Alright, on to the bike stuff. I'm about ready for new tires so I called Skinner's Motorcycles in Auburn, AL and talked with the owner John Skinner. I told him what I needed and he agreed to get the tires and install them on Friday, Sept 4th. He came highly recommended by one of the members on the Triumph Rat forum ( yes, rat, don't ask me why)
|Boy you can sure tell I don't corner very hard. Maybe I should just buy the center strip?|
|The frugal part of me wants to keep the front tire but I may as well do both|
With that settled I could get back to meandering towards his location. I've got three whole days to get there so I'll be riding real slow. Or stopping for longer periods, maybe take power naps hunched over the handlebars..
I poked along after leaving the hotel and headed north towards Mississippi. Isn't that a great name? I'll bet every kid in America can spell it by the time they're in first grade.
|Do I look thinner when I raise my arms? No? So who cares, not me.|
The first tourist trap of the day got me early on, I just had to learn all I could about the West Feliciana Railroad. I chatted with the guy inside the station and his entire dissertation (like that word?) took all of 30 seconds. "I dunno, I think it was a train (thank God he didn't say choo-choo) that hauled cotton way back in time. Would you like a map of Mississippi?"
|I'm beginning to like tourist information stops, they give you free stuff|
|This is the station. No train. No tracks. Nada. Not even a Choo-choo.....|
With the train history lesson out of the way I moved on to more interesting stuff, like stopping to visit the local cracklin' business "Praise Da Lard". Who could resist? I barged in and asked the proprietor lady what the heck cracklins were. She gave me a fairly graphic description of the exact area of the pig they're made from and pointed out what each of the cracklins were preferred by some customers, etc, etc. I hesitated a bit before buying a bag.
|See this? This used to be your money cowboy, now it's mine!|
|Men are so easy, they'll buy anything. Pork bellies fried in grease.. My God.|
|Did I mention how delicious these things are? How do you feel about Spandex?|
|Some important people lived here when our nation was young|
|The African American Museum didn't appear to be open. Ever.|
|This old water tower is completely overgrown with vines|
|But check out all the old TV antennas|
|Imagine reading their oldest issues, what stories they would have|
|One of the many back streets I rode through|
|It's great that they're trying to preserve little shops like this|
Towns like Woodville can hold my attention all day long but it was time to move on. I'd decided one of the things I wanted to see was the Natchez Trace. I stopped for lunch at Burger King in the town, uh, no, the "Corp" of Natchez. Prior to lunch I'd spent a fair amount of time trying to locate the entrance using my GPS. Wrong. Wrongo wrongo wrong! Stupid GPS. I finally cornered a couple of non-firemen guys and asked for directions which I got without any sniggering or evil laughter. Mississippi guys are the salt of the earth.
With my new-found wealth of directions "Ya'll ride past the Walmart and just beyond that, oh I don' know, mebby a couple hunert yards on the right you'll see an exit to an underpass. Take thet and it'll getya right there. I like yer bike." And it was easy, no sweat. Who needs a GPS?
The Natchez Trace goes on for hundreds of miles across several states. The road is paved and well kept, the shoulders are mowed and lush, and frequent information signs beckon. The posted speed limit of 50 mph seems to be well adhered to and makes for a relaxing visit. My trip would encompass nearly 100 miles and I saw few other vehicles or bikes.
|I've no idea. None whatsoever.|
|This pretty well spells it out|
|One of the many interesting stops|
|Typical of what you drive through|
|I wonder if there's any booze left in this?|
|Outta my way!!!|
I went to my room to unpack and within a few minutes the front desk lady called to ask if I had a bike cover as it was raining buckets. By the time I got out for a look the Bonnie was drenched and it made little sense to bother with a cover. Might even clean some of the grit off, even a bug or two.
|A clean bike is a happy bike, eh?|