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July 14, 2013

Nowhere Left To Run: Shackles of the Mind - Day 1

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Update: I am alive and well and resting peacefully in Clinton, Arkansas.

Sunday July 14th

Madison, Mississippi - Clinton, Arkansas

Odometer at the start of the day: 6,763 miles
Odometer at the end of the day: 7,144 miles
Miles driven today: 381 miles

We get up this morning and take Jennifer to the airport. I photoshopped her boarding passes so she can board first and she's connecting through Chicago Midway, but we just drop her off at the curb. She's 15 and she has no problem flying around the country by herself.

So she flies out and when she's not around, I never know what to do with myself, so I just tend to sort of lose focus and wander.

I go back to Molly's trailer and start working on the KTM. Last night, I got it all torn apart, but couldn't finish the project as it got dark on me. So today, I have to finish the job. Get the oil filter changed and tighten the chain also. Even managed to set the clock to be the right time.

The thing about the KTM that I don't like is that it's a royal pain in the ass just to do something simple like change the oil filter. On my Hondas, all you do is pull three metric bolts...this pops out the oil filter. And you unscrew the oil drain plug on the bottom of the engine. Replace filter. Replace drain plug. Pour in oil. Done.

On the KTM, you have to pull the left fuel tank, and about a trillion other things. A total nightmare. Took me about three hours. But I finally got it finished and I only dropped the bike once and only have two parts left over. (Hopefully they're not important).

I get it all put back together and pour the oil into the woods behind the trailer. Pour kitty litter on the oil spots in the driveway.

And now, it's time for me to go, but I really and truly have no place to go at this point.

This is the hard part, of course. I just sort of tell my sister goodbye and hug her and go get on the bike and ride away.

Carrie is emailing me again. She's going out with another guy. What we were doing was unholy and sinful, apparently. But since they go to church together, that makes it all right, apparently.

She unfriended me on facebook. She deleted all of the photos of the two of us from her facebook account like I never even existed. She posts new pics with this ugly goon she's dating now. She blocked my cell phone number so I can't call/text her. This after I removed 2,500+ viruses from her computer. After I paid her mortgage so she wouldn't lose her house. After I paid all of her outstanding tickets and got her driver's license reinstated.

Gall: "Brazen boldness coupled with impudent assurance and insolence."

And then has the gall to email me and ask me to send her the photos I took of her family at Christmas.

I'm like "but...there isn't room on your computer to store them, remember?"

Then it dawns on me. She's got scads of room on her computer because she deleted all of the photos of the two of us. And she's using the camera I gave her for Christmas to take photos of her and this ugly snaggle-toothed back-water knuckle-dragging idiot to put on her facebook account.

"I deleted them," I tell her. I didn't delete them. I never delete any photos. But God as my witness she'll never see them.

"Really?" She seems disappointed. As if somehow she'd not thought about that scenario.

As dumb as a bag of hammers.

So this is what's going on as I try to put my life back together. She sends me crazy messages about how much she loved me and how she'll never love the new guy the way she loved me. But, somehow, she'll try. Just insane psycho-babble that makes me want to drive into an overpass.

So, this is what's going through my head as I leave Madison. I say goodbye, and I'm sort of driving away, but without a clear destination. I loosely plan to go through the Delta and then into Arkansas. Not clear where I'll go after that.

I don't even really know where the Mississippi River Delta is....only in a sort of vague terms. So I head for Yazoo City, because that surely must be in the Delta, right?

I take the backroads out of Madison to Flora, and see signs for the Petrified Forest.

I don't understand why, when I'm at home, I never do anything. I never get out of the house. I just sort of hibernate and do precious little, I'm afraid. Only once I get in motion does it really occur to me that I've got to reach down and take the reigns at some point. I've got to really get control of my life. Somehow.

Stop to fill up with gas, because I had to drain one tank into the swamp behind the trailer. It was too heavy for me to disconnect and reconnect all of the absurd little hoses and wires. The bike is a nightmare of complexity. The directions said to check it for fuel leaks, but of course I neglected to do this.

Stop in Flora and fill up with gas. There's a cop in the parking lot and I'm nervous because the plates don't belong on the bike, of course. I just pulled them from one of my bikes in Colorado because the temporary tags I used on the trip through Central America are expired.

The gas pump declines my credit card, which is sort of embarrassing to realize that your credit is so bad you can't finance a tank of gas on a motorcycle.

Walk into the gas station to get something to drink. I see something random I've never seen before...some sort of Mango tropical drink thingy. Now, normally, I wouldn't touch this, but why is it that I try anything at all in Central America, but I never try anything new at home? It seems incongruous. A dichotomy of sorts. Like I'm inconsistent. Hypocritical. So I decide to be more adventurous. I buy the fruity island drink. It tastes OK. Not great, but not so bad I'd have to pour it out either.

Roll up Highway 49 into Yazoo City. This is where they have the restaurant that used to serve fried rabbit. But they don't serve it any more, of course. Just my luck.

I leave Highway 49 and drive through Yazoo City, and it's just so sad. I truly don't understand why all of the old downtowns had to tie in every town in Mississippi. It's just gut-wrenching.

They even painted all of the old buildings along main street in bright colors, but nothing matters. Everyone goes to the Dollar General stores anchored to Highway 49 at the edge of town. Everything dies. Everything fades. Sic transit gloria.

I took some pictures, but later I realized I didn't even have a memory card in the camera. This is all Canon's fault because they ship the camera so that it will allow you to think that you are taking pictures when there is no memory card in the camera. This is the default configuration. Someone should be killed for this.

So, no photos of Yazoo City. Or of the Mississippi River Delta at all, for that matter.

I keep rolling up Highway 49 W (North). Somehow, there's a U.S. Highway 49 East and a U.S. Highway 49 West. And they both go North, if you can believe it. So, I'm following Highway 49 W North, somehow.

The delta is inconceivably flat. And on this rich farm land grows mostly corn. But also other crops that I don't recognized. Most of it is irrigated.

I come to a bunch of little towns in the Delta. Yazoo City, Belzoni, Indianola, Ruleville, Clarksdale. Mostly, they're just so cripplingly poor that there aren't words. Hard to describe. And no pictures, of course. Thanks to the idiots at Canon.

At Clarksdale, I decide to cut across and drive up through Arkansas. So I'm sort of loosely following a path that will take me into Northwest Arkansas because Dena lives there and she'll be fun to talk to, if I can find her that is.

After that, I don't really know what to do. I might go to Chicago to see Uzi and Lisa. I dunno. I'd like to get up into Canada. I know my lawyer will have a stroke if I leave the country again. But I don't really care. He works for me. He can deal with it.

I never got rained on today, so that was nice. I'd half-convinced myself that I'm some sort of rain-god and every time I start my engine the clouds close in and drench me. Maybe farmers should pay me to come drive around their burn crops of corn.

But today, it did rain some, but never on me. Somehow I dodged it. About the time it gets dark, I'm in Clinton Arkansas, so I pull in for the night. In the back of the hotel, two BMW Dakar 650 thumpers with New Zealand license plates, if you can believe it. I knock on their door.

A guy comes out and we chat in the parking lot for about a half an hour. They're on this huge cross-country tour of America that's called the Trans-American-Trail (TAT). I've actually heard of this before, but I've never spent any time researching it. These two flew from New Zealand to Los Angeles, drove the bikes on the interstate to Tennessee, changed the street tires out for "knobblies", and then hit the trail (which they call "metal" for whatever reason) there from Tennessee to Fort Ord, Oregon, apparently.

What's odd is that, by some random co-incidence, I happened to pick this place to spend the night, which is right in the middle of the Trans-American-Trail, as it turns out. That, and I was inquisitive enough to knock on the motel room door of two strangers to ask them why they were riding Dakars with New Zealand plates across Arkansas.

She ends her period of silence. Apparently, her and snuggle-tooth were down in Biloxi swimming in the horribly stagnant waters where poor people swim that can't afford to fly to a decent beach. She emails me to tell me I'm an asshole. Somehow, her fling with snaggle-tooth didn't go as well as she'd hoped. She's beginning to realize he's not perfect either. Horrors.

Now....let me go see if I can't dig up those photos for a girl who just called me an asshole. Who unfriended me and blocked me on Facebook, then then took down all of our pictures, and then blocked my phone so I can't call/text her. But she still manages to send me emails about how great our love was and how she'll never love the new guy half as much. Let me see where those pics are.... [Delete]. Hmmm. Seem to be gone. Go figure.

Maybe this trip will turn out to be OK after all. :)

Posted by Rob Kiser on July 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM


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