Trip days: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8-9 | 10-12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20
Ye gads, how can people in the south cope with the freaking humidity. I've never been so uncomfortable in my life. Just freaking cooking and sweating profusely all night long. Sticky, very sticky. I think it got down to a low of 72 degrees during the night, yippee.
I broke camp at dawn and attempted to unstickify myself in the park bathroom sink to no avail. Instantly sticky again, ack! Eastern Texas is a really nice lush area of the state, but it's also where the humidity starts. Through the humid haze I shot over to Shreveport on I-20 to get yet another new set of tires for my bike. I squeezed 3,200 really hard miles out of the rear tire and the front probably had some more life in it but I decided to replace it anyhow. Hopefully I'll be able to restrain my throttle hand for this next set of tires because I don't really want to have to by 3 more sets before I get home.
Due to my allergy to high temperatures and high humidity I decided to head north through Arkansas to the Memphis area for the night in hopes that the environment would be more to my liking. I headed east out of Shreveport to Minden, then northeast on highway 79 to El Dorado, Arkansas. Northern Louisiana is nice and green, and has quaint though somewhat rundown little towns dotting the hilly swampland. I found it interesting that lots of the small towns in eastern texas and northern louisiana were situated around town squares with water fountains or some other object of interest. It is quite obvious that the south has a lot more history than the pacific northwest as seen by its town architecure. It is also clear that they don't know how to pave roads very well in Louisiana. Washboard pavement and lots of it. Luckily it all cleared up when I hit the Arkansas border.
I headed north on highway 167 out of El Dorado up towards Fordyce and made a pit stop in Hampton for lunch. I'm really getting to like chili cheese fries, they're grrreeaat! Anyways, Hampton is a quaint little midwestern feeling town that seemed to be a caucasian enclave in southern Arkansas. Coming from the pacific northwest african-americans are far and few between so it's a little interesting passing through 100% african-american communities. It intrigues me seeing the racial layout of the south going from a black community to a white community, and every once in a while through a multi-racial community. I get a lot of waves and thumbs up from african-americans and most everyone stops and stares as I rumble through podunk nowhere backwater Louisiana/Arkansas. Kids, elderly, road workers, and everyone in between seem suprised to see a bavarian bomber roll through their community. I guess I stand out like a sore thumb.
North east out of Fordyce on highway 79 I headed through Pine Bluff and Stuttgart up to Clarendon then north on highway 17 to Brinkley, and finally east on I-40 to Wheatley where I got a hotel room for the night. After my uncomfortable camping experience last night I saw it fit to cool down with some nice A/C and a good hot shower.
Throughout the day, everywhere I stopped people asked where I was for the giant hail and if I had gotten rained on or where I was for the thunderstorm. Somehow I seemed to have dodged it all, and little did I know. Watching the weather channel I came to find out that remarkably I had shot the gap between a giant tornado and thunderstorm warning to the west of me, and extreme flooding to the east of me. And to top it all off, I didn't even get a single drop of rain. Amazing. In any case it looks like my destination for tomorrow of eastern Tennessee is receiving a lot of rain and has flood warnings posted so we'll see in the morning which way I go based on the weather outlook.
Total Mileage for Day: 332
©2003 John Meloy <email@example.com>