Southern Tier: Dauphin Island to Perry, FL

I’m at the ferry dock at 7:30am, watching the thick fog come in across the bay. One crew walks out on the dock and comes near to me and the only car in line to announce the fact: the first run is cancelled. The earliest one is an hour and a half away. I ride to the intersection and find a bakery to have some danish and coffee. The owner is on the phone talking to his brother as I leave. “There is a guy here who cycled all the way from Vancouver… Yes, Canada! Hold on, let me ask… DO YOU WARSHIP GOD?”

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Southern Tier: Louisiana

I lose Daniel after we enter DeRidder at dusk. I miss the first campground’s sign and move to (not so) Pleasant Hill Park. I leaf through their cyclist guest book after I cook my dinner in the kitchen. The book has entries dated 2006 and they all seem to say that it’s the best place they stayed the entire southern tier trip — really? Meanwhile a family of cats are scratching my tent.

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Southern Tier: El Paso to Del Rio, TX

The El Paso hostel is a bit run down. I think the clerk put me in the noisiest room. No matter, I am sound asleep. The town has a few decent bike shops and next day I hunt for a couple of spare tubes and spokes. Shop owners seem friendly and helpful. I buy a bus day pass to explore the city, but end up using it only once and walk everywhere. The other side of an avenue south of downtown is all Mexican; shops, produce, signs, people, everything, even the dogs. I thought I passed the border by accident. The waiter in a Thai restaurant keeps asking me how my food is. It got a bit colder since you asked a few minutes ago.

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