Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Highway 61 Revisited

Getting right to the point, the bike ran all day without so much as a sneeze. I'm in Jackson, MS --checked in, fed, and my clothes are in the dryer. I'm not out of the woods yet, but today was definitely a better day. I was "writing" this post in my head on the ride today, so the comments left on yesterday's post are interesting.

Originally, the plan was to take a first-hand look at the flood damage, which was the start of a really bad chain of events, and then, on the way to Natchez, ride the Louisiana bayous and the west river road. Because a wise man once told me it's always a good idea to figure a spare day in a weeklong bike trip, I still could have done those things. Wednesday, instead of covering just those 30 miles, will now be a regular day. I'm not at the point of putting in any more 600-mile shifts yet.

But I got directly out of there and up to Mississippi for two reasons:

One, rescue concerns. I didn't want to be stranded on the interstate, but I absolutely was not going to describe what part of the boondocks I'm in, or what part of which flooded-out ghetto.

Two, bad ju-ju. In addition to bacchanalia, N' Awlins is known for voodoo and witchcraft. Lisa (hi baby!) has always been fascinated with that stuff, and she bought a souvenir voodoo doll when we were there last year. I think it's interesting, but don't really get too concerned about it. Well, for whatever reason,

I just suddenly had the feeling that I was getting my chance and I needed to get my ass out of there pronto. I suppose that's understandable anyway, but it really felt weird. I did ride a few blocks down Bourbon St, though.

So, US 61 was the perfect answer. I took that up through Red Stick to Natchez, Mississippi, but aside from a few huge refineries and some murky green water here and there, there wasn't much to see. I'm all kitch and Americana, so I figured that route would really be the flavor of the deep South. I was disappointed that it was not. I couldn't really feel sorry for myself with that beautiful sound of a running engine in my ears, though.

Natchez is where I was to pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway (what are the odds?) and since I was feeling pretty froggy after 175 succesful miles, I allowed myself an hour to search my list of antebellum houses in town. That was the Old South I was looking for. What a neat place. By the river, I ran into two guys on Harleys from Florida, taking the same pictures that I was. We shot the breeze for a minute, and, hearing my story, one of them gave me the name and number of a friend of his in Robbinsville, NC, where I'll be Thursday.

I have covered 100 miles of the Trace Parkway so far, and it's really nice, but that's another post. It ends 350 miles from here in Nashville, but I might cheat a little to the east before I get to the music city to instead play in the Tennessee River Valley and get a little closer to Thursday night's stop.

My clothes are dry, and I gotta roll 'em before they wrinkle ;-)

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