#52 Philosophy of Riding the Road...in Transylvania

Philosophy of Riding the Road...in Transylvania, LA
October 20, 2006
Since I'd been hanging out at the motel office since "check-out" time, I got to spend some time with Cynthia at the front desk. When I got Fleeter back, I went to pick up my pack from the motel. This is Cynthia posing with Fleeter.

Since now I have more time, I want to go back and do the Vicksburg Military Park right. This is the entry into the Park's loop.
One of the more extravagant monuments in the park.
And many, many others. Here's just a few.

Statue of General Grant

Coming down into the national cemetery area of the park and the USS Cairo museum.

This is what's left of the Ironclad River Gunboat.

Remember the park ranger that told me the shortcut to the USS Cairo yesterday? And for that reason I happened to be in a good location for a bad thing to happen.

Well, when I walked into the USS Cairo museum I was welcomed with, "You were supposed to be here yesterday." Yes, it was Mr. Fred Quinn from the front entry visitor center. So I explained to him what happened. I gave him all the credit for sending me down that road. I could have been in the middle of the 16 mile park after closing, or out on the freeway, or any number of places that would have been worse...or at a worse time...

So here is Mr. Fred, complete with his official hat.
Some stamps collected the last two days.

The road out of the Park and into old downtown Vicksburg, MS.

The old courthouse in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Here we go again ... back across the Mississippi River!
A big river and its big beach.

And down the road back in Louisiana...

I stumbled into Transylvania about 5pm.
I mailed some postcards from here. The Post Office was next door to the General Store and they both set in front of the cotton gin...and that was pretty much the core of the town.
This photo seemed appropriate with Halloween getting close on the calendar.
While I was inside the General Store writing out some postcards and having some Fritos with a Coke, a woman walked in and asked the old fella' behind the counter, "Who's motorcycle is that out front?" He pointed back to me sitting at a booth toward the back of the store. I looked up and waved. She walked on over and asked ... "where you goin'?

Then a guy walks in and follows her over to where I just asked her to sit and join me at the booth.

An hour later the old fella said it was time for him to close up...so we moved our little party out to the parking lot. There, we visited for another couple hours. It was good and dark by the time I left there...and getting cooler.
Scotty has been on the road with his 1988 Harley for 12 years. This is what he does ... roam the roads of the USA and sometimes Mexico and Canada. He goes north in the summer and south in the winter. Michelle joined him on the road this summer. She rides a Honda Shadow.

We talked for hours. He shared a lot about his life on the road. He camps out where ever he finds a place. He seldom uses paid campsites or motels. He is a true wanderer. Michelle is learning. They work odd jobs while out on the road for money to live on. In the past, he has written articles for magazines -- stories from the road. But none lately. He prefers to write about the philosophy of the ride and living on the road, but editors, he said, seem to want stories about "tricking" out your bike or stories about group riding or rallying. He is working on a book, but doesn't know if anything will ever come of it.

He spoke of how to live and keep your bike running on the cheap.
He doesn't worry about shiny chrome. He worries about function.

He spoke of the freedom of the road.
He said that "wanderlust" is a personality. He can't help it. It's where is most comfortable.

He spoke of his heroes: (Three of the four were women.)
1) The first woman to ride a motorcycle around the world. I forget her name.

2) The Peace Pilgrim - she walked for peace... Inner peace, Outer peace, World peace, etc.
She walked until offered shelter, she didn't eat until offered food.
3) Marla Garber - She rode her full dresser Harley around the USA with her dog Skooter.

Found on the Internet...
TRIBUTE TO MARLA GARBER (Senate - July 26, 1995)[Page: S10729] GPO's PDF Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. President, I rise today to share with you the story of Marla Garber, a free spirit who rode the length and breadth of the United States on her motorcycle accompanied only by her dog Skooter. She was a remarkable young woman; one of those `rugged individualists,' constantly seeking adventure in her life and traveling into the depths of the country in her pursuit of it. She shared the stories of the fascinating people she met on her journey's and the memories of the places she had seen with much of the American public, writing for several motorcycle magazines. In this way, she was able to leave her mark on society and the people of the country. Marla GarberGarber was unique for this day and age, and I admire her spirit. We all suffer from her loss, as surely as we all benefited from having her among us.
4) I forget the name of the fellow on the group...But he was riding his bike around well into his 70s...much as Scotty is now. Scotty rode with him for awhile early on and learned the life of the road.
Scotty and Michelle.

Scotty took a turn with my camera.

It was after 8:30pm when I pulled out of Transylvania. I felt obligated since I had a reservation at a motel in Dumas some 90 miles north. Going to a motel for the night made me feel like I was taking the easy way out. Scotty and Michelle decided to camp near some abandoned buildings across the highway next to some cotton fields. They were heading south ... away from the cold weather. Too bad. I would have liked to ride along with them for a while. They were interesting and the conversation was stimulating ... whether it was about bike maintenance or philosophy of the road.

It was almost 10pm when I hit the Arkansas state line.
I was thinking that it sure was getting a bit nippy out here. Maybe a nice bonfire would feel good...
Maybe I should be more careful what I wish for. Coming into the next town of Eudora, Arkansas ... I see it. What I just wished for, a bonfire!

One block off the main highway, there was a frame house in full blaze. And it was definitely putting out the heat! I drove over to check it out. No one was inside. Nothing to do but watch it burn and warm up from the heat. I watched and warmed for a few minutes. The next door neighbors were standing around and others were coming over from a few blocks away. A patrol officer was already on the scene. The fire department got there after I did.

When too many people started showing up, I decided to get back on the road again.

It's 48 degrees when I arrive in Dumas, Arkansas for the night. I think it's time to get out my cold weather pants! Mesh just isn't doing it for me in this weather. The weather is getting cooler and wetter as I travel north.

Contemplating the philosophy of the road...

Next: Tupelo, Mississippi

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