Sunday, February 3, 2013

P4W2 Day 29 Tishomingo, MS - Decatur, AL 88 miles

Tishomingo State Park is a beautiful place.  It looks like it represents a part of the state where the rocks return.  There were very pretty slate-bedded creeks in the park, where the water runs clear, and if you are not claustrophobic, possibilities for cave exploration as well.

Last night felt like one of the coldest nights of the trip simply because it was pretty cold for camping (25 F) and the air never dehumidified after the rain yesterday.  I woke up to a coat of ice on the bike, the paniers, and the road.  The slow-rising sun made for pretty lighting on the pond inside the park.

This morning I said goodbye to the lovely Natchez Trace.  I left it like I started on it - I had the road to myself.    This re-routing decision to take the Parkway instead of rutted roads to the south enabled me to cover about 10 percent of my cross-continental distance on a beautiful road with great scenery.  Maybe someday I'll pedal the northernmost 25percent.

After I left the Parkway I realized I had to make some uneducated guesses on what roads to take across a populated stretch of the red clay country of northern Alabama.  U.S. Highway 72 was not a bad road, had variable shoulder widths, lots of traffic, and some nice tailwinds.

The highlight of the afternoon was passing by Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  The refuge had many waterfowl.   And I spotted my first belted kingfisher, a species that adorns the bird trail signs in the northern part of the state.
Dogs are everywhere in the south: dogs that eat dead stuff, stray dogs, dogs that chase bikers, howling dogs at night while people try to sleep, and also a place where they can be laid to rest.

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