West 2020

Day 01

July 13

With all the Covid craziness and other events that have unfolded over the last month or so, I am way past due to get some wind in my ears. I've got 11 states plus Alaska and I will have BlueBelle in all 49 states like the other three girls. But with Covid fears shutting down the US/Canadian border, Alaska will have to wait for another time. She is loaded and ready to roll and so am I.  

As I head out, the ever watchful Bowser checks me out and makes a note in his log book -

"Daddy's loaded up on a motorcycle so he will be gone a while'.

As I head west toward I40, I pass by our church, Arbor Baptist, the home of my heart. I don't believe a feller could find any more dearer folks anywhere on the planet. And I take great comfort in knowing that they are praying for me in earnest.  
As I hit I40, my companion for the day, I run into some fog where it crosses the Harpeth River. The coolness feels good and I know I will be wishing I had some more of it long about high noon.  
Up ahead is what I call an 'elephant dance' - one semi trying to pass another semi and they don't quite have enough power to pull it off. I've seen these dances take a long time before one or the other drivers finally lets up. All I can do is hold back and watch from a distance as I don't want to get sucked into the nasty turbulence caused by the clashing wind streams.  
Memphis comes and goes and I remember that Bass Pro Shops took the pyramid over in 2015 and turned into a megastore. It was a typical 'government' project that turned into a failed boondoggle shortly after it opened.  
Before long I am crossing the mighty Mississippi and leaving my beloved Tennessee. During my career I could have moved to many other places, but this state is where my heart is and always has been. My family heritage in this land goes back 7 generations to before Tennessee became a state. I live less than 50 miles from where the first Derryberry settled in what later became Tennessee.  
Looks like the corn is doing right well in Arkansas.  
Further along, I see my flag flying at a granary silo. Regardless of the fad du jour, I believe a real man kneels at the Cross and stands before the Flag. To do anything less, disrespects the blood that was shed on both accounts.  
With the Covid 'precautions', you never know what to expect as far as getting something to eat. I figure Sonic always has take out so when the gas level and the hunger level line up, I head for one.  
Their breakfast burritos ain't bad - one bacon, one sausage, and I really love their strawberry slushies with extra strawberries. As will be the case for most of this trip, BlueBelle or a motel bed will be my dining table.  
With both beasts filled, I get back to slabbing it. Up ahead, the skies look a little iffy but I can see some blue so I take the chance. In these temps, 'baking in the bag' of a rain suit is a less than desirable experience.  
And then I hit the first of a bazallion construction zones that I will encounter along the way. And then ...  
there's another one ...  
and another one ...  
and another one ...  
And when I finally escape that, there's a wreck that's got traffic snarled up from all of the rubber necking. My guess is the FedEx driver probably took the median rather that hit a car. I've seen it played out over and over again where a speeding car cuts right in front of a semi as if the semi can stop on a dime. But I guess that is just idle speculation on my part.  
Off to my right I see a gas flare blazing away like a giant candle. My understanding is they have to burn off flammable gas released by safety valves during unplanned over-pressuring of plant equipment.  
Further down the road is an entourage of the power generating windmills. I understand the principle but they sure are ugly to me.  
A little further along are some 'windmills' of the Lord's own making in the form of dust devils. These are little ones but some have been over 1/2 mile tall and 30 feet wide.  
It's been an uneventful day of around 780 miles and for that we are thankful. I'm glad to arrive at the Super 8 for the evening and get BlueBelle bedded down. Supper is from the Subway at the Love's truck stop next door with my bed as my table.  
It would be nice to have wandered this way on lazy backroads over a couple of days, but I have limited time to travel. So I either have some 'grind it out' days like today to get where I want to ride and what I want to see, or I stay at the house. The 'Then Came Bronson' moments are far and few in the real world. But a bad day riding is still better than a good day working.