In the De Soto Swelter, Day One

An Attempt At Acclimation

With support from North St. Bags

Extended title: And you will know us by the trail of sweat. I'm not saying it's bad, but it's bad. And you know what? It's just gonna be bad, it's not gonna stop being bad, so there is a small chance this retelling of our excursion will stop complaining about the heat. Maybe. The first day is a short day of riding. The train arrived at 5pm, so I'm trying to convince myself and Johnny that the worst of the day has passed, and a smooth alleviation in the evening temperatures is soon to come.


For those not acquainted with the south, here's an analogy peppered with pseudoscience: You ever notice how bricks are used with things that need to stay warm? House exteriors, kilns, fireplaces, etc- these things love bricks, because bricks hold heat well. What's that got to do with the south? Well, bricks are made out of clay. The south, like all the south, is clay soil. See what I'm saying? Folks smarter than me will probably take the heat, and its even dispersion both day and night, on account of its location in the humid subtropical zone. I mean, maybe? I don't know about humid subtropical zones, I know about bricks.

The brick thing doesn't make us any less sweaty.

The town we left behind, Meridian, is the sixth largest town in Mississippi. It's smack dab in the middle of Mississippi's latitudes, just a skosh to the east. Trying to make a route from Meridian to the Gulf Coast is both easy and impossible. If one were to look at a road map of southeastern Mississippi, one would have to seriously question whether or not that road map was drawn by an unattended toddler who found a marker. These roads just go every whichaway, crossing each other, dogleggin', crossing again, stopping at random.

Sure, there's a highway. But highways are either boring or terrifying for bikes, depending on their shoulders. These backroads, though they may have been the result of a road surveyor's map after they knocked a plate a spaghetti on it, take us through some quiet country of rolling hills, the occasional humble domicile, and the more open usage of pave these remote environs offer.

This adventure supported by
North St Bags


Night's arrival proves my brick theory, as the heat is still insufferable. All around us the ground is alive with crickets, cicadas, and katydids. Stopping invites mosquitos to our legs and warms, riding invites gnats to our eyes and nostrils. Stealth camping seems to be a challenge. Homes don't get very far away from the road, and woody patches are thick with kudzu and poison ivy. We ride to a green spot on the map, Archusa Creek Water Park, with listed camping.

Archusa is all closed up, so we ride around gates. The camping areas are similarly abandoned, and kinda barren honestly, so instead we opt for a patch of trees in thin grass lakeside. There's just enough of a breeze coming off Archusa Lake to keep the bugs at bay, not that we haven't completely glazed ourselves with deet. But our spot sits as an almost-island, far enough in the darkness, and far enough away from the roads that we know we can sleep as well as anyone can sleep in 90º weather.

Route Map

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