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Old 04-16-2013, 08:18 PM   #61
mashrider
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I am in did you make it??
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Old 04-17-2013, 04:59 AM   #62
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America.....by Helix

I actually made it out of Giddings, Texas after 10 days off the road!

Now, before my in-laws threaten to kill me, I want to tell you that Giddings was always a stop on this trip. It was originally planned for 4, maybe 5, days. Stop, visit with family and help Edward with his house. And, I'm certainly thankful that I was able to limp a badly broken scooter into a town where I had a great support system. And, I'm certainly very grateful for all their help, from a place to stay to the loan of a vehicle. I'm hoping that my leaving shortly after the Helix was repaired didn't seem too abrupt to them. Hopefully not, I'll be back this way come September.

It seems like I rode out of Giddings several weeks ago when, in fact, it was only three days ago. I left in the early afternoon of this past Sunday. I was headed just down the road to Houston. My son Marc, and his family, just recently moved to Houston from Alaska.

The ride from Giddings to Houston was like riding any freeway that you've ever been on. It's not actually a freeway but it sure looks and feels like it.
Years ago, back in the 70's, I lived in Houston, way back before it looked like it does now. For those of you who live in the Houston area, when I lived there, the Loop 610 bridge over the Houston ship channel wasn't there. The Beltway only existed between between I-45 and Hwy 59. And there was lots of woods between FM 1960 and Conroe. Now, the 610 bridge has been there almost 40 years, the Beltway is a huge toll road, Hwy 59 right there is now I-69 and the woods have long since been bulldozed into oblivion. I did go by to see if my old house is still there and it is, but I'm not sure I'd ever want to move back to the old neighborhood.

It was around 5pm when I finally found Marc's house. We had a real nice visit. Now, please indulge grandpop because I just have to post a picture of the two bestest grandkids in the entire world! Oops, sorry, I meant to say that they're the two bestest grandkids in MY world. I'm sure that your grandkids are the bestest in your world.



Now, tell me that the little guy doesn't look like the E-trade baby. His hair grew in and they fired him! BTW, the E-trade baby's name is Ash and his big brother is Milo. I just wanted to throw that in, just in case you see them in the park.

I tried for very frustrating 5 hours to get something posted yesterday. Way back when, I complained about how long it took me to get on the road each morning because I was writing up the ride reports in the wee hours of the am. Now, it looks like that was the way to go. Maybe my wifi problems are related to the motels I'm staying at having lots of guests, all trying to file ride reports.

It's about time for me to sponge up as much food as I possibly can from the free motel breakfast.

Afterwards, I'll try to get you from Houston to Ferriday, Louisiana, in my continuing search for America.....by Helix!
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:04 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by mashrider View Post
I am in did you make it??

I did Mashrider. I just posted the ride report that takes me from Giddings to Houston.

Actually, right now, I'm in your great state of Alabama, in Mobile. I'm hoping to post the next ride report before riding into Florida later this morning.
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Old 04-17-2013, 05:36 AM   #64
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great report and thanks for sharing. If all the cards line up, I plan on doing what remains of the old 90/80 route to California this summer. Old memories of driving it in my '54 Ford in '64.
As per US 50 through Nevada being the loneliest hiway, sheesh, I've been on many very lonely hiways out west. Be hard to rate one over the other.
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:16 AM   #65
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America.....by Helix

The motel that I'd picked to stay at in Houston advertised free breakfast. Their idea of a free breakfast consisted of coffee and prepackaged pastries.

Since I don't drink coffee, I had to settle for the breakfast of all cross country scooter people!


In getting directions to my son's house last night, he'd told me to turn left on Beltway 8. I said, hey, the Beltway is a toll road and I don't want to ride that. No, just ride the frontage road till you get to my street.

In leaving Houston, I thought I'd just ride the frontage road of the Beltway till I got to Hwy 59, then turn north.

Having lived in Houston way back in the Dark Ages of the 1970's, I still recognized a lot of the street names. Before I got to the Beltway, I recognized the name, Aldine Bender. I knew that Aldine Bender would take me across north Houston to Hwy 59. I figured that riding a local "back" road would be better than riding the Beltway frontage road. Time passes much too quickly. Instead of the quiet, quaint two lane back road that I remember, I rode a 7 lane road/highway across north Houston. Same name but not what I remember.

When I got to what I remember as Highway 59, I turned north towards the piney woods of east Texas. I wasn't till later, when a sign said that I-69 ended and the highway moved me over to what a mile previous had been the frontage road, that I realized that I had actually been on I-69. I had been seeing signs for the "future I-69 corridor" ever since leaving McAllen, Texas. Somebody told me that the future I-69 will someday run from McAllen, Texas to, I think, Chicago.

Before leaving Houston, I had e-mailed a cousin-in-law who lives in Lufkin as I thought that my ride today would take me up to Lufkin and right past her house. I'd hate for her to find out later that I ridden right past her house and hadn't even stopped in to, at least, say hi. As I approached Livingston, Texas, I found out that I'd made a mistake. I was turning right onto Hwy 190 in Livingston, not Lufkin. Hey, if you've seen one L word, you've pretty much seen them all!

Oops, what do I do now? Just out side of Livingston, I pulled over to check my e-mail on the smartphone that I'm way to dumb to have. I figured that if she'd responded to my e-mail, I'd turn around and head to Lufkin. Thankfully, no response. I later found out that she only checks her e-mail once a week. Whew, made it!

Back there, Livingston, Texas.



Up there, my future.......and Ferriday, Louisiana!


But in Woodville, Texas, I discovered the........


Being the history geek that I am, how could I pass up the chance to walk through a bit of east Texas history.

The place was started by a guy whose name I've forgotten. He started by moving in several old building and building others from their original blueprints. He also started collecting the antiques that he used to make the building authentic. In one of the buildings, the Tolar Kitchen, a nice lady gave me a personal tour. She also told me that the church that you can see at the end of the street is original. It was disassembled, moved and reconstructed. When they put it back together, they had to make it 4' narrower and 4' shorter so it would fit the sight.


All along the street are blacksmith shops, merchantile stores, dentist and doctors offices but my favorite was the barber shop.

My mother was a barber for 40 years so I had to take a picture of this place. Note the spittoon. Since mom's barber shop was always in our house, we never had a spittoon. In the back room, there was a copper bathtub. Remember all those old westerns where the sign on the front of the barber shop advertised for haircuts and baths? Well, this was the place.

In another building I saw some pictures on the wall....



Doctor Pope. If you've got really good eyes, you can read in the next picture that Doctor Pope was the only doctor in a little east Texas town when Howard Hughes's mother, very much pregnant at the time, rode into town. It was Doctor Pope, so the paper claims, who really delivered the future billionaire. The next day, the Hughes's rode into Houston and history has recorded that Howard Hughes was born in Houston. You be the judge as to the real "rest of the story".



I've heard it said that you're never too learn. In my case, I've always wondered about that but, at the Heritage Village Museum, I actually learned something that I did not know.

We've all heard the term "Basket Case". I never knew where that term came from. Apparently, in the Civil War, the guys who cleaned up the battlefields after the battles would use wicker baskets to carry the wounded, who couldn't get themselves to an aid station, off the battlefield. If they picked you up, you were referred to as a "basket case".
If you died as they carried you to the aid station/hospital, they'd dump you out and go back for somebody who was still alive. In some Civil War battles, the dead and wounded numbered in the 10's of thousands. This job would take days, if not weeks, to do. It's impossible to imagine what a battlefield would smell like after a week.

Here's a basket case.....




After the barbershop, my next favorite building was the school house. After writing on the blackboard, the teacher made me sit in the corner for an hour wearing the dunce cap that you see on the desk.



One last picture from the Heritage Museum.......

The Heritage Museum is a great place to visit, even if you're not a history buff like me. I highly recommend it.....but buy your postcards somewhere else, they're very high priced here!

One last picture in this ride report. Does anybody watch American Idol? I don't, so I didn't know who Kree is, or was. There were shirts for sale at the museum with her picture on them. Then, as I rode out of Woodville, Texas, I saw this sign. I later found out that she's a local girl. I think, as of a few days ago, she was still on the show. For the sake of all the good folks of Woodville, Texas, I hope she does well. Since I'll never know otherwise, maybe somebody who actually watches the show can let me know how she's doing.....or did.


Leaving Woodville.....never to be heard from again. Gosh, I hope that's not right.

Up ahead.....Ferriday, Louisiana......hometown of Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart......in the continuing saga of America.....by Helix!
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:03 PM   #66
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Too much fun!

Ha! You're having such a great ride I'm thinking you may just head south to fulfill your "Bucket List"! Please remember we're supposed to be at the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan, NY around 0600 on May 4th.
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Old 04-21-2013, 08:36 AM   #67
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Good times, thank you for sharing your adventure!
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:04 PM   #68
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America.....by Helix

Here's hoping that the wifi at this Super 8 motel holds up till I finish at least one new ride report.

Leaving Woodville, Texas......

I stopped to fill up the scooter for my ride east out of Woodville, Texas and thought I'd take a picture of the new scooter configuration. When I left Tucson, I had both the topcase and the Helix trunk full as well as the blue sea bag, which was strapped to the seat behind me. During my 10 days of down time in Giddings, I'd had my old tank bag from my Honda Shadow mailed out. I wanted to try to spread the stuff around since the topcase that use fairly regularly, was getting over stuffed.

Here's how things are loaded now.....


The "new to this trip" tank bag now holds my rain gear, a few maps and all those Clif Bars that I bought for the trip.

Another east Texas county courthouse, which I seem to have trouble passing without taking a picture.




Right across the street from the courthouse is the Powell Hotel. It seems like most of the towns in east Texas have changed very little from what they looked like 50 or 75 years ago. Maybe that's because they're too small to have a Walmart!


From Newton, I ride east on Hwy 190, towards the town of Jasper. A few miles further on, I cross the Sabine River and ride into Louisiana.

A turn north at DeRidder, Louisiana takes me to Leesville, a town that I'll bet a few readers will remember as the home of Ft. Polk. Just north of Leesville, I pick up Hwy 28 for the ride west to Ferriday, Louisiana.

Hwy 28 merges into Hwy 84 and I continue on for 26 miles to Ferriday. I think I mentioned before the three favorite sons of Ferriday, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley and the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart. They are the reason that I made Ferriday a stop on this trip.

I arrive in Ferriday around 5pm and figure I'd better look for a place to stay. At the main intersection in town, Highways 84 and 15, I turn right and ride out of town, no motels. I ride back to town and turn right again. This is the main street of town and only goes two blocks. No motels. Back to the main intersection and I turn right again. Half mile up the road, I see the Relax Inn. It looks like a place that's slowly sliding into oblivion. I decide to ride out of town on the road that I rode into town on....again no motels!

It looks like it's the Relax Inn or nothing, so I go back and get a room. It turns out to be a motel in the ever lengthening chain of curry motels. The sign out front said "free wifi". Yes, there was wifi......if you used it in the lobby, which had no A/C and felt like a sauna in the Louisiana humidity. In room 108, there was no wifi!

In the morning, when I turned the room key in I asked about a cafe. The guy at the window pointed to the convienence store across the street and mumbled in barely understandable english, "Good Coffee". Great, I think, I don't drink coffee. Instead I ride off in search of a cafe that doesn't serve cracklins or chitlins. What do I find.....nothing. Finally, I go back to the convienence store. There I ask a guy who's just getting out of a very big Ford F-150 where a guy might find a cafe. He says that there a little place just down the street but if I want some really good food, I need to head to a place called Nikki's, which is about 10 miles down the road in Vidalia. Since it's still dark out and I've got time to kill, it's off to Nikki's.

My Western Omelet is very good but I forgot to get a picture to post.

While I'd been driving around looking for a place to stay last night, I'd stumbled across the Delta Music Museum. It was located on the main street of Ferriday, in the old post office. It opens at 9am and I was way early so I took a picture of Main Street, Ferriday, Louisiana at 8am on a Tuesday morning.

The cars at the end of the street are actually on the other side of Hwy 84. There's not much traffic in downtown Ferriday.

Here is where you have to visualize a post office building that was probably built back in the 30's/40's. I walked across the street to take a picture but must not have pushed the button all the way in. Oops!

The Delta Music Museum is probably the only reason one needs to go to Ferriday, unless, of course, you have relatives there. Even then, I'd think twice about it. But, the real reason that I went to Ferriday was that I'd discovered, on the internet, that one of Jerry Lee Lewis's sisters ran a combination liquor store/Jerry Lee Lewis museum.

(Side note...a few years ago, I'd discovered that Waylon Jennings brother ran a combination liquor store/Waylon Jennings Museum in Littlefield, Texas, Waylon's hometown. Naturally, I had to go there.)

This is the Lewis house. I wasn't able to find out if this was the house that Jerry Lee actually grew up in or just a house that his sister owned.
There was a sign that said the museum was open from 1 to 6pm. I was there at 10am. The very nice lady at the Delta Music Museum told me that the Lewis house had rather odd hours and the price to get in varied from free to donations only to $10 a head, depending on the mood of Jerry Lee sister at the time you got there.

I was told that there are some priceless pieces of Jerry Lee memorabilia in the house but it just there in a rather haphazard fashion.

This sign kind of sums up the Lewis House......


A view of the drive-thru part of the museum.....


I walked around the house and got to walk into the drive thru and it's quite clear that it hasn't been open in a while.


This is a replica of Haney's Big House, a juke joint where Jerry Lee Lewis used to hang out as a kid. The original was open from 1940 through 1964.


On my way out of Ferriday, I passed this meat market and had to take a picture.


In case you can't read the sign in the window, here's a closer picture.....

The nice lady in the Delta Music Museum told me that fresh raccoon is quite the delicasy(sic).

Here's another picture that I just couldn't resist taking. Now,I've traveled hundreds of thousands of miles, lived all over the country but I've never seen a gas station like this one. Here, you pull right up to the front of the store to fill up.


A few miles up the road, I cross the Mississippi River into the state of Mississippi.


Tomorrow, more on my trip around America.....by Helix!
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:26 PM   #69
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America.....by Helix

I enter Mississippi at Natchez. I know that there is a bunch of stuff that I'd love to see in Mississippi but this traveling by scooter is slower than I'd planned on. In my head, my travel reference was traveling by pickup...on the interstate. Now, I was traveling mainly by back roads, figuring that the other end of the trip would be on all interstates.

A few miles after leaving Natchez, I come across this sign.....

This sign means absolutely nothing to anyone but me. On the internet, I go by TucsonStan but my real first name is Stanton. A few years ago, I came up with the idea of trying to see every town or county in the U.S. that are named Stanton. I've been to Stanton, Delaware....Stanton, California....Stanton, Texas, where I got my picture taken with the city manager. I've also been to Stanton County, Kansas.

When I saw the sign, I just had to go there, even though it was a bit out of the way.

I first saw this sign. Wow, I must be close. I rode on till I passed a sign just like this one about a mile up the road. If you look closely at the picture, you can see a white car at the top of the hill. That's where the Stanton Baptist Church was located. There were cars out front so I thought that I could stop there to ask directions. Then I noticed the big black Cadillac hearse in front of the door. I rode on by, I didn't think that they'd be in the mood to give me directions to main street Stanton.

After riding several side streets, this was all I found.....








I think I was looking at what used to be the best part of Stanton, Texas.

After visiting beautiful downtown Stanton, I head back west to pick up, I think, Hwy 49 and head back to the east. My thought was to ride straight across Mississippi on Hwy 49 but realized that I'd ride into Alabama way above where I wanted to be. At Hattiesburg, I pick up Hwy 98 and head in the direction of Mobile, Alabama.

In Mobile, I discovery what may turn out to be a problem......
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:28 PM   #70
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As the sign above the gas pumps in your first picture says, " Enjoy your Drive", cause I sure as heck am enjoying your drive.
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:30 PM   #71
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Problem???

Holy smoke Stan don't leave us hanging like that......
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:27 AM   #72
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America.....by Helix

In Mobile,I call it a day and start looking for a place to stay. I wind up at a Super 8, thinking that the wifi will be good there. I'm only around the corner from the office but the wifi drops out every 15 minutes. If I had started a ride report and had it dropped like that, after all the trouble that I've had writing ride reports, I would have taken that room apart like a drunken rock star. I'll try again in the morning.

I'm a very early riser so I try again, at 5:30am, to get a ride report written and uploaded. The wifi is just the same. Ok, skip the ride report. I load up the Helix as I wait for my free motel breakfast. As I take the first load of gear out to the scooter, I discover this......

This is the first drop of oil I've ever seen under this scooter, even after an oil change. You can also see that the CVT/belt cover is covered in oil. I hope that it might have something to do with the fact that Greathouse Motorsports back in Bryan, Texas had over filled it.

After very lite breakfast, I'm back out on Hwy 98 riding through Mobile.

How could I resist taking this picture!


Having ridden through quite a few good sized cities, I'm amazed at how little traffic there is at 9:30 in the morning on a weekday in Mobile.

I had checked MapQuest the night before, just to check today's route. On the map that I had, it looked like I'd have to get on I-10 to get across Mobile Bay or some other such body of water. Turns out Hwy 98 crosses Mobile Bay. I'm guessing a bridge. Turns out that as I ride through downtown Mobile that Hwy 98 goes under the bay. At first, I ride around the tunnel entrance, looking for the bridge. In another block, the road pretty much ends. Oops, I guess the tunnel is my only option so I turn around and head back. There is so little traffic in downtown Mobile that I just make a U turn rather than ride around the block.

After the tunnel, Hwy 98 makes a sweeping turn to the right, heading south. Just ahead on the right, I pass the U.S.S Alabama. I've toured several of the big ships. Just last summer, I toured the aircraft carrier, U.S.S. Lexington, in Corpus Christi, Texas. That tour had taken several hours and I didn't have that kind of time so I just took some pictures. I remember someone saying....."if there are no pictures, it didn't happen!"






My destination this morning is Daphne, Alabama. I'm a big fan of the Food Channel show, Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. Sometimes I miss a show, as I did the show about today's lunch stop. When that happens, I go to Flavortownusa.com. I think that's how I found today's lunch stop, Manci's Antique Club.

I took a picture of the outside but can't find it now. Manci's is an old filling station that has gradually evolved into a rather eclectic eating establishment. I did manage to get some pictures of the inside.....

Supposedly, they have the largest collection of Jim Beam Bottles that are on display. I think I read that there are over 100 bottles on display. You can see some of them in the pictures.


I did remember to take a picture of lunch, although I see that it's a bit on the blurry side.

I had a fried shrimp Po'Boy for lunch, mainly because it was one of the things that Guy had had on the show. I must say, it was very good. If you're ever in the area, I think you should make Manci's Antique Club one of your stops.

Also in Daphne, and worth seeing, is the U.S Sports Academy. I thought they actually taught you how to play the sports but they teach the other stuff, like coaching and counseling. They also have a great sports art gallery that's open to the public




From Daphne, it's back onto Hwy 98 for the ride to, and through Pensacola, Fl. Pensacola is home to the T.T Wentworth Museum, a rather odd collection of stuff. The T.T Wentworth Museum is located in the Pensacola Historical Society Museum. It seems that Mr. Wentworth was a preserver of historical stuff, mainly from the Penascola. There were three items that I particularly wanted to see.

A petrified cat....

The cat apparently got into some space in a house that was being built in 1850. Over 100 years later, when the house was being torn down, they found the cat. T.T. Wentworth saved it.

Robert Ladlow's left shoe....

It's a bit hard to see but there's a photo of Robert Ladlow, at 8' 8 1/2", standing next to his father.

And what's left of a piece of Thomas Edison's 85th birthday cake...

Now why anyone would want to save a piece of Thomas Edision's 85th birthday cake, who wasn't part of Edisions family, is beyond me but here it is, on display for all to see.

From Penascola, it's on to Carrabelle, Florida for one of my favorite things to visit.....a Bottle House!
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Old 04-22-2013, 11:04 AM   #73
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I'm glad you leared to take pictures...

Enjoying your ride report...
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:30 AM   #74
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I'm in. Really enjoying the ride report. Hard to do ride reports on the road. Thanks for taking the time.

I'm curious about who makes your top case. Is that something that came with the Helix or is it aftermarket?

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Old 04-24-2013, 11:54 AM   #75
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Glad you didn't have any problems with those Louisiana highway speed bumps...a.k.a. armadillos.
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