I am at the KOA adjacent to the Kisatchie State Forest, 10 miles west of Alexandria. Louisiana is incredibly flat. It's ugly, it's boring, but the highways have smooth wide shoulders, and you really make some time. I did 77 miles today, and was into the campground by 3:00. Average speed was 13 mph, best on the trip. I cruise loaded at 15 mph when it is perfectly flat, I find.
It's all farms and used car lots and trailer home lots. I even saw one lot selling repo trailer homes. They grow cotton, some corn, and they raise cattle. I did come across a used farm equipment lot, and look what I found.
A tractor with a bush hog attached. It's not a brand name Bush Hog, but an imitation knockoff bush hog, but it the same deal.
It's a good thing to be on a regular road, because you get to eat a lot. I asked the owner of the campground where to get breakfast this morning, and he said "Jonesville", which is 20 miles down the road. However, he said what I should do is stop in at the convenience store at the Taunton's gas station in Ferriday, and grab a snack to hold me over to Jonesville. He said they have a good cook and good local food. This was great advice, because at 7:00 am there is the great big steam table with all the breafast food, fried chicken, and barbequed sausage a person could want. I had a barbequed sausage, Texas German style for first breakfast. Excellent. I really liked that campground last night. It was really peaceful.
So in just an hour an a half down the totally flat road, I'm in Jonesville, and ready for second breakfast. The pickings were kind of slim, but I did just fine at Big John's. Pancakes drowned in syrup, bacon, and a big serving of grits. Then it was back to the totally flat road for 45 miles to Pineville and Alexandria, where there was a hill! Just a little one, only 100 feet high or so, but what a shock, I had to downshift.
I was tricked into riding on an expressway into Alexandria. I looked off the bridge and there was a perfectly good back road going over an older bridge right to downtown. How annoying. I would really be mad about this if I had gotten run over. Anyway, Alexandria has a nice old downtown. Alexandria is a port and a cotton gin town. It's as far as you can navigate up the Red River. I found an old drug store with a lunch counter and ate there. I had chicken fried steak, with mustard greens on the side and a milk shake. Great southern food and great fuel.
Alexandria is the only city in north central Louisiana. It has cell phone coverage for Nextel, so Allen's cell phone beeped at me for the first time since Jackson. It beeps when it regains coverage. I immediately checked the weather, which looks good for the forseeable future, only a slight chance of showers in a couple days. It's getting hotter, the high today was about 85. I'm getting a lot of sun, and there are salt crystals all over the straps on my bike helmet. I'm drinking about a gallon of water and Gatorade a day under these conditions.
Here is the map for today. Check out the elevation profile for the first 45 miles. It doesn't get any flatter than that.