Day 5 – Up Hills and Down Again

Day 5 – Up Hills and Down Again

Today we left Natchez in the morning hoping for an end to bike problems… but it was not to be. Joshua’s bike continues to struggle with about half the gearing positions. This means the range is limited to a handful of either very hard or very easy gears. So, I decided to change bikes with him. We have found a bike store two days away and I am going to ride this bike until we get there. I am pretty I understand the problem but need a new gear cluster to fix it.

The ride at first was incredibly hilly as we left Natchez. Dave was despairing (he has become our map reader and pace setter and if we fall behind he get worried about making mileage).

While the hills were hard, the scenery was gorgeous.

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We got onto the “Natchez Trace” which is an incredible experience for a biker. There are long downhills followed by long uphills, but they are manageable and the beauty is all around you. You know you are in the south when you see lush green kudzu covering the trees. I wish I had some pics of this to share with you… but they are on another camera.

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We left the official MRT route for a few miles this afternoon because our campground was five miles off. The road was a fast highway with washboard shoulders – some of the worst conditions for bikers. This was a bit scary at times, but the monster climbs were tough. We all agreed to some walking and pushing – it was just a bit much for us.

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When we arrived at the campground they had a pool which was great. We floated around for about an hour before setting up camp. I am tired – the lack of proper gearing makes for a hard ride and we had a little bit of headwind today.

As we planned the next day’s ride (something we do every night) we came to a tough realization. There is no way we can finish the whole Mississippi River Trail. The issue is that the campgrounds and hotels are not spread out on the route. So, for example, tomorrow we have to choose between 45 miles or 118. We know we can’t do the latter, so we are going the shorter distance, which sets us back a half day. We forecasted into the future and realized that we simply can’t make it happen. So… we will be content with riding as far as we can and then flying home when we run out of time in mid to late August.

Oh well. It’s the journey, not the destination!

Miles today: 74
Total miles: 308
Text: Through the end of Acts

PS – Thanks to all you Facebookers – I can’t reply to all the comments and messages with the limited time we have. BTW – Tomorrow night we are in a remote camping place so there may be no post.

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