Monday, October 17, 2011

Bucket of Fun

I wake up most days to completely clear and serene blue.  Sometimes in my sleepy state I wonder if the blue in the sky will make my eyes more blue than they are.  We have been so lucky with weather and good fortune; some folks have told us they have been cheering us on and praying for us, and I think it must be helping  :)


It's only been a week and a half since our last update, but hot damn!  Adventures have been around every corner, and a lot has happened to us... There's also lot about food in this post, but if you know me and Emerson, there's a lot about food in our bike tour.


 The cypress swamps have replaced the cotton fields, the sugarcane replaces the soy beans; the sun sets a little earlier everyday, and we have watched the moon wax, become full, and wane again.  We moo at the cows, cluck at the chickens, enjoy the live oaks, cicadas, crickets, and take in the intense heat of southern Mississippi and Louisiana. We visited the birthplace of THE KING, Elvis Presley, in Tupelo, MS, where we ceremoniously ate peanut butter + banana sandwiches, and paid our respects. After our first century, we met four other cyclists going the same route we are, down to New Orleans and over to California  They took us in, we took them in, and before you know it we are traveling six deep for a few days.  It was basically a rolling party the next few days on the trace, and helmets just happened to be required.

We pulled into beautiful Natchez, MS, with a torrential afternoon thunderstorm, watched the bright pink sunset and took in the breathtaking views of the river. The stench that later ensued from the motel room we all shared was almost of unbelievable levels.


On the way from Natchez to New Orleans we explored some back roads, some gravel roads, and some too-much-traffic roads.  We also explored Big Mama's biscuits n gravy, Pig Out Inn BBQ, and made some of our own "camp gourmet" food including deer burgers and salmon + cheese grits.  We've camped without a tent behind a church, behind a police station with permission from a mayor, and in sugar cane fields.  It's harvesting season so we awoke in the middle of the night with an 18 wheeler loading up a trailer full of cane about 30 feet from us.  We hoped it wouldn't come any closer and we could stay hidden in the reeds. Success was ours, until the rhythmic mooing of cows across the levee kept us up half the night. mooo mooo mooo.  Uggghhhhhh.

As we get closer and closer to New Orleans, the promised city of our first rest days of the trip, we feel as though we will never get there and the unending River Road is some kind of cycling purgatory. It is low traffic, but my legs feel like lead, we are hot, and my bum hurts so badly I think I can't go on.  Emerson is waiting for me at an overlook over the River, about 20 miles from our final destination.  We run into a lovely couple, Larry and Jenny, who convince us to come down into a NOLA suburb, where an Oktoberfest is blasting some Lady Gaga polka-style.  It's getting dark soon, but we were at our first real low point in the trip.  Two hours later, full of delicious German beer, great conversation, encouraging words, and a few renditions of "Billy Jean" polka-style, we fly through the city.  We watch the sunset on the Mississippi River and channeled our inner Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.  We then flew though the city at breakneck speed, racing the streetcars on the "neutral ground,"  with cars, bikes, horns, the sound of Jazz somewhere in the distance and the smell of good food all around.

Chicken with liederhosen. 

We've been in NOLA less than 48 hours, but those hours have included doing our atrocious-smelling laundry, the French Quarter, cajun food, a drag show, a saints game at a bar (where they had free jello shots every time the Saints get a, not that good), Beignets at Cafe Dumonde, a BBQ + Blues Festival, street jazz, Audobon Park, a pizza pickup by bike, Bourbon St, and riding around getting our bearings.  This city is amazing, but sometimes it makes no rhym or reason as to layout or traffic.  We are getting the hang of it though, and having a blast.

Our legs are sore, our minds are clear. Our hearts are happy and the road is good.

Fleur-de-Lis, Fun, and Fenders to you,

Hollie and Emerson


  1. I was wondering when the next post was coming. Here it is and it was worth it. Love the pics! I am glad you guys are having a blast. Be safe and Godspeed.

  2. reading this made my heart warm. you guys are great.

  3. Be safe and keep your minds and hearts open. Tailwinds to you both. JB

  4. I think about you guys everyday. Sounds like a great trip. We are living it vicarously thru you. Love the posts. Been doing a lot of trailwork with the shuffle going. Every time T-Rex comes on I wonder where you are.

  5. Hi - I love you guys. This post + photos is really wonderful! It looks like you are having such a great time! I hope you continue to have safe travels.

    Sending lots of Knoxville love vibes...

  6. Hey Hollie and Emerson!
    I love the updates and photos. You look like you are having the time of your lives!
    Take time to rest a bit before you go towards colder frontiers!
    We are praying for you. Keep up the blog!
    Aunt Adrien