May 15:  Eutaw to Columbus, MS  66 miles

A day of scenic back rural roads and leisurely riding quickly dissipated into a decision making morning.  The skies had opened up and the rains were upon us.  With the gentle roll of a thunderhead in the distance, the 7am breakfast became a den of conversation.  Do we ride?  Or don't we?  All were in agreement that lightning meant no -- but rain, well that created a mix bag.  Some said yes, others no, others were riding the fence line.  Chief Laurie to the rescue.  Anyone who did not want to ride could be shuttled to the next motel and scout out the new town for those who wanted to.  Those who wanted to needed to remember the 30 minute rule "at the first sign of lightning -- off the road, get under cover and wait 30 minutes until after the last sighting".  All agreed and twelve brave riders decked out in rain gear both on the body and the bike set out for Columbus, MS on the back road of Hwy 208.

The rain dumped buckets for the first half of the ride.  At one point it was hard to differentiate between the rain coming down from the heavens and the splash from the trucks as they sped by.  As well meaning as they were to give us a wide berth, it was that large puddle that they drove through that was the killer.  A tidal wave of massive proportion flying up from the road and across the center line to only descend rapidly onto the biker washing away any hopes of staying a little dry.  

When one is caught out in the pouring rain for long periods of time, it does lead to a mind altering experience.  The brain starts to contemplate all the logical reasons one would chose to do such an activity.  Remember the choice was to ride or go to the next motel and maybe enjoy a sauna, or swim, or meal, or read a book, or nap, or shop, or just relax the day away!  Being battered around by splashing trucks, hit in the face with rain pellets, feel the cool water run down your neck and hear the water slush around in your shoes has a weird appeal to some -- even sane individuals.  But it does make you wonder what in you likes this.  Some developed their "ten reasons" why list as they rode.  Others ignored the rain and sang as they dripped.  Others just put their heads down and pedaled.

Jennifer's, Anne's, Sondra's and Kathy's Top Ten Reasons for Riding in the Rain

10.  You get to submit new words to Webster's Dictionary -- like "prunified".

9.   You don't have to clean off the Gatorade that has been dripping onto your bottom bracket for the last three days.

8.   You can now provide scientific proof to refute the belief hat "rain before 7:00 stops by 10:00".

7.   It's a time saver:  You don't have to spend time on your day off cleaning your bike, and

6.   You don't need to shower when you finish your ride.

5.   It's also a money saver:  You can save the money you would spend at a spa.  You receive a natural raindrop facial, a sauna inside your jacket and you don't need to soak your feet.

4.   You don't have to keep re-applying sunscreen.

3.   You don't have to carry extra water -- just open your mouth, stick your tongue out and drink.

2.   There's much less traffic and  no logging trucks.  It's too wet for them to get into the woods to load up.

1.   NO DOGS!!  Even southern dogs know enough to stay on the porch when it is raining!

Other pluses to the rain -- the air smells clean, the earth shines, the birds keep singing!

By the end of the day, a couple had to be sagged in because of mechanical problems (broken spoke, unfixable flat tire), with the rest drip drying in the last ten miles as the sun broke through.  The rain wasn't cold, so the ride was just wet.  Looking a little like drowned rats, those who made it pedaled into the hotel, went immediately to their rooms to shower and dry off.  Dinner will be served soon and the tradition has it when you cross a state line, that marguerites must be served!!! Plus tomorrow is a day of rest.

Note:  At one of the rest stops today a gentleman approached the group and questioned why we had ridden down this one road.  When we asked why, he said it was the Crack Capital of the World.  In as much as there wasn't a house to be seen for miles or a pull off, we are not sure how it got that name, but who are we to question the locals.  We figured in the rain today, someone would have to be pretty desperate to want to hang out on the road and buy crack!

We are now in Columbus, MS having crossed the state line a few miles back.  Columbus is the home town of the playwright, Tennessee Williams; the nation's first state supported school for women, Mississippi University for Women; and the Columbus Air Force Base  .  It also lies on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

Tomorrow will be spent exploring this town and its area attractions!

Wet Frankie at the State Line


Mississippi Welcome!

Happy Hour with Judy and Holly

Joan, Mary, and Judy

Joyce, Marilee, Sondra, and Frankie

Judy, Sondra, Frankie, and Kirsten

Marilyn, Anne, and Kathy

"Cheers!" Leslie

Vicky and Chris

"The Bosses", Patty, Laurie, and Barb

Missing from the group when these pictures were taken are Elaine, Marni, Jennifer, Rebecca, Georgia, Lois, Debby & Sue-- stay tuned and
they will appear -- maybe tomorrow!