Having got less than 5 hours sleep on my last night in New Orleans, I was happy to get a full night. After a cup of PG Tips with breakfast, John asked me to explain Couchsurfing to him. When I’d done so, he was sold on the idea and has now signed up. While I can’t really host people during my trip, I can do my bit if people sign up and do so after meeting me. It’s also great, because I think John will really get a lot out of being a member of couchsurfing. He and his mum seemed to really enjoy being hosts, and he travels plenty so he can get the joy of surfing too.
Before I left, I was presented with a care package which contained not only mince pies, but also liquorice allsorts which were so good. Having spent so long in Asia, I’m pretty easily pleased by getting some random foods from the other side of the pond. If I hadn’t had plans to get to Mobile, I could easily have spent more time with John & Jean, but as it was I had a new state to get to so packed up, took their picture and jumped on the bike.
Heading east from John & Jean’s took me through Biloxi which seemed to be Las Vegas on the beach. With Essie & Jessie having to drive to Louisiana to buy lottery tickets, I was confused to see that casinos were so common. I made my way out of town and over the bay into Ocean Springs & Gulf Hills and was pleasantly surprised to see people out on foot. Going back to my experience in Tampa, where Alix drove the 200 yards to 7-11 rather than walk, it’s been rare to see people not in cars outside of places like Portland, Austin or poor parts of town. The bridge east of Biloxi however seemed to be a popular place for people to run which made me happy.
Continuing along I made it to the Singing River (watch the Youtube below for information about it) and into the ship building town of Pascagoula, the last frontier before entering into Alabama. I stopped briefly to ensure I had enough water and then continued towards the border, passing through swamp land and places where gator tours were available.
I crossed into the 32nd state of the trip in Alabama and it reminded me of my first state crossing, when I went from Florida to Georgia. I went from a nice shoulder to something that’s a foot wide and basically made up of rumble strip which, considering how busy the road was, was slightly horrifying. Thankfully it only stayed packed for a few miles until I passed the junction to I-10 when it turned into rural riding for most of the way and a couple of bridges later I was at Dustin, my host’s, place in Mobile. We had both spent a large amount of time in Asia, but had very different experiences in Japan and so it was really interesting to learn about his non-teaching experiences there. The night ended with me getting round to Forrest Gump, as he’s from Alabama. It’s something that I’ve been meaning to do for most of my time in the US so it was great to watch. There were a few things that I don’t really remember from when I watched it back in 1994 when it came out, but it’s still a spectacular movie and the part where he went running in particular was spectacular. It also contained my favourite quote which seemed to sum up my adventure so far quite well.
That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a little run. So I ran to the end of the road. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d run to the end of town. And when I got there, I thought maybe I’d just run across Greenbow County. And I figured, since I run this far, maybe I’d just run across the great state of Alabama. And that’s what I did. I ran clear across Alabama. For no particular reason I just kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.
Biloxi -> Gulf Hills bridge (windy)