Day 3 - Baker, LA (Executive Inn) to Jackson, LA (Centenary Inn B&B) - Seeking A Bicycle Warrior's Death, Part II: The Great Rivers South - CycleBlaze

September 24, 2022

Day 3 - Baker, LA (Executive Inn) to Jackson, LA (Centenary Inn B&B)

Trees and Rolling Hills

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Statistics, Useful & Otherwise;

Elevation Gained Today; 991 ft                  Cumulative; 1,942 ft

Roadkill Seen Today;   Raccoon (1)          Cumulative; Hawk (2), Raccoon (1)

Lodging Cost Today;   $136.81                    Cumulative;  $346.91

Bad Drivers Today;    0                                   Cumulative; 2

Average Speed Today;  11.0mph                Cumulative; 11.2 mph

Summary of Today's Ride; Rolling hills, trees, mostly nice ride

I got up at 5:40 this morning.  I really didn't need to be up that early for today's journey, but I need to wake up earlier tomorrow so better to ease into it.  After a quick breakfast at McDonald's I hit the road.  Church bells were tolling quite loudly at 07:00 as I rolled past a Presbyterian church.  The church was in a residential area, so those folks weren't going to be sleeping in!

On the other end of the social spectrum, as I left town on Groom Road and then on route 946, I passed by a women's prison.  I remember passing close to prisons on both the Transam route and the Western Express - seems like ACA routes go near the prisons.

Better To Be On The Outside
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Once I got off highway 19 in Baker, it was an easy ride to get back onto Highway 61 and rejoin the ACA route.  All the hectic craziness of riding out of Baton Rouge was gone now, at this point I was far enough away that the ride was pleasant in the early morning.  The shoulder made for a safe ride and there were now trees that provided shade from the eastern sun.

Nice Shoulder and Early Morning Shade
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Did you notice something else in the photo above? That's a hill ahead of me - a nice, gentle, rolling hill.  I've been riding on pancake-flat terrain since New Orleans, and today was the first day to get into the hills. 

I stopped at the only convenience store on today's route and got a cold drink.  I got into a conversation with a black gentleman who asked me "Was that you I saw bicycle past my shop 7 miles down the road?  How did you get here so fast?"  Really I was moving pretty slow and easy today, people just aren't used to thinking about bicycles as traveling machines. 

Although it was much nicer than yesterday, I was still glad to get off of busy highway 61.  Once I did the riding was spectacular.  Highways 965 and 10 were tree-lined roads with gentle rolling hills.  Very soon the hills won't be so gentle, so I'm enjoying them while I can. 

Pleasant Riding Through a Tunnel of Trees
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I think I'm transitioning from the area where the Catholic religion is prevalent (southern Louisiana) into Southern Baptist being the prevalent religion, as I saw several Baptist churches today.  This one was not far from Jackson.

Baptist Churches Are Becoming Common Now
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If you look closely at the photo above, there is a cable blocking the entrance and "keep out" signs.  This appears to be a nice rural area that should have little crime, so that just seemed strange to me.

The smell of pine trees was certainly nicer than the industrial odors of the past couple of days.  I rolled over several inviting streams as well.

West Fork of Thompson Creek
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I had seen some cyclists outbound for a ride as I was approaching Jackson, and they passed me on their return trip to Jackson - hey, I move slow anyway, but am especially slow on the loaded bike.  I stopped and chatted with them a bit, always a pleasure to meet fellow cyclists.  

"Jackson" is a popular name in these parts, several states have cities with that name.  My lodging for tonight has a little description of the town name which reads thusly; "Jackson was named for the hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson.  Local legend has it that General Jackson and his Tennessee volunteers camped on Thompson Creek nearby on their way back home after the battle."  Now you know.

My lodging for tonight is certainly a contrast with last night.  I'm staying at the Centenary Inn and it's a really nice place.  Built in 1935, it has 8 guest rooms but I'm the only one here tonight.  It's quite elegant and has an elevator to reach the guest rooms that operates with a hand crank.  Harvey is in the 1st floor ballroom tonight - he and I are the only occupants of the building tonight. 

The Centenary Inn Sits on the Main Street Through Town
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Mark BinghamI stayed at the same place when I did the Southern Tier in 2008! And I was the only guest!
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1 year ago
Lobby of the Centenary Inn
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Harvey Awaits in the Ballroom
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Hand-Crank Control In the Elevator - Forward for "UP" & Backwards for "Down"
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My Room (the clutter makes it obvious, huh?)
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Private Baths With Each Room
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I'm off to get dinner at the Mexican restaurant nearby.  Then it's an early bedtime for me to get ready for a challenging day tomorrow.  75 miles is farther than I have ridden this year, and it has 3,300 feet of climbing with some grades that aren't as gentle as today, and the last 50 miles is a "no-services" zone.  So it will be quite challenging for me and I plan for an early departure.  

And speaking of old Andrew Jackson, well we just got to do this;

Good night folks.  I'm in fancy digs tonight, hope you are lodging well too - later...

Today's ride: 33 miles (53 km)
Total: 176 miles (283 km)

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Kelly IniguezI'm always sad when I have to leave nice lodging early, because of a long day the next day. Hopefully you have more desirable lodging in the future.
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1 year ago