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Old 10-06-2010, 05:17 PM   #1
CottonTop OP
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Tri-State Trial Run -- AL, TN, and a Tiny bit of MS

*note: This is my first attempt at a ride report. Suggestions welcome. Already, it seems a pre-ride bike prep photo is customary and I don't have one. Here goes.
Pre-Ride:
My Buddy from Central Arkansas and I have been wanting to try our hand at some “no plans” exploration for some time, and I guess we finally decided we had waited long enough. We have been talking about this forever. The weather was looking good for the weekend of Sept. 17th. I live in Central Georgia, so we decided Cherokee, AL looked like a good half way point; about 300 miles for each of us. A quick check of the map showed local points of interest – The National Coon Dog Cemetery, Shiloh National Battlefield, and The Sheriff Buford Pusser Home and Museum. We pick a meeting spot -- The Wooden Nickel Restaurant on Main Street – 1pm local time. By Thursday all was still good, so we were go!
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Old 10-06-2010, 05:36 PM   #2
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Tri-State Trial Run

Day One (Friday):
I set out about 6:30am and he did the same; we both had to make a stop for business. The ride over was pretty uneventful. I will give one shout out – the folks at the Sonic Drive-in in Attalla, AL are friendly, and it’s a good rest stop. They have picnic tables in the back and an awning for shade; a clean restroom as well.
Coming into Cherokee on Hwy 72 I miss Main Street, look up for a place to turn around and I see my Buddy coming the other way; he missed the turn as well. How about that, after a journey of 300 miles we both hit the intersection within seconds of each other.
Well The Wooden Nickel is closed, and so are the other restaurants on Main Street, we find JJ’s Restaurant out on Hwy 72. I ask the locals what to have and the plate lunch is recommended – enough meat and 3 for $4.95… The pork roast was great and a ton of food. After lunch, The National Coon Dog Cemetery was our 1st destination. It is officially in the middle of nowhere, but the ride out on White Pike, and Coon Dog Cemetery roads is great. Curvy and no traffic. The Cemetery is interesting and peaceful; it’s a shame to have to put a fence and barbed wire around a monument for deceased coon dogs though. Next stop – Pickwick Dam in Tennessee. We take 72, 25 (in MS), 57 (in TN) to TN 128 cross the Tennessee River and stop at the Dam on the other side. I have stopped at several of the TVA projects over the years and am still amazed at how well the stuff was built. We mill around a bit, help some other bikers take pictures and talk to the locals. We find out that the Trail of Tears ride is going on and will terminate in Waterloo, AL on Saturday night. This explains all the bikes (we were oblivious). We had decided to just go and find a hotel for Friday and Saturday (no camping this trip). Where to stay – we can see the Lodge at Pickwick Landing State Park across the water so we head that way. No luck; I get out the GPS and search. There is a Hampton Inn a few miles back, I call. Bingo, double for $109. We check in and unload. Were to eat dinner; the desk clerk recommends Jon’s Pier Restaurant. I was still full from lunch, and got a salad. My Buddy has the NY Strip; he says its great for only $14. We pull back into the hotel about 8pm. No issues and we rest well.

On Hwy 72.


This may not be the boondocks, but it's close.


By the graves.


Folks love thier dogs...


Shame to have to put barbed wire around this.

*more day one pics to come.
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:00 PM   #3
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Tri-State Trial Run

Day One (Friday): more pics.



Pickwick Dam


One more for the dogs.

Day two on the way.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:38 PM   #4
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Tri-State Trial Run

Day Two (Saturday):
We roll out early, 6:30am. I get coffee, and we give the bikes a wipe down and load up. Neither of us is much for breakfast so we head off to Shiloh National Battlefield on Hwy 57 and 142. It’s a cool morning and not a cloud in sight – perfect. We stop at the visitor’s center and pay our $3 entry fee (at least I get something for my taxes).

WOW is all I can say! We spend 4 hours here and could have spent 2 days. We took off most of our gear and just putted around the tour route. There are 20 marked stops on the map, but we can’t make them all in one day. It’s a riding tour inside the park, and by the looks of it bicycles are the way to go.



It is a beautiful late summer day, and hard to imagine that there were 23,000 casualties on this battlefield in less than 2 days. It strikes me that with the battlefield signage and some well placed cannon the battle unfolds clearly in our minds – you need to see this place if you get a chance.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:55 PM   #5
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Tri-State Trial Run

Day Two (Saturday): Continued.
Next stop – The Sheriff Buford Pusser Home and Museum in Adamsville, TN. We just get a photo in front, deciding not to go in.



At the gas station on US 64 we ask about a lunch spot and The Saw Meal down the street is recommended. Again I get the plate lunch; this time it’s half as much food and twice the price, but it’s good just the same. Nice place, high ceilings and lots of big screen TV’s. College football on all of them. Were to; we have heard from several fellow bikers of a big rally in Florence, AL at McFarland Park on the Tennessee River. It’s agreed so off we go. We head east on 64 to Savannah, east of town we pick up Hwy 203. This is a pretty good road, sweeping turns and not much traffic. At McGlamery Stand we turn south on Hwy 13 (turns to 17 in AL) to Florence. McFarland Park – very nice on the TN river.

It’s a big area and there are thousands of bikes.

This is a stop on the Trail of Tears ride. We mill around a bit and decide to head out to the HD dealer on Hwy 72 south of town. My Buddy is looking for a sheep skin seat cover like mine – no luck. Another shout out – I got mine from Alaska Leather (online) – money well spent. Let’s air in under my tookus, much appreciated on longer stretches of riding. We decide to see about a room for the night – I saw a Key West Inn down the street, and they have a room ($69, cheap) so it is done. Where to next?
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:58 PM   #6
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Old 10-07-2010, 06:00 PM   #7
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Tri-State Trial Run

Day Two (Saturday): Continued
We decide to head out to Waterloo, Tennessee to see the goings on at the end of the Trail of Tears ride. We take 72, the Natchez Trace, and Lauderdale County 14. County Road 14 is nice – runs along the river and the view at sunset is great. We get to a park on the river, and this is a big rally there are bikes, tents, pot-o-lets, vendors, and a stage set up. We mill around again. We are not much into this sort of thing, but tats and halter tops can be entertaining… Back to the hotel; it’s after dark and the bugs are out in force. I hit one big yellow sucker that leaves a splat on my windshield the size of a coffee mug. We ride south on Natchez Trace under a full moon, but keep a close eye out for deer. We stop at La Fiesta on Hwy 72 for a late dinner – it’s good and we eat to much for 9:30 at night. We finally pull into the hotel about 10:30.

Day Three (Sunday):
Time to head home. We are up and out by 6:30 again. We say our good byes, and are off, anticipating our next trip. A couple final notes – we met the nicest folk on our ride. Everyone was friendly, and helpful. I love the south! Also, there was plenty we did not get to. I would not hesitate to explore this area again on another weekender.


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Old 10-07-2010, 08:32 PM   #8
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As CottonTop's riding partner, I got to enjoy some good riding on the way to meet him from central Arkansas across the Arkansas grand praire, through parts of Tennessee and Mississippi to get to our meet up in Alabama.

This was my first long trip I've taken on my Wee Strom, usually when I take a ride that's more than a day trip I take my Harley Ultra. So, on this one I spent some time getting the Wee ready for the road. I love the Wee for day rides in the Ozarks, but I was willing to give it a try on something covering a lot more miles.




My first stop after heading out about daylight on Friday was at a restored ESSO service station in Carlisle, Arkansas. Outside of a trip to Canada a couple of years ago where I saw several, I've not seen an ESSO station since I was a kid.




My second rest stop was on US Highway 70 in the middle of what is called the Arkansas Big Woods. At 550,000 acres, the Big Woods of Arkansas is the largest corridor of bottomland hardwood forest remaining in the Mississippi Delta north of the Atchafalaya River. The Big Woods encompasses Arkansas’ remnant floodplain forests lining the Mississippi, White, and lower Arkansas rivers, as well as the Cache River and its main tributary, Bayou DeView. Today, less than 10 percent of Arkansas’ original 8 million acres of forested wetlands remain — mostly small forest islands surrounded by a vast sea of agricultural fields.





The Arkansas Big Woods is also home of the Who-do bird, more commonly known as the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. That is, if the bird actually still exists. It was thought to be extinct, but there have been reported sightings in the remote sections of the Big Woods. They are big birds, over 20 inches in length. I've heard there is a $10,000 reward for a confirmed picture of an Ivory Billed Woodpecker, as well as a $50,000 fine for killing one. It'd be just my luck one would swoop down in front of me to run over it as I ride throught he area, therefore I keep a weary eye out for the Who-do bird.
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Old 10-07-2010, 08:57 PM   #9
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As I continued east out of the Big Woods I crossed over the White River into some of the prettiest farm country around. Living up in the Ozark hill country like I do I don't often see large tracts of farm land and I'm always especially amazed at the big fields of cotton when they are nearly white as snow ready for the harvest. I had to keep an eye out for farm equipment running down the highway, but even worse, they often times leave big clumps of mud on the roadway just after they come out of the field.



Other than the farm equipment, traffic is light on Highway 70. As 70 runs parallel with I-40, I can see heavy traffic on the super slap on the occasions when it's close enough for me see the interstate across the fields. There are also a number of old riveted steel bridges that date back to the '40's and '50's.



After crossing over Crowley's Ridge near Forest City I head towards West Memphis. Before they passed away my grandparents used to live outside West Memphis and I've not been through the town in well over 10 years. Since Hwy 70 runs right through town as it leads towards my next waypoint, the I-55 bridge over the Mississippi River, I was pleasently surprised to see that someone in West Memphis has done a good job of cleaning up the town.

I made it across the Old Man River and cross over the first state line of the trip.



Of course, as I skirt around the southern boundries of Memphis I'm only cutting across the southwest corner of Tennessee on this part of the trip so it's less than an hour before I cross another state line.

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Old 10-08-2010, 06:00 AM   #10
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Woohoo! Good job fellas!
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Old 10-08-2010, 06:24 AM   #11
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Woohoo! Good job fellas!
What he said! Ready for the next installment!!!
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Old 10-08-2010, 03:18 PM   #12
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When I crossed the Mississippi line I had a straight shot across the top of the state down US Highway 72. Even though I was born in Tupelo, this was the first time I'd ever been across this part of Mississippi. The most exciting thing I ran across on this part of the trip was the heavy noon time traffic in Corinth.

Once I hooked up with CottonTop in Cherokee, Alabama, and had a bite to eat, we headed out to see the National Coon Dog Cemetary. I'd seen this landmark on the map, and being this close and having never been to a coon dog cemetary before, I wanted to make the ride out for a look see.

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Old 10-08-2010, 03:27 PM   #13
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My favorite part of the trip was the tour of the Shiloh National Military Park.







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Old 10-10-2010, 07:44 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy


Thanks Gadget Boy -- it was our first RR, hopefully many more to come.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:46 AM   #15
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What he said! Ready for the next installment!!!
Thanks Guys. Keep Big Boy out of trouble if you can...
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