Day 8
August 28th, 2014
Motel 6
Sikeston, Missouri

It was so hot and steamy my glasses fogged when I stepped out of the cold room to load the FJR for the final ride home.  My plan today is a visit to the Civil War battlefield of Shiloh just across the state line in Tennessee, and then home.
Air pressure was good on the tires.  The zumo has optional TPMS but not bought the needed air valve caps yet, because the stems have to be metal.  I'll switch them out when I but new tires.  Too much trouble to do so now.
I sent Debbie a text.

"On the way home, Longhorn steak tonight"

After yesterday's mind numbing ride on I-70, I was looking forward to better today.  The custom route in the Zumo was all set to go.  I went back in to check the room for anything I may have forgot, when I saw all was good, I threw my leg over the FJR and fired it up.  It was 6:35am.

A quick visit to the nearby con store filled up the Yamaha and I was ready to go.  The readout on the bike noted the temp at 74 muggy degrees at just 6:43am.  You could cut the air it was so thick.  I took the Feejer back to I-55 South and rode toward Memphis.

Riding south on I-55 I passed a HD touring bike near the same area I did the same in 2007. "I wonder if that might be the same joker?"

At I-155 I left I-55 and went east into Tennessee.  Not only would this route take me to the battlefield, it will skirt me around Memphis.  I came this way back in 2002, but I remember very little about that ride.
The morning lig

ht filtered through the thick air as I rode past Delta farmland.  I was nearing the Mississippi River and Her flood plains reached out in both directions.

​    "The morning light filtered through the thick air as I rode past Delta farmland."

 I went over the river and into Dyersburg, where I cross paths with commuter and commercial traffic.  Out of Dyersburg the route was still US 412.   Large farms were on both sides of the road.

Alamo, Tennessee was the site of my morning break on this day.  It was another big con store thing with a McDonald's attached.  I took the Ipad inside and caught up on the news while I ate hash browns and a drink.  I went to the Shiloh website to familiarize myself with the battlefield and what I needed to know to get the most out of my visit.
Debbie responded to my earlier text-

"when ya gonna be home?

"Prolly around 3 or 4"

'Ok Longhorn sounds good tonight, becareful"

"I will, have the garage door up"


I took a 30 minute break and got back on the road.

The route took me through the bustling city of Jackson, where I picked my way past delivery trucks, and a few school buses.  I left Jackson on US 45.

It was a uneventful mid morning ride on 4 lane divided US 45.  The zumo navigated me down to a local road I found in the Garmin Map software.  It looked like a good road, so I clicked on it, and now I was riding on it.  It proved to be a good choice.  The road was a out of the way country road, inhabited farmhouses, timberland, and pastures.
I found a old country store that had been closed down, so I stopped to take a few pictures, just because I had the time.

​ Old Tennessee Store near the Shiloh Battlefield.

The battle of Shiloh took place early in the war.  Both sides were eager for a fight, but after it was over neither wanted another.   Over 23,000 casualties in 2 days of fierce fighting tempered any thoughts it would be a quick, low key war.  Each side found out how determined and dedicated the other was. 

As a southern boy, I often hear the south could have won the war if this had happened or that.  That would be incorrect.  The North fought the war with one arm tied behind its back.  The Union had dozens of armies in reserve that never saw battle.  If the South had won more battles, and I mean many more, all the North would have done is bring out that other arm to win the war going away.  I've always had a interest in military history, particularly Civil War and WWII, and that is the consensus among scholars.

I took a number of pictures, here's just a few:

​  ​The Yamaha FJR 1300 keeps these silent canons company on a hot August morning  .

   Union position at the "Hornet's Nest"

Near the "Hornet's Nest."  Where several thousand men were killed in just a few hours.

Monuments  honor the men who fought here so long ago.  Not so they could thump
 their chest, "look what we did" but to say what they did here mattered.

Riding the quiet lanes of the battlefield at idle speeds the fan of 1300 kicked on blowing warm air all over me.  Coolant temp shot up to 211 degrees.  Hottest I ever saw it on this tour.  It was just plan HOT.

I milled around the battlefield for a hour.  I skipped the visitor center, and the movie presentation.  I know pretty much what happened here, so I didn't feel the need.  "I better get going, I'd like to be home before late."

Finished the battlefield I picked up the custom route and headed for Alabama.  The custom route directed me to a few county roads I had found in the software, that I thought would be good rides.  I was right, it was a nice ride through thick forests and green pastures.  I wondered what it was like living on land so close to such a historical place.

After a good ride, the route dumped me on SR 57.  I was on 2 bars and thought, "Now'd be a good time to top off, this fill up should take me all the way home."  A Texaco store presented itself in Counce and I went in for gas.  From there I rode into Mississippi on SR 25.  Despite the battlefield diversion, I was ahead of schedule.

The riding was fast into Mississippi, and when I went by Corinth I thought how this was the "birthplace" of the ST 1300.  I bought the bike from Lakehill Honda.

Alaga-Whitfield Foods (pickle plant) use to take deliveries from Iuka in the mid 70s.  I knew that because I use to weigh the trucks.  It was the first job I ever had in my life and it taught me several life lessons.  Things you learn to build on later about the world and work.  My mind was stuck on that as I turned East on US 72 for the last few miles to Alabama.

I rode through here in 2002 on a Fall trip, but I saw nothing today I could recall.  I only have general memories about that tour.   Maybe I should re read that journal someday.

The highway was mostly freeway and I was able to make good time across the Alabama farmland.  I was still making mistakes with the electronics on the FJR.  If you're not in the correct mode when you push the select switch you turn the heated grips on instead of raising the screen.  It's really a good system, I have the problem of switching bikes.  Given Yamaha's great success in music and speakers, it is no surprise the company's electronics on the FJR are well thought out and reliable.

SR 72 skips south of Muscle Shoals and into Tuscumbia where I ate a late lunch in Fiesta Mexicana, a local Mexican place.  I had sweet tea, and the number 6 off the lunch menu.  Enchilada, taco, and rice, with all the chips and tea I could eat and drink.  The Enchilada was HUGE.  It looked like a football.  The food was above average.  I ate most of the taco and enchilada, but couldn't finish.  I was miserable, and just layed in the booth.  I put a few notes in and read the news trying to settle such a big lunch.

I told the waiter- "Y'all gotta forklift"

"No, what for senor?"

"to help me get on my bike, to full to move"

No GPS was needed to get home, but I kept it on anyway.  My goal was non stop to home, about 3 hours down I-65 South, and that was what I did. (185 miles)

I've travelled all these roads at various times, and I had no surprises the last 125 miles, that included a busy ride through Birmingham.  My reserve bar began flashing 20 miles from home.  I ignored it and kept going.  Temp on the instrument cluster read 98 degrees with humidity not far behind.  "yep back in Alabama, fun while it lasted though."  
The garage door was open as instructed when I turned in my driveway after a 437 miles for the day and 3692 for the tour.  As is the custom I said a prayer for my safe return before getting off the bike.  I left the FJR sitting, "I'll unpack it tomorrow."

The house was empty, I pulled off my gear and sent Debbie a text; it was 3:38pm.



'great trip, but good to be home"

"I went to the store, and bought all your favorite stuff, long neck Mountain Dews in the fridge"
"that's what I need before I take a hot bath".  It was so hot and sticky today, took some of the fun out of it. I got spoiled those days out west"

"Longhorn tonight?

"Longhorn tonight."

"OK see ya soon!"

We shared a great steak at the steakhouse, but still didn't tell her about Kansas.
Epilogue- I had a few more days off before I had to go back to work.  One thing this tour confirmed- I miss my freedom.

A few days after my return I ordered a new tent and pad.  Details on that later.  I washed and waxed the FJR soon as I had time.  The bike did not burn one ounce of oil the entire almost 4000 miles.

The text conversations included in this journal are just as they happened.  Still in my phone and easy to find for quick reference.  I also have a Idiary on my Iphone that keeps my notes while on tour.

Questions?  Comments?  Shoot me a email, good or bad.  firfytr@aol.com