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Had a nice visit with family in Frisco and among other things took in a major league baseball game and viewed a high school football game from the press box. High School football on a Friday night in Texas! Hooah!
DAY 9: The Trip Back
I left Frisco about 0800 or so heading east on the Dallas tollroad to pick up Interstate 635 which would lead me to US 80 and then on to Interstate 20 east. Riding directly into the sun makes it almost impossible to read the road signs, but the Texas highway people paint large signs directly on the highway which was a great help (wish they'd do that in Mississippi as it would have saved me 150 miles). The Dallas drivers were still not fully awake and other than one clown in a dually that tried to run me off a flyover the ride out was unremarkable - other than hot.
My first fuel stop was in Wills Point, Texas at Robertson's smoked ham store. The pump had to be at least 30 years old. A very pleasant woman in her late 30's who I took to be Mrs. Robertson was quite interested in the bike trip and talked about riding in Virginia. Hmm. Smoked ham + riding in Virginia = transplanted Virginian, I think. I didn't ask. The next stop for food and fuel was Haughton, Louisiana, just east of Shreveport which is a Pilot travel center and a Hardee's fast food joint. I ate a very big sandwich at Hardee's - which I later would regret - and decided to get off the interstate for awhile and ride along US 80 to see some local sites. Just east of a town with wall to wall red lights and stop signs (Minden) I realized that it was too hot for me to be stopping and going and I jumped back on the Interstate. By the time I got to Ruston I was feeling a little woozy from the heat and the big lunch so I stopped at a Haji store, drank about a quart of Gatorade, rested for half an hour and continued on, but I had had it physically for the day. The heat was just too much. I decided to stop at Monroe, Louisiana and rented a room for the night at one of those cookie cutter Interstate hotels, cleaned up and walked over to the Outback Steak House nearby. I ordered and drank two adult beverages before consuming the grilled salmon which was prominently displayed on the menu, paid the tab and walked back to the hotel and turned in for the night.
Or so I thought. The kitchen folks at the Monroe Outback need to tighten up their hand washing technique. About an hour after retiring I was awakened with a sudden urge to make a head call. A little lower GI distress had to be attended to several times that night, meaning 1) I'll never eat at an Outback again, and 2) a late start the next day.
I had planned to take a more northerly route through Atlanta coming back, as the Weather Channel was predicting wall to wall rain along the southern Interstate 10 corridor, but by the time I reached Jackson, Mississippi the weather to the south looked pretty promising. I was still having trouble reading the signs while looking into the sun, and missed my turnoff to pick up US 49 south. I decided to stay on Interstate 20 to Meridian and then see about a more southerly route. About 10 miles or so west of Meridian I came across the interchange for Interstate 59 south to Laurel and I jumped on it. The highway was virtually deserted so I cranked up Connie to make up for the time I had lost at Jackson. At Laurel I was reunited with US 49 and I took it all the way down to Gulfport, jumped on Interstate 10 and worked east past Biloxi and Pascagoula and into Alabama. I had just ridden through Mobile when I decided I'd had enough for the day and stopped for the night in Daphne. Two adult beverages and a very nice meal at O'Charley's followed and I slept for 12 hours non stop.
Daphne is just west of Pensacola, so I figured to make this my last day on the road. The rest of the trip was more of the same with two exceptions: Lunch consisted of only a Baby Ruth and some Gatorade, and I ran into some moderate rain just east of Tallahassee. I was too hot to don the rain gear and welcomed those little drops getting me wet. I swear that cars that I passed could probably hear the sizzle as the water hit me!
Well, there it is. I arrived home eight pounds lighter at about 1700, vowing to take a breather from motorcycling for awhile.