I woke up before 5 am. Weird dream about being able to fly on the wind, but I had to do it in a large theater, jumping off the top balcony, where there was no wind.
Outside, there was thick fog, but I could see the lights of the 24-hour gas station next door. I had a bacon and egg sandwich and coffee for breakfast, went back to the motel for a few hours, and hit the road at 8:15 am. The day’s planned mileage was short, but according to the internet, there was supposed to be rain hitting the area at 1 pm. I was trying to beat the rain, or at least most of it, to the next motel.
Merryville was just after the Louisiana border. I must have hit a bump or something, because my cyclometer stopped working. I reseated the battery, and everything was fine after that. However, I lost the mileage measurement.
Soon after I entered the De Ridder city limits, it began to rain seriously. A woman stopped on the street intersecting the main highway ahead, and got out of the car in the driving rain to signal me. Almost as if on signal, the rain abated while we were talking. Mandie was a warmshowers.org host, and offered her place.
The only caveat was that Mandie was sitting 8 dogs. I declined the offered hosting, because I might be allergic. By coincidence, we were talking right across the street from a new Mexican restaurant, El Flamingo, where she was headed for lunch. I had not eaten either, at the time. We ended up having lunch together.
Besides hosting on warmshowers, Mandie had her own business where she administered businesses and managed their books remotely. She said that she used to work much longer hours, but came to the conclusion that it was better to put in standard hours, and enjoy life. She hoped to save up enough to hike the Appalachian Trail (entire thing) in two to three years.
As we were finishing our food, the rain became audibly loud on the roof. Mandie said that she had a bike rack at home, one block away, and could transport me wherever I needed to go in town. She walked out into the pouring rain to get it. Meanwhile, I waded to my bike to start removing the panniers. The restaurant was being flooded in the auxiliary seating area, and one of the staff was trying to push out the encroaching water with some kind of sweeper.
Mandie helped load my bike and gear into her car in the driving rain. As with all the other truly exciting times on this tour, I couldn’t get any pictures. She drove me up the street to show me where Wal-Mart and some other stores and restaurants were, then to the Skipper’s Inn as I requested. She even waited to make sure I got checked in all right, and drove the bike right up to the door of room 114.
This town was designed for drainage. An hour or two after the rain stopped, the streets were relatively dry, and I decided to walk up to Walmart.
Mandie had recommended several restaurants – Los Mayas, Asia Buffet, and Steamboat Bill’s (although she said it was expensive). Even though I come from the land of Asian Buffets, I decided to try Chinese food.
Miles today: 40 (estimate, not including 2 miles driven by Mandie)
That crop might have been peanuts. EDIT: two people on the internet confirm that it was soybeans.