June 24, 2006
I rode the Tunica Hills North Tract ATV trail and ended up in prison. But first, about the north tract: The trail had recently been bulldozed, which one might think would make it much easier to ride; however, it had rained heavily three days earlier (according to the prison guards) and the trail had turned into a long mud bath---I mean knee-deep, suck your shoes off, drag your bike through on its side muddy. The Wildlife Management Area map showed the trail as a single loop (~4 miles total), however in reality the trail forked and I naturally took the wrong fork.
After becoming lost in a maze of newly bulldozed logging roads, I emerged at the Angola State Penitentiary bloodhound kennels located at the edge of acres and acres of prison row crops. The trustees running the pound gave me iced water and were extremely nice, but suggested I not try to ride back, because I might be shot. Soon a guard arrived and questioned me thoroughly. Then her lieutenant showed up, repeated the questions, and searched everything I had except body cavities. During the search, two more guards and an assistant warden showed up. Things lightened up when I told them I worked for the Federal government, and they broke out in belly laughs.
Very kindly, the first guard and lieutenant drove me and my bike back to my car. On the way we passed a prisonerís funeral, complete with an elegant black carriage hearse pulled by two white horses, and then passed by the site of the annual Angola State Penitentiary Rodeo (open to the public and well worth seeing, I am told). After driving some more---the place is huge---we arrived at the backside of the front gate. The guards at the gate were lined up to see the mud covered fool who had broken into prison. The lieutenant told me I had made their day.
Overall, it was quite a ride.