The old gentleman had pulled up his favorite chair on the front porch, morning coffee in hand. He watched the sparse traffic go by on US Route 82. His little town of Buckner, in southwest Arkansas, doesn't see much excitement, but when a funny looking red scooter went by, honking it's horn, and the rider waving at him, he had an answering wave, delivered with a big gap-toothed grin.
That happened about 7:30am. The sun was supposed to be up by then, but I never saw the sun the whole day. From the time I left my motel in Texarkana until I pulled up at the motel in Memphis, it rained - sometimes a pestering drizzle, but at other times it was a harder steady rain. I had picked a great route - US 82 was two-lane, lots of small towns and a 55mph speed limit - perfect for my kind of cruising. But, I couldn't see the vistas and I had to dodge the showers thrown up by the big trucks. Then, once over the Mississippi River, I took State Route 1 along the river through a lot more small towns. Sure, a ride is always fun, but some rides are more funner than others. This was an "other."
No photos - sorry, but the same excuse holds - I didn't want to get my camera wet. And its too bad because the bridge over the river was new - and quite striking. There was even a place I could pull over and take a picture of the barge being pushed downstream. Some of the countryside homes were also snap-worthy.
I stay fairly dry. I say "fairly" because I have a good rain suit and my feet are (mostly) protected by the floorboards of my scooter, but my gloves are just plain kevlar - not waterproof. They were pretty soppy - I had dishpan hands by the time the day was over.
The weather and I seem to be married. I have tracked the same low pressure zone the entire trip - I keep chasing it. Tomorrow is a fairly short ride to Hunstville, AL, where I will spend a couple of days visiting my sister. Think I'll have an extra cup of coffee in the morning and let the rain get ahead of me.
I just went outside to get something I'd left in the scooter. She looked forelorn sitting there in the night rain. Not a very nice way to treat a lady who just added three new states to her discoveries, eh? But, I can't figure out a way to get her into my third floor room.
Finally - there is a reason for this ride. On Thursday through Saturday, I will be attending a reunion of the guys who were in my unit in Vietnam - Company C, 2nd Battalion 5th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). Besides catching up with each other, we vets plan on visiting the Infantry Museum and I personally want to visit Kelly Hill on Ft. Benning, where I was an original member of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade in 1966.
Now to call the wife-mate on the phone, tell her I miss her (which I really do), then on to bed. Riding in the rain tires this old man.