Tangipatto LA, to Baker, LA.

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What a day of ups and downs! I stopped at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library and saw that there wasn’t an outdoor plug for my bicycle. I spoke to Jan, a librarian, and she asked Geralyn, the manager, if I could bring my bike inside. “Sure” said Geralyn, “bring it in, we have a room for it.”

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I love Southern Hospitality and politeness! So I had a large office all to myself. But Jan and Geralyn were curious, and began quizzing me about my journey. They decided it was newsworthy, and called the local TV station WBRZ, who sent over Chris Sassser to film and interview me! Apparantly I was on the evening news!

With that feather in my cap I set off. After about 50 miles the dark clouds I had been watching drew closer. I reached for my phone to check out weather radar- but it was gone, it had fallen from my basket. No phone! What to do? Ride back and look? Order another from Amazon and send it a few days ahead general delivery? But then I would lose my number. So I decided to find the closest Cricket wireless dealer, ride there, get a new phone and keep my number. But how to find a Cricket dealer?

Up ahead was a 1 car garage sized post office. I explained my dilema to the young woman, and she invited me into the back to research on the internet where the closest Cricket dealer was. There were none ahead for a few days. But just 28 miles back the way I had just come was the town of Baker with a Cricket dealer. As I was deciding to ride back, the skies opened up. I got on my rain gear and headed back- the dealer closed at 9:00PM- it should be easy.

I had gone about sixteen miles along a busy four lane highway in the pouring rain when there was a loud KaaaaBluueee. My rear tire had blown out! I had no choice but to walk my bike for about a half mile along the busy highway to try and find a place to repair it. I found the machine shop of Ryan. I asked if I could change my tire in his yard and he said sure.

It was then that I discovered that my rear tire had a big slit in it, and was not repairable. I don’t carry a spare tire, this has never happened to me before. So I asked Ryan if there was a junk bike lying around that I could nab the tire from. Instead, he offered to drive me to Wal Mart, about 15 miles round trip. He refused gas money.

Thanks to Ryan I got my bike running and set off into the dusk. And then my bike stopped running. By higgling and twiggling and a lot of pedalling I made it to the Cricket dealer- just as they were locking up. But, they opened for me, got me set up, and then posed for pictures with me- “in case I was famous someday.”

There was a hotel a block down the road and I checked in for the night, exhausted. So here I have spent the day, working on my bike. I put the good Schwalbe tire in the back, and the cheap Wal Mart tire in the front. I opened up the batteries and found a broken sensor wire and repaired it, and balanced that battery. I rewired a DPDT switch, and found a broken wire that was causing the bike to stall. Tomorrow I will ride again.

By the way, the neighborhood is 95% black and I am loving it! It is wonderful to see such different faces and body types than I am used to. I walked miles today to Wal Mart for a soldering gun, and to the chiropractor. I have only experienced kindness and friendliness. For example, at Wal Mart, an elderly retired fighter pilot led me around the unfamiliar store to help me locate my shopping items. Another gentleman, at my request, graciously gave me a lift for three miles. You’ve got to put your friendly on when you travel!

5-6-2015 Poplarville Mississippi to Tangipatto, Louisana

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Screen Shot 2015 05 07 at 10 02 58 AM

5-6-2015 108 miles

Spent last night camping up in the pines. I am good at camping, and i enjoy it a lot, from the cold shower to the simple food, to the star and firefly gazing, to the peaceful sleeping.

The country is rolling, wooded, and very lovely. The roads are a mixed bag, some treats and some lemons.

These have been nerve wracking cycling days in Mississippi and Louisiana because the secondary roads have no places for bicycles. My 6″ on the right of the white line is punched with vibration divots. The traffic has been heavy with logging trucks and the ubiquitous full size pickup. I have had to keep a very sharp focus on my surroundings. I have pulled off the road onto the gravel and dirt shoulders many times when I see “the perfect storm” forming. What is the perfect storm? There is a logging truck coming up behind you and a semi coming the other way. The two trucks and your bicycle are in synch to be three abreast on a two lane road. What do you do? Yield. Get off the road, now.

Soon I am in Louisiana.

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I want one, think I’ll build a solar one to cruise the intercostal back in Florida. Most waterways have these “shantyboats”, often with a colorful character or two on deck.

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I’ve been dodging logging trucks all morning and this is why, this is what keeps Bogalusa alive, a pulp and paper plant.

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Here is the now madatory picture of Sherpa charging whilst I visit the public library in Bogalusa!
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This is very low swampy country and I reject half a dozen muddy boggy potential campsites. Finally I find an acceptable spot, but the mosquitoes bounce off the mesh of my tent like ping pong balls. I can’t cook outside. It’s OK, I’m ready for this. The little buggers don’t like citrus spray and I do, and I have plenty to snack on for dinner.

5-5-2015 Mobile Alabama to Poplarville, Mississippi

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So I drove back up to Mobile Alabama, where I left off, and started again.

In my shop I removed the old BMS. It was sophisticated, with it’s bluetooth communication system and programmability, but with that came frustrating complications for me, like not letting the bike charge.

I rebuilt the cell array into two separate batteries with two BMS’s. I also upgraded the chargers to two Mean Well chargers, as one of my two generic Chinese chargers had already failed on me. Now I have a simpler but more robust battery system. I am so thankful that the Green Axle batteries are modular, as the rebuild didn’t waste any cells.

The Mean Well chargers are wired in parallel and can dump 20 amps of current into the batteries. This makes for very fast charge times. You can just about hear the power flowing into the batteries like gas into a tank!

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Leaving Alabama going into Mississippi. (I love spelling Mississippi!)

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Inform the Pope, this is the Miracle on Highway 29! It is a pair of girls socks! And they were only 100 yards apart! For those of you who don’t cycle tour, this is the holy grail. Touring cyclists the world over talk in hushed tones about why they never find two gloves, two shoes, two socks. Touring cyclists like to use things they find on the road. It makes the tour more fun, and provides a change of clothes! The question always is, as you ride past the singular glove, should I stop and pick it up? Is the mate ahead somewhere? But years of road wisdom cause us to shrug our shoulders and keep on riding. The mate is almost never there.

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Here is yet another picture of my bike charging up, this time at a high school sports center. With a modicum of ingenuity, charging is NOT an issue. I am going to keep posting pics like this till everyone accepts this and is bored with the subject.