TOBER's Blog
Traveling on 2 wheels with us old broads…

BITTERSWEET

Yeah, I know it’s several days after the fact.  That last day on the road is so bittersweet.  I know everyone is anxious to get back to their own bed, their kids, their pets, their yards…  I just hate that it has to end.  And it’s no surprise that Mary is up, packed, and ready to go before 7am.  We aren’t even meeting for breakfast til 8.  This has been another wonderful trip.

First of all, we’re cutting our trip short by one day due to Hurricane Irene.  So, it’s Friday morning as we head out of Natchez, MS.  We cross the mighty river and leave the peanuts and pecans behind us.  Today it’s mostly fields of white… cotton.  True to my nature, I have tried to choose the longest, most scenic route to Texarkana just trying to stretch it out as best I can.  Through Vidalia, LA and in search of our only ferry ride of the trip.  Good friend and fellow rider, Kenny Polk, had told me about the Ouachita River ferry here in eastern Louisiana.  We made our way through Ferriday (home of Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Swaggart and I-forgot-the-other-one).  I think it was LA124 that wound us through the rich cotton farmland.  We followed along the Ouachita (although somewhere in Louisiana they have renamed it to the Black Cane River).  The Duty-Enterprise ferry was located between the two communities and we stopped at the top of the hill and sounded our horn, waiting for the signal to proceed.  It was nothing more than a drive-on float powered by a detachable tug.  The fee was outrageous – $1 per vehicle except when the driver is over 65.   Certainly the state cannot fund this service by the fees collected and I questioned the operator.  Of course, even as often as the ferry runs, the $1 fee won’t even pay for the fuel.  The pelican state is not that good about marking river crossings but I did confirm that it was the Ouachita River that we were crossing… no mention of the Black Cane.

We meandered along LA4 in a westerly direction, hugging the river and then through more cotton fields, until we hit US165.  Last Harley shop in our crosshairs.  Taking 165 north to Monroe and the Bleu Bayou Harley shop for a short break.  Probably the most nondescript shop on our trip.  And no dip dots.  I’ve been trying to get one from this location for 1 1/2 to 2 years.  Not sure what’s up with that.

As we fuel (probably for the last time), we talk about the last few miles.  We’ll head north on US165 until we get to LA2 (part of the Louisiana Scenic Byway network).  Once we get on 2, the traffic thins out and we can meander our way back to Texas.  Last rest stop was at the post office in Shongaloo …  not much else there.  Temps were warming so we cooled off in the shade and hydrated.  The road was pretty good through most stretches but I could sense everyone’s anxiety.  North on 71 until we got to 549.  I could have stayed on 71 but figured 549 would get us there quicker.  Once we were in Texarkana, we started peeling off…  Danny and Nancy, then Mary and I.  Julie and Phil were the last ones in.  It was officially over with and I was already going through withdrawal.

At this point I usually try to share a few tips from the trip.  I know I’m not remembering everything but here’s some that you can bank on…

1. If you want to blog – make sure you have internet service at your motel.

2. Watch out for gravel.

3.  Boiled peanuts are to be eaten without the shell.

4. Don’t hesitate to use UPS “pack & ship” services.

5. There’s nothing wrong with the small mom and pop motels… just make sure the rooms don’t smell like the office.  And be certain there is some way to call the motel to reach your buddies.

6. Don’t separate from your group without giving them your plans.

7. If you have the room, pack your own pillow.

8. If the road you choose ends in “parkway”, make sure you have plenty of gas.

9. Take lots of pictures (and notes) so you can remember.

10.It’s probably best NOT to plan your trip east during hurricane season.

11.Don’t forget how hot the pipes are when you wear shorts!

12.When washing clothes in the middle of the trip, make sure that you have your own clothes too.

13.Silly, you know there’s no 13!

14.Don’t forget your teeth or your glasses.

15.If you’re looking to spot wild turkeys… Tennessee is the state.

16.North Carolina has the absolute BIGGEST buckeye tree any of us has ever seen!

These are just a few.  Maybe they will be useful to some of you.  Signing off for now.  Already looking forward to the next trip – which will probably be November, Florida, and in the car.  Til then……..

 

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One Response to “BITTERSWEET”

  1. Don’t care if it’s late….we enjoyed it anyway and had been wondering if you forgot to finish what you started! Thanks for the ride along and we are glad to know you are home safe and sound once again!!


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