Texas Express – Day 7

I divert my route a bit to pay a visit to my in-laws in Missouri.

Before the Ride

I was going to be a little warmer today, so a earlier start would have been ideal, but I’m on vacation, dammit, so I slept in a bit. My host and hostess were off to work like good employees so I was alone to pack. I got out on the road just before 10am.

I had planned a route that would take me south around Huntsville, Alabama, west into Mississippi, and then up into Tennessee, cutting the corner towards the boot heel of Missouri while avoiding the Memphis Metromess.

The Ride

The first half of the day was quite enjoyable. I had nicely rural roads, lots of opportunities to pass slower traffic when necessary, and a gorgeous day to ride in.

After a few hours, I’d crossed into Mississippi (for the first time on the Nightowl) and it was time for lunch. I was way north in Mississippi near the Tennessee border and found a Waffle House situated just before I turned north into Tennessee. A pecan waffle, side of bacon, and lots of ice water provided a recharge.

It was getting warmer now and I was riding with sleeves open. Every few minutes I was holding my arms out into the wind stream to ram-air some ventilation up my sleeves and into my jacket. It was enough to keep it tolerable.

As I got closer to the Mississippi River, I noticed that the creeks, rivers, and irrigation ditches were all brimming with water. There had obviously some large influx of rain here recently.

Crossing into Missouri, the scenery got flat, and nearly treeless. The boot heel of Missouri is almost exclusively flood plain… so it’s not very exciting to ride across. The good news is that you make decent time because all the roads are rural and traffic densities are low. As long as you’re not riding fast enough to draw the attention of the local law enforcement officers, you’ll scoot right through the area fairly quickly.

I was running low on my on-board water supply, and the water I did have was hot from sitting in the sun. I stopped at a convenience store for some Vitamin Water and an ice cream bar. They didn’t have my favorite Strawberry Shortcake bars, so I settled for a Klondike bar. I stood in the shade, and munched my Klondike and drank my fluids. In one corner of the convenience store porch was an artifact from the days before cell phones. An old pay phone stand was still in place, but the phone had been long since removed; just the wiring hung out in space. What made it more humorous for me was that the owners had adapted the phone stand to act as a hose reel.

An old phone booth repurposed as a hose reel; at a convenience store in Success, AR.
An old phone booth repurposed as a hose reel; at a convenience store in Success, AR.

Twenty miles north of my snack stop, I pulled into my in-laws driveway, just a few miles over the Missouri border north of Arkansas.


Here’s the map for the day. Click it for an interactive version.


I’ve got two days to cover the last 500+ miles to the NMRA Convention in the Dallas area. I’ll hang out with family for a while and spend the afternoon riding down into Oklahoma, leaving an easy ride for Sunday so I can arrive in time to help the ORS team build the operations layout for this year’s convention.

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