Day 30: Ruston to Bastrop

My day started out early again. ?At Waffle House.

I had to do something. ?The pain was ridiculous. ?Orajel and Aleve just weren’t doing any good. ?(Why hash browns “scattered covered and chunked” worked, though, was a mystery.)

After I got back to the hotel room I Googled “Emergency Dental Care Ruston LA” ?One of the results was for Johnston Family Dentistry. ? On their FAQ page they specifically addressed “emergencies.” ?A patient was instructed to call as soon as the patient determined there was an emergency, and Johnston would do its best to get the patient in.

They opened at 8:00AM. ?At 8:01AM I was on the phone with them. ?”Yes, please come by,” they told me. ?They could help.



(I misspelled their name on my Twitter feed. ?I left out the “T” in JohnsTon on a couple of tweets.)

Friendly?people. ?Good God, but being in Louisiana has reminded me how much I always loved — and have obviously missed! — Southern hospitality and gentility.

The culprit all along has been a tooth:


Second tooth from the left. ?See the dark area to the left of that tooth? ?Decay. ?Nearly clean to the nerve. ?Dr. Johnston said to me, “I’m not sure how you’re doing?anything. ?That tooth has?got?to be?speaking loudly to you.”

I asked him why it didn’t hurt when I was riding. ?Or as I was lying on the examining table right then. ?Or eating scrambled eggs with cheese at Waffle House. ?Why did it hurt?only?when I was sleeping. ?He explained that it was the blood flow. ?Out cold, the blood flow was more prominent / gathering more in my head, which increased the pressure on the nerve. ?While I was awake, the blood was flowing to other places. ?I’m not sure I understood the explanation (so I’m probably repeating it incorrectly) but the bottom line was to stop it from hurting, get rid of that tooth.

Throughout the whole thing Lisa was right by my side. ?Friendly and professional, empathetic and just plain fun to talk to.


I really can’t say enough good things about those folks. ?If you find yourself in need of a dentist in Ruston, LA, check ’em out.

Speaking of blood flowing places, I was reminded at lunch time of one of the best reasons to bike Down South:


Nope, that reason ain’t got one thing to do with red trucks.

I learned something today about Louisiana Parishes. ?(You know that Louisiana doesn’t have?counties, right? ?They have?parishes.)

It’s election time in Louisiana. ?(LA holds most of their elections in odd-numbered years.) ?I kept seeing signs for people running for?Policy Jury.


I’d never heard the term. ?The interwebs to the rescue, though!

In the U.S. state of Louisiana, the typical governing body of the parish is called the Police Jury. Not every parish is governed by a Police Jury, but 41 of the 64 parishes use this system.

The Police Jury is the legislative and executive government of the parish, and is elected by the voters. Its members are called Jurors, and together they elect a President as their chairman. The President presides over the Police Jury and serves as the titular head of the parish government. The Police Jury is akin to the commissions or councils that govern counties in most other states.

Police juries range in size, depending on the population of the parish, from three to fifteen. Many parishes are quite rural and therefore have small police juries. Wide latitude is given to organize and administer the police jury’s business.


I really thought I’d left all the heat out west. ?Silly Fat Boy:


I’d posted this to Twitter:

I shot some additional video with my Go Pro clone, too. ?This?is?what I’m talking about!

My mom in the summer of the year before she passed away:

She had asked me that summer if I would take her home to Bastrop, LA. ?Of course I would and I did. ?During that visit she had an opportunity to see her two remaining brothers and catch up on old times. ?(I was the youngest person in the room. ?And even though I was 54 years old at the time, to everyone else there, I was still the kid they always knew me as.)

My revised route today took me right through Bastrop.


I was invited to stay at my Aunt Jo Ann’s place for the evening. ?We — she, her son Lee, and his daughter Alexis — got to catch up on our own “old times.”

Bastrop is my last stop in Louisiana. ?(Eleven days to get out of Texas. ?Three to get across LA. ?My kind of state!) ?Tomorrow I’ve got a quick trip up US 425 to Hamburg, AR. ?That sets me up on Thursday to go across the last natural barrier in a west to east cross-US ride: ?The Mississippi River.