WooHoo a limestone rock

24 May

I followed the NTP all day, a 473km, and ended up in Lawrenceburg Tennessee for the night.This afternoon close to mile marker 305 I saw the first outcropping of limestone rock since Georgia a few days ago. Still in Mississippi and just south of the Alabama state line is the Saddleback Ridge.This morning before the temperature rose to stinking hot I took some pics and stopped at a few interesting locations.By late afternoon I was tired, and the air-conditioned short movie at the Parkway Visitor Center / Headquarters was a pleadant break. By the time I rode to the Pharr Mounds I needed a nap.I flopped my crash suit on top of a picnic table in the shade and had a long sleep. I awoke drenched in sweat but felt refreshed.In the morning I will pick up the Trace where I detoured.

Natchez

23 May

After an awesome luxurious breakfast at the Terrell House we left New Orleans about 9:00 am. I’m going to miss Cooper; he is one of those genuine people whom I’ve met on my trips that I wish we had more time together. Wow, riding northwesterly to get out of town there is water everywhere. I had to see it to believe it. The city is only about 20ft above sea level and connected with a spiderweb of aging concrete expressways through miles and miles of swamp. It’s an oasis of great people and wonderful food held togethet by nothing but its history and very worn infrastructure. We both can’t imagine it’s sustainable. We were stunned to see most of the businesses with huge wide open front entrances and all the air conditioning working to cope with the 95degree heat. We can’t comprehend how small coffee shops, with floor to ceiling full width front entrances, are able to afford the energy to waste so grossly. But I must say everyone is friendly and helpful. All Canadian public transit drivers should take lessons in courtesy from the New Orleans bus and streetcar drivers. We had a riot just wandering around and going in random directions on our $3 day passes!!!

We got to Matchez Mississippi in time for lunch

and I finally got my feast of cornbread.

We rode together from the very south end of the Natchez Trace Parkway ( NTP ) terminus. About 3:00 we parted, Larry preparing to setup his tent at Ricky Springs campground on the Parkway. I rode north past about another 100 mile markers and finally detoured way off to get a motel near Carthage. I spent about $12 in Walmart for salad for dinner and stocked up on real juices, fresh fruit and of course my emergency can of beans. On most trips I haul a big can of brown beans and a plastic spoon, sometimes it just ends up at home. But seems like good insurance against starvation. Either I’m just really lucky or I have developed a secial skill to find great eateries on my travel. The best places get stored in my GPS for future trips and sharing with friends. I dream someday of getting rich publishing this list and my blog.

Tonight I found a cheap motel, maybe my best ever $50 special, clean, owner friendly & helpful and with a pool!!! An the entire large room with 2 big beds to spread out my gear and my maps. I still haven’t planned a route from Nashville to my friends Rich ans Carol in NY state.

I sure hope Larry enjoys his rustic campsite and the clouds of blackflies that will be swarming around his tent. He is heading to Oklahoma to join a tornado hunting crew and then adventures into the Grand Canyon in a helicopter. His memory data-banks will be overloaded by the time he gets home about the end of June. I’m not geleous, I’m simply homebound. Considering the sweltering temperatures I’m rather looking forward to our new house, a first for us with air conditioning. Each day cooking in my Road Crafter suit and hauling all my cold weather gear that I wore the first 2 days we began the trip, I wish I had my lightweight summer suit and boots. It’s so hot I’m not stopping for many pictures and certainly no walkabouts to explore. No one will believe that I haven’t even stopped to collect any rocks!! I just rode past 3 historic mound sites this afternoon wanting to explore, believing the real true history of the mounds is the Minoan people. Their exploration, civilization and shipment of copper from Isle Royale in Lake Superior via Lake Michigan, Missouri River, Mississippi River to New Orleans and then by ship home, to supply the material for the Bronze Age.

I do enjoy riding the Parkway, the leisurely ride, speed restricted to 50mph and no comercial vehicles. Putzing in this temperature sure beats flogging the interstates, cruising steadily at 70 to 75mph in heavy traffic. My Vstrom runs perfectly, so I’ve no concerns except my ignition key is sticky. I swapped my old worn key for my spare which is virtually unused and that helps but even it sticks sometimes.

New Orleans

22 May

We were treated to a delicious breakfast and coffee and enjoyed conversation with some other guests.

No riding for us today, we’re giving the bikes some quiet time alone in the courtyard. So instead we spent the wad today on the special $3 day pass for the Gord & Larry tour on busses and streetcars. WhoHoo what a deal. Wonderful coffee and lunch and a beer later on Burbon St complete with a live band.

New Orleans

21 May

Another grueling hot riding day of 533km but we made it to New Orleans. We are staying at the Terrell House B&B, an overwhelming beautiful historic home. https://www.terrellhouse.com/Owner/hosts Linda and Cooper have made us feel very welcome and comfortable.My Suzuki Vstrom is parked in a locked courtyard, a fitting location to rest after reliably hauling me and all my gear to all 48 of the lower 48 states. No a bad accomplishment, that began in 2008, for a motorcycle and an old grey haired Canadian, including 10 provinces, twice to both coasts and twice to Newfoundland. I have so many amazing memories of riding friends who I’ve learned so much from and people who have helped me along way. Mostly I know how specially privileged I am to able to follow my dreams; thank you so much Sammy.

Just 2 more to touch

20 May

This afternoon I put my riding boots in the Gulf of Mexico at Port St Joe, Florida.A crazy day that went sideways even before I started the Vstrom, but ended well about 350km later. Once again the best memories of my travels are often the people that I meet along the way. We enjoyed lunch in Wewahitchja FL at the Corner Cafe. The owner Mitchell and his staff run a nice small cafe for breakfast and lunch. Just the kind of place I love. The conversation and laughter made my day!My morning started with a stuck steering lock, my ignition key wouldn’t turn to unlock the handle bars. My CAA Plus membership isn’t honoured in some states. AAA wouldn’t come to a motorcycle, and I found a local private towing but the motorcycle shop is closed until tomorrow. By the time I was becoming adequately frustrated, the large amount of WD40, that we sprayed into the key slot, solved the problem enough to unlock the switch. So until I get home, I just won’t lock it.We are staying in Panama City Florida at the Ramada Inn; deskclerk Vanessa was very helpful, a true professional in the hospitality industry.

The missing three

19 May

It’s the middle of the night and I’m a bit restless and excited. Larry and I leave in the morning heading southerly so that I can touch FL, LA & MS, the missing states of the lower 48. When I bought the Vstrom in September 2007 I never dreamed that I would ride all over North America!

Today it’s hot riding in Georgia, 566km.

Saturday

18 May

Hot sunny day about 260km Awesome deli for lunchWe enjoyed the Cherohala Skyway by riding it both directions today. Phil led us on an very interesting twisted backroads tour, mostly paved from Robinsville to the start of the Skyway.At dinner I enjoyed meeting some local riders, Roger and talked most of the evening. The day ended with a plan for Canadian RoadToad friend Jim, to visit us in Kingston and provide Sam a chance to ride with him on her first Honda Goldwing.