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Day 1 - New Orleans LA to Biloxi MI - 90 mi / 145 km
New Orleans to Biloxi

I've stayed once again at the Creole Gardens and had the pleasure of Annie's Cajun-style breakfast of eggs, sausage & grits.

Annie is very proud of her breakfasts and justifiably so. Yesterday Annie also baked up a special treat for all of us Gardens denizens: her Totally Organic Bread Pudding with all ingredients (sugar, eggs, flour, fruits, milk and some other good things) coming from certified organic sources in the New Orleans area.

Because of my early morning start, I asked Annie if I could have a couple of squares to start the day. She was much obliging and set me up with four portions that I put in my room fridge.

So it's now Sunday morning, I pop down Annie's four bread pudding squares and head off through the French Quarter:

New Orleans French Quarter

My path takes me around the perimeter of the infamous Ninth Ward, which is still broken but showing some signs of recovery, mostly in the industrial areas. My planned route across a local bridge over the Industrial Canal (the canal whose levees breached during Katrina) was nixed as the bridge is still not repaired - I climb up a ramp to the elevated Highway 90 and off I go towards Biloxi.

The landscape is very flat, and soon after leaving New Orleans patches of water appear on both sides of the highway, connecting and expanding into ponds, lakes, rivers, intercoastals. Looking back towards New Orleans:

Now water is on both sides and reminders of the last hurricane are now in evidence. Pieces of houses, tree trunks and fences have been dragged into piles beside the highway awaiting pickup. More dramatic are the numbers of skiffs and boats that are lodged in trees, ditches and the sides of the road:

Otherwise, the road and paved breakdown lane is clean and a steady northern breeze pushes into me. However, given all my roadwork back in Toronto into heavy winds, the wind was not a challenge. I was averaging 14mph over the first 20 miles.

When the wind shifted to NNW and the highway angled to the East, the wind was now hitting the back of my left shoulder and my average speed climbed throughout the day.

A bright new causeway:

The Pearl River bridge is the state border between Louisiana and Mississippi:

After a nice welcoming sign, I am presented with my second detour of the day:

Stennis Space Center

The detour adds five miles to the day but I'm OK with it.

Part of my new route brings me to the edges of the Stennis Space Center where NASA's Shuttle and Atlas rocket engines are tested.



A pc from the Stennis website:

The highway through the Stennis Buffer Zone is completely devoid of signs of human life:

Deer leap across the highway in front of me. Then the road angles east and I'm back onto Hwy 90.

I reach Bay St Louis and in front of me is a beautiful two-mile long causeway complete with a bike path


On the other side, the highway curves to meet the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf will be my companion all the way to Biloxi:

All the paving, curbs and sidewalks are brand new. I make terrific time, sometimes doing long stretches at 20mph. Along the way, many big houses:

and reminders of historical Southern sentiment ------------------------------->

I end the day pulling into the Biloxi Best Western Oak Manor. My day stats: 90 miles in 5:45 hours = 15.5 mph, ahead of my planned 15 mph. Hooray!

And, despite my full load of energy bars packed into my gear, I didn't eat any of them - Annie's Totally Organic Bread Pudding Squares (and one Pecan Praline Cookie that I nibbled on) carried me through the day. Remarkable. That was one extended sugar buzz.

And so into the evening. After getting cleaned up, it's across the street to the behemoth that was blocking my room view of the Gulf, the Beau Rivage Casino Resort:




The clientele at the Beau Rivage are either very old or waddle around with impossibly huge beerbellies, men and women alike. Many of the slot machines have no chairs to make room for seniors in their wheelchairs. Most of the casino croupiers and card dealers are slim asians.

I eat at the loud Hard Rock Cafe Casino Resort -

A very big guitar. at least six storeys with built-in speakers blasting out rock music:


and, in the lobby and throughout the halls, casino, restaurants and washrooms: various used clothing and guitars reverently encased in glass:












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