Day Seven by Dave Schultheis
Thursday, May 30, 2002 - Lindale, Texas
I slept okay. I woke at 6:18 a.m. Central Time, got up and dressed, combed and packed, then loaded the bike. There was fog in the area and I could feel the humidity outside.
My aunt toasted a bagel for me and I had some juice before getting on the road at 7:50 a.m.
I fueled at Kidd Jones' Diamond Shamrock station in Lindale, where it was 64 degrees. I continued a short distance on U.S. 69 and then turned east on Interstate 20 near the Lindale/Tyler line.
I got about an hour's riding in before I stopped at a rest area and then continued another half hour or so to the Louisiana state line, where I took a photo.
As I stopped at the LA welcome center for a map, there were some sprinkles, although it was warm enough for me to remove my lucky green shirt as it was quite humid.
I plodded on another 30 miles to Grambling LA where I stopped and got some 93 octane fuel about 11:15 a.m. and continued into some heavy rain. I stopped at a gas station in Ruston to put on my rain pants. A little while later the rain stopped, but I kept going.
About 1 p.m. I pulled into a rest stop near Delhi LA and noted it was just a few more miles to Mississippi. I could see rain ahead and it started to rain at the rest stop. I got back on I-20 and the sign said Vicksburg MS just ahead.
Just across the river I stopped at the Mississippi Welcome Center, where is was sprinkling. I took the last couple pictures on one little plastic camera and a couple more on the next little plastic camera. I wanted to get a MS map but there was no place to park the bike where I could see it during the long walk to the office, so I had to "let it go."
I did talk to a guy who stopped to tell me that he and his son had ridden to California a few years ago, but not in this weather.
I continued east on I-20, stopped at Wendy's in Clinton MS, then another few miles to Interstate 220 and then north on Interstate 55, on the outskirts of Jackson MS. I stopped for fuel at a Texaco in Canton MS (93 octane). Somewhere along here the rain stopped and it was getting warmer.
At 3:30 p.m. I pulled into a rest stop, tired and hot, put on another 75 miles and pulled into another rest stop, where I saw a sign that said "Memphis 60 miles." It seemed unlikely that I would make it to Martin TN by dark.
At 5:45 p.m. I took exit 289 and found a Union 76 station with 93 octane fuel in Southhaven MS. This was a few blocks from where I'd stopped at a convenience store on U.S. 51 last year and asked the woman if I was still in TN or if I'd made it into MS.
Yes, I know I could have gone north on U.S. 51 a short ways and visited Graceland. Thanks for the reminder.
After fueling, I got back on Interstate 55 and took a TN picture. I realized this was about as close as I was going to get to Arkansas on this trip, so I ran over the bridge to get an AR picture. The only sign I could find was on the bridge and it was far too dangerous to stop. I had to settle for an Interstate 55 sign that said "Arkansas" in smaller letters, but I was pretty sure that H.O.G. would accept it. [And they did.]
I slogged through Memphis TN on U.S. 79 for a long while, but it was city streets, so it was slow plodding, stop and go, mostly stop. It seemed like it took forever to get up to Stanton and I knew I was never going to get to Martin that night.
I believe it was about here that I stopped to check cellular coverage, and when I found I had a good signal, called Bob Carroll in Nashville, asked his advice, and he agreed that I was in a world of hurt. And it was getting dark.
I decided to turn off U.S. 79 at Brownsville and go back to Interstate 40, then went up to exit 80A. It was "fun" riding on an interstate highway, in the dark, in unfamiliar territory. But I also knew that in the morning, it was be easy to get on U.S. 45 and ride north to Martin TN.
About 9 p.m. I found the same Econolodge in Jackson TN where I'd stayed last year on my way east. They had a non-smoking ground-floor room where I could lock the bike to a post. It was just a bit expensive but I was too tired to argue.
It had been a long and unpleasant day, so I took a shower, watched CNN for a short time and went to bed. I don't even know what time it was; I was tired.
Miles for the day = 639, a new personal best. Miles for the trip = 2905.
Tomorrow: Plugged sinuses and high humidity. Can I make it to Roger and Karen's?