We got up at about 8am but wanted to dry the tent, drink free coffee (a nice feature of Dauphin Island Campground), and check various bits of the bikes (oil, tyres, nuts and bolts) so we didn’t get started until about 10.30am and even then we ploughed along to the end of Dauphin Island and missed the bridge, amazed by the endless beach houses and white sand. Not many beach houses looked occupied. Having done an 8 miles detour we finally got back on route and sped over a wonderful bridge that connects Dauphin Island to the mainland. Photos eventually when I can get them off my camera. Probably pretty good on google streetview too. The sun broke through the clouds and we sped along with the light wind actually behind us for once. Usually in the last few days when it hasn’t been still there’s been a light headwind. So Alabama Port, Bayou le Batre, Grand Bay, Dees, Hurley (ah, another state now – we’re in Mississippi and the road quality immediately gets worse and there are fewer signs), Wade and then (via Old River Road, where the density of barking running along the road dogs reaches a max and I’m getting sick on them because they shouldn’t be on the road at all ever) and then we reach a main road with no signs at all except a couple of arrows pointing both ways that indicates T junction, but that is pretty obvious. Just as well we have a map. Ah, Vancleave, well, a Chinese Buffet thingy, a filling station and, oh joy, the campsite we expected because it is getting a bit dusky and the sun is quite low.
And we are not the only camper – Murphy from Canada on his first big bike tour has surely chosen a big place to start by doing the Southern Tier. He has New Belgian Wheat Beer and we have New Belgian IPA so we are evidently going to understand each other! He did the route from Dauphin Island today but he gets up when it is still dark and heads off early, so he has already cooked his dinner, etc, before we even arrived. Such virtue is something we hope we will one day find.
We ate at the Chinese diner, and I think no-one had asked for tofu for a long long time. Everybody else was maintaining their impressive BMI with a big intake of chicken. Tofu and broccolli was pretty decent food we thought. It was dark so we cycled along the state highway with loads of flashing lights, a mobile christmas tree sort of procession. Once again, not a common thing here in Mississippi, I think.