Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Mississippi Blues Trail - Part 8

The local weather report indicated Tuesday, December 29 might be our only opportunity for a scooter ride before the rain set in.  With that in mind, Eric planned a route that would get us three more Mississippi Blues Trail (MBT) markers.  Since the days are short this time of year our route would only take us about 170 miles.  We made an early lunch and were out of the house by 12:30 pm riding along in beautiful blue skies but somewhat chilly temperatures.  Unlike all the other bikes I've ridden on the street, my little Honda ADV 150 doesn't have any wind protection so you basically get blasted in the chest and shoulders with the cold wind.  We did add hand guards and I have heated grips so that helps a bit and I did have my grips on the entire ride, lol.

Our route was not particularly scenic or interesting and for the most part we stayed on two lane county highways with a 55 mph speed limit.  No problems, the scoots are quite capable of holding the 55 mph speed limit.  Well, except for hills ... the scooters slow down a bit and we have to crank the throttle wide open, hahahaha.  Good fun 😄

We passed through several small towns that we've visited before on our MBT adventures but didn't stop.  We had a goal of reaching Ashland, MS for our first MBT marker.  About 75 miles into our ride we cruised into Ashland, a tiny burg boasting a population of around 500.  The Town Square Courthouse building now hosts a museum and the grounds were nicely decorated for the Holiday Season.  

<Elvis voice>Thank you, thank you very much! </Elvis voice>

Unfortunately, the buildings surrounding the Town Square are pretty much empty and many are crumbling into eventual oblivion.

There is a Geological Survey marker on the Town Square grounds.  I always thinks these are fun to find.

And the second Time Capsule we've found on our MBT adventures!  I wonder what in the world might be hidden inside?

Another marker in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest.  Not only a Confederate Army General but he was also the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan!!!!  Wowza, what you didn't know before!!!  This plaque caught our interest because it was placed by the Woodmen of the World.  Before moving to Mississippi neither of us had ever heard of Woodmen of the World.  Now, we see cemetery markers and other monuments all over the place honoring Woodmen.

Of course, the most important marker and the reason for our ride to Ashland was the MBT marker in honor of Willie Mitchell.  

You can listen to some of Willie's instrumental music here Willie's music.

Before departing Ashland I had to make a wardrobe change!  During our 75 mile ride I got cold.  The temperature said 60 degrees or so but with no windbreak, dang, I got chilled.  Fortunately, all I had to do was pull out the heated jacket 😆.  Now wearing my heated jacket and a buff tucked around my neck I plugged in and cranked the heat controller until I was toasty warm and we could continue our adventure.  Eric said he wasn't cold but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't install heated grips at a minimum sometime soon!

Okay, off for our next MBT marker.  We now headed to Cayce, MS.   This unincorporated town is so small that if you blink you will miss it!  Truth!  However, Eric's navigation skills were spot on and he took us directly to the MBT for Rufus Thomas.  

Oh my, it was sooooooo difficult to pick a song but this one makes me laugh and want to get up and dance!!  Do The Funky Chicken!

The MBT marker was at the corner of the Fire Department where we found this plaque.  "Ride By On A Galloping Horse" 

Yes, we really did ride our scooters!  The sky here was ominous but never rained and cleared up as we returned toward Tupelo.

Now, on to our third and final MBT marker in Holly Springs, MS.   There is a beautiful Court House at the Town Square.

Unlike Ashland, Holly Springs is vibrant with many businesses located all around the square.  Some empty spaces but lots of renovation going on and a number of boutiques dot the square.  Many of the buildings have a New Orleans vibe.

We quickly located the Hill Country Blues marker. 

R. L. Burnside sings Chain of Fools.

Time for us to head home.  A straight shot on Hiway 178 but we encountered an obstacle!  The road was CLOSED!  Dang, a detour at this point would get us home after dark and I wasn't too excited about riding the little ADV150 on dark county highways! 

They had placed machinery across the road to prevent traffic from going through.  At either end of the machine were ditches full of mud and then a severe drop-off into the creek below.  Prudence dictated Eric push the scooters past the machine and through the ditches.  He had to squeeze between the front bucket and the tracks where the surface dipped.   I trooped along behind fully packing my boots with fresh mud.  Our little scooter tires were pretty well packed with mud too 😅  

And then we re-mounted our sturdy steeds and rode on through the remaining road construction weaving through the Road Closed signs.  Rebel Scooters!!!  Fuck you and your Road Closed signs, we're on Adventure Scooters and we'll go where we want!  So there 😝  Oh, also, Fuck you COVID!

Flinging mud for several miles kept me at a distance from Eric.  At first, I could feel the uneven tire because of the packed mud but eventually enough mud came off and riding returned to normal.  We arrived home at 5:00 pm, just before turning into pumpkins!

We enjoyed a hot cocoa with Kahlua (Eric added Amaretto and Eggnog to his drink!).  That warmed us up nicely.  Below is a screen shot of our route.  170 miles and a ton of fun.  The current weather forecast does not bode well for a ride so we'll just have to wait for another opportunity to search out more MBT markers.

I hope you enjoyed our little adventure and the MBT markers and history.  We're having a lot of fun learning so much about Mississippi, the Blues and the history of this area.  Who knows what we'll find next!

Cletha & Eric

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Mississippi Blues Trail - Part 7

 We woke up to a bluebird day that promised to be perfect for today's scooter adventure.  Our goal was to leave by 9 am and guess what?  We launched at 9:05 so that was pretty darn good.  The temperature was hovering around 52 degrees so I donned my heated jacket and plugged in along with cranking up the heated hand grips.  After a quick splash of fuel we were on our way to the Natchez Trace heading south.  Twenty miles later we were taking our exit and the long route to Kilmichael, MS.  I so wanted to title this post "I Wanted to Kill Patrick But We Had to Kill Michael Instead". 

As usual, Eric had planned a delightful route that kept us off any major highways.  What a fun exploration we had today.  I asked him if we had any goat trails or off pavement riding and he replied not today, just small, rural highways and roads.  And then...this happened 😅

It was only a few miles and for the most part the surface was hard but of course there were those sections of chunky monkey rocks, several sections of washboard and a few areas of deeper, loose gravel. I survived 😏

Before long we reached the tiny burg of Kilmichael.  Really, really tiny.  As in there isn't anything there but for a beautiful park, a tiny City Hall, an even tinier public Library and a closed restaurant.  We easily located our target, the Mississippi Blues Trail (MBT) marker. B.B. King's Roots 

Wiki info on B.B. King Lucille is the name American blues musician B.B. King gave to his guitars. They were usually black Gibson guitars similar to the ES-345-355, and Gibson introduced a B.B. King custom model in 1980.  And one of his most known songs The Thrill is Gone.  Dude, doesn't get much better than B.B. King!!!!!!

The Kilmichael town park was very festively decorated and we enjoyed taking a stroll around.  Lots of creativity and imagination!

This was my favorite, hahahaha!  Effin' Covid!

Since the only restaurant in Kilmichael had closed and was for sale we had to scooter on to Winona, MS for lunch and another MBT marker.  A short 10 or so miles later we landed in Winona and the restaurant called "Tracks" because it's an old railroad station that is oddly enough right next to the train tracks 😄

Sorry, we forgot to take any food pictures.  I was happy to see this place practicing Covid protocol.  The food was good but not over the top fantastic.  Just simple fare.  I had a child's cheeseburger because their regular burgers were 1/3 or more and that's just way too much for me!  Eric had a Philly Cheesesteak with onion rings.  Now, I do have to say the onion rings were super, duper delicious!  Homemade - no frozen bag of rings here!

They have a little free Library in front of the cafe.

Also, we found this very interesting tidbit of history in Winona.

Having sated our appetites we remounted the little Honda ADV150 scooters after stowing my heated jacket.  (Warning to Fran K. to have a seat because this will knock your socks off!)  I figured I wouldn't need any more heated gear because the day was warming up to a toasty 77 degrees!!!!

By the way, today was the first time using both the heated grips and jacket together on the scooter so I had been watching the volt meter to make sure I wasn't over taxing the little beast.  Nope - no problemo - the draw on the electrical system was minimal.  The volt meter bounced between 14.2 volts to 13.7 volts.  Yippee!  I can now be comfortable and secure the scooter can handle the draw!

Back to the adventure.  Not far down the road from Tracks we found our MBT marker.  Pops Staples

Wiki on Pops Staples and a bit of the Blues Down in Mississippi.  LOL, Pops given name was Roebuck and guess what?  His brother's name was Sears.  OMG, when I found that tidbit I burst out laughing.  How fun!!  😂😂😂

In the same place as Pops Staple's MBT marker we found a Blue Star Memorial!

From Winona we headed to Grenada where we hoped to score three more MBT markers.  A rather uneventful ride on some lovely back roads with nothing but clear skies and warm temperatures.  A perfect day for a scooter adventure!

Upon our arrival in Grenada we rode into a rather sketchy neighborhood to grab the Magic Slim MBT marker.

Wiki on Magic Slim and some Magic Slim Blues Going to Mississippi.

A shot of the hood.  A row of tiny shotgun houses.

Next was the Grenada Town Square for another MBT marker.  The Square was nicely decorated for Christmas.

Lots of monuments and plaques dotted the town square.  We found this Confederate statue covered up.  Maybe it needs repair?  More likely a sign of the times.

We also found a clock tower with no clock!

The Square also had the MBT marker.  Greneda Blues.
We found several interesting plaques and memorials at the Grenada Town Square.

A Time Capsule!!!!  Wowza!

Our next and final MBT marker was about five miles down the road.  Magic Sam.

Wiki on Magic Sam and some Blues Easy Baby.

This is the house just outside of Grenada where he lived.

Having captured all five MBT markers it was time to head home.  Our route eventually put us on the Natchez Trace (surprise!!) where we took a quick bootie break at the Bynum Mounds.  

And then we were home just before 4:30 after a 245 mile scooter adventure!  We have now visited 28 MBT markers.  We only have 180 to go unless they add more 😆😆

I was tickled we got out on the scooters today and that the weather was simply perfect.  We scored 5 new MBT markers, had a decent lunch, learned a bit of Mississippi history and rode a bunch of new to us roads.  I'm also delighted that my heated jacket and grips work just fine on the ADV150.  Hopefully we will get another window of nice weather soon so we can continue the MBT adventure.

Thank you so very much for following along.  I hope you enjoyed our little adventure.

Here's a map of today's scooter adventure ;-)

Cletha & Eric