I set out for St Andrews and made a few side trips, and accumulated a big 38 miles in a 3 hour bike ride today. I'm working up to over 50. Then I'll know I'm ready for a race of some kind, maybe a metric century. I have heard that the pace of these races is faster than most people expect when they try it for the first time. I usually maintain 16-18 mph, and sometimes 20 for few minutes. I will try to keep up the faster pace when I go for distances and I think that will help get me up to speed.
Belle Fontaine beach drive is looking more natural, and the debris is gone for the most part; either cleaned up or becoming overgrown by grass, weeds, and trees. I counted 102 house lots along this road west of the light house (water tower) that is now laying in the golf course. Of these 102, all were destroyed. 7 are in some state of rebuilding, but not yet to the point of anyone living in them. None are rebuilt completely yet. I counted 12 travel/FEMA trailers; those that live there have the place to themselves! It is quiet, the water was calm today, the pelicans plentiful as they usually seem to be out there. The pelicans seem to be enjoying all the pilings that are sitting in the water without docks, providing them plenty of places to rest. They were fishing, socializing, and flying around, generally looking as if they owned the place. I noticed a difference in size in some of them today. Saw a few of average size, then one much smaller - a young one - then a HUGE one flying around in the same area. I took a picture, not because it's all that beautiful, but because it is typical Mississippi coast. Flat, shallow water. Hazy horizon and sky, blending into the water. Underwhelming as far as the big ticket items - sand, waves, water - that you see in other coastal areas - but very rich with birds, crabs, fish, plants, and other naturally co-existing forms of life.
I went down a road to the old Pine Island golf course (leg sticking northwest on the west side of the GPS track), which closed a few years back. Someone made an attempt to develop this land and live out here... will it be developed again? Right now it's a little spooky, very deserted, and I won't be going out there again by myself.
The traffic was cooperative today and I had no mishaps or close calls. The bike still suits me well and recently had it's initial shop visit to tighten all the cables after the initial wear... now it's smoother than ever - I recommend the Giant FCR-1! The gears work well for me on all inclines, and is also easy to pedal standing up. I wish I had more time. I would ride every day and paddle every evening, or vice versa.
Happy Labor Day :-)