which street I follow. Once or twice I drop things and have to stop to pick them up.
The road I choose goes quite a ways, but finally dead ends in a residential area. I hang a left, south, but that ends too. I can hear a road on the other side of a barrier, but can’t get there. There’s a bike path going along the base of a big wall going the other way. Stubbornly I follow it. I really pump along it for a few miles, and finally it goes over the wall. On the other side is an endless body of water. It takes me a minute figure it out – Lake Pontchartrain. Insanely I ride along it’s unevenly cemented shore a ways, then come to my senses and turn around, heading south again. Backtracking, I finally find a road that crosses I-10. I stop and eat to rekindle the fires, then head south again. Trying to get by an airport, I take a dirt road and catch a flat. A plane takes off, and I notice I’m almost on a runway. I hurry to fix the flat and get out of there.
Finally I get on 90 and push the pedals. It runs through swamp and glade with nice, wide shoulders. I just keep going. I get another flat, stop, patch, pump, go. There’s nothing for a long time, then I hit a little town here and there. I’m getting ragged now, but doggedly ride all the way into Baton Rouge and take the first room I find. I think I’m going to pass right out, but it takes me a while to wind down. I shower, snack, watch a movie, and then zonk. Ahh…