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Old 02-23-2014, 11:26 PM   #1
Contevita OP
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82 Counties on a Blackbird

Let me start by stating that this ride was influenced by another thread elsewhere on these forums. With that said, I must also mention that this will be an ongoing ride report with a majority of the rides happening on one or two days at most. I'll update as the ride for that period is complete. In other words, it's going to take a while for me to complete due to work and other matters that might come up in the future.

I live in Mississippi but I'm not native to the area, I've been here since 1998 with three years in Memphis (due to Katrina). I figured I'd start exploring this state more than what I've already been doing on the motorcycle by hitting each county and taking a photo of the sign at the county line. I'm not hitting any interstate roads on this ride, I'll be sticking to the secondary and back roads. This will make the ride more challenging and tiresome but I get to see some neat places, people and discover where the hilly and curvy roads are located.

I started this past Saturday, 22 February, and found out a couple of things about the ride. First, I need to put the Givi saddle bags back on and use the tail bag for my daily commute. I was reluctant to leave sight of the bag while at my stops, it made me a bit anxious at times. Second, learn how to use my digital camera better.

I live in Gulfport, MS, Harrison county is on the coast, one of three coastal counties. The first stop, exiting my home county is Jackson county. Clean sign, couple of people drove by waving:,_Mississippi

2nd stop is George county. A few bullet holes in the sign:,_Mississippi

3rd stop is Greene county:,_Mississippi

4th stop would be Wayne county. I caught a selfie and soon after I had to creep into the brush to release the coffee that I rented. Not a single car passed me, it was nice to hear the birds and silence:,_Mississippi

5th stop is on the Clarke county line. Other than the bumpy road, no much to say:,_Mississippi

6th is Lauderdale county. A dirty sign. Some guy stopped and asked if I needed help, I guess he was a fellow rider:,_Mississippi

7th stop is Newton county. I decided to return home in this county. Someone hit this sign with a small caliber bullet or shotgun, no penetration of the sign:,_Mississippi

Just a few miles past the sign I found this town and had to get a picture:

8th one is Jasper county. For some reason some guy in a Corvette just had to do a burn out next to me, I guess he was threatened by my Blackbird and he had to mark is territory:,_Mississippi

On the way through this county I found a town named after the town I once lived, Heidleberg, Germany. I spent 3rd grade to 10th grade there before moving to Augsburg to finish 11th and 12th.

9th is Jones county. It's dark and I'm feeling slightly uneasy about parking on the side of the road:,_Mississippi

10th stop is Perry county. A bit of a blurry photo of the sign, I'm still learning to use this camera:,_Mississippi

A zoomed in shot of the sign, again blurry.

11th stop and almost home is Stone county. That sign is shot up and will probably catch a few more bullets before they replace it:,_Mississippi

Close up...

12th and final sign is my home county, Harrison:,_Mississippi

One last note: I didn't break 100mph at all but I was so tempted. I saw one deer at dusk, looked like it was counting cars while waiting to cross the road.

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Old 02-24-2014, 06:14 AM   #2
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Thumb Good job man...

Here's my thoughts on this RR. You did a great job on it in my opinion. It would appear to me that you had fun. From the pics I would say that you did cover some miles. All that added up makes a great RR. Too often I get wrapped up reading some epic trip across other continents on rides that stretch into months or more. I'm still a member of the working class and don't have the time to do one of those trips yet. Someday maybe, but I'm not there yet. A trip like this appears to be a great way to really see some of the things we take for granted because we see them everyday. You did well and I hope you do some more of these and post them for the rest of us inmates to see. The Blackbird is one of my favorite bikes too. Looks good man, glad you went and enjoyed.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:56 PM   #3
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Unique sequence of signs. Kinda sad to see so much destruction of public property by idiots. Look forward to more of your rides and reports.
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Old 02-24-2014, 04:15 PM   #4
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I think the shooting and vandalism of the signs are prevalent in a good portion of America and so far I've yet to see one that has been hit with decals or spray paint. I'm planning out the route for this weekend and I hope to get an early start unlike last Saturday. I work the swing shift and normally I don't get to bed until past 4am and wake up around noon. I'm going to have to make an effort to rise early and head out to the road this weekend.
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Old 03-22-2014, 11:12 PM   #5
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I've been busy for the last month and just realized started this project on Feb 22 and did this part on Mar 22.

I work swing shift so it's a bit difficult to wake up at sunrise to start my ride. So today I got started around 1030am. I ended up logging 497 miles on this ride and even with a GPS and paper maps I ended up getting lost on some dirt roads and had to back track a while to get back to where I wanted to go. I got chased by only one dog and it was a yip dog, those damn things are vicious. I saw another dog and it was the biggest Doberman I've seen in my life, good thing it was behind a rather large fence, it looked like it wanted me for lunch. The first cop I found was at a stop for Motrin at Walgreens, I guess she was doing her lunch break shopping. I found a great place to have a burger at the Sweet Tooth Cafe in Summit, MS. I would recommend it if you're in the area.

1st stop of the day was going to be on a bridge but there wasn't a county sign on the Bay St. Louis bridge. I then back tracked a bit and found out the other sign I was looking for is missing so now I have to consult my map and finally found the first hit of the day:,_Mississippi

2nd sign was shot up a bit. Not as bad as the one from Stone county but I guess the locals are working on that:,_Mississippi

This is the first weekend of spring and I guess it was a good day to do controlled burns, this was the first of many burns I passed today:

3rd hit...nothing special here:,_Mississippi

3rd hit selfie:

4th stop:,_Mississippi

5th stop:,_Mississippi

6th county line. This was near the end of acres and acres and lush green grass, unfenced, no live stock and no flowers in bloom. I thought it was rather nice and refreshing to see this on today's ride:,_Mississippi

7th stop was just past a bridge over a small river. I'm not sure what the raise green shack is used for but it was at the edge of the riverbed:,_Mississippi

As I mentioned earlier, I got lost and had to back track when I ran out of possible exits to the next county:

8th county. I was thinking about stopping in Natchez to eat but due to my late start and a few reroutes I was pressed for time:,_Mississippi

9th sign:,_Mississippi

10th county sign:,_Mississippi

11th and final for this part. As dusk approaches the bugs were out in force, at times it seemed that I was riding through a could of bugs. I got hit on the chest and hands by some rather large ones but the majority of the hits were on the helmet. To make things worse, I forgot my clear visor at home so I had to stop often to clean the dark one I had with me:,_Mississippi

Unlike part one of this project I found myself hitting triple digits on some of these roads, believe me, they were asking for it. As usual, I met a bunch of friendly people when I stopped to eat or refuel the bike. I stopped to see it a fellow rider needed help but he was adjusting his gear. I stopped a few times to check my paper map and a couple of other riders stopped to see if were ok. It's great to see that we look out for each other on the open roads and in the middle of no where.

I'll continue with the rest of the counties soon enough.

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Old 03-23-2014, 02:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for the continuing updates.
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Old 04-06-2014, 07:08 PM   #7
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Part 3....

I'm glad I spread this project out a bit on my own terms instead of attempting to do all the riding in a week. It's a lot of riding and it seems I can only find time to do it on the weekends. I think I'm going to have to schedule a few days off the complete the top portion of the state and that depends on what I have available, in the way of funds, after balancing bills, etc.

First hit of the day...Forrest county. Run Forrest, run. Rain predicted on the coast, time to head north for a days ride:,_Mississippi

The day is warming up just a bit and there's minimal traffic to deal with....then I find roads like this. Well, you know what happens when find clean and curved roads.....

I don't think I could located this road again.

2nd sign for the project. I guess they ran out of your basic green sign. Notice the sign in the background...

Third stop. Light traffic and it's nice out. I had to shed the liners from my jacket and gloves:,_Mississippi

4th stop and I walked around this area for about 5 minutes without another vehicle passing. It's somewhat amazing how isolated many of these roads are:,_Mississippi

5th sign of the day:,_Mississippi

6th sign missing? This is a place holder for the sign I somehow missed for Copiah county. I don't know how I missed it, maybe it was downed by a drunk or perhaps as I was passing a truck the sign was blocked. I don't know. I'll have to revisit the sign on my next part of this project. Hey, at least the side of the car has Copiah County on the doors:,_Mississippi

Cruising along at warp speed only to burst out of the forested areas to see My eyes appreciated the spring gesture Mother Nature dished out. Part 1...

Part 2...

7th stop. There were a few people at the gas station behind me, I guess they were wondering what the deal is with the dude in black on a black bike taking pictures of a sign. To make it more interesting, I kind of accelerated a bit too much and lifted the front wheel:,_Mississippi

8th hit. As I was taking this photo, the cows behind me started to moo at me:,_Mississippi

Extra shot of a post office with a missing number. You cannot tell from the reflection in the glass, but about 50 meters behind me there were an assorted gathering of locals drinking from brown paper bags and having a good time. Watching the lone rider was a cause for entertainment while drinking your favorite suds in the sun:

Contrary to popular belief, I do slow down in the forested area to sniff the roses....or something like that. These purple flowers were not roses but they're in abundance and I had to stop once to get a picture. What are these called anyhow? Forward...

...and looking back:

9th county sign, Hinds. Just before this sign was another stating that this is some agricultural school of sorts:,_Mississippi

10th county sign. Jackson is the county seat for Rankin, you'd think the well paid state leaders would set up a better looking sign than this one:,_Mississippi

11th hit, Smith county. Nice roads in this area, one can hit light speed....not that I would know:,_Mississippi

12th and final county sign picture for this portion of the project. After this sign it was easy riding but super boring on Hwy 49 until I approached Camp Shelby. I hit rain for the first time today, time to get the water gear on and have a sandwich at Subway:,_Mississippi

A few comments from this weekend's ride. Got chased by one very large dog, not sure if it wanted to play or just remove my tires. At one location I was checking my gps comparing the location to my paper map a car passed me there was a rather large dirty dog leaning out of the car window attempting to lunge at me. I think he wanted to snack on my riding gear, he would have got a mouthful of CE armor and ballistic cordura. Not very tasty at all.

A couple of cop scares. I was approaching one city and I had just slowed down from a forested area and suddenly there's a state trooper SUV that just stopped at a sign. As I pass him he pulls in behind me, about a minute later he lights up the light-bar and proceeds to floor it past me. Whew. Another was at a gas station refueling the bike and myself. I see some local cop, he sees me, he flips a u-turn and pulls into the pump next to mine and all kinds of drama ensue with the people in the car at the pump.

Lots of donks were visible on my ride. At one point there was a convoy of 15, it was like passing a convoy of lowriders when I lived in California. It was like "opposite day" for lowriders.

Flipped the peace sign once. I was cooking (making extreme progress) through the Homochitto National Forest,, and saw two squids (t-shirts, jeans, helmet and gloves only) on a "busa". Showing the peace sign while the bike is at the apex of a turn at 45 degree lean is hard to do but it's not exactly easy either.

Miles for the day was about 490 and this now brings my count up to 35.

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Old 07-28-2014, 08:00 PM   #8
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This is the fourth installment of exploring of Mississippi on a sport touring motorcycle and this portion of the trip required an overnight stay. I left the gulf coast at 6am while the sun was just coming up, the temperature was a nice 79F with 88% humidity; but I knew better and the forecasters said it was going to be a bit hot AND humid.

About an hour into my ride I had my first hit. I just made a right turn from a stop and was accelerating to cruising speed when out of my right I see a blur and then a meaty smack on to my internal sun visor and something creeping falls into my helmet onto my cheek. At lower speeds I don’t lower my face shield but rather use my helmet’s internal sun visor; its hi-def orange and I like it. I also incorporate a chin guard to prevent too much air from creeping into my helmet from the bottom, this helps prevent my eyes from tearing up at higher velocities. Anyhow, I can’t really see anymore because of the massive bug splatter and the feeling that something might still be alive and wants to sting or bite me in its final death throes. I quickly come to a complete stop to the side of the road using both breaks instead of just the front while also allowing the engine to assist in slowing down. Without dismounting the bike I unstrap my helmet and a dragon fly falls into my lap, just the head, a bit of torso and the wings; I guess the rest of it was left on my sun visor. I finally dismount and grab a paper towel from my kit and I cannot find anything to use to clean the mess, so I use the spit. I should bring a travel sized lens cleaner for my next ride.

My first refueling was in New Augusta, MS. As I’m rehydrating and having pre-breakfast consisting of a PowerAid and Jack links I see two Harley riders pull up to the pumps. They’re heading to Dallas for the day and then on to the Grand Canyon, then back up to the Sturgis Rally. One of the riders, the one doing most of the talking to me, is a retired police officer (homicide investigator) from Bay Minnette, AL. I tell him I know a few folks in Bay Minnette and mention a couple of family names; nope, he doesn’t know anyone I mention.

Further north and as the sun creeps higher into the sky the forest mists are rising too. As I’m rolling through the hills enjoying the trees I see some sections that remind me of riding back in Washington State. Sure, the trees aren’t as big but there are sections that really make me feel like I’m riding lower part of the cascades. Then to make it more interesting, I pass logging trucks. A lot of logging trucks with full loads heading the opposite direction. This can mean one thing, logging truck debris on the road ahead of me: fallen branches and bark. Yup, just like the northwest.

No photos as of yet, I’ve already photographed the current counties on my way to the new ones for this weekend’s ride. I’m just enjoying the lower temperatures and sightseeing. While doing this I noticed the infestation of kudzu, it’s bad. Some sections of the road the kudzu have taken completely over all the local trees, telephone poles and have made it up the white line on the side of the road. After it was introduced in 1876 we can’t get rid of it and in 1997 was placed on the Federal Noxious Weed List.

First sign for the day:,_Mississippi

I’m getting hungry and I pull into another small town and find a Huddlehouse. For those of you that don’t know, it’s pretty much the same thing as a Wafflehouse with better seating. More map reading/route planning and breakfast complete. Back on the road and 10 minutes later I get my first bird strike since I started riding all those years ago. Small bird to the left side of my helmet, I felt bad for a moment and realized that could have been in the face. Bird 0, helmet 1

Second county stop:,_Mississippi

Approaching Philadelphia, MS and the weather is 91F. I’m cruising along the road at a decent rate and I crest a hill only to be met with a field of parked cars on both sides of the road and I now see that traffic is backed up as well. Apparently the Neshoba county fair just started and everyone wants to go. Man, its hot sitting in traffic.,_Mississippi

At a gas station in Starkville, MS a BMW K1200GT pulls up to the pump next to mine and we discuss the days ride. He’s an older guy (72) and has only been riding for 3 years. As we’re talking we notice we’re wearing the same riding gear only his is silver/grey and mine is black his gear matching his silver bike and mine is matching my own bike. Anyhow, was we talk I notice his tires are also Pilot Road 3’s and then he mentions he rode up from Biloxi. I found this to be somewhat strange. I look closer and his bike has been down on its side, this is where the difference is, I’ve yet to wreck or have a tip over. Refueling for the bike and rehydration for me are complete, I’m gearing up and some woman with dreadlocks is talking to me. I can’t hear so I kill the music (NIN) and I quickly realize it’s a male, sorry dude, you’re feminine at first glance. He’s asking about my bike and wants to know what’s a good first bike, etc. I give him some suggestions and mention the MSF course.,_Mississippi,_Mississippi,_Mississippi,_Mississippi

This is what I get when crossing into Oktibbeha County:,_Mississippi

Further down the road, same county:,_Mississippi,_Mississippi,_Mississippi

The sun is starting to go down and I’m tired, time to find a place to crash for the night. I consult the GPS and paper map and see that Corinth in nearby as I pass Woodall Mountain, at 806 feet it’s the highest point in the state. I’ll have to visit that another day.,_Mississippi,_Mississippi

I credit card camp at a local hotel next to a Wafflehouse. Unload my gear, get a shower and head to dinner then back to the room. Now I cannot sleep so I end up watching the drag racing and change the channel only to watch When Harry Met Sally. I wake up at 345am with a headache and can’t get back to sleep, I walk to the gas station for Motrin only to find it closed and end up at Wafflehouse again. I stay awake and then leave around 630am.

Day 2, Heading south again.

Found this isolated back road, hilly and curvy, that brought me to this in the wee hours.

Between Corinth and Rienzi on county road 400.

1st sign for the day:,_Mississippi

First refueling of the day and I run into another long distance Harley rider we talk for a while and he suggests I take the Natchez Trace. At the end of our chat I mention that the first thing I want to do when I get home is to have a tall glass of water and some ice cream. I take the Trace and have to leave due to no county signs for my project.,_Mississippi,_Mississippi,_Mississippi

...and to the right of the Chickasaw sign:,_Mississippi

I’m on the gravel at the side of the road on the Oktibbeha/Webster county line closing my tank bag and the Oktibbeha sheriff stops on the road, flips on the light bar and asks if I’m alright. I say yes and let him know what I’m doing. While discussing the heat and humidity we both look back and there’s long line of cars waiting for him to get out of the way. I wave goodbye to him and wait for the traffic to pass. Everyone has their headlight on and I realize is a funeral procession.

From yesterdays missed sign:

Another stop to cool off and I find myself in Houston, MS. Standing in front of the A/C vent while eating another ice cream and washing it down with a Poweraid the clerk is complaining about the heat. I ask him where he’s from and says he’s visiting from Michigan but is from Yemen. He says you can’t breathe in this stuff. Man, when a dude from Yemen complains about the heat and humidity, you know its friggen hot out.,_Mississippi,_Mississippi

I hopped back onto the Trace

Had to leave the trace because I found myself dozing at 55mph.

Last county signs done and I’m going to interstate it back when I hit Jackson. I land in a gas station for lunch and the clerk there asks me where I’m from because he says I don’t sound like the regulars there. I answer him and ask him where he’s from, he says Pakistan. Even this guy was complaining about the heat.

Hattiesburg, MS….almost home. Final pit stop just before I hit the home stretch to the coast. I get my Red Bull and some more ice cream to and a lady says to her teenaged girls, “ Hey that’s the guy on the motorcycle”. Turns out they’re from Paris, Texas on vacation to the east coast. Now I’m outside gearing and our conversation goes like this:

Dude: Hey man, you with Hells Angels?
Me: No
Dude: You must be a Bandito.
Me: No dude, I’m solo
Dude: Cool
Me: No, solo. I’m a solo rider, no clubs.
Dude: Ah…ok, well be safe out there man, people are crazy.
Me: Thanks bro.

Yeah people are crazy.

Next stop is home, the road is light on traffic and I open it up to triple digits when I get hit in the upper right side portion of my chest by something that leaves a welt. Whatever hit me has got to be dead on impact because it hurt. Stupid bugs. I’m home and that tall glass of water is great. That ice cream is Breyers Gelato triple chocolate, that doesn’t really count as ice cream, right?

So, a round trip total of 969.9 miles and I now have 53 of 82 counties down. I have the MS delta and north central part of the state to complete. I’m going to finish those during the cooler weather this fall and I might do it in one three day weekend.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:42 PM   #9
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Very cool project!

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Old 08-02-2014, 05:45 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Contevita View Post
Part 3....

Contrary to popular belief, I do slow down in the forested area to sniff the roses....or something like that. These purple flowers were not roses but they're in abundance and I had to stop once to get a picture. What are these called anyhow? Forward...

...and looking back:

those are wisteria blooming

I lived in NO for a few years, know your area pretty well.
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Old 08-07-2014, 08:32 PM   #11
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Very cool! I'm from Hattiesburg, and just recently did the Delta counties on a ride home from a motocamping trip in Arkansas. Talk about a place where I wouldn't want to break down in...PM me sometime, my Bandit and I would be happy to join you.
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Old 08-08-2014, 08:50 PM   #12
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You bet. The next time I head to H-burg for lunch, I'll let you know.
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