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  • Writer's pictureMel Dick

Paying It Back

Long day of riding. 87 miles in the rolling hills of North Eastern Mississippi. Hot and humid with the heat index being 102 this afternoon. Difficult to stay hydrated. Made some new friends today....Hattie and Jameice. Hattie had a flat tire on her way to a doctor's appointment. We could not get the tire changed. We used my AAA membership to get her a tow truck. We spent about an hour and 1/2 getting to know each other while we waited for the truck. The one thing the trip has taught me is there are a lot of great everyday people across the country just living and enjoying life with its many trials and tribulations.

Mostly tree lined highways with very little to see other than the road ahead and trees. Many of the trees are being taken over by Kudzu, an invasive species brought to the U.S. during the 1876 Centennial celebration. In 1876 countries from around the world were invited to take part in the Centennial Celebration of the United States held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Japanese government designed an exhibition of lush gardens to showcase the country’s plants. Kudzu was embraced by many and it was encouraged to be planted for a variety of reasons. In the early 1900's some warned of it becoming an invasive species but the warnings went unheeded. Long story short, Kudzu has rapidly spread in the South and in 1998 Kudzu was declared a "federal noxious weed". If you have ever driven in the South you know how rapidly it spreads (it can grow up to a foot a day and 60 feet in a season) and literally overtakes the native trees and plant life.

In Northeast Mississippi tonight in Tupelo. The first city to receive power from the Tennessee Valley Authority, it became a thriving industrial center for the region and was once considered the hub of the American furniture manufacturing. In 1936 the city was hit by one of the deadliest tornado's in U.S. history. One the survivors of the tornado was a young boy, Elvis Presley, who born in Tupelo and the city has a deep connection to music. If you ever visit don't miss dining at the Neon Pig....fantastic food!!

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