Monthly Archives: July 2013

Day 21

Wed 2013/07/31

Daily mileage 42.47 Segment 147.6 Total 649.7

Route: Clarendon to Forrest City AR (Save Inn).

Weather forecast: 40% chance of rain (“scattered showers”).  It seems to have rained overnight (I slept through it).  It was cloudy in the morning but no rain following departure.  More importantly, I had a tail wind almost all day!!  After about 10:30, the clouds cleared, and it got very hot and humid.  I started having breaks every ~5 miles after the heat/humidity showed up (Brinkley & East).

I didn’t have breakfast at the gas station or diner next to the motel, and just started riding, anticipating that there would be somewhere to eat before I got through town.  There wasn’t, and I ended up not eating anything until I arrived in Brinkley about 10:45, and had an early lunch.

I was pretty tired when I rolled into the Save Inn in Forrest City.  The hotel was under some renovation, and my room was not stellar, but the price was reasonable.  Again, I soak my saddle sores in the shower.  After recovering from the ride, I walk about 2 miles (round trip) and have dinner at a Mexican restaurant nearby.  This is not a good part of town but the restaurant is a bright spot in the neighborhood.

Day 20

Tue 2013/07/30

Daily mileage 22.41 Segment 105.1 Total 607.2

Route: Stuttgart to Clarendon AR (A&J Motel).

There is possible rain in the forecast, but I saw nothing but a slight sprinkle in the early afternoon.  The temperature was a little more bearable, so I suppose that means that I had no weather issues today.

The major challenge for today is the bridge just before Clarendon over the White River.  I drove this by car the week before, and my recollection was that it was a 2 mile bridge with no shoulder, no breaks.

I left Stuttgart at 09:00, and found myself pedalling steadily for a mostly uneventful ride.  With cycling, teenagers and explosives, boring is good.

When I approached the dreaded bridge, I discovered that there is a new bridge under construction just before old bridge.  I pedalled about a half mile into the construction zone, and determined that there was no way to cross with my bike.  I talked to a construction worker, who said that it will take another 2 years for the new bridge to be completed.  I ride back to the dreaded 2 mile bridge, and discover that it is actually about a 0.5 mile bridge, separated by berm with narrow shoulder for 0.5 miles, then another 1+ mile bridge.  This is not outstanding, but at least I was able to have a break to recover a bit and let traffic clear before the sprint across each bridge.  Four cars passed on the first segment, 4 trucks (1 18 wheeler) on the second segment going up the main slope to river crossing.  I survived!

I stayed at the A&J Motel in Clarendon, taking the last room and paying for a double bed.  I would have been in a little trouble if the room was not available.  The hotel was fairly old but in reasonably good shape, run by a friendly lady.

I had a late lunch at a nice diner around the corner from the hotel, and a fried chicken dinner later on from Valero gas station next door.

My saddle sores have gotten worse, and I know will cause problems tomorrow.

Day 19

Mon 2013/07/29

Daily mileage 34.95 Segment 82.66 Total 584.8

Route: Pine Bluff to Stuttgart AR (Best Western).

The forecast called for 92 deg temperatures, with a South wind.  It was very hot, with the wind from 2 to 4 O’clock all trip – the same as yesterday.

Again, I had a nap at about the half way point (Wabbaseka), in a city park.

There were more friendly people in a gas station where I had lunch and filled up with water in Humphrey.

The saddle sores are starting again.  I had a well worn seat pad, which I replaced just before this trip segment.  I’m not sure if that has changed anything, but I’m getting quite sore a lot sooner than I think I should be.  A long shower in the hotel helped a little, but unfortunately not enough.

Stuttgart is a nice little town, but there are no dinner places open in the evening.  Everything seems to close at 17:00 or so, and I walked probably 5 miles to figure that out.  I had 6 wings from a nearby Valero gas station.

Day 18

Sun 2013/07/28

Daily mileage 47.71 Segment 47.71 Total 549.8

Route: Fordyce to Pine Bluff AR (Best Western).  I left the car at the “A OK” Motel, while I am cycling.  I’m not sure when I depart if I will return via Greyhound bus or catch a ride with someone.

Today’s ride is mostly uneventful.  The roads are really nice, with wide shoulders, and relatively flat.  I know that all of Arkansas is not flat like this, but this route is a winner.  I make good headway.

The weather forecast predicted the wind to be from the South.  An airport windsock shows the wind to be from my 2 O’Clock, and it seems to stay a crosswind between 2 O’clock and 4 O’clock most of the day.

At about the halfway point, I stop at a highway rest stop, and fall asleep for over an hour.  Whew, where did that come from?

I met up with several friendly people on today’s trip.  I took my usual breaks in several places.  The property owner at a pole yard checked on me and had a friendly chat.  Several locals chatted me up at a gas station.

Despite being next to a mall (which closed early on Sunday), the hotel in Pine Bluff was a bit of distance from any eating establishments.  I didn’t see where I wanted to go and ended up walking about 2 miles for dinner at McDonald’s.  Yum.