|Scooter trip from Bossier city to Talladega|
Larry and I left Bossier City on a Monday morning early. We were riding double on the Allstate scooter that I had bought new a few months earlier and it was in good condition. We had my BB gun tied to the bottom of the scooter and a suitcase tied to the right side of the scooter and a big cloth bag tied to the other side of the scooter. We rode and rode and rode. All morning. Stopping only to use the bath room beside the road. Back then it would be sometimes hours would go by without seeing another motorist. This was on US highway 80 too which was the main artery from East to West between Shreveport Louisiana and Selma Alabama. Once one of us had to use the bathroom and their was no place to pull off the road. Their was only swamp on both sides of the road for miles and miles. This was when we were getting with about 20 miles of Vicksburg Mississippi. Finally we found a plank walkway that went out into the swamp and we decided to see if it would get us far enough off the highway to use the bathroom. We must have walked a quarter of a mile off the road before we felt like we were out of sight of the highway. In the distance we could see an oil well pump going up and down. I think this was a path for maintenance to be done on the pump. We used the bathroom and trotted back to the road worrying all the time if somebody may have bothered our stuff but it was still there when we got back. Actually we could have seen if anybody stopped but it would not have done us any good if they had wanted what we had. Donít know why one of us didnít stay with the scooter. Kids are just too trusting and ignorant to the danger when 14 and 16 years old.
We finally made it across the Mississippi river about dark and the man in the toll office made us pay half price for crossing. I think that may have been about a dime. Just over the bridge we came upon a small motel and stopped and asked how much it would cost to stay the night and the manager told us it would be eight dollars. We went to the room and looked it over and paid the manager. When he got out of sight we rolled the scooter into the room beside the bed. We sure didnít want somebody to steal it during the night. I didnít sleep a wink all night and Larry slept like a baby.
We got up way before daylight and rolled the scooter out the door and in a couple of minutes were on our way. We had something that Mable had sent with us for supper that night but the next morning we didnít have anything to eat. I wasnít hungry anyway so we rode on till we came to the next town and got us a coke and a pack of peanuts to eat. That was all we had to eat that day until we got to Tuscaloosa and Mrs. Beardís house except for the ice cream that the milk man gave us on the road.. She ran a boarding house for the men who worked on the railroad at the maintenance shop that was in sight of her house.
On out way that morning out of Vicksburg a man in a milk truck passed us about the break of day. About an hour later he passed us again and waved at us. On up in the day he passed us again and this time he really waved and laughed as he went by and yelled something out the door of the truck that we couldnít understand. On up the road a ways he pulled over and got out of the truck and waved us down. He asked us where we going and we told him that we were going from Bossier City La. To Talladega Alabama. He asked us what we wanted to eat out of the milk truck. I asked him if he had any icecream sandwitches and he said yes. He gave Larry and I one apiece and a pint on Chockolate milk to wash it down with. I told him we didnít have any money to pay for it and he said not to worry that he would pay for it out of his pocket. That saved us from having to have another coke and peanut snack until we got to Mrs. Beards house in Tuscaloosa.
We didnít get to Mrs. Beardís house until after dark that second evening. I can remember when we were coming into the traffic of Tuscaloosa how dog tired I was. Larry was sitting backwards on the scooter with our two belts tied around us both so that he would not fall off if he went to sleep. (First seat belts) When we finally found Mrs. Beards house and pulled up on the sidewalk in front of the house it was totally dark. There must have been some street lights or something because I can remember that the sidewalk in front of the house was visible after the scooter lights were turned off after we stopped. My legs were so tired that when I went to put my left leg on the ground it was asleep and the scooter fell over with both of us tied together on the ground. Larry sorta came awake and started struggling to get up since he didnít know where he was. About this time Mrs. Beard came out the front door with her pistol in her hand and pointed it at us and asked us to get out of there and to quit fighting on her sidewalk in front of her house. We had not even told her that we were intending to spent the night with her and she really didnít remember us at first. When Larry finally got back to his senses and Mrs. Beard found out who we were she welcomed us into the house with open arms like we were visiting royalty. She always did like to feed people. (She ran a boarding house and railroad people stayed with her) She would not have it any other way but that we ate supper. We were so tired that we could not eat very much but she tried her darndest to feed us anyway. We soon bathed off and went to bed after everybody in the house had gotten up and came in the kitchen to see and talk to us. They just couldnít believe that we had just driven the scooter all the way from Vicksburg to Tuscaloosa in one day alone.
We got up early the next morning and after Mrs. Beard had filled us up with a good breakfast we got on the Allstate scooter and were on our way to Talladega which was the last leg on our journey home. We rode all day and I can Ďt remember a single instance on the way home until we got to Fort Leslie Avenue which is just as you came into the city limits. An Alabama highway patrolman put on his red lights and siren and pulled us over. I couldnít think of any reason for him pulling us over and I sure was afraid of getting a ticket and me not having anything but pocket change left from our trip money we started with.
He came up to us on the scooter and asked me for my liscense which were of course Louisiana liscenses. When he saw that the liscense was from Louisiana he then wanted to know how it was that we were in Talladega. When I told him that we had ridden the scooter all the way from Bossier City he just laughed and told us to be careful and hoped that we got home OK. We were only about two miles from home at this time. We lived in Curry Court at the time. When we got home Mother and all were glad to see us. I donít think we had called home since we left Mableís house three days later.
Mr Cecil Hornady sent out a reporter to take pictures of us and to do a story in his weekly newspaper about us. We were celebrities for a couple of days but then as with all fame it faded from memory. But not from my memories.
ZANE SHERMAN, from AL, entered 2003-02-18