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Day 2 - Biloxi MI to Pensacola Beach FLA - 134mi / 215 km
Biloxi Pensacola
It's Cold!!!!!!!!!!

It's near freezing cold at 5:30 AM - 35 deg F - I wait for some small bit of dawn which appears at 6:30:

I'm wearing all my cycling tops (=cycling short sleeve/cotton long sleeve/cycling long sleeve/rain jacket). I'm using a pair of socks for gloves and I've coated my legs with Tiger Balm and suntan lotion.

All my mountains on this trip are bridges and intercoastal causeways. Looking back on Biloxi:

After four miles, my upper body is soaked in sweat, the skin of my legs is hot from the Tiger Balm but my leg muscles are still cold. The good news is that the wind continues to be on my left shoulder, courtesy of the Alberta Clipper, so named because the cold dry air is pushing down from the Saskatchewan-Alberta area and Alberta is easier for the the WeatherChannel meteorologists to pronounce.

Alberta Clipper

The cold air has resulted in Buffalo getting socked with "lake-effect" snow (water pulled off the Great Lakes and dumped as 6-12" snow in New York State) and the warm air in south-eastern U.S. getting pushed into the Gulf. The net result for me: rather than pedalling into a headwind in hot weather, I'm sailing along in cold weather - I'll take the windy help from Alberta.

Nice name for a river:

The first goal of the day, in order to bypass Mobile Alabama, is to get from Biloxi to Alabama's Dauphin Island Ferry by 11 AM. If I make that, then I get to Pensacola Beach in daylight. If I miss that Ferry, the next one is at 1:30 PM and I get into PB in the dark. I have 65 miles to do in four hours = 16+ mph.

Alabama Border

Soon after the Alabama border, I reach Grand Bay at 9 AM, leaving 30 miles to cover in two hours. I start taking up my speed, and do some fairly long sprints at 20mph.

The long causeway to Dauphin Island appears in the distance:

Dauphin Island Causeway

I'm close to my goal. I'm enjoying the view and feeling good about myself when I see something shiny on the roadway and swerve but it's too late. The metal misses my front tire but buries itself in my rear tire. PHT PHT PHT PHT and I have a flat.

I jump off my bike, flip it upside down onto its handlebars and seat and start counting "steamboats" to time the repair.

I was a man possessed on that repair exercise. Four minutes later the tube is replaced, the tire is pumped rock-hard and back into the bike frame.

Dauphin Island Causeway

It feels like I have time to spare but i don't want to leave anything to chance. I really jack up the tempo, often standing on my pedals. I reach the terminal at 10:35 - 25 minutes ahead of schedule. Hooray!

Here's my new ride:

Mobile Bay Ferry

$5 gets me onto the Ferry and I chat with Ray, a semi-retired house builder who was nicely settled in Florida at the time of the "hanging chad" voting fiasco in the first Dubya presidential election. He was so disgusted with that turn of events that he sold his retirement home and has been wandering around the south-east US ever since.

His current idea is to head off to New Orleans and build himself a "shotgun" house,so named because if you opened the front & back doors and fired a gun, the bullet would shoot straight through:

shotgun house

Views from the Ferry - looking back:

Mobile Ferry

Oil rigs:

Mobile Bay

and landside, Fort Morgan:

Fort Morgan

It's now noon, and there's sixty miles left. My ride takes me along Alabama's Gulf Coast highway.

I can't speak for the economy in the rest of the state of Alabama, but i can tell you there's a lot of money along the Gulf - lots and lots of high-end construction.

alabama gulf coast

alabama gulf coast

One of Nature's many reminders of who's in charge.......

But still we build................

Continuing across the state of Alabama:

The expansion joints on bridges and causeways:

More of the goodlife in Alabama:

I curve inland and want to take the highway through the Naval Air Station Pensacola, home of the Blue Angels.

blue angels

The highway has a heavily blockaded entrance, something not shown on Google Maps.

I stop at the gate and cheerily ask if I can go through. The female guard cheerily says I can do that as soon as I show her my military pass. I ask her if my Ontario driving permit could be a substitute. She is very firm with her "no" but gives me directions that take me a bit out of my way but soon I'm back on track, take yet another causeway and Florida stretches out before me.

Historic Pensacola:

Pensacola Korean catholic church:


Two more causeways to go - one to Gulf Breeze, then another to Pensacola Beach/ Rosa sland where I have my gulf-view hotel room.

I make it with daylight to spare and take my traditional "au natural" dip in the Gulf. Then it's off to eat. In reviewing my pics of the day, about half of them are unusable because my sock-mitten partially obscured the cellphone photo lense. Oh well.



I have arrived:

The sunset with Venus:

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