Monday, May 3, 2010

Marvell, Arkansas

Humidity + Sun + Heat + 103 miles = a long day on the bike.  The ride to Marvell started out great on a beautiful bike path out of Little Rock that included crossing the longest pedestrian only bridge in the United States and great views of downtown. The next 93 miles weren't horrible in terms of road conditions but it was definitely the first time on the trip when we had to deal with true heat which approached 90 degrees by the end of the day, especially when combined with the humidity. We passed through some heavily wooded areas early but the last part of the ride was dominated by open fields.  The most interesting part of the day though occurred around mile 70.  A man pulled up beside us at a stop sign as we were about to make a turn on to a different highway and asked if we needed any help crossing the bridge, being a group of experienced cyclists we balked at the offer and without knowing what lay ahead said that we could handle it on our own.  We made the turn on to the highway and rode about a mile before we noticed what concerned the driver, no shoulder on the busy highway for the next 6 miles on a narrow bridge that extended the entire distance. We began peddling across with caution and then realized that we weren't being passed by anyone, when we looked back over our shoulder there are driver friend was, trailing by just a few feet with his emergency flashers on protecting from traffic.  The parade of cars behind him was amazing but we truly appreciated his generosity in helping us across the bridge. The rest of the ride into Marvell was pretty uneventful and we finished our 4th century ride of the trip in right around 5 hours of riding. Marvell is the second smallest town we have stayed in but the church we are staying at served us an amazing dinner and the people have been great so far.  Tim gave one of our lectures at Little Rock Central High School before leaving town this morning, one of the most historic  and largest high schools in the country. The high school is famous (or infamous) for the events surrounding its desegregation in 1957 when nine African-American students, known as the Little Rock Nine, were denied entrance to the school in defiance of the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling ordering integration of public schools. This provoked a showdown between the Governor Fabus and President Dwight D. Eisenhower that gained international attention. We're all going to bed pretty early tomorrow as we have another 100+ mile day tomorrow into Memphis, Tennessee (Including 2 new states!). No chain!

Little Rock Central High School. A national historic monument.

It really was a big dam bridge.

the bridge.

The bike path on the way out of town.

Downtown Little Rock

Along the way.

Katie picks only the finest stops for lunch.

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