DAY 100 – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16

MORGANZA TO NEW ROADS We woke up not so bright but very early to a pouring rain in Morganza, Louisiana. After a quick cup of coffee at the Rivet house, we were off to breakfast at the Village One Stop. It started out as a small gathering with Lyle, Bae and Carla soon turned into a major event. The “Morganza Ladies” showed up, Mayor “Woots” Wells, Lyle and Carla of course, and many new faces. After coffee and conversation with all these new folks, the Mayor gathered everyone around for a special presentation—it seems that they had sent the collection basket …

DAY 99 – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 15

BLACKHAWK TO MORGANZA We started our run at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and got immediately on top of the levee. The rain was holding off this morning, making for a refreshing run toward our landing spot at Old River Landing near Batchelor, Louisiana. Less refreshing was the terrain—thickly paved with large, loose rock, the levee path was a chore for my quads and my ankles, footing a bit unstable, and speed entirely unachievable today. Along with this physical drama came a psychological one. As Tom got midway through his run, he noticed a white vehicle following him along the route—that’s right, we were …

DAY 98 – MONDAY, OCTOBER 14

VIDALIA TO BLACKHAWK We woke up in Vidalia, Louisiana and got some work done on our laptops. The weather is cooler now and rain is still in the forecast for the next few days. We covered the mileage to Blackhawk yesterday afternoon. Blackhawk is just a point on the map, with no accommodations, but the Sydney A. Murray Hydroelectric Plant is nearby and Bill Murray (yes, a relation—Sydney’s son!) had arranged for us to spend our Blackhawk day there, meeting with site manager Tanya Richardson and some of her team. Since we had already covered the distance there, though, we jotted out …

DAY 97 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13

NATCHEZ TO VIDALIA Tom and I got some work done in the morning before an 11:30 AM run over the bridge. I ran out from the bandstand and met up with a police escort at the visitor’s center. Over the bridge to Vidalia, Louisiana we went, cheered on by Natchezians along the way—including Stratton Hall yelling GEAUX TIGERS! GEAUX VICTORIA! It was a charged run, with all the fandom, and as I made the turn just at the base of the bridge, my fan club multiple with Jen accompanying Stratton as the cheer squad, motivating me onward for the last mile. I …

DAY 96 – SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12

NATCHEZ LAYOVER We started our second day in Natchez with a small breakfast at Natchez Coffee Company. After running into Jen there, we met up with her again over at the First Presbyterian Church of Natchez for a workshop with some local kids. Competing with the beautiful day, landed us few participants, but Amelie, Anna, and Ruth were very enthusiastic—not to mention Amelie’s mother Nicole who got roped into becoming both my assistant and a full participant as well! With the smaller group, I thought the two hours designated for the workshop might not be needed, but boy was I wrong! This group …

DAY 95 – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 11

CHURCH HILL TO NATCHEZ We woke up to a warm welcome into the Bates house by Suzie and Lady the dogs. George prepared breakfast and shared stories while he cooked. Linda filled in the gaps. They make a good team. We packed up the van, and Tom set out from the driveway toward Bates Road and on up Highway 553 to meet up with the Natchez Trace Parkway. As Tom cycled in the last miles of the Trace, Curtis Moroney met up with him and provided a somewhat competitive bicycling tour through Natchez, Mississippi up to the river’s edge culminating at the Bandstand. …

DAY 94 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10

PORT GIBSON TO CHURCH HILL Breakfast at Collina Plantation Inn was set for 7:30am, so we couldn’t linger about. Scott brought out the coffee first, then a small bowl of fruit. Finally the main course of a banana rum French toast (I think!), with bacon—of course‚ and more fruit as garnish. Needless to say it was decadent and delicious. Tom dutifully cleaned his plate, and I erred on the side of bird-like eating with so much sugar in front of me! We visited with Scott a bit more about his transition from Minnesota to Mississippi, how he met his wife and their …

DAY 93 – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9

VICKSBURG TO PORT GIBSON The roads between Vicksburg, Mississippi and Port Gibson, Mississippi aren’t great for running or cycling. The Blues Highway (US 61) is a 4-lane divided speedway with narrow lanes, high volumes of truck traffic and no shoulders. The secondary roads made an arc out to the east—not the most direct route but safer than US 61. The road was winding and hilly with poor sight lines and no shoulder, but thankfully traffic volumes were much less and we didn’t encounter any heavy commercial traffic. About halfway to Port Gibson, we intersected the Natchez Trace. Again, the road was winding and hilly …

DAY 92 – TUESDAY, OCTOBER 8

MOUND TO VICKSBURG Since yesterday was our first sub-90 degree day, I suppose I didn’t hydrate quite as much as usual. The barometric pressure shift likely also contributed to my first impenetrable migraine that started overnight and held fast into the morning and daylight hours. This time Tom let me stay in bed a little longer, bringing me coffee and gatorade to help the situation. Eventually I made it up and dressed, but I had already made the executive decision that Tom would have to bear the entire load to Vicksburg, Mississippi today—thankfully just under 10 miles total. Our new favorite animals, …

DAY 91 – MONDAY, OCTOBER 7

LAKE PROVIDENCE TO TALLULAH TO MOUND I woke up early and let Tom sleep in. Linda fixed me a nice breakfast—almost just like home: an egg over easy, toast, half an apple, bacon… and the additional Menonite sausage that I had to try as well as fresh squeezed orange juice I couldn’t turn down. She also packed us some hard boiled eggs and sausage for our travels, allowing Tom to start his run out of town on an empty stomach like he likes. He would dig into the travel breakfast soon enough though! After a goodbye from Linda and Hal, …