Saturday, May 20, 2017

The ongoing Bucket LIst quest

   A few weeks ago I saw a window in the weather to the south and took a chance that I could beat the odds and dodge the bad stuff again. I loaded up and headed south again for destinations I have tried to reach before, like Arkansas and Louisiana. It was a nice ride through Iowa with clear skies and a tail wind to Indianola for the night. Day two was spent crossing Missouri from north to south on some off the interstate highways. A lot of small towns in that state are in pretty bad shape, with lots of homes in such bad shape it was hard to tell if they were occupied or not, not the town I would like to call home I guess. The ride was nice though through pretty country down to Springfield and around Branson to Harrison, Arkansas. For some reason once you get into southern Missouri and Arkansas things look more prosperous and better cared for. I can see why retirees sometimes head down to Arkansas. It was in the 80s and sunny, beautiful countryside and roads especially, at least the couple of days I was there. Shortly after I made the round trip things got real ugly in that area, with heavy rains with washed out roads, and interstates under water. It seems like I heard that Branson was talking about evacuating, and I had just been there. I ran a road up through the Ozarks with my GoPro recording about an hours worth of riding.  Anyhow, a really nice ride down to the Little Rock area, and then the grind down to the Louisiana state line. I had driven down that same road in 1963, 54 years ago on my way home from tech school in Biloxi, with several guys headed home too. From there I headed over into Mississippi and up to Clarksdale for the night. That area really is the Mississippi delta country and it is flat with a lot of agriculture. The next morning was up to Memphis. I have been trying to download one of my GoPro segments, but it  is evidently to large, so if anyone needs to see it you need to be in front of the laptop. Man, do I hate Windows 10!! So anyhow Memphis was kind of a traffic snarl especially when you are trying to read a map in 3 or 4 lanes of traffic at 60 per. Amazingly enough I got through the whole city without getting lost once! I did see a sign for Graceland but ignored it. I had been watching the weather every day and could see that the crap was on the way from the west, so I kept hitting the road as much as I could. Western Tennessee was a lot like parts of Arkansas, flat and then wooded. I managed to clip the end of Kentucky to add another state to my list and rolled over the Ohio river into Cairo, Illinois. Wow, is the city in bad, bad shape, the miles long main street did not have more than a few open businesses, so I was glad to make my way out of that area and head north into Illinois. About this time I started to get a little moisture coming down, and called it a day in Marion, lucky for me it absolutely poured that night while I holed up in the motel. I left there the next morning with every stitch of clothing that I had along on me. The crap from the west was arriving to be sure. From then on up to Springfield, over to Hannibal, Missouri and up to Iowa City,  fighting the cold and a stiff head wind. I spent that night in Iowa City and cruised home the next day in 4 or 5 hours. Oh ya it was like 35 above most of the last day. So I added 3 more states to my list, and with Louisiana I only have more to visit to have every state west of the Mississippi, which I plan on trying to get to in the next week or two. That would be Arizona. Since I returned, Jan and I had our trailer out last weekend, it was beautiful, this weekend not so much. It is 45 degrees here and has rained all day. My lawn is going wild and it's too wet to mow, gonna need a sickle mower soon. Oh ya, I traded our R1200 RT BMW in on a new t120Triumph Bonneville on the 4th. So no pictures this time.


DD4 said...

My, you do get around! I'm not sure where you stay when you travel, but had I known you were going through Branson, you could have stayed with dear, dear friends of mine. And then when you mentioned Springfield, Illinois, it brought good memories of touring the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library there. Any chance you stopped to see it? It's so worth it!

pete said...

By the time I passed Springfield I was in my "get home soon" mode so I only stop for gas, food and sleep, so, no I didn't do any touring there. Thanks for the reply though.