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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Leaving Texas - Running East.....

I pulled up stakes this morning and rolled out of Azle, heading due east. I actually felt like I was making a run for it. It seemed that every repair to my Aunt Annie's house led to an additional repair, and there seemed to be no end to it! And working in the heat was not easy. And Aunt Annie was putting the pressure on for me to stay on a bit longer. Like forever!  But the truth was that the big stuff was taken care of, I'd spent the week doing chores, and I needed to get back on the road if I was ever going to make it back home.

And maybe I should write a little post about the "Girls of Azle", but I won't. What happens in Azle stays in Azle!

I fought my way through Fort Worth and Dallas traffic, which is almost as bad as DC sometimes, and don't let anyone tell you different. As I cruised through Arlington, which is between the two cities, I had fun memories of running into Michael Irvin the night before in Hooters, Arlington, which was cool. So was Michael, who gave autographs and happily posed for pictures for those who stopped by and asked. Heck, I did! I watched Michael Irvin catch a lot of Troy Aikman's passes for Cowboys touchdowns!

And I also hit Cavenders on the way out, convincing myself I could offset the cost of (another pair of) new boots by staying in cheap hotels on the way back. One more pair of 1883 Lucchese boots in the closet. This pair IS for riding so the last pair stay in decent shape. 

I-20, running east, gets you to Vicksburg, Mississippi via Louisiana. It is, without a doubt, the straightest, most boring road ever. It wouldn't be hard to fall asleep. I was glad I wasn't riding, and with the 105 degree heat, the combination would have been unbearable. I finally got out of Texas, looking forward to cooler temperatures and a change in scenery. Didn't happen. 

Louisiana didn't offer much more driving excitement, but I happily stumbled upon the "Boardwalk" built along the Red River in Shreveport, LA, which was really cool. Live alligators hanging out at Bass Pro Shop, and a Hooters for those who might be hungry....folks like me! I gassed up there for the last leg of the day's trip.

I hit Vicksburg, Mississippi, and found my economy hotel. Remember, I'm offsetting that boot purchase. I found out, again, that cheap hotels are cheap for a reason. The value of the combined contents of this room, including carpet and linens, wouldn't cover a payment on my monthly cable bill. Furniture is nothing but hand-me-downs from the upper class members of the hotel chain, and I think this carpet came outa the local Exxon station.

But it's only for one night, and tomorrow night, wherever I am, I'm climbing up at least one notch on the ladder of hotel ratings. Makes me really glad I'm traveling alone. Otherwise, I don't think this would be a pleasant evening. At least the sheets are clean...I checked and double-checked. Even I have limits as to what's endurable. Ask me sometime about the Travelodge in Brunswick, GA. Yuck.

This Vicksburg post wouldn't be complete without a mention of last year's Southern Comfort ride. I was here last year, and in the spot shown in the photo above, I rolled my Softail Custom right down to river's edge for a great shot with the riverboat in the background. As I was positioning it, I lost my balance and the damn bike fell over. With all the luggage and extra weight, I wasn't able to get it back up, but a big ole' Mississippi gal in a pickup offered assistance. With a mighty heave, we had it upright and on the stand. She wasn't even breathing hard. I made a mental note NOT to make any moves on her. She'd have killed me......

I'm rolling tomorrow, taking some route that won't overlap last year's ride. I'm thinking Birmingham next for another trip to the Barber Motorsports Museum. I was there several years ago, and I'm due for a refresher. After Birmingham, who knows.......