Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Nice day for a motorcycle ride

Woke up early Saturday morning, no rain and not freezing cold…what a great day for a motorcycle ride to the Gulf Coast. On Friday, I had talked to Matt at work and he told me a few buddies and himself were going mountain bike riding on some trails near Saucier, Mississippi. He said a bike company was going to be hosting the ride and would have food and were bringing lots of bikes to try out.
The plan, meet at Waffle House,

in Hattiesburg to eat breakfast and meet up with his buddies. I pulled in to Waffle House around 8:45am to find Matt sitting in the parking lot waiting for everyone. He was in his truck with his mountain bike strapped in the back. As I was taking off my helmet, goggles and stuff , I noticed he walked across the parking lot to greet another buddy…I knew this because he had told me one of the riders was 6’8” tall so he kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. Ha-ha…welcome to my world. While I was waiting another guy pulled in the parking lot and made a comment about my motorcycle as he walked pass me going into Waffle House. A few minutes later the same guy (Fred) came walking out of the restaurant and started walking towareds me. This time he asked me if I knew Matt, and I said yes, he told me he had figured it out because I was wearing an AT&T cap. Come to find out he thought I was just some random guy messing around with Matt’s bike and he was coming to defend his buddies bike with his life…I have to admit I liked Fred already. Ha-ha. Soon after Matt and the tall guy (Andrew) returned and the four of us went in to eat, we swapped a few stories paid the bill and were on our way.
I told the guys I would meet them there, I stopped to top off my tank , put on my gloves and face shield and then I was heading down 49 around 75 mile per hour, a little cold but not bad. I was told to go down 49 until I reached Saucier, take a left on Old Hwy. 67 until it turns into Bethel Rd., then be looking for a sign on the right side of the road,

turn onto a dirt road and follow it until I come to all the cars and trucks. The only problem was the dirt road was about a mile long and covered with gravel,

great road unless….YOUR ON A STREET BIKE!!! After about a mile of white knuckle motorcycle riding, I came to the clearing and there were a lot of cars and trucks with mountain bike riders everywhere.

The guys were already standing in line signing up to try out some of the bike

Some of these bikes were in the price range of $8,000. I think the one Matt tried out and liked was $7,500.

I can hardly wait to see Matt beg his wife to let him get one. It was funny enough when he had to beg for the $1,800 bike he rides now…you single guys just don’t understand. The guys went and got changed in to their spandex (ha-ha)

while I took a few photos of the bike venders.

Soon Matt and Andrew showed back up ready to ride, and I snapped a few action shots as they warmed up.

Some how Fred got past me, and into the woods, so sorry no shots of Fred riding into the sunset. After the guys hit the woods,

I packed up and hit the road.
After I left the guys at the mountain bike trails, I made what seemed like a twenty mile (it was only about a mile) ride back down the dirt and gravel road (death to a street bike) back to the asphalt road were I took a right and headed to Hwy. 15 that took me to Interstate 10. Some how I made a wrong turn and ended up in D' Iberville and eventually ended up on Pass Road until I reached the road that turns to the Edgewater Mall. I pulled into a parking lot across the street from the first apartment (to snap a few photos)
my wife and I lived in, we use to love to sit on the balcony and watch the cars backing up as they waited to get into the mall parking lot. (Times were simple then no kids and I think the rent was around 300 a month.) I left there and got back on Pass Road and stopped off at the junior college

my wife and I went to and snapped a few photos. Next stop was the Blow Fly Inn, if you have never heard of this place before, it use to be a very run down bar and restaurant that served fantastic steaks, it was located right on the bayou so you drive a car or bring your boat. I think the storm Katrina finally pushed the old building into the water, now stands a new building with the same old name,

looks like the road sign is the only original thing left,

I hope the food is just as good. Next stop was Bayou View Apartments,

I never lived there but I had a lot of friend that did (party place) I was surprised they were still there. Then I passed by the Sugar Mill Restaurant,

I could not tell if it was still open but I was very surprised it was still standing there after the storm. It is right on the bayou, we use to drive our boat there and eat all the time when I was much younger.
Then I had a tough decision to make, I have been chatting with a couple of long lost friends Sherry and Alison that I just recently found on the web site Facebook, I have not seen either of theses two girls (I should say ladies as I think both are over 21 now) since they were 16 or 17 years old. So I thought it would be nice to try and get a photo of their childhood houses while I was traveling down this motorcycle trip of memories. Both girls had gotten married with kids and moved away from Gulfport. Alison moved to Atlanta and Sherry moved to Birmingham; so my thinking was maybe they would get a kick out of seeing their old houses. But here is the problem, I was not sure which house to go to first…so I did the only thing I could do, that was to reach into my pocket and pull out my trusty 50 cent piece that I have been carrying around since high school and have used it to make many important decisions in my lifetime. I tossed the coin in the air and it came up tails,
Alison won!!! This worked out well for me as she lived in the same neighborhood as I did so I could take photos of both houses while in the area. I started with Alison’s house

which is up for sale if she is interested in moving back in. Then I went to my parents old house

a few houses down and took a few photos; it was for sale too. I did pick up a flyer the new owners had in the front yard. Looks like they are asking $550,000 for the old place. It is a big house but I’m sure it’s the land and the fact that it is on the bayou that is jacking the price up. So then I was off to Sherry’s house, sorry your house was second but I must do what the coin tells me too. Ha-ha (inside joke). Ok this is the honest truth I got to you street (I think)

things have changed so much at I could not tell which house was yours…they all look just alike now, so I took my best guess…is this the right one…

sorry but I’m not sure…I hope so, let me know please.
Next stop was the park, this use to be a very small park now it has grown to about three times its original size…looks nice. Then off to my junior high school,

looks bigger than when I went…I thought things were suppose to get smaller. Next stop the Boxx brothers', Warren and Walters, parent's house,

growing up we spent many days working on our cars in their parent’s back yard. It had changed a lot, looked like it was totally remodeled on the outside, some things you just don’t want to see changed. From there I decided to ride to the first house my wife and I ever owned, but on the way I passed by Saint Johns Catholic School (You know the kind of school were the Nuns beat you with rulers)

well it looks like to me they must have beat one to many students because now it is closed,

are maybe the storm got it. Then I made my way to my first house,

the old place held up pretty well, it was about 900 sq feet and cost us around $300 a month. It was a great starter house, we had some out-of-control parties…can you say Yager and fake snow don’t mix?I CAN!!! You will just have to trust me on that one. Ha-ha. Then I was off to what use to be a BellSouth office (now it AT&T)

that I worked in the cable yard during the summers. Next stop was just around the corner Deviney Construction office

I work there off and on for years during and right after high school, I think every kid that had ties to the phone company worked there some part of their life…it was a must. Next stop Gulfport High School;

it looks about the same, no big changes that I could see. In case you are wondering why the photos of Mc Donald’s

well that was the big hangout. You could walk there before and after school. The photo of the little hill between the school and Mc Donald’s (seemed bigger then)

was the hill I use to drive my jeep up into the parking lot to try and look cool (I’t did not work most of the time. Ha-ha). The building next to Mc Donald’s was the arcade,

lots of quarters were spent in there playing a new games called Pac Man, Space Invaders, Asteroids and lets not forget Frogger. It is a Chinese Restaurant now.

So back on the road I went, this time to the place were I received my first paycheck the Western Sizzlin,

I started when I was 15 as a bus boy and after 5 short months I was promoted all the way up to dishwasher…I was the man. Next stop was my first bachelor pad it was called Raquet Club Apartments and trust me they were not luxury then.

I had efficiency apartment one room and one bathroom $225 a month. I moved out when I was 17…I had to get mom to co-sign for me because I was under age (thanks mom) that was back in the day when kids could not wait to move out, unlike today’s kids. I remember a friend of my moms sold me a ugly fold out couch with flowers all over it…but it was mine all mine I even had a lava light and something like Molly Hatchet cranked up in the background on my trusty 8 track tape player, man what a player I was. Ha-ha. True story: when I moved in, I bought a pack of baloney and a pack of hot dogs. When I moved out a YEAR later, there was one hotdog and one slice of baloney missing. Here are a couple more places I almost forgot, until I went back and looked at my photos. Rhodes Fitness Center,

this is not the original club (closed along time ago), the one I workout at was on Hwy. 49 downtown, the new club is much bigger now and I hope the owner Doc is doing great. The second was French Drug Co.

my buddy Walter use to work here. I was just amazed it was still here and appears to be doing very well. This bring us to the next place Wendy’s
I ate here almost everyday…in doing so that’s were I met my wife, Signe. She worked the drive-thru almost every day and would give me and the Boxx’s brothers free food. Right across the street was Red Arrow Car Wash

where my good buddy Mike worked…it seemed like we were always at the car wash or Wendy’s mooching free food. What a life and good times. Well by now it was starting to get late so I headed to the beach took a photo of Court House Pier

the drove down the beach snapping a few shots along the way. Why this photo you ask…
Well don’t tell mom but this photo almost killed me. You got to remember I’m doing about sixty while taking the photos. As I snapped this one, a gust of wind hit my bike to the side of Hwy. 90 , then I looked down and saw this concrete curb only inches form my front wheel so I dropped my camera (it was strapped to my neck) and reached back for the handle bar and hit the kill switch by mistake. Luckily I was able to restart the bike before the cars behind ran over me. I have to admit I did a little butt clinching over that one. Ha-ha. Well I made it back to Hwy. 49

and headed for home with only two more stops to go- one was the little wife house, and to her old high school. Well when I got to the turn, there was some kind of parade going on and I had to go the looooong way around to get this photo;

but I did…what a good husband I am. I also got a shot of her best friends Lisa parents house

just a couple of houses down. Then I was off to the school, once I got back to the hwy I kept looking for the school but come to find out I had already passed it…and you guessed it…Nope I was not going back for it so I cheated and pulled a photo of it off the web.

Then before I knew it I was back in Wiggins and realized I had not eaten anything since breakfast, so I pulled into Wendy’s and got something to eat, while I reflected on the day I had just enjoyed. Then about an hour later I was safe and sound at home, telling everyone about my great adventure. Did they care...? Not really!!! But I told them anyway. ha-ha

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