The Triumphant Return to VNMP

Date: December 22, 2016

Distance: 27 miles

Total 2016 mileage: 2033

Finally I returned to ride VNMP, and it was glorious!

The day was overcast, but not too cold and not too hot.  Alice and I drove together to the park and met up with Marsha for the ride.

It’s hard to explain the loveliness of riding at Vicksburg.  Traffic is restricted to mostly one way streets, and to a very low speed limit, so cars are not too large of a concern.  I think that mostly it’s just so beautiful.  There are lots of steep climbs and descents, but you are also riding through so many majestic old trees and historical monuments that its easy to feel that you are in a different time.  When you get tired, you can rest by historical houses, read explanations of the battles, or see a gunboat!

And you do get tired.  The climb to the Cairo exhibit is very steep, as is Fort Hill.  Fort Hill is deceptive – there’s a hairpin turn in the climb and you think that you are about to get some flat breathing space, but alas – it is a most disappointing false flat, and the steep climb continues.  But I made it up twice!  The most humorous moment of the day: Alice asked me at the top how I liked climbing Fort Hill.  I gasped out, “Is that what I just climbed?”

I conquered Fort Hill!

After the ride, we went to the Tomato Place to eat.  It’s a combination farmers market and diner, with fantastic fried green tomatoes.  I had to have coffee too, and that was also fantastic!  Off season coffeeneuring!

The Tomato Place loves bikes!

This turned out to be my last outdoor ride of 2016, and it was awesome.


Coffeeneuring #7

Date: November 19, 2016

Distance: 3 miles

Drink Description: Drip coffee

Bike Friendly: Yes!

This is it – the final coffeeneuring jaunt of 2016.  Today was easy puttering miles and then a stop at Daily Harvest Bakery in Monroe, LA.  Standard drip coffee, but a delicious egg scramble and cheese danish.


Coffeeneuring this year was fun!  I rode to a few places I wouldn’t have considered riding to otherwise.  I also roped a few friends into riding with me, which is always a blast.  So, I bid farewell to the challenge, but I suspect that I will continue coffeeneuring.

Coffeeneuring #5

Date: November 6, 2016

Distance: 6.5 miles

Drink Description: Drip coffee

Bike Friendly: Yes!  Finally!

No riding for me over the past week because I have been really sick.  I’ve been wanting to ride the Vicksburg National Military Park though, so Alice and I headed out there on Sunday.


We started riding, and it didn’t take long for me to realize I was too sick to keep going.  I threw in the towel and sipped drip coffee while Alice finished her ride.  An unintentional coffeeneuring without walls.


I will be back VNMP!

I currently have the cleanest bike in town.

Coffeeneuring trip #4

Date: October 28, 2016

Distance: 2 miles

Drink Description: Cafe au Lait with a side of beignets – a Louisiana tradition!

Bike Friendly: Nope

I took this particular morning to engage in coffeeneuring with a side of early voting.  Nothing like fulfilling your civic duties to work up a coffee thirst!

Best sticker!

Originally I had planned to make this trip from my house, but I had an unexpected delay, so I opted to ride from the gym, since I needed to swim afterwards anyway.  I rode to the West Monroe Farmer’s Market and prepared to vote, then caffienate.

The early voting line was suprisingly long.  I waited approximately 45 minutes before I could get coffee.  But the coffee was worth the wait!  Caster and Chicory is one of our local food trucks, and they specialize in beignets and Cafe au Lait.  Voting is strenuous and I had worked up an appetite, so this was all quite good.

I’m about to get fat from riding my bike…

The downside of the two delays came when I tried to ride back to the gym – traffic was thick, and sadly people are not used to seeing bikes in the area around the Farmer’s Market (which makes no sense to me), so it was a nail biter getting back.  The second downside of the delays came when I saw that I was out of time to swim before I had to get to work.  At least there was a bike ride and coffee!

Coffeeneuring trip #3

Date: October 27, 2016

Distance: 5 miles

Drink Description: Delicious Heritage Roast with Chicory and Cream

Bike Friendly: Nope

Today was a fun pre-work trip for coffee and biscuits!

Alice and I found out that there would be a popup biscuit shop at RoeLa Roasters today.  RoeLa is the local coffee roaster and occasional coffee shop.  Recently, our local awesome chef Cory Behr has been setting up there in the mornings to serve delicious stuffed cat head biscuits, and we just couldn’t resist.


In case you are wondering about the Southern peculiarity, the term cat head biscuit refers to a biscuit that is larger than a cat’s head.  Typically a cat head biscuit is also more delicious than a standard biscuit, and using the term can cause a Southerner’s eyes to roll back in ecstasy at imagining such delights.  These biscuits did not disappoint!  They were also stuffed with smoked pork loin, and there were various jams that you could put on the stuffed biscuit sammich.  I chose Satsuma Fig, and the biscuit tasted like Thanksgiving dinner.  Such wow.

Yum coffee and biscuits!

The coffee was just as good.  Well brewed with a touch of chicory to make it taste like Louisiana.  The weather was great and the ride was easy and fun.



Coffeeneuring Trip #2

Date: October 22, 2016

Mileage: 69.8 miles (No, I did not take the option to lap the parking lot for .15 miles)

Drink description: Surprisingly excellent drip coffee

Bike Friendly: Nope

So for this particular ride, I was invited to join a group in Shreveport for a birthday ride.  One of the members was turning 70 and wanted to ride 70 miles in honor of that milestone.  The route looked neat, and it just looked like a blast overall, so off I headed to Shreveport.

The plan was to meet up with a cyclist friend who lived on the way, and then we would travel together to the destination.  When I got there we loaded up bikes and prepared to set out, except that his truck wouldn’t start.  We putzed around a bit, decided it was the battery, and I offered to jump off the battery from my vehicle.  I pulled up and started up, cables were connected, and the truck still wouldn’t start.

At this point I turned around to see my own battery smoking.

We launched into action like some Keystone Kops, yanking battery cables and watching sparks and smoke fly all over.  Thank goodness that removing the cables made my truck stop smoking.  Time was running short, so we unloaded his truck, loaded up mine, pushed the non-functioning truck out of the driveway, and headed out.  As we drove away in my (no longer smoking) truck, I opined that I would sure like to see his wife’s face when she sees the truck pushed out into the yard and him not around.

Blessedly, that turned out to be the only mechanical of the day.  We arrived in good time, and the cycling fun began!

The birthday boy gave me a rocking keychain!

It was a gorgeous day.  I had to break out the cold weather gear for the first time since last winter, and it was comfortably cool for the first half of the ride, and warm enough to shed the cold gear for the second half.

Nifty historic plantation house on the Louisiana side of the state line

In the second half of the ride, we made it all the way to Arkansas.  It was fun to traverse two states in one ride.

The “county” sign signals that you made it into Arkansas

And what ride is complete without coffee at the end?  We stopped at the Main Street Restaurant at the end of the ride for food and fellowship.  I ordered a burger and a plain black coffee, and both were superb.  How could they not be – they were flavored with earned appetite and good company.

Great place!