Tuesday May 11, Milan TN to Robinsonville MS
The rains did pass through overnight and it’s clear today. It’s going to be hotter, too. I take US 70A / 79 into Memphis and locate the motorcycle store. Another nice ride through the country side. The people at the store tell me that I’ve picked the wrong route down into Mississippi and offer an alternate. The objective is still to get to my original road, MS 61, but not by the route that I had first set out.
So I putt-putt on down into Mississippi, along with millions of others on the same route. The objectives include seeing the Mississippi River and the mega-farming operations on the delta. The delta is fairly famous for fabulously fertile farming on vast reaches of bottom lands produced by the Mississippi River. The historical crop, cotton, however depletes the lands of important plant food, so there’s been a switchover to soybeans.
A short distance down AR 61 leads to Tunica and the RiverPark on the bank of the river. The river is running high and muddy and one road into the place is flooded over. I checked out the place and the river hoping a long string of barges would pass. John McPhee, in Uncommon Carriers, has written a piece about how the barge system works. I vaguely recall that he has other pieces about travel on the Mississippi.
A little more South gets me to MS 49, which leads to MS 1, a Scenic Byway. Friars Point is off the main road a bit and is home for the North Delta Museum. Also the birthplace of Conway Twitty as is frequently noted around the village.
I ride back up 61 to Robinsonville to get a room. It turns out that Robinsonville is home to part of the Mississippi Gaming Industry. Thousands on motel rooms at the “resorts” that have been built, Las Vegas style, out on the very flat former farm land. A very unusual sight. Huge buildings sticking up in the air out in the deep boonies complete with gaudy signs. I suspect the local natives have made deals for their land that was depleted by cotton and of little use unless much nitrogen is added back into the soil. I didn’t stay out at the resorts, but at a motel that supplies rooms after the resort rooms are all filled.
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