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Southern Route – 2017, Day 7

Meridian, MS – Chattanooga, TN  – 319 Miles

The mantra for today’s ride was: Adapt – Improvise – Overcome

The day began with an announcement that there would be a detour heading out of Meridian. At mile marker 32 the pack was taken off the highway,  we were taken back on the highway at Mile Marker 62.  It was 30 miles of back roads full of pot holes, sharp turns and gravel. Oh and did I mention it was raining? Essentially, we started the day behind. Hard as we tried we never made up the time but we adapted, we improvised and we overcame!

In addition to opening the morning meeting with the detour information, Ghost Rider shared with the group that when we left Ontario there were 1,611 Missing in Action from Vietnam. This week LCDR Frederick P. Crosby USN, remains were discovered and returned. As of today there are 1,610 still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. This is why we ride! To Remember!

“Dying for Freedom isn’t the worst that could happen, being forgotten is.” WE WILL NOT FORGET! 

We crossed into Sweet Home Alabama at 8:15 am. Stopped for gas and a quick snack and then continued on to the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center. The staff and patients are so happy to have the riders visit. They line the street and parking lot to welcome us as we ride in. It’s a huge welcome home party in the parking lot! The riders are welcomed and taken to the atrium where we are provided a yummy pulled pork sandwich lunch. This year we took up a donation from the riders for the medical center. Then RFTW – Southern Route matched the funds. Riders donated $1,836.00 and with the matching donation a total of $3,672.00 was given to the VA Medical Center. The money used to purchase toiletries, birthday party supplies and other extras.

Lunch is served in the atrium and then riders are invited to go and visit patients at the medical center. I have met some wonderful American Heroes in the halls of the Tuscaloosa VAMC.

From the VAMC we made a short hop, only 100 miles, over to the Piggly-Wiggly for a little Thunder at the Pig. It just wouldn’t be the Southern Route without it. I eat one hotdog a year and it’s in the Piggly-Wiggly Parking lot. For some reason, they taste so good! We also had chips, watermelon, and crackers. And everyone gets their picture taken with “The Pig” ????. Not sure what the serious conversation Ghost Rider is engaged in. They look happy though ????. It must be the hot dogs.

After the Piggily-Wiggly is the 120 mile leg into Chattanooga, TN. This leg has the reputation as the worst leg of the 10 day trip. The traffic, and missionary ridge and all the interchanges… this year we were looking at adding rain to the mix. I am happy to report, the rain held off and we sailed right into the Thunder Creek Harley Davidson in Chattanooga, TN.

Observations from today:

  • The country side is beautiful, so green and lush. Too bad it has to rain all the time to look that way.
  • We dipped into Georgia just before riding into Tennessee
  • The Fallen Heroes Cart the Southern Route was escorting was delivered to Dallas Fort Worth yesterday. I will try to get a picture of it being delivered.
  • As of last night there are approximately 425 riders registered on the Southern Route


“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” Harry S Truman

Mission > Self

Kristine “Eyes” Wood