Tennessee to Louisiana

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April 28th 2012
Published: April 29th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Day 21……21/04/2012

Well to all those who have been paying attention, the answer was obviously yes, if this means nothing to you, then you will have to go back and read through the last blog. We have decided to stay another day in Memphis, one to avoid riding illegally while still nursing a sore head from yesterday’s celebrating, something that would be a big no no with us, and secondly we have planned to go on a Mississippi Riverboat trip, something that was on our list to do, and as we seem to be within spitting distance of the river in question, it seems like a good plan.The day started a little overcast and definitely cooler than it has been, but as the morning went on the skies cleared, and we had perfect weather for the two hour trip down the mighty Mississippi. While it was not one of the huge paddle steamers you associate with the river, it was a good representation, and the Captains informative historical dialogue was very interesting. We cruised along the bank of the State of Arkansas, so that counts as state number eleven, as we were in their waters. After we got back to the Tennessee side, we walked from the riverfront berths, through the downtown streets of Memphis, and we ended up back at Beale St, where we found literally hundreds of Corvettes all parked up in every available space. I have always loved these cars, which have been around in many forms since the mid-1950s. We finished off the day with one more visit to Silky O’Sullivans, but this time just had the one.

Day 22……22/042012

Still sunny this morning, and after packing the bikes I set off with my brand new, fee-ance-say, South, and into the State of Mississippi, state number twelve, we went through the 2000 mile mark covered and headed for Birmingham, Alabama, State number thirteen. The interstate was quiet today as it is a Sunday, and all them there truckers were at church.We rode just over 200 miles through some nice countryside. At one point we were passed by around 40-50 bikers all from an outlaw three patch gang, Lynne said she was scared when we pulled off for a break 30 minutes later, and they were there all parked up. We stopped a fair way away, but one of them must have remembered passing us, and our weird number plates, and he started to walk over. At around 6’4” I thought this could be bad, I said to Lynne now you are in trouble, “hi I’m James, and where are you folks from” he said, see Lynne I told you there was nothing to worry about. We got to the motel on the outskirts of Birmingham at around 6pm; there is not really anything more I can say about today really, so I won’t.

Day 23……23/04/2012

Away from Birmingham and 175 miles South East to Dothan, still in Alabama. Passing through small towns that seemed a little deserted, even the moderate traffic that we had been experiencing had gone. Something that caught our eye in one of these towns was the sight of a dozen or so road workers, not so strange you might think, but these road workers all had stripy overalls on.A night stop at the Adams motel brought a nice enough ride to a pleasant end in an older style motel. A short walk to a private Irish bar come club that required payment of a one dollar annual membership fee, each, seemed an OK outlay to me, and then that was followed by a great meal in a fine Mexican restaurant which saw us suitably sustained with a meat burrito, and chicken taco.

Day 24……24/04/2012

We are becoming quite used to, and grateful for these fine sunny mornings, especially as we have been told from contact with home that you are having some really crap weather. Today’s ride will be on more minor roads as we make our way East then South. Through more beautiful countryside that while pleasing to look at, does not offer much in the way of entertainment on the bike due to the almost completely straight roads. We arrived at the pretty town of Bainbridge, Georgia, at around lunchtime, State number fourteen, and stopped for a cool drink at the local Dairy Queen, and no that’s not a gay milkman, and then found a post office to post off some mail that has been building up. Bainbridge was a lovely little town with quaint old southern buildings, and tree lined streets, looking up you knew that you could not be in any other region in the US, due to the synonymous Spanish Moss that hangs from just about every tree, in a kind of creepy but at the same time beautiful way. The way South took us into Florida, State number fourteen, through the Apalachicola National Forest, which was very pretty but at around forty five miles of planted pine trees on a dead straight road the view was just a little repetitive, and nearly sent Lynne to sleep. The forest ended very abruptly with a right turn and out onto the Gulf of Mexico, a literally instant transformation from forest to ocean. We drifted along for a few miles in the afternoon sun, the ocean within touching distance on our left side, we passed sun bleached shacks, small shrimp boats, and net hanging out to dry. We then crossed an immense bridge around three miles long that took us into the very small sleepy fishing village of Apalachicola. Accommodation was found at the River Inn, a very nice hotel, whose upstairs rooms overlooked the ocean, there was even a balcony that we sat on for a while listening to some appropriate relaxing music filtering up from the bar somewhere below. We sat and watched the pelicans skimming across the water just inches from

Anything that has a body but no fins or legs takes some getting used to
the surface, this just might be the nicest place at which we have stayed so far, but only by a lot.A walk out that afternoon took us around the small village, where we found some stereo typical shops selling seashell and driftwood mementoes that Lynne liked, and an interesting hotel bar that had some beer type items that we decided to take away, obviously internally.In the evening we ate at the waterside restaurant attached to the hotel, well as this area was reputedly the oyster capital of the world, it would be rude not to try some, mmm maybe they are an acquired taste.

Day 25……25/04/2012

Breakfast this morning was taken in the hotels dining room built out over the water, the sun glinting on an almost dead still ocean, was just about perfect in my book. The waitress took our order, Lynne had pancakes with Raspberry butter, and I opted for the traditional American. On her return, and after placing the food in front of us, I looked at her and she looked me, she said “I know that look I have seen it before, the breakfasts are getting ridiculous. Well it was, the ham that I chose would have fed four people, plus the bacon, eggs, home fries, toast, and token lettuce leaf, and no I could not get through it. Today we start the leg of our adventure that will see us head West for quite a few of the coming weeks, starting today with a coastal route towards Panama City, and onto Pensacola. We have decided not to explore the State of Florida all the way down, as it will mean a 1500 mile trip up and back and this will save a few days to allow for extra stops elsewhere. More sunshine, and with the ocean breeze in our face’s we set off through the small beach towns, very much like those around the Mediterranean. Panama City was busy, and was mainly a tourist beach resort, it must have had around 100 sets of annoying traffic lights, which played havoc with Lynne’s clutch hand. Pensacola was also a busy place, so the order of the day was to find somewhere to stay. Unfortunately this ended up to be in complete contrast with the previous night’s stop, we did however find a great steakhouse, with a western theme. All kinds of artefacts adorned the walls and shelves, the bar area was also very interesting, so grabbing my camera, I pondered for a few minutes on the etiquette involved in taking pictures in the bar, should I ask permission before taking a picture of the barmaids beaver, it was definitely a fine example that had been well stuffed, along with all the other animals there that were indigenous to the American wilds.

Day 26……26/04/2012

Over the past few days I had noticed that Christine had been a little lumpy at low speeds, and generally not feeling herself. A quick look on the internet found a Triumph dealership, and amazingly it was within three miles of where we were. The service manager Robert had a listen, plugged in his analyser, gave the fuel settings a tweek, scratched his head again, and said they would need to check further. What concerned me a little was that this chap knew a lot about this bike, but he did say because of its age the diagnostic facilities were a little limited, with the tank off, and a quick spray of something or other the problem was found, the throttle body gasket was leaking, which by a miracle they had. With the part installed, everything reset and remapped she was like a new machine, well a new machine with 64,000 miles on the clock. So a little later than planned, we set off West, and a fifty mile ride on the coast road from Pensacola saw us at the ferry to Dauphin Island, unfortunately just in time to see the ferry leaving the jetty, we now had an hour and a half wait, oh well it was a beautiful setting, and we do not have to be anywhere special. The road off Dauphin Island took us across the first of many bridges that are brand new, the originals having been destroyed by hurricane Katrina, and these are not small bridges, the first of these was nearly a mile long. We found a night stop at a nice motel next to a Mexican restaurant and we were sorted.

Day 27……27/04/2012

Still heading west we set off on the back roads to Biloxi, a town that I visited six years ago, just a few months after hurricane Katrina hit this area, to say it was a mess then would be quite an understatement. Present day Biloxi, is something quite different, brand new everything, one thing you have to give the Americans credit for is when they get on with a job, they do not hold back. On route w e passed a sign that advertised an alligator farm and airboat rides, and so seeing as we did not get to the Everglades, this would seem to be a great opportunity to see some gators. Lynne took to holding some of the smaller inhabitants of the attraction like a natural, and the air boat ride around the vast wetland was great fun too, the guide showed us the haunts of some of the bigger members of his community and was very informative about all things gator.The reserve was heavily into the conservation of these amazing animals, they told us that nearly two hundred were lost or killed during the devastation caused by Katrina, and that the main interstate was closed for three days after the waters subsided just to clear all the wild alligators that had been displaced from their usual waterways, I suppose it’s not like rounding up sheep that have escaped. We rode along the beach road through Gulfport and onto Slidell, there we booked into a Super 8 motel for a couple of days, because we will use this as a base to explore the City of New Orleans. Oh and by the way we just went through the three thousand mile mark, well done Lynne.

Additional photos below
Photos: 18, Displayed: 18


D&D MotorsD&D Motors
D&D Motors

Christine getting a little TLC
Aprils mapAprils map
Aprils map

The first of six, wow how lucky we are

29th April 2012

Retail therapy.
Did Lynne get the matching shoes and handbag combination in the local gator skin for the 'big day'? Keep yer chrome side up!
29th April 2012

Living the dream
Brilliant blog Steve and Lyn I can't wait to hear where ur off to next . Take care love Karen xx ps Lyn are u impressed check me out !!
29th April 2012

Loving the words Steve keep um coming.Congrats to you both.
30th April 2012

So pleased for you - and VERY impressed that Steve had got the ring made before you even left these wet and extremely rainly shores. We have told Dad too and he also sends his congratualtions. Weather supposed to be better today. It didnt stop throwing it down yesterday. Stillwindy this morning no not me, steve - but at least there are a few breaks in the cloud by the looks of it. Since we spoke to you on Saturday, Jasper has sprouted his first tooth and has managed to roll over for the first time. Nothing new to report on Mack - except that he has his first cough. Love to you both Mary and Philip - and the rest of the family x PS We are all really enjoying your blog Steve
30th April 2012

Well done huge she's now bethroved to your good self very pleased to hear the good new's Lyn you must be so happy he's a great guy I can assure you enjoy the rest of your road trip what an experiance.

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