Published: April 23rd 2009April 11th 2009
Dogwoods in bloom
The dogwoods were just beautiful.
This is day 3 & 4 of my 4 day trip to see the Natchez Trace on my 883 Sportster. Saturday, 11 April 2009
Well the original plan had me in Paducah KY tonight and that is where I am. Tomorrow is going to be a burger. KC high is supposed to be 48F. Its supposed to be in the 41F here in Paducah in the morning and similar all the way to KC.. It is going to suck riding that 400+ miles home tomorrow. I hate cold. I am in another $50 motel, the Paducah Inn. The last 3 nights all I have done is hmmhaw about the rate and the next words out of their mouths is a rate break. Todays food was under $7. I usually only eat one meal, if I get hungry during the day I pull out the flour tortillas I carry and my peanut butter. It really makes a great travel food. A plastic knife can be kept with the tortillas, they do not need to be refrigerated neither does the peanut butter. I have one of those little plastic jars of peanut butter and the smaller 6 or 8 inch tortillas.
Easy to pack, fast to fix and eat, no mess, no trash, easy to eat and filling, its really a great travel meal or snack.
It was a lot cooler this morning when I started then on Friday morning when I headed out for the day. It was high 50s or low 60s but what a difference that 10F makes. I was sorta bundled and stopped within the hour to add more. By tonight it was in the low 50s and I was feeling good.
I pulled off the trace about 5:30PM tonight. I got out the tripod and took a pic of Effie and I. At the southern end of the trace the marker is titled "The Origin". I found at the northern end the marker was titled "End of the Road". Today’s visits were at more Indian mounds and a couple houses, many historical markers telling about specific people. The one and only visitors center on the trace is located just north of Tupelo, which is around half way through the trace. They had a patch "I motorcycled the trace" so I got one for my jacket and some homemade jelly from some weird local fruit
for my friend that is keeping track of me during this trip. I got a mouse pad for the friend that is watching the house and picking up my mail. I stayed and watched the movie, it was not a really good one, interesting but not a must see. I learned that Tom Lincoln walked the trace back to KY after he had sold his goods in New Orleans. He was a young bachelor it was later he would marry and have a son, Abraham.
There were several patches of the old trace to walk today. I got out on a couple more of them. In one place there were 3 different paths, because of mud.
There are a lot of bicyclist on the trace probably also taking advantage of the cooler, low insect season. More bicyclist than motorcyclist at least today. Yesterday I rode beside a couple that had a special bike built. I do not think the wife’s legs were fully operational, she sat in the front over the front wheel in almost a lawn chair and used a hand crank, the hubby was behind riding what looked like a normal bike where he was. They
said they had it special built in PA. It was their intention to ride the whole trace. I told them I had scheduled a couple days to do it and laughed. They said they planned to take 7 days. I hope they didn’t suffer in storms today. Today I talked with a bicyclist that had a sign on his back - Natchez to Superior. He was on one of those recumbent bikes, where you are low to the ground and sit like in a reclining chair. He was definitely on the weird side. He was pulling a trailer behind his bike. The previous couple had to have a car doing cargo for them, they had some stuff packed on the bike but I doubt if it would have been everything they needed. Another family I met was at the Cairo museum. The dad (4 girls, 3 boys 1 wife) asked me if I wanted a cold coke they had a cooler. He said he used to take trips on his bike before and knew how nice it was to get a cold drink. They were traveling in a truck, extended cab, but the kids were all vying for the seats
in the bed of the truck. He said that 25 years ago his father had brought him here and they had stood at the overlook of the Mississippi and shared that. Today he wanted to do the same with his sons.
There is an advantage of traveling the trace this early in the year. I realized it today when I was bombarded by hundreds of flies at Merewether Lewis burial site. The site is in TN, the northern end of the trace. Later in the year I bet it is really bad. They were all over, I had problems with them landing on the lens filter and only had to learn once to hold my mouth shut. Lewis was really a remarkable guy, what a full life this guy had. Anyone know what he did before he lead the Lewis and Clark expedition? Of all the jobs I never would have thought that he would have been the personal secretary of the President of the USA. How does some one go from a secretary to the leader of a wilderness exploration. After that he was governor of the LA territory. A full life, right? He died at age of
Bicycle built for 2
Hand crank in the front. The bike was custom made in PA. I had a nice short conversation with the couple as we cruised up the trace.
35. He was on the trace heading south. He was shot twice during the night while staying at an Inn on the Trace. There was something like 50 Inns up and down the trace for travelers. It is believed he went outside during the night and shot himself, twice. He died the following day. He was buried next to the trace. Really, not more than a few yards from the original trace. President Jackson had a monument built on top of his grave. The inscriptions were meaningful. What a full life.
I got a blister on my hand from my heated handgrips. I only have one handlebar muff on, when I added the CB on the left side that muff does not fit well any more. I was always scared its going to blow off when I take my hand out, so I took it off. I had both of them off on Friday, but this morning put the right one back on. It wasn’t that it was that cold this morning, its just that it didn’t warm up all day. The trace today was as awesome as yesterday. MS is just beautiful. Alabama was just a small part
of trace. But TN was surprising. Parts of it looked like fall colors. Part of it was in full spring and bloom. Speaking of fall colors. I have to say IMHO that the best state for fall colors is North Carolina, oh, my god.
It was 9PM before I pulled in to a motel tonight, but I am back on schedule. Best gas mileage of the trip I think was today. I always try to do the math in my head when I fill up if it looks good then I jot it down for better math later. 140 miles 2.7 gal cruising along the trace. Is just shy of 52 MPG.
451 miles for the day.
The mileage for this trip is 1379.4
Effies odometer is 110146 Easter Sunday, 12 April 2009
The motel in Paducah had wireless internet, the down side was it could only get received if you were in the lobby. So I had to go up there to get the weather forecast along my route home. I knew I would probably be in rain east of Columbia MO and the rest of the way to KC. KC was supposed to have
Meriwether Lewis died while staying at the Grinder House, an inn along the trace. He is buried just yards from the original trace.
a high of 48F. Okay I always say that Cold, Wet, or Dark, I can deal with any one of the 3 but if I have to start dealing with 2 of them at once or all three my fun factor plummets. Last night it was Cold and Dark, Easter it was going to be Cold and Wet. Its 462 miles home, I was going to plan on Cold all the way with Wet and Cold about 160 miles of that. I knew the earlier I could hit KC the less Wet I would have. The rain was moving west to east. KC was to see rain in the middle or late afternoon.
The next morning I got up at 7AM, 48F outside. I packed up, gassed up and was on the road by 9AM. It was 51F when I pulled in the night before but it felt colder because it was dark. I had been very careful on dressing that morning, making sure my insulating layer were down on my boots and then the rain pants were totally covering the ends, so water would not wick up the material. For pants I had a pair of sweatpants, then
One side of the monument
"An officier of the regular army, Private Secretary to President Jefferson. Commander of the Expedition to the Oregon in 1803-1806. Govenor of the Territory of Louisiana. His melancholy death occurred where this monument now stands and under which rest his mortal remains.
my textile insulated riding pants the outer layer was my HD rain pants, because I could secure them very well against my boots. I HATE wet socks. The night before getting to Paducah I was reasonably comfortable except for a stream of cold air coming up the chin in my modular helmet. The helmet has a chin air guard and I had an insulated neck protector that covered up to my lower lip, but it was the side of my face and my eyes that were getting this cold air stream. I tried bringing my helmet down to my chest, but I still had air coming up. Having hours to think about his problem I had come up with a solution to try. This morning I had a T-shirt then another t-shirt but this one was rolled up, my neck was through the neck hole, but the short sleeves were on my chest and back. This gave me a little hump to sit the helmet on and block the air. If it didn’t work than all I had to do was take it off. So I had my 2 T’s then my rain coat, then my insulated textile jacket. The
Another side of the monument
In the lantuage of Mr Jefferson: His courage was undaunted; his firmness and perseverance yielded to nothing but impossibilities;a rigid disciplinarian, yet tender as a father of those committed to his charge; honest, disinterested liveral with a sound understanding and a scrupulous fidelity to truth.
textile jacket is on the outside because it has 4 pockets on the outside. My rain jacket has none. On the bike I have an insulated muff on the right handle bar controls so I just had a glove liner on my hand. The left hand has a glove liner, leather glove and later I put on a rain-off over glove to deal with the cold air.
My first stop was to head north and pick up IL for the ABCs, I was 3 miles from the state line. This made the 8th state for this trip. Out of Paducah I headed west on 60, it was a nice little road once it went down to 2 lanes. That would be the last of the little highways I would ride this trip, the rest of my route was super slab. It was Easter day, and I listened to Classic Radio on Sirius. Classic Radio programming is old radio serials. They play in 2 hour blocks with some theme, whether it be a particular actor or baseball or taxes or Easter. So one section was on taxes. Did you know that the filing deadline date has not always been April
15th? One of the shows it was in March. You know that Easter always seems to move around, so how is the date for Easter determined you might be thinking. At the age of 50 I have learned that bit of trivia. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon that comes after March 21st. I have becomes to really appreciate the J&M CB that I installed on the bike. Although I have not messed with the CB portion of radio at all, the music amplifier/helmet speakers is great, cruising at 70MPH I could clearly hear every word that was said in the serials. It made the trip go really fast. Other than the 2 times I got off for state line pictures (IL and KY) I only got off the bike one time between Paducah and KC. I was home before 4PM. I hit rain 62 miles from home. At that time I put my other rain-off over glove on. The extra T-shirt worked great to block the air coming up the helmet I was not cold. When I got home I was completely dry under my rain suit.
Being the first trip of the year
Log Cabin Joints
I didn't realize log cabins had so many compound angles. This was the exhibition building at Lewis Memorial site.
I learned a lot. I had scavenged stuff from my kits I travel with. I didn’t have my Neosporin or band aids which would have been nice for the cracks I got in my finger tips from wearing gloves on that first day. And the blisters I got from the heated hand grips. I didn’t have hand lotion which would have helped too. I need to come up with an easier way to detach the front of my tank bag. I have to detach the one end from the tank to fill up. With gloves it is impossible, with bare hands it is a PIA. I didn’t take my phone charger, stupidity. In the rush to get the CB installed so I could leave I put the dykes that go in the bikes tool kit in my home tool chest. I was reminded every time I looked at the ends of the zip ties wagging in the breeze.
I know how I am going to permanently mount the CB and the Quest that is on that side. I need to find a way to get my pelican box back on the bike. I use it all the time, usually
it has my CC for the pay at the pump then at gas stops it hold the gas cap, in the rain it hold my digital camera. I really miss not having it. My tank bag can do the same thing but I have the zippers to deal with so it is not a one handed operation. I figured out the shape of the kydex rain cover I am going to make for the CB. This trip I had baggie zip tied over the CB the whole trip. The handle bar u-bolt RAM ball I use for the main Quest is too distorted to continue to use. I took some of the weight off that console, because it kept tipping down. But now that it weighs less, it still tips down because the ball is not round anymore. I had to zip tie the back of the console to the water mister bracket to keep it back. I have to replace my Caberg helmet. I bought a VOX but it just does not feel right. I took the Caberg on this trip, but in an attempt to put a new Daytona windshield on it I broke one of the little
gear things, on the moving chin piece. It does not lock in the up position anymore. I think I am going to order a Daytona Eclipse helmet. Its supposed to be the Caberg in a US name. The windshield is just a tad smaller, but other than that it was identical. The VOX and Eclipse both have the inner sun visor.
Some Stats from the Quest:
Max speed 74 MPH
Moving avg speed 53MPH
Moving time 34 hours - The GPS was not on while I was in Vicksburg National Park.
446 miles for the day.
1822 miles for the trip.
Effies odometer when arriving back home was 110592 miles.