Woke up, lazed in bed a bit, and Wilson and I went to Winn Dixie and went to do some laundry. Then we quickly packed back up and loaded up our bikes as Brent rolled up.
I met Brent about a week or so ago heading to Tallahassee from Perry, FL. Riding with him made me realize how terrific it can be to ride with someone. Brent met up with Wilson as he was riding ahead of me from Tallahassee.
Once Brent got there, we finished packing and had some Waffle House, and then we got on the road. And quickly found out, Wilson does not play. We got on the road towards Biloxi, and we found out Wilson is a fast aggressive, tireless, fearless rider. Brent and I are less experienced riders, so Wilson is sort of our defacto leader for ride, and we kind of follow his lead, while we take turns leading. That day we did 50 miles in about 3 1/2 hrs.
Mississippi was pretty gorgeous, elegant, houses so large. Rode along the beach as the sun set, through downtown, stopped at a Kangaroo gas station. As we were plotting where to stealth camp met Damien, a drunk white man who thought he was a drunk black man, as evidenced by his liberal, and unabashed use of “nigga” as term of endearment. He informed us that he himself lived in the woods and has his own impressive colony of tents, which we were welcome to. He also told us, while drunk, he’d just gotten out of prison too long ago, he had choked one of his tentmates out earlier in anger, and that he could find us drugs, or “go-fasts” in Mississippi that we’d never heard of. This didn’t seem to bother Wilson, but Brent and I seemed pretty sure it was a bad idea to camp with Damien.
But talking with Damien did bring into focus one not so obvious but deeply sad characteristic of Biloxi. Beautiful and elegant as it was, you could tell by the subliminal heartache and fragility of the otherwise sunny people, and the incredible frequency of barren undeveloped plots of land along the beach that must’ve been 30 miles long , that this was a town still in the depths of recovery fron Hurricane Katrina.
After we finally managed to shake Damien, we caught dinner an WiFi at a McDonalds and a few hrs later went and found a stealth camp spot in one of those empty lots. We scoped it out, and in the dark figured how to park our bikes set up camp with minimal visibility. Wilson and Brent were fine with it, and it was reassuring for me to be with them, but as my camping experience up til’ then had been harrowing, I was tense most of the night…