My ride that day started out well --- Just a couple of hundred yards and there was "Thompson Drive". Took the Tennessee River Trail (79 S) among others. Flat, straight and hot! Even started seeing "mirages" ahead of me. Not sure which is worse, riding in driving rain or in extreme heat. I have a feeling, I will have an answer for that question by the time I reach California. Crossed the Mississippi. One of the drawbacks of being on a motorcycle, is that I won't pull over in dangerous places to take a photograph. That was never an issue when I was driving a car or a pick-up truck across the country. I have a lot of images only in my head, which is very frustrating for me. I have just starting saying " click" to myself when I see something that I can't stop for. Shared some really good Tennessee fried chicken with a stray dog before crossing the state line.
Went through Sheryl Crow's hometown of Kennett, MO. At least that's what the sign said.
Made it to Paragould, AR and found a room at 2nd place I stopped. Holiday Inn Express right off US412. Perfect --- knew just what to expect --- Hot shower, wifi, soft and firm pillows, ice for my cooler, eggs, coffee and yogurt in the morning. And a cart to carry all my gear.
Monday's ride was the best --- no highways, partly cloudy, so even with temperatures hitting almost 90, I was comfortable. Have to say, it is a bit strange to see other motorcyclists in t-shirts AND NO helmet. I have found myself envying them in the heat. However, I think I would be more uncomfortable without my gear than I would be not sweating. I look at sweating as a way to cleanse my pores. HA!!
I stopped quite a few times yesterday ( Mon.) ----- Had lunch at an elementary school. I have found schools to be the best rest stops. Perhaps, because I feel comfortable pulling into them. The layouts are all pretty much the same --- I always use the bus loop. Also stopped to photograph another grave site. I will post those images to Galleries, as soon as I can. On my blog page, I will just post snap shots taken with my iphone.
BTW, I never did get to photograph The Whitford cemetery. I pulled into the dirt road, Imm. saw a HUGE mud puddle -- crossed the whole road, stopped to check it out, dropped my bike. Got my bike up, by myself, without too much trouble, as most of my gear was in camp and not on my bike. Took a couple of deep breaths, tried to figure out if I could turn around -- because of the grade I couldn't --- I had to go through that puddle --- for my whole being ---- I did. It felt GOOD. And it was not a problem, at all. But as I kept going down this dirt road, I began to wonder, how far back would I go? This was not a well traveled or even occasionally traveled road. I checked my cell -- no service. Here, I could and did turn around.
So headed off into a larger town to get some supplies ---- Saw a sign for Ft.Donelson and Ft Donelson National Cemetery. Very cool. Did spend some time with my camera in the cemetery. Really well taken care of - nice to see. It is maintained by The National Park Service.
As I was riding yesterday, I started noticing Black eyed Susans, everywhere. Even in rock. Then all of a sudden, I felt an overwhelming sense of my brother talking to me. He was with me. This is a much longer story than I am going to go into here, but I had to pull over to cry and enjoy the feeling.
As Tommy reminded me a couple of months ago, this trip is about me. A week in and I am finally starting to understand and relax into what that means. It means a discipline and a commitment to selfishness. About silence and allowing my muse access to greater forces than my mind. About getting out of my head and into my heart, my soul. About God and the infinite universe. To me, right now that seems selfish ---- but I'm beginning to be OK with that. I am truly blessed to be married to a man that understands me better than I do myself. Thank God!
Wonderful loop ride through the Ozarks this morning --- Driving, wind driven rain on way back to my little cabin outside of Yellville, AR. All settled in and drying out. Time for a beer and a steak. "Life is Good".