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The Low Road Tour 2003

Story by Will F.

I started out at 6 AM to fuel up and get some grub from Joe & Eddies before we started the trip. Sam and George were already there; I swear they must start out really early just to be the first ones there every time. After breakfast we waited for Hack to show up, and we did not have to wait long. We left and headed down 98 to pick up JoeJoe and Munchkin on the way. The roads were a little crowded by the people on their way to work, but not to bad. The old Harley was running great! After we got on the highway and started cruzin' things just fell into place, all was right with the world. I think that a lot of the people we passed were jealous of us because we were out having fun while they were on their way to work, bummer. We stopped for fuel about every 80 miles, JoeJoe's max mileage while cruzin above 70 (on his Harley, it only 3.5 gallon tanks. I don't know why Harley didn't put 5 gallon fat bobs on that model, must have been that Japanese Engineer they hired), which worked out great for rest stops.

We stopped in Mississippi to see George's better-looking brother and got a 50-cent tour of the Coast Guard Station.

The Mississippi Cruze In was going on, so we took a look around, but not many hot rods had made it there yet; although, we did see a lot of them on their way there traveling down the highway. I didn't know that there were that many 55, 56, 57 Chevy's in this area, all painted red and white.

In Louisiana at the place we stopped for fuel some one was tearing up the countryside and putting in a shopping mall, go figure, nothing around for miles but they are constructing a big mall? I guess they think that if they build it people will come, maybe it will become a tourist attraction or something, whatever.

Made it to close to Pat's and called for an escort; unfortunately, Pat was about 10 miles away waiting for us where he thought we'd be, oh well, we were in no hurry. Just as he showed up it started raining (and it didn't let up for two days) I don't know what was the cause for the rain except the maybe the Sandie curse, where they go rain shall follow.

Finally made it to Pat's place, and Brenda had a feast waiting, Spaghetti with meatballs (homemade) and a great sauce, salad, and garlic bread, good eating. Everyone found a place to sleep, Munchkin and Hack in the motor home (ask Hack about sleeping on the wet spot), Sam and George in the spare bedroom, I took the back room, and JoeJoe took the couch, guess he didn't like the top bunk. Pat suggests an after lunch ride to work off the big lunch; everyone was up for it, although it was still raining, except for Sam (I think she was the smart one) because she found a comfortable place on the porch swing. There are lots of nice twisty roads by Pats house, but the general consensus was "that they would be great if it was dry out" (the phrase of our stay in Louisiana) lets just say that the tires seem to slip and slide a little more in La. Back at Pat's place we put up the bikes, wrung out our socks, hung up the rain gear, and went inside to relax. Everyone slowly broke off and went to bed about 10 pm to get some rest for the festivities of the following day, 300 + miles done and more to go.

Ahh, the dawning of the second day, up at 5:30 AM, just could not sleep past that time (normal wake up at home). Weather prediction is "RAIN", clearing around noon, "yeah right". The day started with George making coffee, which got people up and moving, breakfast was being made, JoeJoe on the computer to get the latest up-dates on the weather, and anxious Sandie's praying for clear weather to ride in. The hardest part of the waiting was that Pat had a great ride set up for us, the plans were set but mother nature would not cooperate with our wishes, oh well adapt and overcome. While waiting for a break in the weather we started reading the magazines and motorcycle parts catalogs that Pat had sitting around. George complained that Pat only had Harley parts books around, but I informed him that he had alternative motorcycle parts catalogs in the bathroom on the little role next to the cat bowl (aka: toilet bowl). he didn't think that was funny, I don't know why.

Finally enough was enough, and we got our rain suits on and went riding. Pat in the lead, and I was bringing up the rear. We were doing the normal Sandie thing, looking for a place to eat.

Well, ya gotta eat. We ended up at the Cajun Village, nice quaint tourist place, and being tourists we fit right in. The locals thought that we were crazy for riding on such a beautiful rainy day, but we informed them that we were Sanddollars and that this was normal riding weather for us (ain't it the truth?). We had some excellent chow, not as good as Brenda's, but it was still very good. Munchkin had empty saddlebags, so he did some shopping to fill them, and the rest of us checked out the place. Mostly we were just killing time hoping that the sun would make an appearance. Since the sun would not cooperate we decided to head back to Pat's place to wait out the rain and pray for better weather.We went by van to Catfish Charlie's restaurant, it was still raining and crossing the bay on the boat to Mindorf's didn't seem appealing because most of us were still wet. What can you say we were whimps, but dry ones. Dinner was excellent, that is why I like riding with the Sandies, they know where all the good grub is.Sam celebrated her birthday (I wasn't about to ask her age because I was sitting within striking distance).

They have a dock out back that has underwater lights to attract the Turtles, so the tourists can feed them, lots of Turtles, Geese, Ducks, and 1 water rat (kindda looked like a wet road rat, but what do I know). A good time was had by all.

Upon rising on the third day we awoke to wet ground and, can you believe it, "no rain". Everyone started to get motivated, get organized, pack the bikes, drink lots of coffee, and before we could leave "TADA" it started raining, oh well, another day in the trenches.

Pat's brother Don was waiting at the Chevron down the road, so while trying to leave, George, not wanting to forget our lovely time in Louisiana, dropped his helmet in the mud, I think he was fishing for mudbugs, and he had to clean it out before leaving. Everyone left and went to the Chevron to wait for George and fuel up before heading to Mississippi and the Natchez Trace. Went to breakfast a couple miles down the road to fuel up our stomachs. The rain abated for a little while as we left the restaurant, but found us a little while later.

Once in Mississippi the rain stopped, and we saw an odd object in the sky? It was bright and warm, I've heard of it but I haven't seen it in a while. Anyway, we made our way to the Trace with a stop at Wally World (Wallmart) for refreshments to have lunch on the Trace.

Once we found the Trace, yeah, typical Sandie u-turn, the road wasn't crowded with tourists; the sites were interesting with a lot of history behind them.

We were going to try and make Jackson before leaving, but it was getting late and George wanted to get to the Beverly Drive-In, I guess he had a hot date with Sam. We were riding hard across Mississippi to get to the theatre before dark, but due to things almost falling off Honda's (sorry George, I had to tell) and the rain, yes it rained again, we just didn't make it to the movies. We kept going till we hit Hattiesburg, MS. Where we were going to stop for the night. Now, this is the part that I have to explain my "Blazing My Own Trail", we were coming to a light and it was changing, so I got stuck at it, but I watched which way the group went. I really did not get caught at the light I stopped. I was following the pack for three days, and do you know what three day old road rats smells like? And wet road rats at that. Lets just say the smell was getting intense in the back, the bugs hitting my windshield were already dead before impact. I was just looking for some fresh air because anything was better than what I was breathing. OK, back to the story. After motel hopping we settled on one, can't remember the name, toooooo tired. Met up with Hack after getting settled, and since we could not find anyone else we went for food. Of course, we must have been slow because everyone else was already at the Longhorn, seated, orders placed. We sat down at the next table, and the waiter must not have known that we were all together, so we were ignored. Hack went to the bar for some beer, and I don't know about anyone else but that first beer after a hard days riding tasted great, and it was served in a chilled glass goblet. After this trip George probably thinks that I'm an alcoholic, but I am just a plain drunk, I don't waste my drinking time going to meetings. We still couldn't get the attention of the waiter, so we sat at the bar watching football. After eating it was time for sleep.

The last day we awoke to sunny skies, and moderate temps. The hotel had a good continental breakfast, and it was free. After everyone was done eating we said our goodbyes to Pat and Brenda, Munchkin, and Don. We started the last leg of our journey. George wanted to find the checkers museum, don't ask, so we set out for the objective and found the Beverly Drive-In, we were just a little late to see the movie.

One of Hattiesburg's finest stopped, probably to check out the "ruff looking bikers" haha, he was really helpful in escorting us out of town in the direction of the museum, but we did not succeed in our task, drat. So we hit the road heading for home with five bikes. The trip home was interesting because we found some reeeeeeeeally nice roads to travel, namely Mississippi 548, and a few more. The more we traveled East the colder it got, especially when we were traveling through Alabama, so we turned South.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful except when the train engineer blew his horn and Hack nearly jumped off of his bike, and when the trailer next to Hack jumped over a curb, it was not his day.

Life's a journey, not a destination, and this journey was no exception. Plainly stated "I had fun". The rain could not dampen my spirits, nor my attitude. The only thing I can tell those Sandies that have not attended a trip like this is to just go and have fun. Remember a bad day on the bike is better than a good day at work, or something like that. "THANK YOU" to Pat and Brenda for their hospitality and putting up with me, and to everyone else on the trip!!!

THE END (of this trip)


Story by Pat & Brenda:

What more can be said? They came...we rode...we ate...we got wet...but we laughed a lot. Once again it was our pleasure to welcome the Sandies into our home for what is becoming an annual event...THE LOW ROAD TOUR. With much anticipation, Brenda and I busied ourselves getting ready for the Sandies' incoming. Beautiful weather all week before..but upon arrival..the sky began to cry like the Indian Motorcycle dealers going out of business across the land. Wait an minute....INDIANS......RAIN.........HUHHHHH...could there be a connection? Anyhowww... after getting the group settled in...eating..we began what was to be the main event for the next couple days....watching the weather channel and JOE-JOE on the computer watching the screen show clearing over our area....buttt...the old fashioned weather monitor....the arm out the window....showed continued falling of the SKY TEARS !But we didn't let that stop us... we had a route planned....rain gear...and the SANDIE spirit to ride on....SOOOO... we suited up and rode some both of the first two days on the wet...somewhat slippy roads. Did that bother us? No did only turned our front porch into a display stand of the different wet weather gear available to riders today.

Friday night we did give in and take the van to CATFISH CHARLIES for dinner and celebration of the date which marks the birth of the RIDER OF ALL TIME (anyone who has had to follow George on his LOST voyages as long as she has deserves that title) SAM. Thanks Munch for the Munchies. Saturday was a special day for me...not only was the weather clearing a little, but my Big Brother Donald was riding with us. He just started riding a couple years ago and really has taken a likin' to it...this was his first road trip with a group and he loved the ride and the interaction with the Sandies and looks forward to the next trip. We got a late start Saturday morning...nobody war real anxious to start another wet ride...but the farther north we went the sky began to dry it's tears and blue skies peaked through the clouds here and there.

I really like the back roads to Natchez and the Trace was beautiful as always...but the route we found to cross the state of Mississippi diagonally to Hattiesburg...was an unexpected joy.....curvy...great scenery...bumps and potholes to dodge...and the UNKNOWN of what was around the next curve. A little editorial time here...the years I spent riding with the Sandollars while I lived in Shalimar, I would ride at the end of the line...way in the back...lollygagging along...eating my snacks and thinking up ways to aggravate George. What would it be today?.... sneak up and run past haw aboaut standing on the rear floorboards and mooning him at 70mph...laugh and stir the pot when we had to make the infamous u-turn because the road ended or we were just lost....that was some of the most enjoyable times of my life....George provided so much entertainment.

There is a saying that goes something like "If you are not the LEAD DOG..the scenery never changes".....well I'm here to tell you that if you are the LEAD can't really enjoy the scenery because you are tooo busy watching for the next turn...worrying about getting lost...and just feeling responsible for the enjoyment of the whole group. It isn't bad leading over the familiar roads around home...but going up into Mississippi onto unknown roads...well that is where it becomes more work than fun. I was lucky...only a couple of DETOURS...and a group of understanding..."WHAT THE HELL, LETS HAVE FUN" people made my time as LEAD DOG bearable...a couple times I tried to give the LEAD to George, but he would have nothing to do with it.

SOOO....appreciate your Road Captain...George makes it look easy, but he puts a lot of time and effort into the planning of the rides he leads and puts up with a lot of griping at times...just be glad you can enjoy the RIDE without the pressure. Enough soap-box time. Great dinner in Hattiesburg...too bad we got into town too late for the DRIVE-IN movie...there's always next time. Brenda and I and Donald really enjoyed the time with the Sandies...the weather could have been better..but the company sure could not have been better...Lookin' forward to next time.


Hack's Remarks:

What I learned. Pat and Brenda are wonderful people for puting us up and puting up with George. After 3 cross country rides, I'm addicted. Dave doesn't snore as loud as I was lead to believe. Sam has more common sense then the rest of this group ( she didn't go out in the monsoon to ride that 1st day) and should be our president. Joe taught us the true meaning of " something". Don, Pat's brother, chews tobacco and drinks beer, he's OK in my book. I'm glad George doesn't drink. If you pack the right tools you won't need them, metrics for the jap bikes, adjustable wrench, hammer and a 25 ft. tow rope for the harleys. Will is too easy going for an anchor clanker. Sleeping on the wet spot isn't as good as it use to be. And the number ONE thing I learned was; the guy who says no whining on this trip is going to be the first. I'd like to thank Pat and Brenda for the great food and terrific roads hope to see you next year. Hack

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