Forest, MS to Clinton, MS
Compared to yesterday, today was a complete 180 degree turnaround. My only regret was not getting an earlier start I felt like I could have ridden all day. As it was, I started out at 10:30 under cloudy skies. The sun came out soon, and after an hour I reached a  Dairy Queen at the west end of Morton. After a hot dog and a Coke (that's right, no Blizzard for once), I was back on the road.  I felt great all day, and soon I was riding through Pelahatchie, then Brandon and into Pearl. US 80 was very un-Mississippi-like in Pearl--four broad lanes with full-width shoulders. Traffic was steady, but the highway design accommodated it well. I had to hustle over some shoulderless bridges between Pearl and Jackson, then I cruised through Jackson as US 80 skirted the south side of town.
My only misstep of the day would have made a good " Phone first" commercial. On Tuesday night I had looked up Jackson bike shops in the yellow pages. The Bike Rack had a location that would be easy to reach, and I also checked out their web site. I was impressed that their page about road bikes suggested touring bikes first, very unusual. The thing is, most people who want to ride the roads, aside from racers, would usually be better served by a touring bike. Few bike shops recognize this, following the marketing hype of the manufacturers instead. Anyway, when I got to the shop, the sign was there but the store was closed, in the process of being replaced by a copy shop. Hmmm, it looked like somebody needed to update their web site (and for once, it wasn't me)  Oh well, at least it only cost me a few extra miles. I found my way back onto US 80 and continued toward Clinton. The next motel past Clinton was 25 miles away, so at 4 PM I decided not to press my luck. I stopped at the Clinton Inn, thinking of all sorts of jokes. Like when the clerk asked, " How many in your party?" I would say, " Just me... and my intern!"
The manager asked several questions about my trip. Then he asked for my ID. He looked at my license, looked at me, and said, " Ah, handsome. I'll bet the girls chase after you on your bicycle!" It cracked me up so much, I couldn't bear to ruin his fun by telling him I was married. Part of the humor was that he actually had to look at my license to declare me handsome, rather than at my face--I know I look awful at the end of a riding day, hair mashed down and white crusty globs of salt on my face, and he verified it. Then he gave me my key and said, " You can take your bike inside. It's a big room. You can ride your bike around in there, it's so big!"
He wasn't exaggerating--it was a huge  room, so big that the 25" TV looked small from the bed. I ran through the channels... No Weather Channel! Oh no, how would  I ever cope with this? I had  to watch the evening news like everybody else without cable. I showered and walked a mile to Waffle House for dinner, then caught up on my reports for the past few days.
Totals for the day: 56.77 miles in 4:16:16 for an average of 13.3 mph.
Click here to see today's photos.
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