Day 6, May 18, 2020 — Monroe, LA, to Meridian, MS, 227 miles
It was muggy and overcast this morning but warm. I went to the meeting site myself as Joe (my friend and his who I was traveling with)was going on an outreach mission. I got the right exit. As usual, I took the wrong side road and ended up back on the Interstate. Four miles down the road I was able to exit and get back going the other way to the right exit. Again. 😊 I took the right frontage road this time and arrived w time to spare. 90 mph (whoops) and most cars were getting out of my way. Was it because their police bikes here look the same as the one I ride?
We got on the road after our briefings and memorial story and traveled to a war memorial for a wreath-laying ceremony at the Vietnam site at the Monroe City Hall. I got a front seat for this one. There was another bagpiper and he was dressed pretty fancy.
Near the Louisiana / Mississippi border we had helicopter support. Once we crossed over we had three helicopters for support, flying back and forth over the line of bikes for more than a hundred miles. Nearly every overpass had people on them or near them with flags. The perfect photo was an overpass lined with people and fire trucks with a helicopter flying by on each side. Wow.
There were two overpasses that were absolutely mind-boggling. One had people lined across the top. In the grass that goes down from the overpass to the highway, there were flags put into the ground and in the middle flew a POW / MIA flag. It was so nice.
But the best one was an overpass with a man on what may have been a Palomino horse. He was wearing a cowboy hat and flying a big flag. The horse wasn’t that into the bikes but his rider held him under control. WOW!!! It was so nice. How could you not experience some emotion seeing what we saw on the ride today.
When we arrived at Harley-Davidson of Jackson shop we were greeted by men and women in period costumes. Very cool. We had a nice lunch and there were service men honored for their service … all branches, POWs. Their names were announced, a bell gonged and their branch of the service music played. It was awesome.
At this HD shop there’s something called The Trail of Tears. Verlie and I rode a golf cart and took a quick tour. It’s set up by centuries and depicts wars. Wish we could have stayed several hours and walked through. There were guns you could shoot, cannons. It was a really neat place set up on 11 acres. The Vietnam Traveling Wall was also there.
We arrived in Meridian and once again were treated so very well. Barbecue and Mac and cheese. Tasted great. I met some new folks again since I couldn’t find Joe and Verlie and I was hungry.
So much goes into this run. And so many people help. I don’t know that any of us realize the work and the donations. Our gas was paid for today. We’ve had three meals a day plus snacks and drinks. There were six pallets of Nestle water donated that arrived from Florida. And some folks come from Florida to do your laundry. Tonight they gathered your dirty clothes and you’ll get it back in the morning.
We had some pretty interesting situations today. First the fuel stop parking lot that had big holes and then the parking at the Jackson HD shop. We were parked on angles. I couldn’t get my kickstand down due to the slant. One of the guys said they’d get me out and later when it was time to leave someone just backed it up for me so it was level. Another lady had her husband do the same for her. Then she backed up a little toward the curb and fell over. That’s three I’ve seen so far. Knock on wood, none have been me. Yet!!
But we made it. Another day and a safe arrival to our dinner at the Lauderdale County Agriculture Center in Meridian. The south has such wonderful hospitality and people that warm your heart.
“When one American is not worth the effort to be found, we as Americans have lost.” Unknown