Day 31: Bastrop to Hamburg

As planned, I’m in Arkansas.


Another hot ride. ?I’d wanted to get on the road early, but my body and my Aunt Jo Ann had other ideas.

I slept in until almost 9. ?Not a sign of any mouth / tooth pain. ?Yay. ?Just have to remember to stay away from straws and spitting for another dozen hours or so. ?That’ll prevent “dry socket” from happening. ?I got one of those the last time I had a tooth pulled. ?I swear, the pain from the dry socket hurt worse than the toothache itself.

I’d ridden into Bastrop on US 80 almost the entire way. ?I’m sure the road is fine if you’re in a?car?but the surface of the road was brutal. ?Not well maintained. ?Once I got to Monroe, the road got even worse. ?Instead of a complete repaving, they’d simply filled in the cracks every ten feet or so. ?Where I had to ride, the cars never drove. ?The goop they used to fill in the cracks was never tamped down. ?So every ten feet or so it was like hitting a two+ inch high bump in the road.

Coupled with the surface of the road — a rocky mixture — the road just beat me to death yesterday. ?My arms were like jello when I got off the bike. ?They hadn’t improved much overnight, either. ?They still felt very weak when I rode away from Bastrop this morning.

This morning my Aunt Jo Ann and I talked and talked. ?She was always my favorite Aunt and her husband (my mom’s brother), Uncle Dan, was always my favorite Uncle.


When my family moved from California to Tennessee in the summer before I went into the 7th grade, we moved in with them. ?We stayed all summer until my dad could find a job and we could find a place to live.

During that summer I must have read through 3/4s of a vast personal library Uncle Dan had. ?He had multiple years of The World Almanac. ?Outside of the Guiness Book of World Records I thought the Almanac was the most amazing book I’d ever seen. ?(Hey, I was 13 and this was 25 years before the Internet, ok?)

My Uncle Dan was a USN Master Chief Petty Officer. ?(He was an Aviation Ordinanceman. ?We called ’em “BB Stackers.”) ?You don’t become a Master Chief by being a dummy. ?A Master Chief is the top of the enlisted scale, paygrade E9. ?Hell, I only made it to E7 before I left Uncle’s Big Canoe Club. ?Uncle Dan knew a lot of things about a lot of things. ?He was an impressive and intelligent man. ?I always looked up to him.

But it turns out my Aunt Jo Ann is no mental slouch, either. ?This morning we covered a wide variety of topics: ?geopolitics, economics, agriculture, religion, government . . . and the depth of her knowledge and awareness of “what’s going on” was astounding. ?I could have spent hours talking to her . . . had I not had someplace else I needed to ride to.

It was a nice visit and a pleasant stay with kinfolk.

Wasn’t much to it, today. ?It was a short day: ?less than 40 miles. ?But I’d forgotten how brutal the heat could be in sapping your strength.


The wind was still blowing in my face, but, ?at least it wasn’t gale force. ?And the road was just about as flat as humanly possible. ?No rolling hills to contend with.

Things I Saw

I stopped right before the state line into Arkansas to check my maps and get a drink or two of water. ?These puppies across the street were ten kinds of pissed about it. ?They must have barked at me for five minutes. ?They were either telling me to get the hell over into Arkansas or begging me to stay in Louisiana. ?Not being fluent in Bark-ese I’m not sure what they were saying.


Stopped at a little church because I saw a covered picnic area:


It was the first time I wish I’d brought along a pillow. ?I believe I would have taken a nap on top of one of those tables.


No, I would not have needed a blanket.

Spending the night in Hamburg, Arkansas.


Had to look up Stevi Perry, of course. ?It appears she has grown up . . . quite nicely:

stevi perry

Here’s a question for all those states who refuse to let bicyclists on “their” Interstates. ?See this? ?It’s US 425, a major highway with speed limits at least 65 miles per hour:


Notice the lack of any kind of shoulder. ?None. ?No breakdown / safety lane / berm for a bicyclist to ride.

You states won’t let bicyclists on the Interstates because it’s too “dangerous.” ?Yet, on these routes bicyclists are actually having to ride?in the traffic lanes.

What the fuck?

Can’t claim Arkansas yet as I’ve only ridden 17 miles in the state. ?One way or another, I’ll get those last 3 miles tomorrow.