Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Great River Ride – Day 7 – Memphis and Mississippi


We slept so soundly last night we nearly missed breakfast again. I looked out the window and caught this crazy old guy unloading his car right in the middle of two spaces. Any closer and he would have hit my bike. He needs some parking lessons!


We got a bit of a late start, but made it to Memphis after a quick dash down US-61 on the Arkansas side. We crossed the Mississippi River into Memphis on I-40 and proceeded to ride around downtown.

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Giant Egg in Memphis:


Strange signs in the bathroom too:


Some statues: (BB King and Elvis)

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We had a tough time deciding which side to ride on as both sides appears to use US-61 and neither seemed very close to the river. We choose to ride on east side, so we could see Mississippi. Mississippi was my fifth new state for this trip! I’ve officially reached the goal of five new states I set for myself back in January.


I’ve always thought of MS has a very hot state. It didn’t disappoint, today we broke yesterday’s record of 103F with 105F. It was HOT. I hope this record will stand for the rest of the trip.


It was like riding in an oven. After so many hours riding in heat over 100F, when it finally started to cool off and got to 95F we were both refreshed at how cool it was outside. Crazy!! I actually got a bit of a chill riding in 85F just as we reached our motel for the night.

Mississippi wasn’t very fun. Too much four lane roads and WAY too many corn and soybean fields.

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We decided instead of stopping in Greenville, MS as planned, we pushed on to Baton Rouge which was our plan for tomorrow.

We saw a bunch of large farm implements. Like this giant tractor:


We also saw this giant fire. Not sure what was burning, but it was visible for miles.


Southern Mississippi is much more scenic than the northern part of the state. The fields and farms give way to forests filled with pines.


You’d almost think you were in Northern MN except for the terrific heat.

We chased our shadows trying to get to Baton Rouge before dark.


The scenery gets even better once crossing over into Louisiana, but the roads in LA aren’t very nice so far.


Very bumpy and in dire need of repair. We arrived at our motel just after sunset across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, LA.

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Today we rode 459 miles and covered four states: AR, TN, MS, and LA. It was a long day, but will give us more time for the gulf and mountains. Tomorrow we will see the gulf and hopefully the end of the Mississippi. Then it will be back to New Orleans.


A tank for Dom:



Full Flickr Album here:



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  1. That was a very long ride Chris! It's too bad your aren't right on the river all the way. Too bad you had to pick the record hot year for the trip!! Who knew!! I see there is rain on the coast this morning. Hope it goes away. We have rain tomorrow and for the next three days in the forcast. (well, so it says, many times it passes us by.) I love the shadow photo!!
    Ride safe and hopefully stay dry!

  2. As Eve said, "That was a very long ride!" Especially in this heat. I trust you taking in lots of fluids.

    I see you got to see the Pyramid. Used to go to Memphis once a year to play in a Lacrosse tournament. Ate BBQ and that was about it. Never befriended the City.

    My Dad is a farmer and he'd have loved all the farm land you went through. He is so funny. Take him to the mountains and he can't wait to get out of the useless land back into farm country where there is something to look at.

    May you soon find some cool ocean breezes.

  3. Thanks you for the comments. I do appreciate them. It is making the trip more interesting for us.

    Eve: It was a long ride, but the four lane road and higher speed limit made it easier. I actually enjoyed the southern part. Even though it was a four laner, it was flowing and empty. No cars or trucks. Got sick of trucks in AR. I do see the rain. It seems to be avoiding baton rouge at the moment, so we'll stay here a bit longer and look around before trying to get to the end of the river.

    Keith: Shame that the pyramid is now empty. The tourist info place told us it wasn't used anymore which is a shame. It is a good looking building. The city really didn't speak to us either, so we left. You should take him to the mountains in china/south america where they do the terrace farming. :) He might enjoy those.

    It is cooler here. Only 90F instead of 100+!

  4. I have two pieces of advice for you for when you get to the Gulf...

    1. Don't keep riding, or you will get very wet.
    2. Mind the oil when you go for a swim.

    I hope it cools down a bit for you. It was only 96F in Sturgis yesterday which is chilly compared to the temperatures you are having.

  5. Chris:

    Wow, those are HOT temperatures. We hit around 100F on our Oregon trip but only stayed in the desert for a couple of days, then over to the COLD coast. I can't imagine a whole week in boiling heat.

    I shudder to think you are taking those photos while riding, a lot of photos to show us what it was like.

    I also like the shadow picture. You have the same engine as on my Wee and 5,000 rpm's seem to be around the sweet spot.

    tomorrow our forecast is for a heat wave, temps will be up into the high 80's + , and that is hot enough for us. We get cool breezes off the water. It is always hotter inland.

    ride safely and enjoy the rest of your vacation together

    Wet Coast Scootin

  6. Gary: LOL! See the Day 8 post. We got wet without going in :) We're going to see the beach tomorrow, but apparently the oil is gone??

    It was cooler today with the rain. I think it was only 80-95F. Lots of humidity too. LOL 96F was chilly when we finally encountered it yesterday!

  7. Bob: I got your comment in email, but I don't see it above. Strange.

    Yes, it has been hot, but we're surviving nicely. Regular stops seem to be the trick.

    Some of the photos are frame extracts from the GoProHD, so don't shudder too much. :)

    The SV650 and DL650 do have a similar engine. I believe the DL650 is slightly detuned from the SV. 5k rpm is nice, but 4500 yields slightly better gas mileage.

  8. Oh, I see my question on flickr has been answered here--some of the shots are from the GoPro.

    I love the long days in the saddle. It's such a great feeling to push on when you want and to cut out miles elsewhere when you want. I'm almost catching up to you guys!

  9. Sharon: Yea, the GoPro lets me cheat slightly and get shots I never would have been able to get otherwise. It's working really well. I can show you how to do it if you like.

    Yes, putting the big miles in made it so we could get a hotel in Venice.