03 March 2014

Ocean Springs, Mississippi

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(Above: The U.S. 90 Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge Pathway)

This past weekend, I set out to redeem my $5.00 off coupon for The Mellow Mushroom restaurant. Not to be outdone by this guy, I was determined to start my new diet at the closest purveyor of prestigious pizzas-- yay, alliteration!. This requires a ride over the US 90 bridge from Biloxi to Ocean Springs, Mississippi. (I like to spell out Mississippi because I had to learn how to spell it in elementary school and I don’t get to use that many S’s in one word very often.)  As I noted in the previous post, the bike paths here are kind of sad, but when you get to the bridge, there is a moment of validation as you approach the sign designating NO MOTOR VEHICLES.

Ha-ha yes! It really is a small thing, but having a protected bike lane here in Mississippi is a sight for sore clich├ęs. You mean I can pedal from one shitty sidewalk to another shitty sidewalk on the other side of the bay without worrying about getting side-swiped by a geriatric casino solicitor? You can- and how! Just shy of two miles long, the US 90 bridge offers a respite from the second-by-second concern of impending PT Cruiser-induced doom.

Granted, once you get into the town of Ocean Springs, your cushy accommodations must come to an end. You have only your wits and sporadic signage to guide you, the latter depicting something resembling a human being(?) atop an artist’s rendition of a bicycle:

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If you follow this disturbing imagery through town, it will take you to Government Street, also known as “Main Street” anywhere else in America. This is probably my favorite place of all on this trip. There are restaurants aplenty and the streets are shaded by large trees, creating a very welcoming feel to the area.

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This is also home to the famous TatoNut doughnut shop, which if you didn’t already know, is the only real doughnut.

IMG_4306 (2)They’ve been closed or sold-out every time I’ve visited, so I can’t say how they compare to Voodoo, Top Pot, Dunkin’ or Mister Donut- even though among those I’m not even sure which is best; I just really like doughnuts.

All of this was nice, but I still needed to get to The Mellow Mushroom on Bienville Boulevard which is exactly where the grotesque “bike routes” steer you away from; two double-lanes of traffic and no shoulder, it’s a mess to navigate, even in an automobile. Luckily, since Government Street runs parallel to it, I could find a reasonable cross-street and get there with minimal portaging. I use “portaging” in this context to describe getting off my bike, lifting it over a curb, and then getting back on.

With little fanfare, I made it to Mellow. The pizza was delicious.

Heading back towards Biloxi, I decided to enjoy the sunshine for a while, so I detoured to the beach for some vitamin D and ocean air before getting back on the I-90 bridge. The breeze was a little chilly, but I won’t complain because the temperature was 20 degrees higher than anywhere else I could be this time of year. Some inner reflection, a bicycle-glamour photo or two, and I was on my way back to Keesler Air Force base, whereupon I am writing this now. It was a pretty decent day.

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The next venture out is still unplanned- I could always head back to Ocean Springs for an elusive TatoNut, or check out someplace completely different. There are so many shitty sidewalks* to explore, and so little time.

-Bicyclist Abroad Domestic

 

 

* Generally, I am adamantly opposed to riding your bicycle on the sidewalk when the accompanying road allows it, or local laws dictate you have road usage rights. However, in this part of the country, certain sidewalks are synonymous with “bike paths” and you should do whatever keeps you from getting clipped by oblivious motorists. Happy riding!

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