Finding a Hill in the Bay
- by John Dumoulin
You can walk until you no longer know the road; you can run but you can't hide; you can hurry up and wait on a stationary bike. I prefer to sweat up the hills and coast down them on a bike.
Well, the Bay doesn't have any hills that I have found, anyway, but my advice is to head out and see if you can find one. If you do, let me know. I've found a Hillcrest and a Chapel Hill Street and there's a Demon Thusin, don't you know? I wonder who he was. He must have done at least one thing nice to have a street named after him, right?
Trek around the Bay during the day and you'll see one-level skyscrapers with elevators, beautifully manicured slab foundations, white-hulled Boston Whalers punctuating dark driveways to nowhere, and tens of construction crews resurrecting homes out of brambles. It's like watching the Travel and History channels at the same time. You'll pass the Bay's world-famous cerebral Zen Garden beaches and learn about pirate houses and world literary figures like Pearl Rivers.
The South Beach's boardwalk, especially, will take you as far as you have the energy to go. At dusk down the boulevard, invisible community piers are circled above and below by lights and reflections like a string of bright pearls around the neck of a beautiful ghost. If the night promises a new moon, the water will likely be speckled with flounder boat lanterns, so many that it's hard to see where the water stops and the dusk's horizon begins to show off the starred night sky.
I've found, too, that if you put a roll of quarters in each sock, they serve as leg weights. The coins make my calves look like Popeye's, but when I get to the end of the road — usually the western-most end of South Beach Boulevard — and drop the coins in the slots at the Silver Slipper, the ride back seems a breeze! Also, I like to drag a garden rake behind me on Highway 90 just after the Bay St. Louis Mardi Gras Parade. The longer I ride and the more beads I collect, the harder the workout. By the time I reach Waffle House, I'm thirsty and dragging a sea anchor the size of a Honda Fit, which forces me to stop — usually in front of Pops Corner Pub. Nothing lazy about this Magnolia, if you know what I mean!
No, you'll be hard pressed to find an exercise hill in Bay Saint Louis for a real work out. My advice is to try the entrance up St. Charles Street from South Beach first then "jump the hump" at the track at Central. Once you can do this without shifting from first to second gear you're ready to tackle the Matterhorn of biking in St. Louis: the Bay St. Louis Bridge.