Getting started

‘How come as a foreigner you own a motorcycle in the US?’ asks the immigration official at O’Hare. Good question which catches me off-guard for just a blink of an eye. A 1 minute rundown of my 35 years of history with the US gets me through. ‘Have a safe ride’, he says. I told him where I will be going. Down the old Dixie Highway from Bloomington Indiana to Key West and back.
Google almighty doesn’t produce lots of useful Dixie Highway information. You try it. One site will give you the only map I can find: vintage 1923. Another has reconstructed the DH itineraries on current maps and offers an easy and a more complicated list of directions. And there is US Highway website with a bit of information on DH. (Triple A has no information at all).
DH was conceived of as first North-South connection at about the same time as the East – West Route 66. It was more or less paved in the early twenties replacing the dirt/mud trails I guess wagons and horses used to use and which were not suitable for the booming car motorists. DH is not a single highway, it is a highway complex. One itinerary more to the West, one more to the East. With connectors here and there.
Southbound I will follow DH West, Northbound it will be DH East as indicated on the 1923 map you find on the internet. Now, as far as I can tell, there are virtually no DH roadside markers (unlike Route 66 where historical societies have put up lots of markers). So, some of you may live around DH without knowing it…. Well, check this 1923 Dixie Highway map and if you do live within DH striking distance, please let me know; perhaps we could meet.
(Southbound I will sidetrack a little in Tennessee to pay tribute to Tina Turner’s hole above the ground birthplace Nutbush City and to Elvis’s Graceland – before catching up with DH again near Lynchburg after having visited the source of my favorite Jack Daniel’s.)
The general timetable is: Southbound May 17 – May 26 (arrive in Miami Beach). Northbound Jun 5 – June 8. The in-between period I will be R&R-ing on the Keys with my wife who will fly in from Amsterdam to Miami and will join me on my trusted 1980 XS850 Midnight Special to spend a week on Sugarloaf Key in the lodge where another favorite of mine, author Hunter S Thompson RIP, set up is communications c.q. command center when down there in the sixties and seventies. I expect to meet his spirit; I will have to watch my glass.
As to MS: she was serviced, no idle problem anymore, runs like a queen, all shiny black-silver-gold after the beauty treatment I gave her this morning. ‘That’s a very nice bike’ says an elderly lady (actually about my own age) when I park her for the first time again this year on the Square downtown Bloomington Indiana. MS couldn’t get a better encouragement. She is ready to get all dirty again riding the about 3500 miles I expect we will share on landmark historical DH.
Good advise, warnings, road tips? Send word!

Comments Off

Comments are closed at this time.