Thursday, March 2, 2017

Into Louisiana

The breakfast at the Best Value was one of the best hotel breakfasts I've ever had. The biscuits and gravy, sausage, scrambled eggs, grits, and muffins were all hot and fresh, and I stuffed myself. I probably would have filled my pockets with biscuits too had the clerk not been standing in the doorway gossipping with a friend.

The more hotels I stay in, the less sense their ratings and prices make to me. At the Marriott in Phildelphia, we were paying $100/night, and there was no breakfast at all, not even cereal. There was a Starbucks in the lobby that charged $10 for a plate of eggs, so we walked to the Wawa across the street.

At the Holiday Inn Express, supposedly a step down from the Marriott, breakfast is pretty good. And at the Best Value, which was theoretically shoddy (and I admit their laundry facilities left a certain lingering stink in my clothing), the breakfast was downright excellent.

It was pouring down rain again as we packed up. We waited out the worst of the monsoon but couldn't sit around all day, so our journey began in the rain. The worst of it was fortunately over by the time Rogue fell suddenly far behind on the highway. She caught up again, then fell behind, then rode up very close to me. I gave her an inquisitive thumbs-up, which she did not return. We pulled onto the shoulder and I watched as she fidgeted with her handlebars, poked at this and that, revved her engine, and finally shook her head vehemently and stepped off Zee.

"What's up?" I asked.

"My grip is loose," she said. "It's spinning."

"Can you make it to the next exit? It's a mile." She nodded and led the way to the nearest gas station.

They didn't sell super glue, but the dollar store down the street did. I retrieved some and we had a short break while it dried.

In Vicksburg we took a short detour, looking for a lunch we didn't actually find. I rode into town a little ways and pondered how much I dislike ghost towns. We've found a remarkable number of places that seem to contain fewer people than they should, hanging onto the memories of closed businesses and watching through torn holes in faded curtains. Somehow I'm always waiting for someone to demand that I explain my presence there, like a kid caught spying on the neighbors.

The rain stayed away, and eventually we fetched up on the shores of Caney Lake in Kisatchie National Forest in Minden, Louisiana. The Turtle Slide campground was closed, but the one adjacent to it was open, and had water and electrical hookups and showers. We were unable to start a fire with all the wet branches and more rain was predicted overnight. Our tent has been pretty good, but I'll always opt for more weatherproofing when possible, so we used the lantern hook to suspend the tarp over the tent.

My Kindle was gone, of course, but Rogue had put some episodes of a podcast called Welcome to Nightvale on her MP3 player and I had a speaker. We lay in the tent in the dark and let Cecil lull us to sleep with odd stories from a strange desert town.

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