Bicycle Journey Progress

The journey begins on April 5th and ends on June 20, 2012

Ride Progress: COMPLETE!
Daily summaries:
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75

sexta-feira, 27 de abril de 2012

Arrived in Hot Springs

Today we broke all records... Longest ride: 74 miles; longest time on the road: 12 hours; hardest course: 7C.

I'm glad we got to the hotel and will have dinner now =)



In the middle of nowhere




Resting after steep hill

What an inclination! Way too hot, too!





Catfish for lunch!

Nice!

People said this is the traditional dish around these areas... Very tasty indeed.

No vegetarian options and no food for the next 40 miles... Gotta eat now!




Arrived in a big town!

Bigelow, 329 habitants. =)




Nice view of the Arkansas river

I'm not sure what is the name of this bridge but crosses over the Arkansas river.





Summary of day 21 - Resting Day - Memphis, TN


Day 21 – 04/23/2012 – Resting Day – Memphis

Just as all other resting days, this one was great. We woke up around 9:00am and then did a few things in the computer. I ordered a debit replacement card which will arrive in the hotel we plan to stay in Conway, three days from now. Then we went out to see the city.

We headed to downtown where the Graceland Mansion – Elvis Presley’s former home - was indicated by our maps. On our way, we deviated from our route to get a coffee and stumbled upon FedexForum, a major basketball stadium. We saw there was a game between Memphis and Cleveland so we decided to watch the game. We got our tickets and then had our coffee.

When we arrived to our destination we discovered that unfortunately it was wrong and there was no mansion in that location. Instead, we found Beale Street. That was an amazing place: full of historical places, stores and restaurants. The B.B. King club was there, as were many stores established in the 19th century.


We walked around, explored and talked to a few people. One of the guys told me about how legendary that place was, and how significant it had been in his life. He had been a musician in his early days but it didn’t turn so well financially. Now he was with a friend on one of the stores in that same street. We took a picture together and I moved on.

We then decided to eat pizza! Each of us had an entire Domino’s pizza of medium size. I guess we needed to pack some calories. Then we rode to the actual Graceland Mansion which was about 10 miles away.

It was a guided tour, but we were free to explore the house and expend as much time in each section as we wished. The whole place had an intense atmosphere. Though the colorful, almost unorganized decoration and furniture I became clear that Elvis’ personality in the stage transcended his shows and was also part of this private life. Golden furniture pieces, colorful walls, ceilings with carpet and others with mirrors. And a room with three televisions lined up which Elvis used to watch on different channels, all at once. It was a very interesting place indeed. We learned a lot about his life and then visited his grave.



We then rode back to downtown to watch the game. It was my first time watching a basketball game and I can say I’ll be back there more times for sure. I enjoyed the whole thing, not just the game. If you’ve been in a basketball game you know what I mean: they make a big show out of it.
Then we headed back to the hotel, just stopping by to get some groceries. Next we had dinner, showered and prepared to sleep. What an amazing city and unforgettable day!



Summary of days 19 and 20

Day 19 – 04/21/2012 – Holly Springs, MS

This day was going to be a hard one, but at morning time I of course had no idea. It started with us leaving our hotel very late – about 11:30am - to visit Elvis’ birthplace: a little house located just a mile from our hotel. They made a small park surrounding it, along with a museum. We took a few pictures, but the whole thing took about 45 minutes.



As a result, we ended up leaving the city very late. Besides, we were surprised by the cold weather and were not properly dressed. That made the ride much harder. We made the first 24 miles to a city called New Albany with almost no stops, just a few to drink water. Arriving in New Albany we decided to change our lunch program a little and have a pizza. We ordered the largest we could find, of course. After a long wait, we finally eat and moved on. Next to the pizzeria there was a Walmart. Due to the cold weather we decided to stop and change clothes. I also bought a pair of gloves to help with the chilly wind. We then left New Albany behind. At this point I didn’t yet know I was leaving more than the city behind, but more on that later.

A few miles down the road we stopped to get more water and to have a cup of coffee. Due to all delays, we were approaching twilight already. To make things worse there was no much ahead of us: we were about to cross the Holly Springs national forest. We then had our coffee and started the ride into the forest. We few minutes later dusk came and, soon enough, it was completely dark. We kept going guided just by our beam lights.


As we moved further and further into the forest we started crossing a few farms, and that means we started having trouble with unchained dogs. Many started chasing us. Pretty much every farm had one or two large dogs running free, sometimes more. I can tell you being chased by a Doberman during the day is not a pleasant experience, but being chased by one or something that looks like one at night is much worse. We kept riding as fast we as could while the temperature kept dropping. At this point it was about 52 F / 11 C. We kept a good pace both to cover as much ground as we could and to keep our bodies warm.

We then faced a new problem: a sign saying a bridge ahead which used to cross a river had fallen and there was no passage through that road. We then took a small service road and rode about 10 miles in the interstate. When we finally reached the next exit, we got back to our original path.

After about two hours and a half riding in the cold night and having covered more than 65 miles we arrived at our destination. The city was small and there were apparently no grocery stores opened. We found a gas station which had a convenience store, so we stopped to buy food. I then decided I was going to buy our things and started to look for my cards. I used to keep them both, debit and credit, together along with my driver’s license. After an extensive search I realized I had lost them all. I must have forgotten them in New Albany’s Walmart during the clothing exchange.

My uncle bought the groceries and we rode to a cheap hotel we found nearby. I then had a big problem to deal with: get replacement cards while on the road. But I was not going to deal with this problem that night. We eat, showered and went to sleep after having covered more miles than any day up to this point.





Day 20 – 04/22/2012 – Memphis, TN

This day started a little warmer than the previous day, which facilitated the ride somewhat. Right on our way out of the hotel we met three people that were also checking out. They asked about the trip and one of the guys pulled his video camera. He started interviewing us on camera, which was quiet fun. After we said good bye we moved on straight to the road.

We rode the first 25 miles with no significant stops, just pausing to drink water and resuming the ride. After about 2 hours on the road we arrived in a city called Olive Branch, already located on the Memphis metro area. We then had lunch at a Subway. After lunch the weather had changed and clouds were covering most of the sky. We entered the Memphis city limits. It was a long ride from that point to the hotel we decided to stay, which was located close to downtown and the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge.


When we were about five miles away from the hotel the rain started and we took shelter on a gas station until it had diminished. We then kept riding in the rain and arrived in our hotel just after dusk.



We then went out to find something to eat and ended up going to a supermarket to buy frozen food and things for the breakfast. You know what happened next: we eat, showered, washed clothes, updated the blog and went to sleep.