We headed to Merryville in the usual morning fog. We had heard of bicyclists camping at the museum in town, but the phone number I had for the museum was no longer in use. We rode through DeRidder at about lunch time and decided to drop by the visitors’ center to find out if they knew anything about camping in Merryville. Surely they did, and the woman at the desk called a number—which was different than the one I had called—and verified that it was okay to set up our tents in the front lawn of the town museum.
Museums were the place to be today. We ate lunch at the DeRidder museum, then took a tour. Dolls were the highlight, and this particular collection featured over three thousand dolls, all owned by one person. The experience turned out to be mildly interesting, and we felt obligated to shove a couple of dollar bills into the wooden box near the door.
After leaving DeRidder, we were flagged down by a woman at her mailbox on the side of the road. She invited us to stay on the lawn of the town museum, with which she was somehow affiliated. It seems that everyone in these parts knows that cyclists can camp there.
When we arrived in Merryville, a man was just pulling up in his truck to unlock the restroom building—complete with showers—for us. I think the folks are thrilled to have cyclists ride through. He unlocked the doors to the main building as well, and we took our second museum tour of the day. After we were set up, we did our laundry at a truck stop and had dinner at a local restaurant. The food was fair, but we had to endure the imbecilic drivel of the owner, a rotund arrogant slob who obviously ate too much at his establishment. We returned to our tents to sleep.