We took a major short cut today! As we were getting ready to get on the road, a gentleman that we were talking to suggested that if we were going to Columbus we should take Highway 45, it was a direct route, had a shoulder and would be so fast! It sounded good to us! We asked him many questions to make sure it would in fact be a good option. It has a shoulder? Yes it does! It seemed like an option! We were ready just to get some miles behind us, we could live a day or two with out the quiet and confusion of the unsigned backroads!
We started out and quite easily reached Amory where we had to make a choice which route we were going to take. We needed a map of Mississippi to make sure all the advice was correct, so all the dots connected, we wanted to see the whole route and make sure it actually was going to be a good option! Do you know how hard it is to find a paper map any where unless you are in a tourist center??
We stopped a gas station hoping we could at least look at one. No luck, but the sweet young lady behind the counters said, oh let me pull it up on my phone! She was great. When I described what we were trying to do, she knew exactly what I was talking about and gave us clear directions how to get to the route. Then I looked at Googlemaps and forgot everything she told me because Googlemaps seemed a little different! So another sweet person had overheard the first conversation and stepped in to reconfirm our directions. It was a new road, only a year old so it sounded good and yes it had shoulders for us to ride in!
Clearly, from a car the definition of a "shoulder" is anything other than the driving lane. Is it actually good for a bicycle?, Probably not something that they had ever considered! People want to be so helpful, but you just have to be carefull, sometimes their best advice is not the best in reality.
The shouder at the start was at best 12 inches. Then is was 12 inches, now with a rumble strip running in it, so that meant we were in the lane of traffic, but traffic was not too busy yet. By time we actually reached Columbus, it was virtually no shoulder AND a rumble strip! But it was F . . .L . . .A . . . T!!!! We were overjoyed to be sailing along with hardly a rise to be seen. How long has it been since we could say that! Because of our short cut, we took 30 miles off our route!!!! We covered 60 miles in only a few hours.
Columbus is a very large city compared to what we have been riding thru for the last several weeks. We have restaurants and shopping around and took the time to get a few things we need and have a wonderful steak dinner! Yum! It must have been time to catch up nutrition wise because I cannot seem to stop eating tonight! It was delicious!
We cross to Alabama tomorrow! Once again we are going to have to pick our route carefully, there is either a short distance or too much of a distance between night time accommodations! It will be interesting! But we get closer and closer to the southern coast!
Too busy riding to take any photos, we were just on main highways and busy roads. Nothing exciting! What will Alabama have for us!