to Daphne, AL

Submitted by Ben on Tue, 02/01/2005 - 11:18

It rained all night on my little tent but let up a few hours before dawn.  I left my camp in Mobile at a reasonable hour and headed straight for Barnes and Noble: the time had come to buy my Florida map.  There were some stores in the nearby malls that I thought might carry chain lube, so I paid quick visits to Sears, Target, and Toys R Us.

In the Toys R Us parking lot, a mother of twins idled her minivan to ask if I needed directions.  I told her I didn't think so, but she proceeded to tell me eight times with a pained expression that I shouldn't ride through the I-10 tunnel, which of course I already knew.  I didn't want to be rude, because she was trying to be helpful.  What I didn't know was that the only other way across the river was a bridge about three miles north of the tunnel; her pained expression was from thinking of the extra miles I'd have to travel.  Fortunately I allowed plenty of time, having no other business to keep me in Mobile.

Rain started falling again as I was crossing the river bridge, and it continued all day and evening.  When the US highway caught back up with the Interstate, they intertwined together playfully on their way across Mobile Bay.  The Interstate bridge is about 15 feet above the water and crisscrosses back and forth above the US highway bridge, which is only about 6 inches above the water!  Must have been high tide.

I considered stopping for the night at Meaher State Park, but when I learned there were no showers I decided to go on to the town of Daphne.  I stopped at a gas station to ask directions to the bike shop, and the woman ahead of me in line was complaining that the rain had been with her all day since she left northern Louisiana this morning, and she hoped it wouldn't follow her all the way to Jacksonville, Florida tonight.  Meanwhile I dripped patiently behind her... she of course was totally dry!

At the bike shop I bought chain lube and asked about the "Bike Route to Florida" sign I had seen at the divergence of US-90 and US-98.  The clerk said that it's not so much that 90 is a good road to ride as that this stretch of 98 gets terrible rush-hour traffic, so they wanted to entice bike tourists away from it!  He then proceeded to recommend a motel on 98... I'll have to be careful tomorrow morning!

So I'm yet again at a hotel.  The rain is supposed to let up after tomorrow, so I should be able to get in a couple days of camping in the coming week, assuming I can find places to stay!