Day Eight by Dave Schultheis
Monday, August 4, 2003 - Lindale, Texas
I was up with the alarm at 6:00 a.m., dressed and combed, packed the last few items, and secured the T-Bag to the Road King.
I said my goodbyes and many thanks to my aunt and uncle for their hospitality, and they reminded me that I was welcome to visit at any time.
I warmed up the Road King and left at 7:10 a.m. It was an overcast and cloudy 80 degrees, as I rode back to U.S. Highway 69 and turned north.
About 15 miles later I stopped for fuel at a Chevron Station in Mineola, 79 degrees, continued north on U.S. 69 and then north on TX Highway 37, where I passed a church sign in Mineola ("Sin Would Have Fewer Partakers If The Consequences Occurred Immediately"), then another in Quitman ("Suffering From Truth Decay? Brush Up On Your Bible"), got into Mount Vernon and turned east onto Interstate 30.
About 9:15 a.m. I pulled into a rest stop, where it was sunny and 80 degrees. As I got back on the road, the temperature slowly increased by ten degrees over a few miles.
About 9:50 a.m. I crossed into Arkansas, and then a few minutes later stopped at a rest area for hydration and a current map, and devised a route that would go around, rather than through, Little Rock.
I continued east on I-30 and took exit 30 to a Shell Station in Hope AR, where it was 85 degrees. I got fuel and took a "Hope" photograph. The big sign that features a sliced of watermelon still says "Birthplace of President Bill Clinton" at the bottom. Before leaving town, I did a quality check at Wendy's. They were doing just fine.
Over an hour later I stopped at a rest area, 90 degrees, then continued toward Little Rock. I took I-440 to the east, it then curved to the north and crossed I-40, and I continued (not marked, but it's AR Highway 440) north a while, then merged onto northbound U.S. Highway 67, and rode past Jacksonville, Cabot and Beebe, near where I had turned to the west on a previous trip.
Even though I had been on this very highway two months prior, it looked very different from the "other" direction of travel, although I did recognize a few landmarks.
I took exit 46 and stopped for gas and Mountain Dew at an Exxon Station in Searcy AR at 1:25 p.m., 95 degrees and sunny. You _could_ say it was warm!
I continued north on U.S. 67, looking for an Independence County sign. The map was not very clear on where the county line was, and I didn't see a sign on the highway, so I stopped at a little store in Alicia to ask. I was directed back to Tuckerman, about 12 miles, and told to take AR Highway 37 toward Elgin and Cord, which I did, and just after passing a bridge, I found the Independence County sign, got a couple of pictures, when rode back on Hy 37 to Tuckerman, then north on Highway 67 again.
I stopped at the little store in Alicia again, where it was 98 degrees, to thank the fine folks (for not sending me on a wild goose chase!) and bought a bottle of Mountain Dew.
Another few miles down the road I passed Hoxie and found myself riding _north_ on U.S. 67 and _south_ on U.S. 63 _at_the_same_time_ for about a mile, while actually riding compass east! I regret not stopping to take _that_ picture, but by the time the two highways split, there was no (safe or legal) place to turn around. I'll have to get it another time.
A few miles north, in Pocahontas AR, I continued north on U.S. 67 and east on U.S. Highway 62 at the same time (not as unusual), then stopped in Corning for fuel at a Citgo Station, 89 degrees at 5 p.m., then continued east on U.S. 62.
I had a few sprinkles and then some rain while passing through McDougal, Pollard and Piggott, where I stopped to reconnoiter under the canopy of a vacant gas station and put on my rain pants. It was 82 degrees.
As I got going again, the rain stopped almost immediately, then I got through St. Francis AR and crossed the bridge over the Francis River into Missouri at 6:05 p.m. It was all out rain through Campbell, around Malden, and through Risco, then there was sunshine near New Madrid MO, where I crossed under Interstate 55 and dried off a little while standing in the sun, waiting for a train to go by.
I stayed on U.S. 62 as U.S. 61 joined in, then got into Sikeston MO, where it was dry, so I stopped to call my aunt, and my neighbor to see how things were going. I followed Hy 62 through Miner and Bertrand (church sign: "Sharp Tongues Often Cut Their Own Throats"), through Charleston and Wilson City, took a bridge over the Mississippi River and then another bridge over the Ohio River into Kentucky. I think I might have been on the outskirts of Cairo IL but never saw a sign.
Near Wickliffe KY I found a motel that didn't look too good, so I kept going. I turned east on KY Highway 286 toward Paducah, as it looked like a more direct route than U.S. 62, although it was very slow going. Unfortunately for me that day, Ballard County KY was the home of fog, bugs and a large buck with a big rack of antlers, then more fog, more bugs, and numerous flashes in the dark clouds - thunderstorms ahead - my lucky day! If I was the type to be "afraid" while on the road, this would have been the place, but I knew I would get through it somehow.
At 8:50 p.m., in the dark, I stopped at a (closed) convenience store with a Citgo fuel pump ("open" - pay at the pump). It was 72 degrees and the bugs were the size of - huge bugs! Bugs on the bike, bugs on me, bugs on the ground. Yecch!
After fueling, I continued east on U.S. 62 into Paducah. It wasn't until I started writing this report (while looking at the map) that I realized that I was close enough that I _could_ have found my way to Roger and Karen's, but I don't think they would have appreciated an unannounced knock on their door late at night.
Instead, I found a Knights Inn motel in Paducah at 9:30 p.m. with a not-very-full parking lot. The (ethnicity deleted) man at the front counter was very nice, and said he had a non-smoking, first-floor room with two Queen-size beds, where I could park right at the door, for $30. The ice machine was down the hall and around the corner, they had a Continental Breakfast in the office from 6:30 to 9:00 a.m. I later realized that he had failed to mention that the crickets were provided at no extra charge.
He gave me the key to room 113, I stowed a few things and turned on the air conditioning, then rode over to a semi-conveniently-located convenience store for fluids for tonight and tomorrow. I noted a Harley-Davidson shop about a block away, compete with a covered patio on the lawn across the street.
When I got back to the room, I hung up my jacket, turned on CNN, caught up with my notes, took a shower, checked voice mail, set the alarm for 7:30 a.m., and went to bed sometime after 11:00 p.m. Central Time. I could hear the trains and the crickets long into the night.
Miles for the day = 644. Miles for the trip = 2556.
Tomorrow: into the Eastern Time zone, over hill and dale, and nearly to Columbus OH.