FIRST ANNUAL SANDOLLAR CHICKEN RUN
Yes, I said "chicken run". George likes to believe we went on a tour, but folks, this was no tour. 800 miles in three days does not meet the definition of a tour. It was a good run though.
I was up bright and early Friday morning, finished packing the bike and out the garage I went. I met Steve and Sharon(a.k.a. Skwirll) at their house and off we went to the Exxon station to await the group. Here they come and we fell in trail to the Shell station in Pensacola. After a brief stop for gas and coffee for those who needed it, we were off to see the sights of the back roads of Alabama and Mississippi. We went up I-65 and then back down I-65. Early U-turn I guess. Steve left us shortly thereafter as he had to go TDY.
The back roads of Miss. were, for the most part, logging roads because they were just filled with logging trucks. We stopped at a Wards burger joint in a small town which could have been a clone from our previous road trip.
After our bellies were filled it was off again on our magic carpet ride.
This being late fall, the shadows were beginning to get long and the sun started to flicker in the trees making for some strange shadow effects. Coming up a hill in a left turn, a pickup was coming down and as we passed him another truck rear ended him. Luckily he didn’t bounce into our lane.
After 20 minutes of travel, the traffic, what there was of it, came to a stop.
As the cars slowly began to move, we saw the hold up. A car had the misfortune of perfect timing and speed, and T-Boned the trailer of a logging truck, and hit the trailer tube that runs to the rear wheels. The tandem wheels of the trailer then hit the side of the car. We don’t know if the driver was injured.
It is now dusk as we pull into Vicksburg and our lodging. After all the arrangements have been made and a quick freshening up, it’s off to eat.
On the recommendation of motel staff we go to a local steak house who have a good reputation. Not so much. Wheets’ french fries were cold, my steak had too much fat and too top it off the waitress insisted on calling everyone Boo. Also for some reason she took a special liking to the Mitchell and kept on smacking him on the back of the head. Is there something we don’t know Mr. Mitchell? Have you been here before? Overall it was an overpriced so-so dinner, but filled us up.
Back at the motel we put the bikes too bed, some had adult libations, and others such as myself just fell asleep. Good night Ethel.
Next morning at 5 AM we discovered that Doc Pat, Brenda and their friends had made it to Vicksburg to join our Chicken Run. As we all prepped the bikes and paid the bills, we all also enjoyed the in house breakfast. Free too. What could be better? Finally, all are ready and its off to get gas. That having been accomplished, its off to the Vicksburg Civil War( War of Northern Aggression) battlefield park and museum. The road that wound around the battlefield gun emplacements and fighting positions of both sides was a good ride. But I must make an observation. All one could see were the placards of the different troop and gun emplacements of both sides as one rode the loop road. The trees and vegetation that had grown since that battle long ago, gave one little perspective of what the troops faced, or what they saw as they charged or fired on opposing positions. All one could see were trees. I’m sure this was not as things were back then. I’m sure though, that to replicate conditions would be prohibitively expensive. Still, It was interesting.
Even more interesting was the wreck of the gunboat Cairo, which was sunk by the Confederates with the first use of an electrically detonated mine.
Time to move on to the Coca Cola Museum. Lots of artifacts of days gone by, and stuff produced by Coke that I didn’t know existed.
By now everyone is getting hungry and the raison d’eter for this jaunt...CHICKEN!! Lee and a couple of others charged ahead to insure that no one would beat them out of any of the world famous cluckers.
The object of our quest is just 40 miles down U.S. 61, which at the posted speed limit is about an hour away. Along the way some interesting road signs are seen, not the least of which is Grand Gulf nuclear power station. Who knew that Mississippi had a Nuke plant? At last we come to our reason for this jaunt, Lorman Miss. Country store, home of the worlds best fried chicken!! We shall see.
Lee comes out to greet us, and informs us that they had just arrived 3 minutes earlier and that the chicken is not yet ready. The building is of ancient heritage, about 1829 if I remember the sign correctly. Inside you can see the country store heritage, with the wall shelves that go from floor to ceiling and the ladder on tracks to gain access to items out of reach.
Since the yard bird was not yet fried, we started in on the salad, which was most delicious. Could have eaten nothing but that and I would have been satisfied. The salad dressing was not something that came out of a bottle. Didn’t think to ask them for the recipe. Finally it’s Chicken time! We all queue up to get our cluckers, and its not long before its all gone. Not to fear, more is on the way, as the birds are fried in small batches to insure that they do not languish on the serving buffet...as if that were a problem. My friends, rarely have I tasted chicken this good, if ever! I chose a piece of breast because if chicken is going to be dry or tasteless, this will be the piece that it’s going to happen to (and I‘m a hooter kind of guy). I am pleased to report that Alton Brown was indeed correct in bestowing the title of “ Worlds Best Chicken” upon The Country Store!
We were all finally satiated, but it was time to move on down the road. Doc Pat, Brenda and friends took their leave of us and headed back to Cajun country, we on the other hand, had quite a ride ahead of us.
To get to U.S. 84 we first had to traverse Miss. 552. It started out innocently enough, nice curvy road, arching trees etc. Then comes the sign, ”State Maintenance Ends” . It then turned into nothing more than rough gravel with some tar thrown on top to keep it in place. Pot holes the size of the Grand Canyon were everywhere. Then the hunting camps started showing up off the sides of the road. At least I hope they were hunting camps, I would hate to think people actually lived in conditions like that. Except for the trees you would think this was Somalia. And then in the back of my mind the theme song from Deliverance started playing. Can we get out of here...NOW!
Finally, civilization! A gas station! Sort of. Two pumps with the numbers on a rotary wheel and the lot was dirt. Along comes a medium sized dog with a large stick in his mouth...that’s no stick!...It’s a deer leg with the hoof and the hide still on it! There’s that music again.
Eventually, we make it to Hwy.84 and are making good time, but it is getting late and the light is fading. Now its dark and the road is making some nice dips and turns, and if it weren't for the utter blackness, this would be a good road. It’s like riding through a tunnel. All the while though, you know you're not, and expect creatures of the night to come bounding out of the woods on either side of you and take you out.
Monroeville! We are here! Dave and Tina's place. Light, warmth and food. Has it become evident that we are food junkies? We live and ride for food! That was the sole purpose for this ride. Dave and Tina have put on quite a spread for us! Ham, turkey, dressing, taters’ veggies and of course desserts.
Did I tell you we like food? After I stuffed myself, I had a short snooze on the couch. When I awoke, I found that Sharon, Jerry and myself were the only ones still up. We chatted until the wee hours, but soon the sand man found us as well, and we went off to slumberland.
Next morning we awoke to overcast skies with the possibility of rain. We geared up and went off to collect Lee and Wheet at the local motel. Lee had a small coolant leak issue, which was soon corrected and it was off to Range, Alabama for breakfast and gas. Why is it that your small or country restaurants usually have better food than the larger well known places? Cheaper too. Service also good. Well we’re on the last leg of this Chicken Run as we head down Al. 41. Soon it turns into Fl.87 and I’m almost home. I turn onto 98 and in a few more miles and turns I glide into my garage and as the garage door closes, another road trip comes to a safe and successful end.
Sandie Legend Trip
The Sandies were all snuggled in their older, but clean Motel beds with visions of Fried Chicken dancing in their collective heads. All, that is, except Skwirrel - she was out trying to con the front desk clerk out of a beer. Was she successful? Stay tuned and find out.
So ended an absolutely incredible day of riding the Sandie way. Ah, the Sandie way, it involves missing roads and U-turns; even with a GPS. Discovering new ways of getting somewhere - some times not the straightest or fastest way of getting anywhere. We made it to Hattiesburg via the Sandie method, went around Hattiesburg then took the Stephen Gardinier Hot-Dog and Onion Short-Cut to Vicksburg.
Along the way, we were almost involved in an accident. Well, it happened right next to JoeJoe and Rocketman; one truck ran into another truck. (No doubt distracted from looking at a certain gorgeous GL 1800 belonging to the Ride Captain). We passed another accident further up the road, this one was serious; car ran a stop sign and ran under a Logging Truck, not a pretty sight. I also discovered a truism on this tour: When in Mississippi, if you see a sign that says “End of State Maintance” on the road you’re on, stop and put your motorcycle into 4-wheel drive, you’re going to need it. On the other hand, as we found out later in the trip, Twilight Zone mode.
Meanwhile back at the motel, where Skwirrel was clutching her ill-gotten beer, who should appear but none other than the Bearded One himself. No, not Santa, Virginia, but the one and only ever so infamous Doc Pat (and Brenda), with friends in tow. Now only a Sandie would ride through the cold night, after work, just to eat fried chicken. To further prove most motorcyclists aren’t the brightest bulbs in the chandelier, Doc talked 2 of their friends into coming along. I mean who but a Sandie would think that riding 375 miles (one way) to eat fried chicken made perfect sense.
The next morning, after making sure that everyone was up and at ’em, including The Midnight Beer Scammer, it was off to the National Battlefield at Vicksburg. The park is beautiful on a late fall morning as the motorcycles move down the narrow asphalt road, the passing tires stir up the leaves, while other leaves drift down. We couldn’t stay long but we did stop long enough to tour the Ironclad ship, Cairo, and it’s Museum.
Up to now, we have been riding exclusively along the Yankee, or Aggressors in the War for Southern States Rights, side of the Battlefield. Just as we turned the corner on the Confederate side of the Battle lines, it was time to leave and head for the Coca-Cola Museum. The back route out of the Park is one nice road, starts out on top of a hill and winds its way down to the middle of town. When we got to the downtown area, the ugly specter of starvation reared its head. Now keep in mind that we had just eaten not 3 hours before, but listening to the plaintive cries and whines, you would have thought their last meal was days before. The Mitchell, Rocketman and Wheet were all lamenting about their empty bellies. I foolishly chose to ignore them and headed for the Coca-Cola Museum.
Nice Museum. It was in the first place in America to bottle Coca Cola. Skwirrel and I were looking at Coke stuff when the coup d'état happened. The starving ones said they couldn’t take it any longer had to have their ‘fried chicken fix’. I pointed to the street out in front of the Museum, told them to stay on that Road until they got to Lorman, MS, and chicken Nirvana awaited them. Stampeding cattle couldn’t move faster than that herd.
The rest of us civilized folk; yes, including Sam, Skwirrel, Munchkin and JoeJoe, finished our walk through the Museum, eased our way back to the parking lot, mounted our motorcycles and motored out of Vicksburg. The Donnor Party was long out of sight, last seen thundering out of town, as if the Devil himself was chasing them. The road is MS 61 and runs parallel to the Mississippi River, mostly four-lane, but it narrows to a very nice two-lane through Port Gipson, Ms. the town hails itself as “The Town too Pretty to Burn”. It is a very quaint and picturesque southern town. There was still no sign of the Lifeboat Survivors, although some trees were bent in their direction of travel.
We soon arrived in Lorman, for your education the only thing in Lorman was the Country Store, where this divine Fried Chicken was being served (eventually). There could not be a more forlorn group of motorcyclists than those gaunt Sandies standing on the porch of the Country Store. It seems they serve around 11:30 am, not at 10:30 am as the Poor Unfed had thought. So all they could do was stand there and smell all the wonderful food smells drifting out of the kitchen. Some times the Road Gods reward patience, virtue and honesty. Maybe that explains why the Road Gods crap on the Sandies so often. Seeing as how I’m the only one that fills all the virtuous criteria.
Meanwhile back in Lorman, on the Porch: The Donnor Party of 4, (They were five and forgot about Jerry) it was ‘when do we eat’ and other assorted whines. Those of us that showed restraint on the fried chicken thing were content to wait, but there was change in the wind. Mr. Davis, the Wizard of the kitchen that produced those wonderful smells, came out to talk to the gaunt Foodie Sandies. He even sang a song to the drooling 5, not that they listened; they just kept edging toward the buffet.
Now a strange change came over the rest of the Sandies, they also began edging toward what food was out on the buffet. The nice lady that ran the dining room took pity on the emaciated Sandies and opened up the salad bar. There was literally a run for the veggies, I showed the restraint I have become famous for, waited, and went last. Not a smart thing as I was to find out later. Finally, hot food! The buffet began filling up, the fact that there was still no chicken did not deter the Foodies, and they kept shoveling. THEN the Chicken arrived! There was literally a melee at the buffet, when the crowd opened up, there was no, I repeat, NO chicken in the pan.
Here is where it got ugly; I had not one piece, not even a crumb. I went back to the table, someone asked why I had no chicken, looking around I noticed that most Sandies had at least 2, most had 3 pieces of the “Worlds Best Fried Chicken”. Did they offer any to the Road Captain, the one that planned this Road trip - brought them safely to the Worlds Best Fried Chicken? Did they share? Well did they? NO!
Sam did give me one of her pieces and The Mitchell, grudgingly offered a piece. Everyone else was guarding their plates. As matter of fact, they looked just like the Lions on a National Geographic special; Lions, guarding their fresh kill from Hyenas. The Chicken was excellent, tea was traditional southern Iced-Tea, or as Mark Twain called it “Southern Wine”. Everything but dessert was included for $6.00. Dessert was cobbler. Fresh cobbler.
The Mitchell ordered cobbler plus ice cream; Mr. “I’m going to take it easy”, yea right. Pat & Brenda joined us; at least they showed some restraint about the fried chicken. The place filled up rapidly, mostly fellow motorcyclists. Sam got Mr. Davis to autograph a menu “To the Sandies”. He then sang another song, which drew a large round of applause. After much burping and belly, rubbing it was time to saddle up. We stood on the porch, talking about how far we had to go (almost 280 miles) and it was already 12:30 pm. As we got ready to pull out, I swear I saw The Mitchell let his belt out a notch or two.
We headed across 61 and down MS 552. We wanted to stop at Rosewood Plantation. I had read about it on the internet; built in 1857, survived the War of Northern Aggression, and is a Bed and Breakfast now. Just a few miles and we did a U-Turn; I missed the entrance, rode down a dirt road with a classic Southern Plantation in the distance. We got to the Main House, parked, and said ‘Hi’ to a strange young man on the second floor. This was beginning to get a little spooky, kinda of like one of those Gothic Novels or a movie like “Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte”. We walked up to the front door and rang the bell, no answer.
Main front door was open, just a locked screen door. Knocked again and a little gray haired lady answered, she just kind of peeked out the door at the bikes and us. She said they were closed for the rest of the year, would I like a brochure? I said yes Ma’am; she opened the door and as she was handing me the brochure, out strolled a Rhodesian Ridgeback. These dogs are rare in the U.S., and they’re huge; The Rhodesian S.A.S. used them as war dogs during the civil war there. This one was very calmly eyeing us, sorta waiting for someone to do something really stupid, like breathe. Patted the dog, said thank you, and got off the porch. Next thing I notice the strange young man is following us to the parking lot, I mean this boy was ‘Bats in the Belfry’ strange, not just ‘ Deliverance’ strange, but Rod Sterling strange, Stephen King strange, the kind of strange that raises the hairs on the back of your neck.
He walks up to Lee, comments on the Rocket 3, nice bike etc. Lee says thanks, and then the guy says very clearly, “You know you look good on that Bike”. I never ever saw a big Triumph Rocket III turned around faster, heading down that dirt road with a plume of dust behind it. I swear we passed a thin guy smoking a pipe wearing a hounds-tooth jacket and leaning on a sign as we left the plantation.
The Road was incredible, twisting and turning through some beautiful countryside. The weather was a perfect fall day; Got to a crossroad, uh-oh, which way? GPS doesn’t show road conditions, map shows a windy road, Oh hell, go left. Skwirrel thinks I’m a flaming liberal any way, get it, left, liberal? Helloooo, anyone out there? Road is still nice, and then comes the dreaded sign “END OF STATE MAINTAINCE”. In Mississippi that’s a real uh-oh. Road got rougher and the countryside got strange looking. Remember the guy in the hounds-tooth jacket?
The light was a weird color, the trailers were beat up, and the farms had a wild look to them. I was busy praying to the Road Gods to get us the hell out of this strange place, and it was getting stranger the deeper we went. In addition, I was praying again to our fickle Road Gods not let a Sandie have a breakdown here in the Enchanted Forest. You see, The Mitchell was in the Super Six position, Skwirrel and Munchkin right in front of him. Knowing the Mitchell, he would use the “Bear in the Woods Rule”. To wit: “You don’t have to the fastest person in a group if a bear is chasing you, just faster than the guy behind you”. Therefore, if something happens, Skwirrel and Munchkin becomes Bear Bait. Hell, the V-Rod would probably pass me, too. Nothing like having the Cowardly Lion as your Super Six, well it did seem like OZ. Kidding aside, I am sure that Mitchell wouldn’t leave anyone. Maybe.
Back to Never-Never Land, the road got worse and worse, the trees got closer together and it got darker and darker. All we needed was a squad of Flying Monkeys to show up to make this a complete Road Nightmare. Suddenly there was a ditch across the road, it was speed up and hope you didn’t leave a wheel behind. Less than a mile up the road was a sign that we were finally leaving the Enchanted Forest; it said “BEGINNING STATE MAINTAINCE”. Somehow, we, the Sandies, had outwitted the Road Gods, this time. We stopped for gas at this little very country store. “Why,” you ask, “after what we had gone through would you stop for gas?” Sand Dollar Tour Directive #6 “Thou shalt gasup the wagons at every opportunity whilst in Indian Territory”. While there, Jerry found out that what looks like a stick being drug around by a dog isn’t always what it seems. We passed through Union Church, another story for another time, made a left and headed for Brookhaven, MS down one of the nicest riding roads in this part of the south, MS 550, simply unbelievable. Stopped once more for fuel in Brookhaven, Sandies had to use the bathroom. Well it took longer and longer, we had 210 miles to go, it was 2:30 pm, dark was only 3.5 hours away, and it was going to get cold, fast.
After rounding up all the Sandies, we had a Road Meeting, laid out that we had to move and move smartly if we didn’t want to become Sandiecicles. Pointed out that this was deer season and a cold, very dark Alabama highway with its warm pavement was a deer magnet. We rolled out and headed at off at 75 + mph on US 84. Well, after stopping to pick-up Munchkin’s dropped gloves, we made 75 + mph. That boy drops more stuff off his bike than anyone I know. Now it was just straight, hard, fast driving. US 84 in Mississippi is the loneliest 4 lane in America. We saw hardly any traffic, which is good when it comes to the Constabulary.
Soon it got dark, then colder, our headlights flashed on the occasional dead deer on the side of the road, I noticed more folks were staying in the middle of the road. I was following a pick-up that was making good time in the dark. This stretch of Highway is the darkest road I have ever been on. Stopped in Coffeeville, AL to put on more clothes, Sandies were cold and tired but hanging in there.
Everyone kept a good positive attitude, upbeat despite the circumstances. We just wanted to make it to Dave and Tina’s, warm food, a fireplace, and a nice bed. Ahh, bliss. Four and half-hours after Brookhaven we rolled into Monroeville, this was a Sandie Run that would become Sandie Legend. Those Sandies that made this Road Run were and are Motorcyclists.
Dave and Tina had awesome food, great company and a nice soft bed. Dave and Tina are so nice that Munchkin didn’t even have to sleep in the Garage. We left for breakfast after repairing the Rocket, slight coolant leak, no big deal. Great breakfast at a small country restaurant, Dave picks good food spots. We made it home a couple of hours later, what a trip, definitely a Sandie Legend Road Trip.
I would go again with this crew, anywhere, anytime.
Da Skwirrel’s Chicken Tour
By Da Skwirrel
I'm still basking in the glow from one of the best rides. Great folks coming together for adventure. The ride was the main course and the destinations were the desert ..Experiencing rides like this make me so glad to be a member of the Ridingest club. The weather.. Not too cold and definitely not, hot Sunshine all the way.. The rays highlighting the golden and red tints on the palette of fall leaves on the trees lining the rolling back roads of AL and MS. Fenced pastures, some vacant, some not, conforming to the topography of the gentle earth. Absolutely so very privileged to be able to experience the beauty of life. The Sandies in synchronized formation, rode smoothly along the rolling, curving, twisting hills resembling a Chinese New Year Dragon. I like George's version of Geometry..the shortest distance between point A and point B is NOT a straight line! We arrive in Vicksburg at dark.. so of course, the rest of the night was spent eating and laughing.. aint that right BOO? Call TDY Steve to remind him how it sux to be him (have to add salt to the wound ya know). Next morning blessed us with just as good weather as before. Time to ride the Park...wonderful roads caressing the battlefields of the past. I mean it!.. it was great fun.. almost no traffic.. just us...and a few folks waving as we exit. After we visit the Coke museum, it's time for the pilgrimage to the Chicken Mecca in Lorman MS... OH YEAH BABY!!!!!!!! This is the way food is suppose to be fixed... so Southern..hard to describe.. too busy drooling. So fresh! So tasty!!!!!! Louisiana Sandies meet us there to eat.. they're just as crazy as we are...is that scary or a requirement to become a Sandie? Full as a tick, we mount our metal two wheeled steeds and head for our next conquest!...To eat of course! I can't believe that we are actually headed out to go eat right after we just ate! Of course we rode a few hundred miles and it took many hours to do so. On the way, we stop at an old Southern mansion. Surrounded by oak trees draped in the Spanish moss.. surely there's a mint julep to be had.No tour was available which was OK.. too full to waddle anyway. Onward! What's that noise? Riding along some very very very back roads, Mitchell (bringing up the rear) hears the sweet plucking sounds of the Deliverance banjo like the Sirens calling to Ulysses. I kept him in my sight making sure he didn’t go off and join that duet. The Sandies finish that road into "civilization". George uses his skills as professional cat herder as he leads us to Monroeville. Hundreds of miles and not too late to...EAT (of course). Chez de Dave et Tina Here are some of the best folks waiting for us. Greeted us with open arms and hot delicious food and drinks. Waiting on us hand and foot.. taking care of our every whim. Yes there was a mint on the pillow...really do appreciate all that y’all did. Was good seeing the Monroeville Sandies. Great job on the route George.. bodacious roads! Had a BLAST! A definite do again!!!!
Jerry Chicken Tour
By Jerry G.
Friday 23 November dawned clear, cold (39°) with a 20-25 mph wind from the north for my start on the Chicken Run. As the usual “Hard Core” departed (on time as always), I was all set for the trip fully loaded down with all bags stuffed, plus air mattress, sleeping bag, etc, and a suitcase tied down on the b..... seat.
After a very cold and windy ride to our usual stop at 9th Ave. and US 98
in P’cola, someone asked me why I had the suitcase along. I explained
that for a three-day trip I did have some minimal needs such as a
toothbrush, change of clothes, Captain Morgan, etc., etc.
It was hard to tell who enjoyed this the most, the one who told me that
the trip wasn’t until next Friday or the whole group that took turns
speculating on the condition of my memory, my mind, my lack of a computer,
and possibly my sex life (or lack thereof).
Friday 30 November dawned clear, cool (49°) and much more pleasant. Seeing some of the same folks/bikes and all bikes loaded down did ease my mind somewhat. Same stop as before without the harassment I withstood last week, with 3 more bikes accumulated on the way. We followed our usual covert route (no interstate and minimal 4-lanes) to I-165 in Mobile where our exalted leader not only did not try to pass a red light with two state police cars there (as before), but got us all going north on I-165 only to pass up our planned exit on Rte. 158 for a 6-mile u-turn back on I-165 to Rte. 158.
Everything else uneventful including our stop at a Ward’s Drive Inn (try
their “Big One,” a full-size cheeseburger loaded full of their chili).
This fueled us up all the way to Vicksburg, Mississippi, about 335 miles
from Fort Walton observing only one wreck along the way. I’m sure that
others will describe the wreck, but I will say that I have never, ever,
seen a fully loaded lumber truck trying to mate with a Chevy Camero.
After getting settled in a nice motel, we hit a local eatery where most
folks ordered steaks (some of the best-looking I’ve seen) or shrimp (huge
and tasty). A folksy waitress who called everyone “Boo” evidently liked
“Cool Hand.” We could tell because every time she passed by she rapped him
in the head, this might be because he was eating the tidbits that dropped
on the floor. Best thing of all, I was awarded the “Jeffery Award.”
Next morning everyone showed up early (you make not think this newsworthy, and then you’ve never made a Sandy road trip). We were joined by those wonderful Sand Dollars Pat and Brenda and a couple from Louisiana. They are the sponsors of our “Lo Road Tour,” the high point of all our trips every year. We had a very interesting trip through the Vicksburg National Park and Cemetery and on downtown to the Coca Cola Museum. From here, we hustled down to Lorman, Mississippi to the “Old Store,” a 138-year-old store that claims to serve “The Best Fried Chicken in the World.” This is worth a visit if only to have the owner/chef sing to you at your table about his “Grandmother was a Cornbread Cooking Queen.” All old style home cooking and lots and lots of it.
With a delayed start we headed out some 230 miles to Monroeville, Alabama to the home of Dave and Tina (more misplaced Sand$ and the best hosts you could possibly imagine. Enroute we tried an interesting road (#552) which after the “State Maintenance Ends” sign turned into an imitation of the movie “Deliverance.” Picture a ½ acre lot with 5 or 6 trailer homes liked together surrounded by 10 or 12 wrecked pickup trucks with 20 0r 30 hound dogs in the yard. The one most concerned was our tail end “Sweeper” who knew that if he had a bike problem, no one was behind him. Even with him imaging banjo music in the background, I don’t know why he was bothered. He just recently moved to Crestview, he should have felt right at home.
Anyway, after a great night in Monroeville and super breakfast at the “Old Timers Café,” another 180 miles home.
At 790 miles total, a small price to pay for a great adventure and super camaraderie.
The Great Chicken Run of ‘07 LeeM - RocketMan I must admit I've been excited about this trip for weeks. Think of it, all the chicken one could eat, not just that, but “ALL The BEST Fried Chicken, one could EAT”, 900 miles of great roads and a few good Sandies, more or less. Does that sound like a Sandie ride, or what? Purchased a great new helmet, Arai…from Barracuda, Keith gave me a good deal. Lisa gave me a New Garmin Zumo 550 for Christmas, got a new bag from D & D (nice bag, no deal) and ordered a new winter jacket and of course, it came the day I left (after I actually took off). Already the trip cost me too much and I had not left my driveway yet. Friday, November 30th, 2007: Day One: 5:00 am Up and at’em, 6:00 am out the door and down the street… oops, can’t power up the new GPS, had a little extra time stopped to fix it (no joy). Got to Sun Plaza 5 minutes early, oops, no I was late since my clock was off (install of GPS that is not working). Weather nice, traffic good, first stop Pensacola for gas, stretched our legs. Thanks to Steve and his handy-dandy allen wrench, popped the battery and fixed my GPS. A beautiful road, colorful leaves raining down, and being tossed about by our wheels hitting the pavement. 2:30 pm: Red truck stops to let our group pass (we had the right away). As I passed the intersection, the truck behind him (oblivious), does not stop. Lot’s of smoke from his tires, front end of his truck folded into the rear of the one that stopped for us. Lifted the bed of the truck, catapulted the contents over the top, and out the sides as I passed by, I was glad to see JoeJoe behind me, come through without harm. Exciting, especially since all Sandies were unscathed… 3:30 pm: Another intersection…looked like a compact car had run a Stop sign, managed to get itself under the flat bed of a tree-hauling rig and was drug at least 50 feet. Entire bottom front windshield of car was crushed in. Only slowed a bit so don’t know how the passenger(s) faired. Good Luck, little guy… Yes, folks these two “scenes” were exactly an hour apart in our travels to Vicksburg. As I look around, I see “girlie” men have taken over motorcycling; what do I mean? The Sheepskin seat covers, backrests, hippo hands, heated hand grips, wind screens, and I don’t want to name names, but I witnessed a Sandie or two with a ROLL AROUND suitcases. What’s next a “Bike Biminy” oh, the sun is too bright… Shame, shame. Day Two: Battlefield drive through; the road was made for bikes--twisty, smooth, and beautiful. Needed more time there, interesting. Next, stop the first Coca Cola bottler. Nice stop, but I want CHICKEN... me hungry! After harassing George to go, he was surprisingly quick to throw us out, I mean let us take our leave and go. So Boo (Mitchell, he picked up yet another moniker), Wheet, Jerry and I left ahead of the rest, for the Old Country Store. Forty minutes later, we arrive only five minutes before the rest. The Old Country Store building looked old and deserted, like something built in the 1930 dust storms, but it was much older than that. The staff said the buffet would be open soon, so we started on the salad bar. They only cook enough food to be eaten right a way. The salad bar had no equal, my sweet tea was the best I've ever had, and the chicken was hot, crisp, moist, juicy, and full of flavor, it was definitely great. This was the best six-dollar meal I ever had; it is worth twice that much. And George picked up the tab. Look forward to a return visit. Close by, was a Bed and Breakfast, Sam and George wanted to check out for a future stay. Long dirt driveway, and I was last to get off my bike, a strange young man on the second floor was taking lots of pictures. As we were saddling up, he (strangely reminiscent of "Bates", think Psycho) came over to talk to me, and I being polite replied. George was quick to leave down the long dirt driveway ..."Hell" they all left me sitting there with "Norman", Gee Thanks. Anyway, we are on our way to the next destination, Dave and Tina's for much needed rest and food. The roads combined the best with some of the worst tire hazards out there. A gas station along the way was all barred up, pumps old; but not classic, dirt for pavement. There was young Doberman with a tree branch in his mouth, Jerry called him over to play, gives a pull on the "tree branch" and we noticed it was a deer leg. Jerry without hesitation smells his hand and said it was fresh. How he knows this, I really don't want to know... We ran late, by the time we made it to Dave and Tina's house it was very cold. Lots of good food, spirits, and the best in warm welcoming hospitality, with a much-needed fire so I could finally get warm. Day Three: This morning, everybody meets up over at the motel that some us stayed at for the night. I noticed a small coolant leak from my bike -- FatCat and Fred started analyzing the leak. Joe Joe got out a very handy pair of needle nose pliers, adjusted the hose and the leak was fixed...thank you all, especially JoeJoe. Got a nice goodbye hug from Tina, better hug from Dave, we need to fix that. If you didn't make it, you missed out; trust me, you don't want to miss it next time!