Pan America Ride

The Harley-Davidson Pan America has been sitting in the garage since Labor Day. I had taken it for a ride with Audrey and Mark the weekend after I bought it. I took a ride with Pat to find some dirt roads around Shiloh, then to Savannah and had planned to ride more dirt roads near the old family homestead. One more ride to Aberdeen to scout our a possible site for the 2022 Tour of Honor. I had about 1,000 miles, so I called to set up the first service. Once it came home from the service, it has been sitting.

I could go into detail about why it has been sitting, but that will only open old wounds that are trying to heal. Let’s just say that cancer sucks.

After recuperation from the cancer surgery, the doctor gave me limited riding permission. I could only ride the Spyder. He didn’t want me to be riding either of the two-wheeled machines in case they fell over, he was concerned that I would have to exceed the 5 pound lifting limit. So, I took a few rides with Jeff with me on the Spyder.

Surgery in December for an unrelated issue which had been planned for several months. Then weather in January was too cold to even think about riding, and February was too wet.

Last day of February and the weather was low 50’s to the mid 60’s throughout the day. And the sun was shining! I called the shop to see if they could fit me in to do the recall and to upgrade the computer firmware. They said it shouldn’t take too long, come on down.

It was odd getting back on the Pan America (PA). I had ridden taken an over night ride on the GS a week or so ago, but the PA is totally different. Riding to the dealership, the bike seemed completely foreign to me. The shifting felt different, the acceleration was different, even the sounds it made were different. The helmet and the phone had lost the sync with the bike, so no music, phone calls, or even maps. That was okay, I know how to get to the dealership and back.

While at the dealership, Pat mentioned the low seat for the PA and asked if I wanted to ride today and use that seat. A reason to ride? Of course! The bike was ready much quicker than I had expected, and the guys had already put the demo seat on the bike.

I decided to try my luck at a few of the Chapter Point of Interest (POI) Challenge sites. Since I had suggested the use of the 2021 Tour of Honor sites and, once released 12:01am April 1 EDT, the 2022 Tour of Honor sites as the POI Challenge for the chapter, I thought that I might try to visit a few sites nearby. The 2021 POI Challenge had been extended to allow completion in 2022.

I remembered a covered bridge (the 2021 POI Challenge) in Iuka, so I was off to visit there. I also remember that one of the Mississippi sites for the 2021 Tour of Honor sites was also in Iuka. Though a few blocks away, that was close enough for a two-fer.

I left the dealership and headed west on US72. Just as I got to the MS state line, I made the right turn onto MS172. This two lane road would take me directly to the town of Iuka, and avoid a lot of traffic.

The park and the covered bridge were on the left side of the road. I made the turn and found a parking spot across the street from the bridge. A quick picture, talk to a nice lady who was walking around the park, and I was ready to go again. I did a quick check of the phone and got the phone to sync with the bike.

A few blocks away was MS4, the Tour of Honor sites for 2021 in Iuka. I had been here several times last year. Once to welcome Dave to Mississippi and the Shoals area. MaryJo and I had taken him to lunch at a BBQ place around the corner. we sat and talked for way too long and put him behind schedule. The second time was for me to get my picture at the memorial while I was travelling through Mississippi.

Today, the lot was almost empty and a quick park to get my picture for the chapter challenge.

The weather was too nice, and I need to put a few more miles to test the seat. I headed toward Counce, just across the state line into Tennessee. Old familiar roads, like seeing an old friend again.

I made the turn and headed to Pickwick Dam then on Savannah. Once in Savannah, I took my time along the main drag. Oh the times I have ridden up and down this stretch of road. I made the turn onto Harbert Drive and headed to Mawmaw’s house. Well, Gwenda sold the house in September, so it belongs to someone else now.

As I got close, I saw a For Sale sign in the front yard. I had expected that the offer that had been given to Gwenda was to convenient. The buyer wanted to quickly flip the house. He thought he would buy it below market value, then sell it at or above market value for a quick profit.

I made the turn and headed to the family cemetery. I try to visit whenever I am in town. I had been parking along the road, but a few trips ago I started parking on the path behind the cemetery. Others park here too, so I am not doing anything to upset anyone.

I visited for a few minutes, then headed back to the bike. I tried one more time to get the helmet to sync. This time it worked! Whether the bike sitting or the helmet sitting, they just needed to be reintroduced. I now had my music and phone. I didn’t have the map since I have not loaded the Harley app on the phone. As I was about the leave, a dog came to visit from a nearby house. he sniffed around the bike, then hiked his leg. Guess he wanted to mark the rear tire.

I took a different, but familiar route back to the dealership. I headed southeast on Savannah Highway, then turned onto the Natchez Trace. I thought for a minutes about stopping at mom’s, but decided against it. I rode the Trace to US72, then the 15-20 miles to the dealership. I swapped to get my seat back on the bike. I thanked Pat and the mechanic for letting me test the seat, but I like my current seat better. I might upgrade seats, but it won’t be for that one! They understood.

About halfway along my trip on the Trace, the low fuel light came on. I checked the mileage on the reserve and knew I could make it home, though it would be close. I headed back home, and had to make a few extra turns due to traffic. Then some quick acceleration to get around slower cars. As I made the turn on the the road with the gas station, I was about a mile or two from the station. The mileage to empty was blank. Not a good sign. The tank is 5.3 gallons, I have put about 250 miles on the tank. If I could get to the top of the hill near the house, I could almost coast to the gas station.

Luckily, I was able to ride to the gas station. I put 5.1 gallons in the tank. It wasn’t close, I still had 10 miles let on the tank!

I pulled into the driveway and tapped the horn. I thought I hear Blue before MaryJo opened the door. I pulled into the garage, parked the bike, then had to pet Blue. He seemed to notice that someone else had tried to mark HIS bike! At least he didn’t try to remark it in the garage.

A little over 130 miles today. All roads were familiar. And I got to become more familiar with the bike. It is still a new bike to me. Six months old and only has about 1250 miles.

Hopefully many more miles to come.