Monday, February 22, 2010

NOLA

Bryan and I split from the group in Poplarville, MS on the 20th and broke south toward New Orleans 70 miles away. We lucked out and got a cheap campsite in Picayune, MS about 50 miles from the city. Since we are off the official ACA (Adventure Cycling Association) maps, I google mapped the shortest way from Picayune to New Orleans that didn't involve getting on the interstate- we had stopped at a gas station the next morning for breakfast and met a girl named Ashley, the cashier, who said that there were no back roads to Nola and that the interstate was the only way. When I checked again, I saw that all the roads I had mapped out beforehand were dirt, submerged or non-existent. Thanks Google. Ashley saved us a lot of trouble.

Then we learned why the ACA does not recommend that cyclists go into New Orleans.  I could hear Jim's voice in my head saying "Use your judgement" as we hauled down I-51.  Fortunately it was Sunday, so the traffic wasn't as bad as it could have been.

Bryan and I have invented a new sport called "X-TREME TOURING" it involves battling 50 miles of screaming interstate traffic into the city. It is not recommended for the faint of heart.
The shoulder was wide, but littered with tons of debris; nails, plywood, re-bar, angle iron, shredded tires, etc.. it was a 50 mile high speed trash obstacle course. Bryan got his first two flats of the trip on the ride down. On the first flat, he ran over a nail with such force that it punctured his rim and had to be removed with vice grip pliers.  Glass was everywhere.


We crossed Lake Pontchartrain to I-10 on the Twin Span bridge that was partially destroyed by Katrina back in 2005 and finally made it into the city.  We are staying with Chad Bush, the son of the wonderful Bush's that we stayed with a few days ago in Mississippi.  We left our bikes at his house and he dropped us off in the French Quarter to wander about.  What an amazing place- a total sensory overload.  It took us a few moments to get oriented to the environment.  A zero day will definitely be taken here.

So there I am, nearly 1700 miles from my front porch where this Journey began, standing on Bourbon St.  It is such a surreal feeling.  No wonder people think we are crazy.  Of course, there were times early on in this trip that were pretty miserable. Getting in shape is really tough, but the miles pass easily now and I'm having a blast out here.  No matter how tough it is, it's important to remember that somewhere down the road you'll find yourself in a place so amazing that you'll say to yourself "It was more than worth all the trouble".  I am content.

I will try to post more pictures soon.  I can only share photos taken with my phone since I don't have the cable for my camera and the memory cards are not compatible, so hang in there until I figure something out.


5 comments:

Rebekah said...

YAY Now you know how I felt traipsing around NYC from the AT! Catch up soon?

Aliese said...

Good God, Ryan! That is sketchy, but I wouldn't think getting to New Orleans would or should be any other way. I bet it is surreal. I went into NYC off the AT too. One minute I was watching deer and next I was walking down 5th avenue with gaters on. I'm glad you are experiencing all you can, Ryan. And glad you are safe.

Aliese

Bethany said...

I love reading your blog. It brings to mind the quote from the movie UP "Adventure is out there!" I'll go on my own adventure one of these days, but until then I'll just have to settle for reading about yours.

Rees said...

So glad you decided to go to New Orleans despite the interstate terror. It is a favorite place of mine since I first visited at your age. Just walking the streets of the Vieux Carre is a trip.

I'm sure you noticed the blue roof tarps as you peddled past Metairie. NOLA is still very much in the wake of Katrina. The city should be a bit more sedate since you missed Mardis Gras--actually a blessing.

I hope you're spending a little money on a restaurant--the food is indescribable.

Martin said...

Love the part about "use your judgement" lol.
I've definitely heard Jim say that before.