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David Freeze: A few wrong turns and lots of right ones

Editor’s note: Salisbury native David Freeze is cycling from Mobile, Alabama to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Post is chronicling each day of his ride. Contact him at david.freeze@ctc.net.

As soon as I got out of bed this morning, I realized that my phone and iPad had not charged overnight. The bathroom switch had to be turned on to keep charging and nothing happened after I flipped it off last night. So I got a minor charge in both by 6:15 a.m. and hit the road hoping for the best.

The first thing that I did was turn the wrong way out of the motel. It didn’t seem right and I stopped to ask before the mistake was made worse. So, off I was headed on Highway 45 toward Tupelo. It was about 45 miles away and a straight shot on the highway. Traffic was light and I made good time. Lots of clouds but no rain.
I got off on the right exit and wanted to go to the visitor’s center first, but found it still closed for the Fourth of July. They won’t be back until Monday. I kept riding down the street and spotted the Tupelo Hardware Company, the place where Elvis got his first guitar. His mother, Gladys, took him there to get a rifle. She spotted the guitar and asked him to try it. Elvis chose the $3 guitar and the rest is history. I knew this because I listen to the Elvis channel on Sirius Radio.
After that, I headed back for his birthplace and rode way out of the way after making a wrong turn. Probably added two miles to my ride for that mistake. Three teenagers told me where to find the birthplace and park. It is a beautiful park and the collection of buildings includes his birthplace, house, his first church, an outhouse and a huge new museum, auditorium and gift shop. No pictures were allowed in the gift shop, but I had to have one of the life sized standup cutout that is at my house too. I waited until the clerk was busy and quickly got the shot. The site is well worth visiting. Sunday hours started at 1 p.m. and I think there were over 100 visitors when I left. The birthplace house is about 40 percent of the size of a small mill house in our area. Elvis’ dad, Vernon, built the house.
It was time to head on down the road. I immediately turned the wrong way again, thinking I knew a shortcut. Add another mile to my total, and a couple of new friends who helped get me pointed in the right direction, and I was quickly headed toward Booneville, Mississippi where I wanted to spend the night. The ride was about 30 miles on Highway 45 again, all well and good even though the traffic was much heavier than it had been in the morning. A little fear made me pick up the pace. After an exit on to county road 145, I had to ride the hills past some of the most stately horse farms I have ever seen. Two had gates and fences of the type that the VA Hospital has. Don’t think those horses will get out of all that brick and steel.
Finally, I made my way into Booneville after 86 miles of riding today. Booneville was originally settled by R. H. Boone, a direct descendant of Daniel Boone. I got another great room, have my feet up and am enjoying the evening. Cindy Wade at the College Inn helped with that.
Last night, I forgot to report my mileage of 82 miles on the ride into West Point. The total helps us keep up with the total mileage for the whole adventure. Also, today got me back in the area of where I will be able to see several sites associated with the Shiloh National Battlefield tomorrow. At the time of the 1862 battle, more men were killed here at Shiloh that in all the previous American wars put together. Visiting Civil War battlefields has always interested me, as has reading about them. There is at least once place that I want to visit in Corinth, Mississippi, as well as the actual battle site in Tennessee.
A few tidbits from today’s ride before I close. I rode through many miles of what is called the Mississippi prairie today. Mostly flat, with huge fields that reminded me of Kansas. Lots of agricultural plantings for miles and miles, with few homes in sight. At least twice, I could see a water tower from more than five miles away. I have seen very few motorcycles on this trip and just realized it today.
One correction from a couple of days ago, the town next to Tuscaloosa, Alabama is Northport, not Northpoint as I think I called it.
Happy birthday to my daughter Ashley today. She actually helped research some stuff when my iPad was about to run out of power.
A good day, with another good ending. Back again tomorrow.

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