November 18 - Pascagoula, Mississippi

The day started out almost sunny as I rode along the Gulf of Mexico. There was a headwind which kept up all day.

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I got an early start. I was up at dawn, which is just after 6:00. I was on the road by 7:15, which is typically how long it takes me to break camp and load the bike. I was feeling good, but wanting breakfast. I came upon this great looking cafe in the town of Pass Christian, but they didn't open until 9:00. How can a breakfast place not open until 9:00? It was only 8:30, so I pressed on. I wound up going 20 miles before food, which was a Waffle House in Long Beach. Check it out, they have a real jukebox with real 45 rpm vinyl records. The pick song was "The Wabash Cannonball" by Roy Acuff.

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My route was pretty much along US 90 the whole way. US 90 is a two lane divided highway with no shoulder that runs along the beach. Traffic is not heavy, so it is rideable, but the headwinds were pretty strong, and the scenery never changed. Most of the time you could ride through a neighborhood street a block or two back from 90. This was very nice. There were live oak trees over the road, which blocked the wind, and there are a lot of really beautiful houses along the coast. This was not what I expected of the Gulf Coast. I thought it would be a mix of heavy industry and casinos, much like Gary, Indiana. It's more like a restrictive beach community most of the time. The casinos are all in the cities of Gulfport and Biloxi, which look run down otherwise.

After Biloxi, you go over a big bridge to the town of Ocean Springs. This is a really nice small town. I drode through town and picked up a back road that parallels 90 called the Old Spanish Trail, which I gather dates from colonial days. This was all pine woods, and much of it was a national wildlife refuge.

My original plan was to camp at a state park before you cross the river to Pascagoula. I got there really early, though, and there was no place to eat. I checked my maps, and it looks like I could camp 15 miles past Pascagoula in Grand Bay, Alabama. I called the campground and got a recorded message. I decided to ride the eight miles into Pascagoula to eat, and then try calling the camp ground again. I saw from my map there was a town with a motel six miles past Grand Bay, so that was a fallback option.

Pascagoula is a big shipbuilding town. They make warships for the US Navy here, as well as other ships. Here's a view of the shipyards as you go over the big bridge to get into town.

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So I was gorging myself at the China Buffet, and studying the Adventure Cycling map, which shows where my campground is. They have two routes around Mobile, one which takes a ferry across the mouth of Mobile Bay to historic Dauphin Island, and another through Mobile itself. I had decided to do the ferry route a long time ago, and hadn't given much thought to it since. I see on the map there is a little note suggesting that it is a good idea to call the ferry to make sure they are running and what the hours are, which change in the fall. So I called. The ferry landing was washed out by the hurricane. It is closed indefinitely. This is bad, because it looks like the alternate route through Mobile is a bit longer.

That's why I'm here in the pricey motel. There was no response from the campground in Grand Bay, and the next place to stay in the direction of Mobile is about 30 miles. As soon as I checked in, I developed an alternate route, which is longer than my original plan, but very doable, and I will still be on schedule.

There were no mechanical difficulties today, and I feel fine. Here is today's route. Still flat as could be.

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