New Orleans, Lousiana to Asheville, North Carolina

Please find the photos for this entry here: New Orleans, Lousiana to Asheville, North Carolina (Photos/videos should be pretty self explanatory, but just let us know if you have questions!)

Our time in New Orleans was short but a welcome rest from riding. We took two rest days to recuperate and visit with friends in the city. We enjoyed good food, good beer, and amazing music. The vibrant city with its ever mixing cultures. Architecture from across the globe marking the ages of history that have ebbed and flowed to make the streets what they are today. The people who call it home going about their lives and the press of tourists thronging to indulgence. The green sweltering swamplands reaching out in its ever present struggle to swallow the city and reclaim the land. It all blends together to become something more than then the individual parts. A living, growing, decaying, entity that calls itself New Orleans. 

When we left the city we continued across the flat swamp lands riding out across bridges and roads only just above sea level. Homes constructed on stilts and crouched behind dikes. The push of urban expansion fighting against the elements and odds to perpetuate its growth. Then we turned in land to ride the rolling hills of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

Salt marsh and swamps turned to thick pine plantations and cotton fields. We passed through small agricultural towns that at times seemed to have more churches than houses. We stayed at campgrounds and ate our meals on the curb outside gas stations. The people we met often didn't believe us when we told them how far we had ridden. We started having to show a world map to explain where we had come from. 

We still experienced random acts of kindness and generosity but compared to Central and South America we could see a marked decrease. Less people would wave as we passed and by and large cars went from honking encouragement to honking in annoyance. For the first time on our entire trip we had people yell at us to get off the road. We all felt more uncomfortable at times riding this section then at any other time on our trip. This was also the first time on our travels where we encountered racial tension and division on a societal and ecological level. 

Some stories of kindness and connection from this stretch stand stood out to us. Having a random guy offer us money as we sat on the curbside. A man pulling a u-turn to give one of us a Gatorade. Having a couple call out to one of us and giving us a bag of snack food. Being invited over to morning coffee by the fire side in a campground. Stopping and helping an elderly woman change her flat tire on the side of the highway and having her bless us and donate to our trip. Just as in Latin America we often did not have much in common with some of these people on the surface but found a sense of shared humanity through kindness. We were able to connect through our similarities instead of being driven apart and divided by our differences.

We crossed into North Carolina and for the first time since Mexico we saw mountains. It was a welcome change and we embarked on the curving mountain roads amid the changing colors of early autumn. The temperature cooled as well and we got out the warmer layers we had in the bottom of our bags. We wound our way up into the Appalachians and the City of Asheville for a much needed rest. We had made the journey from Mexico City to Asheville with only one rest day on the boarder of Texas and two in New Orleans. We had averaged around 80 miles a day. This had been the most sustained and longest distance we had covered on our journey. A push that had left us weary and happy to take some time to recouperate nestled amid the mountains. 

Please find the photos for this entry here: New Orleans, Lousiana to Asheville, North Carolina (Photos/videos should be pretty self explanatory, but just let us know if you have questions!)