Saturday, July 23, 2011

Rocheport to Hartsburg

We'd planned a short day because we wanted to stay in the Oasis Hotel. It's a vintage 1918 hotel right close to the old train tracks, and a unique spot. A short twenty-five miles, easy roll, and in before lunch.

Not really.

First it rained a little. No problem. we put on our Frogg Togg rain suits, and continued on. The rain got harder, cutting visibility down to less than ten feet. We passed a shivering roadie going the other way and shouted the encouraging news that Rocheport was about ten miles away and had a shelter. He thanked us and pedaled faster.

We slogged on. The narrow tires on my bike were becoming a problem. As more rain poured down, the chat turned to soup, and I was sinking in. Before long I was down in second and pedaling furiously. Clown Bike mode. I settled in to slogging at low speed, thinking I could just get though it with no problem. Then it started to hail. Marble size hail smarts when you are out in it. Helmets help, though.
Crew shelter along the old roadbed. It had a wet weather spring inside
and wasn't much drier than outside

When the lightening looked like strobe lights, we pulled under some trees and sat tight for a minute. After a while we moved on. We encountered another couple on and off, as they were toying with finding a spot and just calling it a day. Pitching a tent and trying again in the morning. We eventually got to Hartsburg.

The roadies from the day before had called their SAG wagon, and were packing it in, calling their ride on the trail off. We sat in the shelter and waited for the weather to break and check in time with the younger couple and a couple on a tandem. Once the rain slacked off, I took a tour of the town. It didn't take long.

Hartsburg has no store, a one room post office, some abandoned store fronts, a cafe that was closed for the duration while we were there, the hotel, and two bars. My girlfriend opined the second bar was opened when enough folks got thrown out of the first bar and needed someplace to drink together, The Big Muddy does have some good eats, though. We had a late lunch, and then dinner there as well. The hotel was beautiful, with period furnishings to complement the buildings.
It was a restful night on the somewhat creaky bed. I think it still had rope in it instead of box springs. As long as you didn't toss and turn, it was just fine.

The lesion of the day was to wait out weather in shelters. Hail makes any ride less fun.

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