US 45 heading south from Cortinth
Since my motel was, relatively, upscale, I didn't have to find breakfast at McDs. I got up, cleaned up a bit, and grabbed my laptop to take to breakfast so I could upload the web pages I created last night. Breakfast was surprisingly good and I took full advantage of it as I did my uploads, set up the web page structure for tour07, and responded to email. I also grabbed a big banana to eat on my first break. That turned out to be quite a good move because I had to ride almost 45 miles before I reach any service on my route today! Fortunately, I'd kept a McDs pancake syrup serving form my breakfast in Scottsboro.
I've been riding east with a north wind ever since I started this tour and today, I finally got to ride south. I averaged over 15 mph riding for 25 miles down US 45. As with US 72, the road surface changed several times and the shoulders were not rideable on part of it. This was not a problem since traffic was light to moderate and the drivers were all polite. As yesterday, I thought about how dangerous it would have been to ride this kind of road in California - been there done that - and how safe it was here.
MS 30 heading east to New Albany
At exactly 25 miles from Corinth, I turned west on MS 30. I lost the nice tail wind and the smooth road, but I also lost almost all the traffic. MS 30 was a peaceful, if hilly and bumpy - actually thumpy because of joints and cracks in the pavement - ride. At about 30 miles from Corinth, I stopped to take a break, eat the banana and drink McD's syrup. That was when I realized that I had eaten breakfast at the Holiday Inn rather than the Econo Lodge! The two motels are joined at the front and the two lobbies and breakfast areas are accessible from a common rear area which contains the pool. I had used the wrong door - yes, it says Holiday Inn but I didn't read that this morning - and my key card had opened it because someone had blocked its latching mechanism. I really enjoyed that breakfast and needed it and the banana today.
Riding MS 30 also reminded me why I like to ride roads that have significant traffic or, better, parallel roads that do. MS 30 is quite rural. There are no services for almost 20 miles and then there is a neat little place with one gas pump, a general store, and a sort of lunch counter. I reached it about noon, and had a light first lunch, bought a snack for later, and refilled my water bottles there. I enjoyed the folks that ran this place and some other folks who were there eating when I arrived. Really nice people.
MS 30 heading east from New Albany to Oxford
Roughly ten miles later, I had second lunch at an interstate like Pilot Service Center with an Arbys inside. It was more expensive and less tasty than my first lunch, but it also had more calories and I knew I'd need them for the next 30 mile with no services. I had to get on an expressway - busier than 45 - to get the MS 30 heading west. When I got on this section on MS 30, I was upset that they had ruined its small shoulder with the nasty kind of rumble strip. This part of MS 30 was much smoother and less hilly than the part between US 45 and New Albany. The pavement was the same all the way, except at the half a dozen sections where they were replacing bridges. The first of those section gave me a flat tire.
I pinch flatted my front tire on a sharp rock in the construction area. I should have seen it and avoided it, but it was after the actual area of construction and I wasn't watching the road. That was my first pinch flat while touring. Normally, I have a heavier tire, e.g. a Conti TT, on my front wheel, but this time I have a Gatorskin. It has better road feel, but at the expense of a lot less cushioning from the tire itself. I pulled off the road and put my bike down in a patch of grass. I was able to patch the flat in about ten minutes without removing the front wheel.
The old section of Oxford
I rode on, enjoying the smooth road which was much easier on my bottom than the thumpy part of MS 30. It was hot - 90+ - and there was no shade, so, for the first time on this tour, I suffered from the heat. I was having a hard time holding my line on the bike - and that obnoxious rumble strip was not helping. My rear pannier bounced off on one of my rumble strip traversals and, after going back to pick it up, I stopped and rested in the shade. About three miles from Oxford, I finally came upon a service station/convenience store. I bought a quart of Powerade and drank it before riding the rest of the way into town. I was a bit dehydrated!
I rode to the center of Oxford through a beautiful old southern neighborhood, then rode around the square - very nice - and stopped at a sports store to ask about bike shops. Then I rode to the Oxford Bike shop and got a replacement for the spare tube I trashed on Saturday. Speaking of that incident, I just discovered that what I thought was a scab on my shoulder was really a tick that I acquired when I was trying to repair that flat...