Loess and love bugs - Two Far 2016 - Florida to Ontario: A Round Trip - CycleBlaze

August 27, 2016

Loess and love bugs

We have not been in any spectacular canyons on this trip, but the highway department created some interesting roads for us to travel this morning. Mississippi has lots of loess. Loess is basically lots and lots of wind blown dust that has piled up over eons. If your vacuum cleaner broke and you decided to never clean up your house again, eventually loess would start to form on your floors. It's soft stuff, easy for grading country roads.

Loess canyon. The Natchez Trace was a sunken road largely because it passed through soft loess formations.
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Sceptical about loess? Perhaps you should be, we know about as much about geology as we do about crops, but it sounds interesting.

All of the streams we have seen in lower Mississippi and Louisiana have been muddy. Despite the recent flooding in Louisiana, the streams don't seem high.

Typical Mississippi stream.
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Typical Louisiana stream.
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If Mississippi streams look similar to Louisiana streams, it's because almost all of the Louisiana streams come from Mississippi. Maybe the mud comes from eroding loess. All that mud is important to Louisiana. Louisiana looses a football field sized area of land every hour due to subsidence and costal erosion. That land loss would be a disaster if it took place in LSU's Tiger stadium. Muddy rivers can replenish some of that disappearing land.

Let's face it, these little streams are trivial compared to the Mississippi River, which carries 500,000,000 tons of sediment per year. That's a lot, but it's a lot less than it carried before all the upstream dams were constructed. Levees and shipping channels have made things worse.

Our last chance for a healthy Mississippi meal before we entered Louisiana. I had the spinach turkey wrap and fruit salad...
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Not a big sign to welcome us to Louisiana, but the pavement improved.
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We encountered swarms of love bugs today. In Florida the love bugs usually show up on September first, and disappear by the end of September. These must be early starters. For those of you who are not from the southeast and not familiar with love bugs, they are small flies that spend pretty much their entire adult life paired up back to back, making Whoopi. They walk that way, they fly that way, they don't contact their physicians if the situation persists for more than 6 hours.

Love bugs on a bike bag.
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I'm not sure what love bugs discuss among themselves. Is the back to back position even conducive to conversation? Maybe they have something else on their minds besides chatting...
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Speaking of expressions of love, I nearly forgot to mention Viktoriya's good deed for the day. The mascot of the Hampton Inn that we stayed at in Natchez is Cali the calico cat. Normally the hotel staff feeds Cali, but they had run out of cat food. Viktoriya rode over to a supermarket this morning and bought a fresh supply of cat food for Cali. Apparently the choice of flavors was acceptable, Cali tucked right in when her breakfast was served.

Cali stays right outside the front door but never enters the hotel
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Cali enjoyed her breakfast.
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