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Alabama, Clarksdale, Mississippi, Mobile, Waynesboro

Days 35 and 36 A military base to Morgan Freemans place

The time to say so long to my gracious hosts and family, Pam and Tomato Joe, came early on Thursday morning. I still wanted to get out and see a few things in Pensacola while I was there. There is a naval base with a light house and free museum just down the street from their house. For me it was the first time stepping foot on an actual base. Some pretty serious looking gaurds stopped me at the gate to check my ID. I nervously handed him my drivers license. With my bike packed up the way it is, I was concerned that they would want me to unpack all of my shite to make sure I was safe to enter. It’s such a pain to unload all of that stuff. Luckily they didn’t bother with it. The gaurd gave me some directions and at his request, I put some gloves on before I took off.  One is not allowed to ride a motorcycle on a military base without gloves. You learn something new everyday. While cruising over to the museum, I couldn’t help but notice how the base looks a bit like a resort. It has beach front, a golf course and running trails. I thought it would be all fence and barbed wire and drab looking. The National Museum of Naval Aviation sits about a mile from the gate. It houses close to 80 military aircraft ranging from newer aged jets to very old, home made looking aircrafts, from the early 1900’s. I spent about and hour and a half wandering around, ooooohhhing and aaaaahhhing at all of the airplane eye candy. After I endured enough sensory overload from the well preserved military show pieces, it was time for the light house. This would be the third light house that I’ve seen on the trip, but the first one that I’d get to climb. Unfortunatley there is a small fee to walk to the top.  I think the price you pay for climbing 177 steep ass stairs ought to be enough lol. The light house is around 150 feet tall and has a vantage point of 27 miles. With my burning calves from the run a few days ago, I somehow managed to make it to the top. What a reward. From the top you can see the whole base, Pensacola, and  muliple forrest areas. There is an older lady who sits up there named Georgann who will give you all the facts you can handle about the lighthouse. We talked about the lighthouse for a bit and then she told me how she has had her eye on a piece of driftwood laying down on the beach. I whipped out the camera and zoomed in on the piece of wood. It didn’t look so big on my tiny little screen so I told her that I’d go retrieve it for her as long as it’s not to large to move. Honestly from the tower, it looked doable. I thought it would be nice to help someone else out since so many  have been helping me lately. Spread the love ya know. Down the steps, I went in route to the driftwood. When I got to that sucker, it turned out to be a whole tree! I could see about the first 25 feet of it and the rest was buried in the sand. I peered up at the lighthouse and could see Georgann checking my progress. With no way to verbally tell her that it was way to big for me to move, I opened my arms up as wide as I could in her direction in hopes that she’d understand that it was so big that you would need a tractor to move it. Four guys couldn’t budge this thing. My mission was incomplete. I looked up at her and waved and I left there hoping she understood my signal. It was time to finally get out of Florida after that.

Alabama was next. Poor ol’ Alabama. I went right through it without even stopping. It really didn’t feel right to not get some sort of experience from a state. A few pics of Mobile is all I’ll have to remember it buy. Entering Mobile from interstate 10 is rather unflattering. The city is surrounded on that side by oil refineries (I think) and really looks like a place that’s not to welcoming. I did have the pleasure of listening to Sweet Home Alabama while riding through. It randomly popped up on Pandora a few minutes after I crossed the state line. That’s about all I can say about that.

Mississippi was next. The land where the accent is so strong that even a country boy from West Virginia can’t make out what the locals are saying.  Since the time change a few days ago, I’ve been arriving right in the dark at my destinations. I crossed the Mississippi line right after sunset and boy was it cold. Florida spoiled me. I stopped at a place called Krazy K’s convienence store for some coffee and heat. While there, a police officer had someone pulled over right in front of the store. The employees and customers all went bananas when they officialy arrested the poor guy.It was like I was living in an episode of Jerry Springer.  I think I was the only one in the whole place who took pity on the poor guy. I guess not much happens in southeast Mississippi. When I walked out to my bike to take off, some old drunk local guy made me an offer that I COULD refuse. He said he would sign the titles over from his old ford truck and ratty looking dodge neon for my bike. I replied “No thanks buddy, but I appreciate the offer.” There is something in the water in these parts. From there I pushed on to Waynesboro, where I would get a room at the Budget Inn and to keep up with tradition, it was owned by an Indian couple.

It’s hard to make a day sound interesting when all you do is lay the miles down. Day 36 started out in Waynesboro Mississippi. As I was gearing the bike up for the marathon run to Clarksdale Miss. the Budget Inn owner and I chatted about travel. He wants to do a three month trip around the states when his son goes off to college. I gave him the website name in hopes that my travels will help his planning. I finished packing and hit the road Jack. The ride to Clarksdale would take all day. Clarksdale is the home town of Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and Ike Turner. It’s where all this blues stuff began. I’m not really sure of the exact mileage, but the basic route for the day would have me start in the southeastern part of the state and do a giant diagonal shot to the northwestern corner of Mississippi. I don’t really look forward to the punishment that my arse endures when I do these big mileage days. If I were on a goldwing, I’m sure it would be a breeze. Hell you could probably ride through two states just for fun. Riding on the Gooses stock seat is brutal. It slants toward the tank and no matter what you try, you’re nards end up smashed against the tank. I’ll be sterile by the end of this trip for sure. Anyway, I kept my eyes open for interesting things to take pics of all day and ol’ Miss just wasn’t producing. It did give me some gental rolling hills to ride in the center of the state though. It was a nice change from the pancake style layout of flat Florida. When I was lurking around the eastern central part of the state I found a bike shop called Meridian Honda. I needed to get some thinner riding gloves. I left my pink (faded red) fox gloves in a gas station rest room in Key Largo by accident. All I had on me was my set of oversized winter gloves and it was way to warm for those gigantic bastards. The shop stocked a small supply of Joe Rocket gloves, but no motocross gloves. The Joe Rockets would have to do. I have to mention that I walked in, again expecting good conversation and a bit of comraderie from the guys behind the counter. No such luck. They never even asked if they could help me find something when I was unsure of where the gloves were. You guys at Crossroads and Mt. Airy again get my praise for customer service. I walked out of there with a new set of gloves though, and it was time to make tracks again. For the next few hours very little happened. The basic route from Meridian to Clarksdale was 19 west to 55 north t0 82 west and then 49e north right into town. Right before I arrived in Clarksdale the sun blessed me with a spectacular sunset featuring a completely flat Mississippi Delta farm land backdrop. It was wonderful.
Night fell on me before I could make it into town. That is an uneasy feeling that I’m still not used to. With no campgrounds in my radar and not being fully operating on couchsurfing.com yet, I found yet another Budget Inn. The Indian feller behind the desk was the most helpful Budget Inn employee I’ve met. He was very proud of Clarksdale and would not let me check into my room without first giving me all the details on the towns attractions. With a head full of local knowledge I prepared for a night at Ground Zero Blues Club. For those not in the know, Morgan Freeman, the actor, owns the place. I was in search of an authentic Blues atmoshpere and I’d say the building couldn’t fit the bill any better. The band that played was called TCB. Unfortunatly they only played a couple old blues songs that I was hoping to hear. Their playlist was a bit more modern than I was ready for. All in all it was a good time though and I was glad to hit the place up on a weekend night. If I ever swing by there again, I’ll have to hit up Reds. That’s the place with the most consistent old blues sound. My night ended a bit early because I was wiped out from the long day of riding.

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About mikekrabal

I'm a fella who finally let the inner traveler come out. A non-standard sort.


One thought on “Days 35 and 36 A military base to Morgan Freemans place

  1. They should just call that chain Budget InnDIAN 🙂

    Posted by igordmitry | November 21, 2011, 8:13 am

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About Me

My name's Mike Krabal and I am from Jefferson County WV. I'm a thirty year old guy who still believes that you can be anything you want to be. I'm on a mission to find out exactly what that is.

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