By the fire by the river
Near Coranada, Mississippi

Dear All

I’m shedding weight so decided to send some stuff back that I don’t need to carry. The boots have had some good use but not enough to justify carting them everywhere and I don’t think I’ll use them as much in the future. Please put them somewhere dry if possible (or in the attic). The water bottle has been replaced by a handlebar mounted one which saves space in the tank bag. The photos are numbered so it doesn’t really matter too much if you get them mixed up. By all means have a look at them and show then to anybody who’s interested but I can’t imagine that anybody would be apart from Mum and Dad and yourselves!! As usual they don’t reflect very much of what actually happened. There are loads that I shouldn’t have bothered taking and loads of good things and places where I didn’t take any. For instance the French Quarter of New Orleans was fantastic but I didn’t take a single picture ‘cos I went at night and emptied my pockets each time beforehand. A couple of blacks tried to trick me into a bet which I fell for and they wanted $50 (£25). It’s an age old con but I wasn’t concentrating. Anyway, I convinced them that I was worse off than them (probably true) and nearly ended up with them paying me. My friends in my New Orleans ‘local’ where I based myself between walks round town said I was lucky and to definitely never walk anywhere unlit which I wouldn’t anyway. This happened in crowded Bourbon Street right in the centre of the Blues and Jazz area. They say that after 20 years they are still careful where they walk. It’s a dodgy town. Everybody waves at me including police in Mississippi and today I found out why. The Police have just bought bikes for the first time and they only started using them this week. Nobody knows what they look like yet (including local police because each county has it’s own force) so they all assume I must be one as bikes generally are rare here and mines blue and unusual looking and the black and white helmet etc. Nobody overtakes me and traffic coming the other way slows down. I get some strange looks in the black areas when I’m just wandering around having a look. All good fun eh?

Going to do the gearbox in Tucson, Arizona at Larry’s house and then back to California to see Steve the Irishman to see about going south but I think it’s the wrong time to go ‘cos we’ll get there in the middle of winter more or less which seems daft. There again dafter things have happened.

Don’t know how long this will take to get there so, Happy Christmas.

All the best.

Love Steve.