Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hitting the Wall

We all thought that yesterday's ride would be the tough one. Actually, just like when you exercise, it's the next day that's tough. Tom did a radio interview at 7:40 and we left Baton Rouge at a reasonable 8:30AM. We decided to go a little south and ride around Lake Pontchartrain and see the effects of Katrina first hand. Everyone that says that TV and photos don't tell the story - it's so true. From I10 you could see neighborhood after neighborhood just wiped out. Shopping centers destroyed. We went around the south side of the lake and then up to Slidell. The photos you see are from Slidell. Keep in mind, this is 9 months after the storm! Again, the pictures don't do it justice. I could take a book of photos and not even touch on the devastation. There is hope though. Some people have already re-built. Amongst the destruction, you see brand new homes. Destroyed businesses next to brand new ones. But there is just so much destruction and debris. This will take a generation to rebuild. Certain areas may never be rebuilt.

Amongst the debris, we found a place to stop for a quick lite breakfast. Guess what? A Cracker Barrel - well, not THE Cracker Barrel. A carton of milk and cookies was my nutrious meal.

Bob had a meal with his new best friend - ibuprofen! The boys were hurtin' today.

One last observation about Louisiana - their bridges don't go "across" the water - you know, from one side to the other. They run "along" the water. One bridge was over 20 miles long!

Then it was off to Birmingham. Today was the only day that we actually were in 3 states - Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. We crossed into Mississippi at 11:19AM. We kept each leg short today, with more stops. Once again, we stopped at a Sonic. This time in Purvis, MS. Our waitress Sam (pictured with Tom and Bob), was diggin' my belt - yes my belt. Believe me, it's nothing special. I wouldn't give it up though.

We crossed into Alabama at 3:25PM and were greeted with a 3 minute rain shower. We didn't see it coming because we basically had blue sky. But this one cloud decided to open up on us. Actually, as hot as it's been - it felt pretty good. We were "blowed dry" by our next stop.

Got into the hotel around 5:45. Not bad for about 450 miles. There was supposed to be press here, but we didn't see any - so we got cleaned up for any early dinner for a change. Tom has a radio interview at 7:40AM again and then it's back to Bristol.