Thursday, April 16, 2015

Country Roads and Pitcher Plants

Loren 70 miles, Dave 50 miles.
Last night, before we turned in for the night, a group of us went to the fairground arena that was part of the complex where the hurricane evacuation center. Some people were practicing roping skills on calves and bigger longhorn steers. A couple of the guys were National Champions and they were "showing the ropes" to some younger kids. (Sorry I couldn't resist, been around Bubba too long).
Later when we all turned in, which we do fairly early, at 9 pm, we found out what they meant by security lights, every row of the overhead lights had four or five lights left on. These are florescent light fixtures with three lights in each fixture. They are wired that way. Many people had various ways to cope. Several had headbands that served as eyeshades. I just buried my head in my sleeping bag. Some were unable to sleep and managed to find an office to sleep in.
Well, we survived and got on our way. In spite of an 80% chance of rain today, it didn't rain a drop. It was mostly cloudy and we really appreciated that since it is HUMID!
The route was mostly through the DeSoto National Forest so it felt very much like biking near our home. Lots of hills, rollers. We had 1898 feet of climbing but we also had 2164 feet of downhills too as we are descending towards sea level. We are on the outskirts of Biloxi which was hit hard by Katrina 11 years ago.
The water table is very high here. We saw areas where Pitcher Plants covered the forest floor. Pitcher Plants are carnivorous plants that digest insects that fall into their deep cavity. There were also the flowers of the Pitcher Plant that had an upside-down umbrella-like structure that also filled with water when the petals fell off.
Wikipedia says: "The insects are attracted by a nectar-like secretion on the lip of pitchers, as well as a combination of color and scent. Slippery footing at the pitchers' rim, aided in at least one species by a narcotic drug lacing the nectar, causes insects to fall inside, where they die and are digested by the plant as a nutrient source".
We also saw plants that we think are a variety of Sun Dews which have sticky hairs that trap insects. (Saw some fire ants trapped on those, ha ha). It's kill or be killed down here in the deep south.
We have encountered many unleashed dogs in LA and MS. They chase the bikes and caused one of our riders to fall today. One of our guys has a novel solution. He goes on the attack and rides at the dogs while he whistles loudly. He says it never fails to make them turn tail and run. If the owner is home he yells at them too for not leashing their dogs.
One of our riders is going to go home this weekend. He is the rider that fell last week. He had some vision problems that contributed to the accident and he needs to heal from a surgical procedure to hopefully correct the vision issues. He has ridden over 500,000 miles and said that of his 9 cross country trips this was the most fun!
I did the whole route today. My leg felt fine although it is swollen. I think I may have bursitis. The swelling only goes down when I elevate and that just swells up the knee. Then as soon as I stand up it settles in the calf again. But, tomorrow I will try a knit compression stocking that I ordered. I bought an adjustable one yesterday and it just gave me a heat rash because it was made of neoprene. I'm taking the nurse practitioner at her word that unless it becomes painful I'm ok to ride.

Dave spent part of the day on the phone working out a mix up in his prescription so he SAG ED for twenty miles. He hopes to do the whole distance tomorrow.
Tomorrow we enter our 7th state, Alabama. We will camp on Dauphin Island on the Gulf of Mexico and also have a rest day there as well.

A Baptist church group of ladies fed us lunch just out of the goodness of their hearts.

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