New Helmet Ride

For the past couple of years I have been struggling with my helmet. The helmet is the third Shoei Dual Sport I have had and for some reason this one refused to break in. Maybe my head has changed or the manufacturing process has changed a bit. In either case I was tired of getting serious TMJ pain and a headache after only two or three hours so I bit the bullet yesterday and purchased the Shoei GT Air 2 you see below.

I spent three hours with this helmet on and had no issues. The three hours were spent driving the backroads of North Mississippi. Several of the roads were old highways that connect counties or cities. One road was the Marshall Tate road and another one was the Oxford Memphis. Tiny roads winding through areas that I haven’t been on.

On one of the country roads in Marshall County I came upon this memorial. As I drove up I thought it was about the Civil War. There are several sites associated with the Civil War and the Blues Trail. Further investigation showed it was the site where Marshall County Sheriff Osborne Bell was killed while assisting a Deputy arrest a suspect on drug related charges. The site is well maintained.

One of my destinations was to check out a pond where I frequently fish.

If you’re from North Mississippi you may recognize this pond. Currently the water is too high and muddy for decent fishing. I consider myself a novice bass fisherman and my fishing partner Hal said to have patience…my time would come. He was correct. Two weeks ago I caught two bass at 5.5 pounds and 5.6 pounds in this pond. So now I’ve moved from novice bass fisherman to lucky novice bass fisherman.

According to my wife Bottle Trees used to be a common site in the south. When Africans were brought to this country they created bottle trees from limbs found outside their quarters or house. They adorned them with glass bottles scavenged from trash piles. Blue bottle were coveted because they repelled evil and trapped night spirits to be destroyed by the morning sun.

Across this area and others as well there are many abandoned houses. I took this picture but there are several that are older in the area.

This field is close to home. Many of the fields are this color during the spring. The flowers may be Butterweed but I’m not too sure…they are pretty.

It wasn’t a long ride, 130 miles, but it did accomplish the intended outcome…to see if the helmet would cause any problems. It didn’t for which I’m grateful. It’s been a while since I posted but I hope to get in more rides this year. God bless and safe riding.

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Traces – Peyton MS, Tunica County

I decided it was time to ride and see if I could find another ghost town or a town that’s no longer there. My destination this morning was such a town. Peyton Mississippi is located in Tunica County and was a port town on the Mississippi River.

It was a nice ride to the Delta with temps in the low 70s. I researched the town, plotted the GPS coordinates and headed west. I had some concerns about finding where the the town because, according to the online maps, the roads looked questionable. That might be fun.

The Delta…flat, usually hot this time of year, with miles and miles of fields. This shot is west of Senatobia after my encounter with the local Police Department. The small towns in Mississippi and Tennessee have a city limit and then have a incorporation limit. Yesterday while departing Senatobia, I began to accelerate once I left the town. There were no houses around but I was still in the incorporated section of town (I didn’t realize that). Coming toward me was a Senatobia police car and he lit the lights just for a second and pulled over. I pulled over and waited for him to turn around and come up behind me. I saw his hand waving from the open drivers window so I turned around and pulled up beside him. He was very nice and just wanted me so slow down until I was out of town. I thanked him and headed back west. I guess I need to pay more attention to the incorporated city limits.

I passed through Evansville heading toward the location of Peyton. The map I posted stops at Evansville but the location of Peyton is roughly six more miles west. Heading west the road crossed over a section of swamp. Just beyond this picture there was a family on the side of the road fishing. They hadn’t caught anything yet but told me on previous times fishing there they had caught bass, bream, and catfish.

The end of the road and still 8 tenths of a mile from the location of Peyton MS. The levy road was posted and I was sorely tempted to drive along until I could go no further. However, being a law abiding citizen (except with incorporated city limits), I decided to stop here.

Enjoyed an airshow while on the Levy road. This crop-duster was working a field on the other side of the Levy.

There are lots of mounds throughout Mississippi and I have stopped as several. Unfortunately this one is on private land. In addition it could not be seen because of the high grass. Check this link for more on the Mounds located in Mississippi.

Mound Builders of Mississippi

After this stop I headed back home. The total trip was 167 miles. The Delta is a great place to explore. The Blues Highway runs up the Delta along with interesting places to eat and visit with folks. I’m looking forward to when COVID 19 done and I can do more exploring and eating what the Delta has to offer. Until next time….God Bless and ride safe.

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Bay Springs Lake Loop

I did a mile loop yesterday to explore Bay Springs Lake on the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. I’ve been considering fishing on the lake and the feasibility of using my fishing kayak. When I set out on the ride the weather was clear and temps in the mid-forties. Overall a nice day for a ride.

These two buildings, a couple of miles apart, are located on Hwy 4 between Ashland in Benton County and Ripley in Tippah county. I wondered if at some time in the past they were a community or small town. My guess is that at some point there was a collection of homes in the area that never got large enough to be incorporated into a community. I did some research but found nothing. Perhaps something to explore in the future.

This photo was taken at one of the boat ramps along the western edge of the lake. This ramp is located 4 miles from the locks and has a very interesting area just a short distance from the ramp that looks perfect for kayak fishing. I suspect I’ll be driving over at some point in the future to do some fly fishing. After doing some more exploring I’ll be heading for the Natchez Trace to begin working my way home.

There are mounds located in several area in Mississippi. I didn’t realize the extend of the indian trade and trade routes that passed through this area. Well worth investigating.

Additional Information can be found at:

Time for a late lunch. This gem is about 20 miles from my house and I’ve been wanting to try it. It wasn’t bad. I had a sausage sandwich with their sauce. They asked me if I wanted sweet or hot sauce…I chose hot. The sandwich was good and the sauce did leave a little bit of an after burn. Next time I’ll try the ribs and see if they’re as good as mine.

6+ hours on the bike today with a total of 240 miles. A good ride with the bonus of locating a future kayak fishing spot with perhaps some camping. Stay tuned…..

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Traces – Dogtown (Lafayette County) & Winborn (Benton County)

Headed out this morning to find a couple of places that are no longer incorporated. According to Mississippi they are ghost towns despited some folks still living in the area. Below is a map of today’s ride.

All good rides should start at a coffee shop.

Before Christmas the coffee shop in Holly Springs closed. However Marie and her husband Mark are in full construction mode and on their way to opening up a new coffee shop. “Coffee in Holly” will open in what will affectionately be known as “the Lodge”. I stopped by this morning and Marie gave me the tour as she explained her vision for the future. As a sell-proclaimed coffee expert (snob) I can say without a doubt that it will be one of the best coffee shops I’ve visited in my travels. I am looking forward to the day it opens. Now on to Dogtown.

According to my directions and the map, this is what is left of Dogtown. I will have to check because according to Google all that is left of Dogtown is a White’s grocery which may be the building in the back. Just not sure…

Gas station lunch. As a general rule gas station food, especially the chicken, is very good in the state of Mississippi. While this gas station had chicken I felt the urge to have a sausage. I was very tasty.

My final stop was the former community of Winborn. I didn’t find much about the history of Winborn. According to an ancestry website the town of Reed’s Switch was renamed Winborn in the early 1900s after Joseph Winborn. Joseph Winborn was the third sheriff of Benton County and served for 22 years.

I enjoy exploring and looking for communities that are no longer in there even though there may be some houses in the area. As I expand my rides this summer I plan on including some interesting place to eat that I’ve found on Mississippi Obscura, a website that explores the experiences and history of the state. Today’s ride was 250 miles with temperatures in the mid 50s and very enjoyable…stay tuned.

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Traces – Holcut MS in Tishomingo County

Went on a 235 mile ride today to the site of Holcut MS in Tishomingo County. In 1976 the US Army Corps of Engineers bought out and demolished the town because it lay in the path of the Divide Cut, a 29 mile section of canal for the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway.

A shot of the countryside between Holly Springs and Ashland along highway 4. As you can see it was a perfect day for riding.

Lunch in Martyville MS. The main course was a slugburger with an Almond Joy for desert. The slug burger was a bit different from others that I’ve had but still tasty. At this point I’m was only about 10 miles from Holcut…I just didn’t know it.

Above is the memorial to the community of Holcut. During more prosperous days, Holcut was a pass-through for railway system. From here it’s only about 12 miles to Iuka, the County Seat of Tishomingo County. My route from here is to Hwy 72 at Iuka then east until Hwy 2. As I rode away I wondered how much the residents of Holcut were given for their property…and if it was fair compensation for being uprooted and forced to move. I suspect not but I could be wrong.

The Tennessee Tombigbee waterway below the Holcut marker. The waterway is a 232 mile long channel that runs from the Tennessee river to the Tombigbee river system which empties into Mobile bay on the Gulf of Mexico.

The country along Hwy 2 between Kossuth (southwest of Corinth) and Ripley MS.

A overview of today’s ride. It was nice to do some exploring before the weather moves in. The forecast for Friday evening, Saturday, and into Sunday is for severe weather with possible of high winds, possible flooding, and possible tornadoes. It could get busy. Blessings to all, be safe, and stay tuned for the next Traces.

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Traces – Marshall County Mississippi

A few weeks back I was on a short ride and drove by an old abandoned gas station. That old gas station started me thinking about towns in north Mississippi that are no longer incorporated or may not exist any more. I thought it might be an interesting endeavor to search for the old places and get a little background history of each place. Today I drove around Marshall County looking for traces of three towns. Two of the towns are still there but no longer incorporated and the third town I could not find.

The first town I searched for was a place called Tallaloosa, roughly 8 miles southwest of Holly Springs.

At the height of its prosperity, Tallaloosa had 2 or 3 small stores and a few families in residence. The town was incorporated by legislation in 1838 even though it never gained much prominence. Eventually the town was absorbed by Holly Springs sometime before the war between the states. The picture is not of the actual site but is relatively close. The land in this area is posted so I was unable to do any exploring. It would have been nice to find maybe some old foundations. Oh well….

The next town was Waterford, off old Hwy 7 west of Holly Springs. Waterford is small community and while there are several houses in the area, it’s no longer incorporated.

Waterford was located on the Illinois Central RR and at one time was a lively little town. The town was incorporated by the state legislature in 1838. In the early days this town gained prominence by being the drill area for the militia located in this part of north Mississippi.

The final town I went looking for was Hudsonville.

The town, located on the stage road that ran from LaGrange TN to Holly Springs MS, was incorporated between 1838 and 1844. According to local history the village seemed to spring up in 1837 as if by magic. In its heyday the town contained several stores and new houses.

In searching for the towns I used a combination of GPS coordinates if available, old maps from the years 1878 and 1909, and a current Mississippi Gazetteer. The locations of the towns above are relatively accurate but leave some room for error because of inaccessibility. I hope you enjoyed this episode of Traces. Please feel free to leave any comments or ways I could make it better. Thanks and stay tuned.

The above information came from Extinct Towns and Villages of Marshall County.

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Made it Home – Day 6

Got an early start out of Arkadelphia Arkansas heading toward Malvern for breakfast. This road is part of the Arkansas Civil War Trail and this section has to do with a failed expedition by Union General Steele. It’s an interesting read and the road is great on a bike.

The Place restaurant in Malvern where I enjoyed an excellent breakfast and good conversation with Jamie who waited on my table. She liked my bike and often rides with her boyfriend who has a Goldwing. I also had a good visit with the owner and his wife. Stop and enjoy a meal if you get the chance.

Arkansas country side between Malvern and Sheridan. It was here that I started to encounter humidity and temperatures around 85 degrees.

The bridge over the Mississippi river at West Helena Arkansas.

Welcome to Mississippi. At this point I’m about 90 minutes from home. While here I met a gentleman my age who rides pavement and dirt. He likes his KLR and also has a DRZ. He’s done the TAT and several other road trips and wants to do the divide trail. A nice guy who lives about an hour from me. Hmmm….

Home….with a trip total of just over 5000 miles. The bike ran flawlessly. I enjoyed a great visit with Sam, Casey and family and caught a lot of trout as well. On top of that I saw some parts of the country that I’ve never seen. I don’t know when the next trip will be but stay tuned….

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Heading Home Day 5

I left Altus Oklahoma this morning just before 8am headed toward the Arkansas border. The late start was because I had breakfast with another rider who spent the night. We met this morning as he loaded his bike, a road a Yamaha Venture. We talked different rides we had done. It turned out we had ridden many of the same roads. The thing that impressed me was his average day was between 600 and 800 miles. Of course the Venture is heavy (800 lbs) and according to him rides like a luxury car. On the way out of town I stopped to get this picture for Gail, one of my Red Cross compadres.

Highway 70 heading east out of Davidson Oklahoma. This was my road for just over 2 hours…temps were climbing (102) and it got windy. (I can see for miles and miles and miles….).

Lake Texahoma outside of Durant Oklahoma. The farther east I rode the better the roads (more curves) and less wind made for an enjoyable ride. Still hot though.

Lunch and hydration stop 80 miles west of De Queen Arkansas on Hwy 70. Lunch was brisket tacos. The tacos were just brisket meat in a tortilla…very tasty with Picante sauce.

In Arkansas just outside of De Queen. I ended the days ride in Arkadelphia with a total of 451 miles. The length of the ride was not intentional. I just couldn’t find a place in Glenwood. All in all a good ride. Tomorrow I should be home. Stay tuned…

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Heading Home Day 4

About 1/2 way between Garden City Kansas and Dodge City Kansas was this historical stop. As noted earlier this highway follows the Santa Fe Trail. This is on a little hill looking south toward the Arkansas river.

This is the reason I stopped. I wanted to see the tracks.

The wooden bridges you see in the picture go over the ruts the wagons made on the trail. Time and erosion have taken their toll. While the ruts are no longer visible the indentations and changes in grass color clearly mark the wagon paths.

The lighter grass indicates the wagon paths. Wagons traveled an average of 18 to 21 miles a day so the journey would take anywhere from 6 to 10 weeks. For 60 years the 900 mile Santa Fe trail linked the eastern states and the southwest together. This hill was also the campsite for the survey team sent out in 1825 to survey the trail.

There are lots of windmills in this area that generate electricity. I passed a factory in Garden City that made the giant windmill blades so I thought I would add this picture. I suspect it’s a bit of a challenge to haul one of these.

In Oklahoma…and it’s hot, windy, and flat. By the end of the day temperatures will reach 102.

In Shattuck OK there is a windmill museum. There are some pretty interesting windmills on the grounds.

Much of the road was like this…long, straight, not much traffic, plus hot and windy. I stopped in the middle of the road for this picture. The last 50 miles into Altus OK seemed to stretch on forever. For some reason the song “I Can See for Miles” by the Who kept popping into my head. Tomorrow I finish Oklahoma and should be spending the night somewhere in Arkansas. 305 total miles for the day. Stay tuned…

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Heading Home Day 3

Got a good nights sleep and then for breakfast I went to the “W Cafe” (recommended by Naomi, the woman working the desk at the hotel).

While I was eating breakfast another bike (KLR 650) pulled up and parked next to mine. The rider joined me for breakfast. His name was Michael Lee and he was on a RTW tour. (Round The World) He had been to Africa, Alaska, and I think Australia. He’s on a new bike because it was cheaper to by a new one than repair his old one that broke down in Africa. As soon as he gets New York registration he’s heading south down to Panama and then South America. We had a great visit…safe travels brother.

Heading up Monarch Pass. The top picture is looking back and next one looking up.

The top of Monarch Pass, 11,312 feet.

Stopped for coffee at the Coffee Caboose in Salida CO. Great coffee…heading for eastern Colorado next.

Hwy 50 winds through this canyon as it heads east. A great ride with lots of folks floating the river.

Welcome to eastern Colorado. I took this shot from the top of an overpass…the highest point in the local area.

Hwy 50 follows the path of the Santa Fe Trail. At some points there are signs that indicate the road was built over the trail. I tried to imagine what it was like driving a wagon along this route 100+ years ago. It took men and women of incredible strength and perseverance to make the journey.

I crossed the Arkansas river several times today. At a stop along the highway just outside of Garden City Kansas.

Kansas…it’s really flat, hot, and windy. Today’s ride was just over 400 miles with the temperature reaching 101. Stay tuned…

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