More offcuts and scraps from our 7,000-and-counting archive of trip photos. For past editions, click here. Only one more month of this rubbish to go.



Whatever they’re paying the marketing director at Barq’s, it’s too much not enough.
South Vacherie, LA, USA
4 March 2015



The last 80km of our journey into New Orleans took us along the Mississippi River, mostly on a deserted bike path built atop a levee. There’s plenty of heavy industry along the way: an alumina plant here, the country’s third largest oil refinery there. However, there are also remnants of the region’s glory years in the 19th century, when local families got rich off the sugar they grew in this fertile land and spent the money building themselves opulent piles on the banks of the Big Muddy. (Needless to say, they spent considerably less on quarters for the slaves who actually did most of the hard work.) Not looking its best on a grim morning, this is the San Francisco Plantation, the grandest in the region.
near Garyville, LA, USA
5 March 2015



Oh, how we laughed when we saw this sign on Highway 607 in southern Mississippi. Oh, how we stopped laughing when we realised it led directly into a vast, private rocket-testing facility to which, in no uncertain terms, we were denied access, necessitating a detour of about 30 miles into a blazing headwind. Thanks, useless road map.
approaching the John C Stennis Space Center, MS, USA
11 March 2015



There are times when we’re glad to be carrying a compass.
between Laurel & Meridian, MS, USA
14 March 2015



We’ll have more on our ride through Mississippi in a couple of days. In the meantime, though, this was the sight that greeted us at first light the morning after we pitched camp next to Choctaw Lake, close to the Natchez Trace Parkway. We had the place to ourselves.
Choctaw Lake, Tombigbee National Forest, MS, USA
16 March 2015



We feared that the Mississippi town of Tupelo would make a meal of its most famous son, and envisaged having to run a gamut of Heartbreak Hotels and Hunk-o’-Burnin’-Love burger joints as we edged towards downtown. However, we were pleased to find that the Elvis Presley Birthplace isn’t given much play by the locals in what’s actually a delightful southern city, so much so that we somehow contrived to cycle straight past the unsigned turn-off to the site.
Tupelo, MS, USA
17 March 2015



The sign above the sink in the bathrooms at Parnassus Books, a splendid bookstore co-owned by bestselling author and native Nashvillian Ann Patchett.
Nashville, TN, USA
21 March 2015



While Will was cycling a roundabout route through Nashville to Parnassus Books, Ruth had been spirited away to her first ever hash run by KJ and Shannon, our persuasive, great-company hosts in Nashville. For the uninitiated, hashing is… Honestly, it would take too long to explain, but fancy dress is obligatory (meeting the wear-green dress code in honour of St Patrick’s Day, Ruth turned out in KJ’s high school prom dress), alcohol consumption is mandatory, and running, which we thought was the point of the whole exercise, is essentially optional. (Photo: KJ Garner.)
Nashville, TN, USA
21 March 2015



Celebrating its 90th birthday this year, and still broadcast live on WSM radio (AM!) as it was in 1925, the Grand Ole Opry is billed as ‘the show that made country music famous’. For once, the marketing slogan is no exaggeration. Every country star has trodden its boards, initially at the gorgeous Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville and then, since 1974, at the altogether less characterful Grand Ole Opry House, located on the edge of town within what amounts to a cross between a shopping mall and a theme park. It’s a slick and lucrative operation these days, but no less enjoyable for its cornball charm. Here’s the view from the cheap seats.
Nashville, TN, USA
21 March 2015



We’d almost forgotten about the joys of the small-scale American roadside sight until we rode out of Mammoth Cave National Park and ran into a string of them. This one is something of a classic example. Terrible illustration of host? Check. What-the-hell-actually-is-it attraction? Check (‘See the Mystery House’). T-shirts and sweatshirts in only-in-America sizes? Check.
Cave City, KY, USA
25 March 2015



Fairfield, Kentucky, population 72.
Fairfield, KY, USA
27 March 2015



We rode 320km north from Nashville to Louisville on something of a hunch, our minds swayed in part by the glowing recommendation given to the city by a friendly chap Will met at Halcyon Bikes in Nashville. We’re delighted we followed his advice (and not only because, astonishingly, the very same chap spotted us in a pie shop parking lot literally five minutes after we’d reached Louisville and pulled over to welcome us to town). Every city is only as good as the people in it, and we were lucky to be hosted through the Warmshowers network by Bob, a smart, acerbic photographer; his witty wife Meg, an artist; and Bobo, their exuberant dog. That’s Bob on the right, showing us around what turned out to be a really terrific city. We hope we see it, and them, again.
Louisville, KY, USA
28 March 2015



from Cedarville, OH, USA