Gathering information ahead of Hurricane Ida!

Published 12:25 pm Saturday, August 28, 2021

By David Freeze

I had a friend years ago who wanted to be in a real hurricane, but probably just once. My only personal experience was with Hurricane Hugo. No one believed what destruction it caused.
Looks like I will get at least a version of being in a very powerful hurricane. Hurricane Ida is heading quickly to the New Orleans area. And it has places like Hammond squarely in its suggested track. Hammond is where I got my bike fixed yesterday morning. Hurricane warnings extend to the Pearl River, Mississippi area where I crossed into Mississippi this morning.
The good thing is that I am now 95 miles east of New Orleans, after a 63 mile day today. Thinking I needed to push east as far as I could was on my mind today. I am in Wiggins, Mississippi,  about five miles north from Perkinston where I intended to spend the night.
Now it is likely that I will spend more than one night here. Maybe several, depending on how the storm tracks and the timing. I just called the motel that likely would have been my next stop in Gautier, Mississippi. The owner says they are shutting down and will reopen on Sunday night or Monday for power workers only. So, my trip, at least in that direction is on hold.
I just saw pictures of massive evacuations from New Orleans, expecting as much as 140mph winds. And no one wants to be inside the levee system because of the storm surge. Tonight and almost assuredly Saturday night, I will be in the Western Motel in Wiggins. Possibly Sunday night too.
Here is what has already gone through my mind. I have seen the Mobile, Alabama gulf as part of the Underground Railroad ride. I am just a long day’s ride from Alabama. The next state, just a day or day and a half more east, is Florida. I have been contemplating skirting north of any Mississippi and Alabama damage and rejoining the projected route somewhere in panhandle Florida.
On one hand, it is exciting to be this close. I am on higher ground, in a solid building and well east of the projected landfall. I have two convenience stores in walking distance and I think also a Dollar General too.
People were getting gasoline all day today. I left Franklinton, Louisiana at first light today, following SR 20 to Bogalusa and the Mississippi border. Then the same road became shoulderless in Mississippi and changed its name to SR 28. It ended at Wiggins this afternoon after lots of rain and some wind. Oddly when the rain started, the headwind stopped. I got two great grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato and onion as soon as I arrived.
Therefore, I am in a good place that seems safe as far as I can tell. I will visit the Dollar General for a few things and get some kind of good breakfast, while at least I know I have a good roof over my head.
Sunday, August 29 is the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Late Saturday or early Sunday is the projected landfall of Ida. I am about to ponder some important decisions, maybe eat and sleep a little more over the next day or two. But you can bet I will move forward as soon as possible. In fact, I think I will ride down to Dollar General now and check the convenience stores for an area map.
This trip has plenty of drama and is certainly interesting. Check back tomorrow for the latest!

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