MISSISSIPPI
Reports about Kevin
Basso's cross-country offroad motorcycle trip.
 
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Kevin Basso
Eagle Scout
Boy Scouts of America

COOTERS PLACE

TENNESSEE

MISSISSIPPI

ARKANSAS

OKLAHOMA

NEW MEXICO

COLORADO

UTAH

NEVADA

CALIFORNIA

OREGON

 

 

Mississippi Section
Today I started from Savannah to get back on the trail due to a detour from the river ferry being closed. I always cringe at thought of having to find my way to an unfamiliar trail. I think it took me a better part of an hour with the help of some locals to find it comparing my maps to their phonebook.

Once on the trail it was nothing but dirt roads and winding hills. I crossed into Mississippi and noticed immediately the roads were less maintained yet better marked. I now needed to change my roll chart and maps. Something that should take about 15 minutes, but since I was tired from the 85 degree weather and the ride, I rolled incorrectly, I put it on backwards, wasting 20 more minutes, but it is always good to laugh out loud!

I get on the trail and still a bit out of it, I turned when I should have gone straight and ended up going into nothing but tight trails and deep red clay mud. I kept thinking, if this is what the Mississippi section is going to be like, it is going to be one long state. I get to a pond and realize I must have made a wrong turn so I head back up a very steep rutted slope. I misjudge a rut and got the back tire stuck and the bike sideways in the trail. Now it is like 99% humidity, mosquitos and I should have taken a break 50 miles ago, "how could I have messed this up"? I ended up tipping the bike, but fortunately it is tipped up hill. So I get off and lift the bike up, then pull the front tire back down the hill. I hop on just before the bike can get away and coast down the hill. On the second attempt I make it up just to find a hillbilly getting out of his Chrysler K Car (and I thought they all drove pickups) with an unhappy look. All he keeps saying is "You better start reading the signs, this is private property" I apologize but he just says it again. I don't know which I was more fearful of, the old man or driving through that deep red clay mud.

I get my bearings corrected and I continue on through poor farming areas of Ole' Mississippi. I think these hologram goggles are something of a blessing, if anyone would see them they just stare like I am some Martian or kind of like a savage mask to scare away all the evil spirits.

I continue on for a few hours and come to one of my many turns and it has a road closed sign. I look at my roll charts and maps again carefully, but this IS the turn. I decide to go around the barricade and risk any troubles with a torn up road. No more than 5 miles later I see a big mound of dirt and a sign that says, "Bridge Closed". I park the bike and take a look. It was either a big tractor or a rain storm that washed out the first quarter of the bridge. I test out the bridge and it feels plenty sturdy. I guess you wouldn't take a car across, but a bike is just fine. I go another 5 miles and come to the gas stop. Unfortunately, since Sam's last update 2 years ago, it is now a gravel graded highway under construction. I am down to my last half gallon of gas, so I stop at a police officer's house and get directions for gas. By now I am thinking I need to go and meet Sam. I ask at the gas station where Madison, Mississippi is and they say, "it's about 3 howa frome heya". I tell them about the trip and they are amazed to hear about it and that the destination is Oregon. I try and see how far I can get before dark as it was already 6:30.

I get to the beautiful university town of Oxford, MS at 7:30. Oxford it turns out is where Sam went to school to become a pharmacist. I now have Sprint PCS coverage here so I give Sam a call and ask him if I could come over on Saturday since it is getting so late. He agrees and I check into a motel for some serious R&R.

6-15
I drive down to see Sam and have me a good ole' catfish dinner. He was such a host and allowed me a spot to update my web site in his pharmacy. I plan to leave bright and early tomorrow and drive north by highway 3 hours and reconnect with the trail.

 


Meeting Sam at
his home in Mississippi, Favre country.

Mississippi levee

Next to a rice patty.

wet trail

more wet trail
 


I almost stopped to throw a line in.

One of the many old southern buildings left to the elements.

Here is where I got the bike turned sideways.

Crossing into Mississippi.
 

Navigation, rollchart and map.

Close-up of the rollchart.

Close-up of map.

Have gone 1,458 miles since leaving Oshkosh.

View from bridge.
 

Mississippi section

MS. section

MS. section

MS. section

creek crossing
 

You see lots of animals along the trail, this painted turtle is laying eggs, albeit in the road.

Stop to check out the closed bridge.

Either something too heavy or a washout underneath.
 

May not be safe for cars, but plenty wide for the motorcycle.


About to cross the mighty Mississippi into Arkansas, an American treasure!