So there I was, up early & ready for my Days Inn complimentary breakfast of Grape Nuts Flakes and no freaking spoons available. One of the ladies working in the dining room scooted off into the morning sunshine to find some but after waiting 20 minutes I gave it up and ate fattening rolls. Bummer!
I wouldn’t be riding far today as I’d located my old Navy buddy Leeman Ngar and we were going to have a 50-year reunion at his home in Monticello, about 30 miles south of Dumas.
I finished repacking my gear and loaded it onto the bike, then called Leeman to let him know I was on the way. The ride down highway 54/83 was wonderful; the morning air was warm but not yet hot and there was just a bit of visible country haze in the air. Traffic was nearly nonexistent and I poked along at a slow 50 mph enjoying myself gawking at the cows & goats grazing in green pastures.
There were also a few bayous that brought to mind alligators, old car bodies, and toothless bearded men in row boats bass fishing. Or fixing to drown someone... Maybe I’ve watched too many movies.
Leeman Ngar, older than me by months!
The last few days of intense heat hat convinced me to look for an open-faced crash helmet so Leeman drove me down to the only bike shop in town. It turned out they’d stopped selling bikes in favor of quads and only had a few helmets left, none of which I liked so I put that business on hold for awhile. We drove back to his place where I resoaked the swamp cooler vest all the while explaining how it works.... Eh? Then we said our goodbyes and off I went.
My plan was to ride east into Mississippi (remember when you were little and learned to spell that?) The idea was to stick to the smaller back roads and head towards Williamsville, about mid-way across the state. In reality what happened was I knew I wouldn’t find a bike shop with helmets on the route I’d laid out so I diverted up north to Greenville, a town of around 10,000 – 12,000 residents. I figured they’d most likely have a Kawasaki dealer but I was too late, they’d closed their doors and there were no other shops or dealerships.
Then I recalled some of the guys on the various forums I frequent mentioning buying helmets at Wal-Mart and they just happened to have a store in Greenville. It took me longer than needed to find them because Garmin & Company had the wrong location. This is one of the few glitches that occur now and then; so far on this trip it’s happened 3 or 4 times. Today was particularly annoying due to the extreme heat and to make things worse I got caught in a train crossing that delayed traffic 15 minutes. I roasted.
Finally we were rolling again and I was directed 3 ½ miles further out of the city wherein Garmin declared I’d arrived! Usually I find this humorous but not today, not in this heat. Riding back into town I stopped and asked for directions and that worked, I found them.
I now own one of those dinky little half-helmets with leather ear openings and the longest chin strap you can imagine but it’s cool and I don’t mean stylish; it’s cool as in temperature. I’m not sure how it will fare after a few hours as the fit isn’t the greatest but I’ll give it a try. At least it didn’t cost much so if I don’t like it I’ll give it to the first kid I see.
After my shopping spree was finished I checked into my room at the Rodeway Inn where for $40 you get a clean air conditioned room with WIFI, king-size bed, nice TV, fridge, and microwave. Even the water tastes OK although a bit odd in color. While I was at Wally World buying the helmet I picked up food stuffs for dinner and figure on spending the evening ingesting enough fat calories to jeopardize my health.
So there ya go… Greenville, Mississippi. Ain't life grand?