MO2NO Day 9: Pearl River, LA to the Cafe du Monde

After a great dinner of grilled shrimp and pasta, we all turned in early at Gerry and Ralph’s house last night. This morning I had planned to sleep in until 6, but my body didn’t get the message, so I woke up at 5 AM anyway. I was having a cup of tea and reading yesterday’s Times-Picayune when Ralph and Gerry came out of their room wearing identical T-shirts:

In our MO2NO shirts

Yes, they’d made these up in my honor. I was touched, although apparently still a bit bleary-eyed. Anyway, we had breakfast and I got ready to go, and they loaded up the pickup to follow me.

My route took me in on US 90, where I took this lovely shot of the Pearl River:

Taken while I was going the wrong way

Unfortunately, I wasn’t supposed to cross the Pearl River again, and a few mile further east it finally hit me that I’d turned the wrong way on 90. I think I was so caught up in the excitement of riding without the trailer and going fast that I just wasn’t thinking very clearly. So I turned around, adding about 8 miles to the day’s ride. Eventually, though, I did get in touch with Ralph and Gerry again, and finally I came into New Orleans and turned down Elysian Fields Ave (Champs D’Elysees, for you Francophones). Here I am on my victory lap:

On Elysian Fields Blvd.

A couple of miles down the road is the French Quarter, and my final destination, the Cafe du Monde.

Victory at the Cafe du Monde

Gerry and I ate beignets and had cafe au lait while waiting for Ralph to park the truck. When he got back, we walked up onto the levee by the Mississippi, where the real awards ceremony began. Not only had they made the shirts, they gave me two Tour de France hats, including a Credit Lyonnaise cap that you can only get by going to the parade before the finish of the Tour. Then there was the stuffed lion, and kisses from a podium girl*.

With a podium girl

Finally, we celebrated with champagne.

Champagne on the levee

All in all, a great morning, and a great ending to a great trip. In case anyone hasn’t already had way too much of this expedition, there will be more posts to come — we did a bit of touring the Katrina devastation in the New Orleans area, and I also now have photos from the entire trip, which I’ll start posting in a few days as a day-by-day recap, with a few new anecdotes to go along.

Final stats: 738 miles, 9 days, one sore ass.

Thanks to everybody who helped out, including lots of good people along the way, and especially Derek and Patrick at Cape Bicycle, Ralph and Gerry for putting me up and making a big fuss, and particularly my lovely and understanding wife Robin for enduring my absence** for all this time.

*Yes, it was like kissing my sister.

**Okay, maybe not such a big sacrifice, but she’s had to find her own meals.

10 Responses to “MO2NO Day 9: Pearl River, LA to the Cafe du Monde”

  1. Mary Harriet says:

    Congratulations on making it to the finish. I have enjoyed reading about your adventure along the way. Where are you going next year?

  2. Allen says:

    Cabell and I have been talking about doing RAGBRAI next year.

  3. Don Hinkebein says:

    Congrats! Job well done. The girls and I’ve enjoyed reading your posts. Next time web enabled phone,(no need for libraries). Look forward to riding Taum Saulk on the 12th.

  4. Jade says:

    You made it! How are you getting home? Riding back or driving? I just got back from NY last night and have been doing catch-up reading on your posts this morning. It’s really inspiring and exciting stuff! You are amazing. xo Jade

  5. Derek says:

    Great ride! I’ve been reading the posts and can’t wait to read or hear more of the adventure. Congratulations.

  6. Derek says:

    Tell us more about the Cafe du Monde.

  7. Sophie says:

    oh good, you made it! congrats. love the shirts.

  8. Reido says:

    Nice work, Allen.

  9. Reno says:

    Congratulations!

  10. Allen says:

    Thanks, everybody. Robin’s coming down tonight and we’ll be driving back on Friday.

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