We made it to the 2nd longest river in the US, 2,350 miles (the Missouri is 100 miles longer). The mighty Mississippi starts in Minnesota, is joined by the Missouri, the Arkansas and Ohio rivers amongst others and flows south to the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana. Due to heavy rain and snow melts way up stream the water levels are at the 4th highest since records began. Trees and telegraph poles are half submerged and fields are sodden. The photo below shows my bike on top of the levee near Baton Rouge. The river level is many feet higher than the road and land protected by levees. It is not hard to see why there is such wide spread flooding when the levees are breached.
Our cycle from Jackson into Baton Rouge became increasingly less pleasant the nearer we got to the State Capital, with heavy traffic, lots of debris on the shoulder, when there was one, and roadworks. To cap it all, we got caught in a thunderstorm and were very soggy by the time we arrived at our billet for the night, a casino hotel built right over the levee and into the river. The ‘house’ made nothing from us as our dollars remained firmly in our pockets.
Closing half the 100 miles between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, our ride today started out closely following the river, the few places we could ride on the levee gave a wonderful view of the huge ships plying their trade. This area is very industrial with many oil refineries and chemical plants. Approaching the little town if Garyville, where we are spending the night in a lovely old house, the shoulder we were riding on suddenly turn into a quagmire of mud and sand, presumably from lorries pulling out of a unpaved road. It was like our trip along the Mekong all over again, the mud clogged up our wheels, covered the frames and our bags. Very fortunately, we were only 3 miles from our B&B where the first thing we noticed was a hose pipe!
It was a bad day for Gavin’s tablet though, which has provided mapping and the ability to book accommodation as we travel along. In the first scare it got left on a post of a bridge we sat on to eat our lunchtime sandwiches. We had got about half a mile before it was missed, happily it was still there when we pedalled back. This evening it wasn’t quite so lucky when it accidentally fell from a table onto a wooden floor. Despite its now badly shattered screen it looks as though it will limp on to get us to New Orleans tomorrow.