The End of the Great River Road

Today was a long day where I reached the anti climatic end to the Great River Road.


I had already ridden, drove, and taken a tour of the Plantations along the Great River Road from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in previous visits to the area. But I couldn’t resist doing it again. Plantaation country is so beautiful. It was difficult to get pictures of many due to walls and signs. However, I did get a good one of the Houmas Plantation. I have it as my featured image, but I will show it again 🙂


Construction on the Mansion was completed in 1828. At the same time, Houmas House began to build its sugar production and continued to increase its land holdings, which ultimately grew to 300,000 acres.
Irishman John Burnside bought the plantation in 1857 for $1 million. Burnside increased production of sugar until Houmas House was the largest producer in the country, actively working the crop on 98,000 acres. During the Civil War, Burnside saved the Mansion from destruction at the hands of advancing Union forces by declaring immunity as a subject of the British Crown.

End of the Great River Road

As you know, I have been following the Great River Road along the Mississippi River from Itasca Park in Minnesota. To date, the road has been well marked with tourist information centers about the road scattered along the way.

However, as I reached the end past New Orleans, the signs died out. According to the map I have, the Great River Road ends somewhere near Venice, Louisiana. A rider I met in Whitehorse told me all there was at the end of the Great River Road was a rusted sign. I could find nothing. There wasn’t even a vantage point to take a picture of the Mississippi River as it ended. Very disappointing.

I would have looked longer but a lighting storm was developing around me. I raced back up the peninsula while going through the odd short shower. The goal was to get to the hostel I booked before getting drenched.


As I reached Terrytown, 10 miles outside of New Orleans, it looked like all hell was going to break loose from the storm. I quickly pulled into a Starbucks I spotted (of course). As soon as i did the storm unleashed. Lightening was all around and nearby as there was no time lapse between the lightening and the thunder. The rain was torrential. All I could do is wait it out.


After a hour or so the storm broke and I was able to continue on to my hostel.

Site 61 Hostel

Strangely, as I got to the Site 61 in New Orleans, the roads were dry. Check in was 4 pm and the doors were locked. Sooooo once again I sat outside waiting for check in.

I was a bit hesitant about this hostel thing. I had one great experience in White Horse, and one crappy experience in Fairbanks. But it was the only way I could afford to stay in New Orleans for a few days. It was either this or spending $100 USD a night – at least. The US exchange rate of 1.35 has been killing me up to this point as far as finances go.

When I was able to check in I was pleasantly surprised. The people were friendly, the place was really clean, and my room was nice. I got a bottom bunk which I repeatedly requested. I settled in to spend the next 2 days in New Orleans.



My Route for September 3, 2016


To Greenville – the Heart of the Mississippi Delta

It was finally time to leave Memphis for Greenville, Mississippi, the heart of the Mississippi Delta.


Before I left though I visited Graceland. I had been there once before, but it is a place you just have to go to. Last time the guard allowed me to go visit Elvis Presley’s grave. This time no such luck without paying for a tour. So just a few pictures before heading on.



There was one noticeable difference from the last time I was there. Next to Graceland was not a massive building still under construction. I asked around and a person told me it was the new Heartbreak Hotel.



It didn’t take long for the weather to heat up. For most of my ride today it hovered around 36 degrees C. My Klim riding suit is cooler than I expected. It has lots of vents. But at 36 it is still very hot. It doesn’t take long before you feel weak from the heat.

Great River Road

Of course I was following the Great River Road into Mississippi. I wasn’t seeing the river though. I even went up onto the levee to see if I could see a glimpse.


Finally I got to see her 🙂





I made it to Greenville and I was exhausted. In fact I felt a bit disorientated. I am sure the heat had something to do with it. However, I also felt like I was in a different land. There was the obvious that basically everyone in Greenville is black. But there was also a distinct language barrier too!

When I was checking into the Warfield Campground, a prison inmate worker was trying to ask me something and I had no idea what he was saying. We finally got together and he was asking me if I had a tent. Then the Ranger came and I was sure he was asking me for my “land line.” Nope, he was asking me for my last name! A really nice guy. I just couldn’t understand him. Then people are saying my bike is a lot of “grip.” I am guessing that means money. I haven’t seen a Rosetta Stone course for southern English!

Doe’s Eat Place

One of the main reasons I chose to do the Great River Road and to go to Greenville was because of Anthony Bourdain’s show on eating in the Mississippi Delta. When I watched it I thought there is something so different and unique about the Delta. One of the places featured on the show was Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville.

To be truthful I almost didn’t go. I was hot and disorientated. I just wanted to go to a place I knew. I am glad I didn’t.

Doe’s Eat Place is very unique. To start with, the entrance is through the kitchen! The building itself is very old and held together by knives – literally. Where I sat there was a knife holding the door closed.



The other unique thing? After I sat down the server came up to me and asked what I’ll have. I said, “what about a menu.” “We don’t have menus here,” was the response. No menus!?!

Luckily, from the Anthony Bourdain show I knew tamales, salad and steak were the specialties. So that is what I had. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, this is going to cost me ha ha. But with no menu I had no idea.

The steak was awesome. Yes, I know it is well done. I like it that way.


Warfield Park Campground

The Warfiled Park Campground is really nice. Very spacious. Green grass. And a great view of the Mississippi River.



At night as the sun set it was magical. They had a tower there you could climb up on. At the top I felt the cool breeze from the river, and watched the sun as it set. SOOOOOO nice.





After the sun set I had a shower to wash off the day’s grime so I could get to sleep. Minutes after crawling into my tent I was sweating again.

I pulled back my rain cover hoping that would help. It did a bit. I couldn’t open the entrance to let more air in due to the bugs. As it was these little creatures were making it into the tent and biting me or something.

I finally just took a sleeping pill and called it a night.

My Route for August 31, 2016


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Great River Road to Memphis

From one awesome city to another, I followed the Great River Road to Memphis from St. Louis.

It was suppose to be a partly cloudy day. No such luck. When I woke up it was cloudy and about to rain. Luckily, I managed to pack up just before the rain started. It was nothing serious though. But enough that the drops stung my face and had to put my visor down.

Antigravity Battery

I stopped for my usual McDonald’s breakfast.


A large coffee and cinnamon melt.

I needed to charge my cell phone but couldn’t find a plugin in the entire restaurant! I guess they don’t want me hanging around. No problem though. I pulled out my Antigravity Battery and charged my phone.


This battery is great. It does everything from charging my phone to charging my motorcycled batter should it go dead. And I can charge it through my motorcycle as I travel.

Mississippi River

I really didn’t see much of the Mississippi River today as I rode the Great River road through Missouri, over to Kentucky, into Tennessee and finally into Arkansas. But I did see some of it.



Somewhere between Clinton and Hickman Kentucky I got lost. I thought I was following the Great River Road signs, but suddenly they disappeared on me. As luck would have it I was running out of gas as well. It is nice having a GPS though. You are never really lost. I set it for the nearest gas station.

It took me through a series of gravel and partially paved roads through fields of corn and soybean. At one point I misjudged a corner. I had to lean hard to make it. The tires started to come out from underneath me. I thought for sure I was going to end up in a field. I was turning and braking at the same time. Not a good thing to do, but I needed to slow down fast. After a couple expletives under my breath I managed to make the corner thanks to my ABS. I was quite amazed how it transitioned from the paved to gravel portions of the corner in the wet.

I made it to the gas station where, of course, it started to rain harder.

Weather Shift

At this point I just wanted to get to Memphis and was thinking about getting a cabin at the KOA I booked. I rode through the rain on the interstate.

Now, I am not sure where the north ends and the south begins in the US, but I think I found it. All of a sudden I rode out of the swath of cloud the had engulfed me, and into blue sky and stifling heat. I watched as the temperature got up to 34 C. I got into Memphis and it was HOT and HUMID.

That is one think ab out riding a motorcycle, you feel all the different weather. Not like sitting in a car not feeling anything.

It was time for a cold drink and settle in my tent for the night.


Route for August 23, 2016


Great River Road Iowa Illinois Missouri

YAY! Blue sky as I ride the Great River Road through Iowa, Illinois and Missouri.

It was SOOOOO nice to wake up to blue sky. I packed my bike anticipating a long day as it was just over 500 km to St. Louis from Davenport.

The Great River Road today was a mixture of freeway away from the Mississippi River and meandering asphalt along side it.


I didn’t really mind the freeway as I had time to make in a long day.


My first stop of the day was McDonald’s in Burlington, Iowa, for some breakfast.

As I went to get something to eat, three older gentleman (my age ha ha ha) struck up a conversation with me. When they found out I was off to Argentina, I got a question I get often – isn’t it dangerous “over there?” “What about the bandits in Mexico?”

The question came again when they learned that I had lived in Namibia and had traveled throughout Africa. “Aren’t you worried about the cannibal tribes?”

I have found that no matter where you go, the danger is always, “over there.” This is quite natural, I think, to fear the unknown or the other competing “tribe” from our ancestral days. I remember being in Africa and being asked about the danger in the United States due to all the guns.

From my experience living for a bit in Namibia and Macedonia, and traveling a lot through Africa and China, everyday people like you and I just want to fall in love, provide for their family, be productive, and enjoy some laughs with friends. We are more alike than dislike. We find this out when we get to know each other. It is only spoiled by some criminals and despot leaders.

I explained this and suggested I was in just as much danger from bandits in the bad parts of nearby St. Louis.

I have had stuff stolen in Calgary, Venice, Nairobi and Windhoek. Who knows if bandits will get me in St. Louis or Rio.

Anyways … we had a good conversation and I appreciated their support and enthusiasm for my adventure. They were even attempting to contact the local paper to do an article about me. A bit embarrassing since I really haven’t done anything.

On the way out a women approached me with the same questions. She also wanted to go for a ride as she has always enjoyed motorcycles. Sorry, my luggage takes up my passenger seat.

Taco Bell

My next stop was Taco Bell. Now, Meal Deal D at Taco Time is one of my staples ha ha ha. All this for $2.79! On a limited budget in the expensive United States, meals like this are a go to.


KOA St. Louis

After a long day I made it to the KOA.



Dinner at Denny’s for a better meal. A swim. Watch Rules of Engagement on my computer. Bed.

Route for August 21, 2016


Great River Road Iowa

I decided to take the Great River Road Iowa today. The Iowa route on my map had those dots beside the road that indicated it was a scenic ride. The Illinois side did not.

The weather didn’t look good again today as I left La Crosse Wisconsin. It rained periodically throughout the day.

However, as I entered Iowa and rode down the Great River road, it just didn’t seem to matter. The Mississippi River views were awesome.



The rolling hills of Iowa crops were too. I kick myself for not taking pictures of it. I also enjoyed riding through the quaint towns along the river.


One of the towns I stopped at was Guttenburg.




According to Wikipedia, French explorers gave the area the name of Prairie La Porte in 1673. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 transferred ownership to the United States. Who knew the Louisiana Purchase went this far north?!

Economic revival began in 1845 with the influx of hundreds of German immigrants under the auspices of the Western Settlement Society of Cincinnati and continued with the development of the lead mining industry along Miners Creek. By 1850 the town was sizable and nearly all German. The city takes its name from Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of movable type. Many of the buildings today were built pre-Civil War.

While wandering the town I ran into what appeared to be a tour group of some sort consisting of older folks. We of course struck up a conversation. They were fascinated that I was actually taking a motorcycle to Argentina. One wanted to know where my girlfriend was. Me too! ha ha ha. I asked if she was volunteering. That started the jokes and laughter. It was all fun.

I enjoy these interactions. As a solo rider you talk to yourself lots ha ha. Or my conversations consist of writing you, like right now!


The weather was improving. But I decided to spend another night in a motel. Tomorrow it is St. Louis and back to camping. Good weather is on its way. If you can trust the forecasts!!

Route for August 20, 2016


Great River Road Wisconsin

I woke up to cloud and threatening rain to make my way through Minneapolis and onto the Great River Road Wisconsin.


The forecast today was for rain. I was bracing for the worst. I thought about staying for another day but rain was in the mix for the next few days. So off I went to see how far I could get today.


In my previous 6 month motorcycle trip through the US I really liked Wisconsin. Something about the rolling hills of farmland that appealed to me. I was looking forward to riding in the state again.

When I entered Wisconsin, they had a Great River Road information Center. They had the map of the whole Great River Road that I was looking for. There was also great views of the Mississippi River from the Center. It keeps getting bigger! I have to say that before embarking on this trip I didn’t really realize the Mississippi River was significant above the state of Mississippi.



One thing I found out from the map is that the Great River Road really isn’t one road. It is more of a generic turn for basically 2 roads, one on each side of the river. So on this leg I could have taken the Minnesota road or the Wisconsin road. The numerous bridges across the Mississippi means you can switch back and forth.

I don’t know about the Minnesota side, but the Wisconsin Great River Road was awesome as it meandered beside the river. I loved the little historic towns I passed. If the weather had been better I would have loved to stop at a patio for a bite to eat.

By 1 pm the weather looked like it was deteriorating. A severe weather warning was in the forecast. I decided to stop at the Motel 6 in La Crosse.

Helmet Itch

Throughout the day I had suffered from helmet itch. A year ago I had a bad case of it and went to a dermatologist. She wasn’t able to solve it and it sort of went away. I made a few changes like getting a new helmet, wearing a skull cap, and using a different shampoo. Today it was back. Not as bad as before though.

I was early for the Motel 6 and decided get a haircut at Greatcuts. It was kind of nice to have a prolonged conversation with someone. Thanks Ashley! We’ll see if this helps. It will definitely make me look less unkempt.

Motel 6

I enjoyed another night of a hotel. And look Carllee … I even had a salad 🙂


Route for August 19, 2016


Rain Heading South

The KOA campground at Bemidji was quite good. My campsite was big with lots of grass. My only neighbour was an older woman living out of her car. The I was hesitant to leave. But the forecast for the next day was rain. Today was suppose to be good and I wanted to get out ahead of the bad weather.

I spend a lot of time looking at the weather forecasts. Being on a motorcycle and camping, the weather plays a big part in the planning.

It was nice to pack up in the warmth and when everything was dry. I was out of the campground by 7 am. The Great River Road heading south was well marked and really nice.

Mississippi River

I was amazed how the Mississippi River gets big so fast. A lot of rivers drain into it.



By noon I could see dark clouds on the horizons. But the forecast was for no rain! I tried to outrun it. I thought I was doing it. Soon, however, the clouds surrounded me outside of St. Cloud, Minnesota. I wanted to go further than this.

I stopped for gas. As I did the torrential rains hit, as did the lightening. I stalled as long as I could under the canopy without the gas station telling me I had to leave. The torrential rain turned to just rain for a second. I made my break.


I punched in my GPS possible lodging locations. There was a Motel 6 nearby. When I got there it had changed ownership into some other name. It didn’t look appealing.

I tried a couple other places that also didn’t look great. By this time the rain was getting to me as I worked my way through St. Cloud.

I finally found Nights Inn. It looked clean. It was cheap. And the clerk was really nice.

So there I held up for the rest of the day.



Secretly, it was actually quite nice to be in a hotel. Even if it was still above my budget. I had been camping for quite a while now. I took full advantage of a nice bed, air conditioning, and TV.


Route for August 18, 2016


Great River Road

I decided that I wanted to ride the Great River Road from the headwaters of the Mississippi River at Itasca State Park, to where it end in New Orleans. This would require a loop up to Itasca State Park and the start of the Mississippi River.

As I left I was crabby 🙁 The main reason was because I had to pack up a wet tent and gear. Just not a fun way to start the day.


The day did get better as it got hotter and hotter as I made my way to Itasca State Park.

Mississippi Headwaters

The Mississippi River meanders south from Itasca State Park for for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta at New Orleans before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. It is one of the world’s great rivers, and especially so in North America.

The Mississippi Headwaters is located in Itasca State Park. It cost $5 for the day to enter the park. But I had to do it. The headwaters was a milestone for the start of my Great River Road ride.


Also it would be pretty cool to see. I wasn’t the only one who thought so. The place was packed with people walking across the stones that mark the start of the great river.






The Mississippi starts it path to the Gulf of Mexico.


And I start my ride following it along the Great River Road.

Great River Road

The Great River Road National Scenic Byway follows the course of the Mississippi River for 3,000 miles from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The scenic route passes through 10 states and hundreds of river towns.


The Great River Road is arguably the longest and most important scenic byway in America. The drive takes about 36 hours of straight driving to travel from north to south along the byway. Most people take four to 10 days to make the journey. Me? I will take as long as it takes ha ha. I also want to take a few detours to visit things along the way.

But the first step along the way is to go to the KOA at Bemidji for the night.


Route for August 17, 2016


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