2021 Tour of Honor – Day Ride in Old Haunts

My plan had been to get out before 8am and take a long day’s ride, hoping to get back home in time to meet Aaron, Lori, and Jonathan for supper. We woke up this morning, hearing the clock strike 8 o’clock. I started the coffee and popped a couple of bagels in the toaster oven. We enjoyed a relaxing breakfast. It was after 9 when I left.

I pulled out of the garage, lowered the suspension, and took off. I got to Florence Blvd and started the trackers on the bike. It was then that I decided on the route. I headed for Cox Creek, then made the right on Savannah Highway. I made the turn onto CR16, then on CR14 to Waterloo.

My first stop was at the historical marker for Waterloo, this was my first points for the BMW Coddiwomple Challenge. There are several categories, this was to represent battles where great empires fell. I get points for visiting other battlefields. Another category is visiting towns where the first letters spell out SADDLE UP AND RIDE. Sixteen towns, in any state (can ever be all in the same state) I would earn 200 points. If I get towns in 16 different states (one town in each of the states), I would earn 600 points. Each battle field would be 50 points.

I left Waterloo and headed to Iuka. I have been to Iuka many times, Mawmaw grew up there, and I remember visiting Papa Roberts’ farm on the north side of Iuka when I was five or six. My first stop in Iuka was at the Veteran’s Memorial. Next to it is a memorial for 9/11. I got the picture of the bike with the memorial in the background. I then headed to get a closer picture of the memorial. As I was doing that, a couple came up and started talking. They had retired to Iuka about two years ago. They started asking about the memorial, why I was taking the pictures, and where I was from. I told them about the Tour of Honor and explained the memorial. I then told them that my family was originally from Iuka, but I lived in Florence. We talked for a little while longer. I gave them a card with the website and gave him a poker chip, thanking him for this service in Vietnam.

I learned that there was a covered bridge on the other side of the park. I rode around the park and got a picture in front of the covered bridge. As I was taking the picture, a car crossed the bridge. I thought that it was closed to vehicular traffic. I am glad I didn’t park across the opening! This picture would get me a point for the HOG challenge of visiting covered bridges.

Next stop in Iuka was at the Tax Assessor’s office. The memorial here is the one where we met David a few weeks ago. I was there with the Spyder and got a picture, but I didn’t want to submit the picture with her bike. Today I was with the GS and got the pictures to submit with the Tour of Honor.

One more stop in Iuka was at the Post Office. As I was taking the picture, a guy pulls up behind me and wanted to talk about the bike. We talked for a while. He was from Iuka and had lived here most of his life. He loved the BMW and had had one many years ago. He loved that bike and regrets getting rid of it. He now has an old Harley, but wished he and his wife still had their BMWs. He kept talking about how he loved the boxer engine. We then talked about Iuka. He remembers my uncle’s family, and that they had held out from selling their farm to the Corps of Engineers to build the Tombigbee Waterway. The Corps of Engineers gave up dealing with them and rerouted the waterway. The family ended up buying all the other farms from the Corps of Engineers for prices much lower than assessed values. His stories confirmed what I had always thought.

I took off for Shiloh Battlefield. The GPS had me take a “shortcut” around Pickwick. This was a pleasant ride. I was afraid that when I got to TN-57, I would have to make a left turn at a busy intersection. The intersection was an easy turn. A few miles later, the GPS had me turn right on a road that I had never driven or ridden on before. It was a nice narrow two-lane road through the country, mixture of farms and forests along the way. Suddenly, the pavement ended and I was on packed gravel. The GS was made for this type of road, so I kept on. The next 20 miles was a mixture of pavement, gravel, and dirt roads. I topped a hill and realized I was at the rear of the Shiloh National Battlefield. I saw the sign, got a picture for the BMW challenge (another 50 points), and finished my ride into the park on pavement.

I rode to the Visitor Center. Once parked, I asked in the bookstore about getting a park pass. Again, no luck. Since Shiloh does not charge an entry fee, they do not sell passes. The recommendation is to go to Chickamauga Battlefield near Chattanooga to get my Senior-Lifetime pass.

My next stop was at Crump. I think that Mawmaw was living and working in Crump or Counce when she and Pawpaw met. In crump, I got my picture of the Cobra at City Hall. While here, I started remembering the summers in Savannah with Mawmaw and Pawpaw.

I left Crump with my next stop in Waynesboro, though I was going to ride through my hometown of Savannah. Another ride through Savannah and I have yet to stop at the memorial on Hanna Blvd. (Funny how this is called a boulevard and is only a block long. When I was growing up, this was part of the parking lot.)

I ride into Waynesboro. I have lived in Florence for five years, and spent many trips through Waynesboro and the surrounding areas my entire life, yet I never realized that this memorial was at the corner of the Court House. I got a few pictures. While exploring the memorial, a funeral procession drove past. They circled the courthouse/town square a second pass before riding on. Once the traffic has cleared, I start my ride home.

I ride along TN-13 into Collinwood. I park at the old train station and walk to the POW/MIA Memorial. I sit and have a snack while reading the various markers. I take a walk to the Visitor Center and explore parts of Collinwood. My planned short stop at the Visitor Center becomes an hour of talking with the docent. He lived in Memphis while I was in Memphis, actually living a few blocks from me when I lived on Gordon.

I finally get back on the road to head home. I ride TN-13/AL-17, making a turn onto CR-8, then CR-61 to St Florian. I fill up with gas before heading home, pulling into the garage a few minutes before 4pm.