The first day of any trip by motorcycle is always a thrill for me. I never tire of the sense of anticipation of another New Adventure as I back the bike out of the garage. It's nearly always early dawn when I leave on these trips, and the neighborhood looks fresh and tidy in that soft pink morning glow. I leave with expectations for a great trip filled with new experiences, since these are what we make of the day. This trip should be no different.
It's very early Sunday morning and newspapers still lie where they've been tossed by the delivery man. I see no one out or about - it's too early for the daily walking and bicycling brigade that usually fills the streets by 7:00 AM or so - except I do see one neighbor who always enjoys seeing me on my motorcycle; his son and daughter-in-law ride, so he "gets it." He's out there in the near-dark, watering his lawn as I ride by and he gives me a big wave.
With the feeling of New Adventure still fresh, I settle in to my zone on I-10 heading east into the rising sun. I can't help but notice the large number of "gators" on the interstate, more than usual. It's been blisteringly hot here in south Texas, triple-digit temperatures every day for the past month. Could this be the cause of so many blown truck tires littering the roadway?
In western Louisiana I let my imagination take over as it processed the string of state trooper cars parked behind a van that's been pulled over on the other side of the interstate. A little ways behind them - maybe 300 or 400 yards - are two more state trooper cars, and the troopers are out of their cars hunting through the tall grass in the median. Hmmmm.....car chase? Car finally comes to a stop but not before tossing something out the window onto the median? Drugs? A gun?
When I got to my all-time favorite Shell station just west of the Mississippi River bridge, it was a little early and I wasn't all that hungry. No favorite fried chicken for me today!
I watched the temperature climb to 96 degrees by noontime, and began to scan the skies for any sign of rain. The forecast said there'd be a 40% chance of rain and long about now I could use some to cool me off. Well, lo and behold! As I neared Hattiesburg a weather warning popped up on my Garmin and, as I came around a bend and crested a small rise in the road, I could see the black skies ahead and to the west. Hallelujiah! Rain, rain, rain! All the way to Meridian! The temperature dropped 20 degrees and it felt so good!
Tonight I'm at my favorite stopping point whenever I come this direction... on the east side of Tuscaloosa. Pilot truck stop next door so I'm able to fill up the bike before checking in to the hotel. Good place to get a run in, along US 11 (or the treadmill in the hotel). Subway right next door. Everything this gal could want!
Tomorrow: heading north past Birmingham and doing a bit of national park stamping before stopping in Knoxville.