For the 4th I took an early ride with a friend. We met up at 7:00 to ride before it heated up for the day. Right then it was 80 degrees and felt pretty good. We rode some back roads and up the Natchez Trace to Ratliff Ferry to see if any bikes had shown up. This is a traditional stop for bikes on the weekend and usually there are 20 or more parked there to stop for a cold beverage. As it was a little early for the traditional bike crowd, we continued up to Kosciusko and stopped for breakfast. From here neither of us had ever been up to the north end of Hwy 43 so we headed that way. That turns out to be a very nice road with good sweeping curves. Although the last section north of Friendship, MS isn’t marked as highway and isn’t in such good shape. The area is pretty and mostly mid-Mississippi farms and forest. It made for a nice shady ride as it was getting warmer. At the north end we hit Hwy 407 and headed east to French Camp and back to the Trace. Heading south on the Trace led us back to Ratliff Ferry and there were a small number of bikes lined up in the shade. We talked bikes and cured all society’s ills. When we started to sweat while sitting in the shade, we decided it was time to get home. It was just getting into the low 90’s when we pulled out (just past noon) and hit 95 before I made it all the way home at 1:30. It was heating up quick and got to 98 at the house. A good day, about 180 miles, and sitting around the pool with a couple adult refreshments and a cigar put a fine finish on the day. Sorry, no pictures today.