#HOGWild Day 21

Day 21, and oh what a bittersweet day it was.

Leah and I wanted to do something a little different for our last day. We each took to the task of recounting our visit to Chip and Joanna GainesMagnolia at the Silos. And, we posed 5 questions to each other about our experiences. This should be entertaining. Neither of us read what the other wrote beforehand.

Let’s Begin

We arrived home around 4:30pm and immediately began debating over who was going to write the very last day. I won, so here it goes.

True to form and Leah’s fashion, we woke up late, clawed for the room phone and coughed out a dry request for late check out. Why we don’t request it when we check in is beyond me.

It was hot. Kinda like the heat you see in those old westerns where your vision is hazy because of the heat radiating from the earth. It was also dry and dusty as I always imagined a town called Waco would be.

I’m going to honest with you here. I really know nothing about the Magnolias or the Silos or the show Chip and Joanna Gaines do on TV. I’ve never watched one second of it. Not because I’m not a fan of theirs, but because I don’t watch TV and I’m not a hammer-swinging handyman.

I have seen them in social media and love their testimonies in the I Am Second series.

I’m also very aware that many of you want the inside scoop on the visit, but if you know me, then you know I’m the wrong hombre to give you the uncoated story.

So in all fairness, and because we’ve each written 10 posts about our journey, we thought it’d be better to give you two versions of our visit to “Gaines”ville. Get it, like Florida?

Scott’s Truth

The best part about the way Magnolia’s trip began was that it was 0.6 miles away from our hotel. Walk you say? No way. It was about 2:00pm and over 100 degrees. Plus we were both ladled in heavy leather motorcycle boots and well-worn jeans.

After paying $10 to park in a church parking lot, we hurried along a crowded sidewalk toward a canopy-covered line. A line of people I mean. A very long line of hot, sweaty people.

I hesitated at the corner while trollies, cabs and carriers hustled folks onto the property, and that line. If you want me to leave someplace, just form a line. I hate them.

Leah sensed it and said it was just the line to the bakery. Seriously? The bakery? What were they selling, immortality?

You should or shouldn’t have seen that line. She said in the mornings it snakes all around the corners and into parking lots. Is there no other place in a city of 135,000 people to get a muffin?

We mosied on over to the big, double-door gates where a nice lady stood under another canopy and offered paper fans and umbrellas. Or should I say, parasols.

We rushed inside and were greeted by a gush of cold air and a police officer standing in the cold air. One step further inside and the cold air disappeared. I think the cop had a monopoly on it, but it was okay, he was hustling an off-duty detail to make a little Christmas cash.

Look, before she rats me out, I get it. It was important to her, but I was working on three hours sleep and extreme heat. Yep, I sat down on a chair smack dab in the middle of the store. I looked like a display I was so still. And hot.

I tried to redeem myself and said, “Go shop.”

She did.

After she returned, we ventured outside, and guess what? It was still hot. I treated us to bottles of water. Not just any water. This was Magnolia water. The label said so.

I’ll tell you the truth. I’m not a creative visionary. I see things for what they are, and not what they could be. I wish I had that gift, but unlike Leah, I don’t. It’s obvious someone in the Gaines family has it too.

To look at a run down part of town, filled with empty, unusable space, rusted pipes and support beams that jetted in and out of old, abandoned grain silos to create Magnolia is a wonder.

The use of space, from everything to vendors to an artificial turf for kicking soccer balls, was genius. I sat in the shade and watched two grown men try to take a picture.

One was going to throw a football and snap the pic of his friend catching it. The guy had no idea how to hold or throw the ball. I was dying laughing. Leah said maybe they were European. I was willing to concede to that.

The place really is very cool. The décor is exactly what we like and resembles our home style (thanks to Leah.) Don’t tell her, but I’m going to set up a trip in the fall, so I don’t want to sit in the showroom like a hot mess chugging Magnolia water.

Leah’s Version

As I type this, Scott is sitting next to me, whistling The Final Countdown by Europe. This seems appropriate since this song was on our motorcycle playlist, and it is the last day of our epic adventure.

As Scott explained above, we’re doing today’s post a little differently. We’re both going to chime in with our opinions, so watch out. I figure if we can make it 21 days in extremely close quarters with each other then we can write a simple blog post together without bloodshed.

I don’t know what it is about 5am, but it’s become a familiar sight in the Silverii household. I’m not even sure what happens between the hours of 5am and 11am anymore, because that’s our nighttime.

I don’t think either of us slept well last night. It was probably a mix of the late night dinner we had of bacon mac n’ cheese and the fact that it was our last night before heading home. It’s a bit of a bittersweet ending, because we truly enjoyed the entire trip, and I think both of us could keep going for a while if other business obligations weren’t standing in our way.

We’ve stayed in a lot of hotels. So I can say with certainty that there are two things that hotels need to do better. The first is the pillows. Hotel pillows are the worst. The second thing is blackout curtains. I don’t stay up all night just so I can wake up two hours later when the sun rises. But I digress…

We made it out of the hotel by 1:00pm, packed up the bike, and headed over to Magnolia Market at the Silos, which was about half a mile away from our hotel. I could tell Scott was not very excited about this visit. There’ve been things in our marriage I haven’t been too excited about either, but I did them anyway, which was what Scott did this go-around. I figure this is an important part of marriage, so we’re nailing it.

You can see the silos a couple of blocks away, and we found parking in the church parking lot right next door. I thought it was great the church was able to benefit from the flocks of people who come to visit the area.

I’ll admit, I was pretty excited. I’ve never actually seen Fixer Upper, so I’m not a fan of Chip and Joanna Gaines in that sense (y’all know we don’t have TV in our house).

But I’m a fan of their relationship with Christ and each other. I’ve read their book, follow their blogs and videos, and just really enjoy that they’re not ashamed to be who they are, in a world that loves to shame people for following Christ.

Did I mention it was 105 degrees today? It actually felt a lot hotter, and I would’ve given anything to not be in jeans and biker boots. But I skipped happily toward the silos, and gave Scott a “Go Team” pat on the behind for being a good sport.

The line to the bakery was crazy long, even at past one in the afternoon. And y’all know Scott doesn’t do lines (remind me to tell y’all the Braum’s story some time). So we passed the crowd of sweat-soaked bakery goers and headed toward the store.

We walked through the doors and felt the cold rush of air, and I heard Scott groan in relief next to me. I’m not a super fan of crowds either, but it was really cool to watch the excitement in the room as people from all over the country got their own piece of “Magnolia.”

There was the main air-conditioned room, and then it flowed down the stairs into a larger warehouse. I would have gotten a shirt, but again…lines. But I will say there’s a ton of staff, and they’re all super friendly.

Scott and I found a couple of chairs and sat for a few minutes, just watching the people and enjoying the A/C.

When we left the building, we headed over to the green space, where there’s a stage and little shops selling a variety of things from snacks to t-shirts.

Even Scott mentioned how cool it was to be able to have the vision they did to make such a use out of the space and create something that changed the footprint of Waco, Texas.

It was truly a cool experience, and I’m glad Scott took one for the team and brought me there.

After Magnolia, we headed out of town. Well…almost out of town. Scott saw the sign for Cracker Barrel and took the exit. I figured he deserved a little Cracker Barrel after visiting Magnolia.

The thing about Cracker Barrel is that it’s consistent. It doesn’t matter what state or town you’re in, it’s always the same. And we’ve met such interesting people there as well.

A couple stopped us on the way out today. The older gentleman, he had to be at least in his mid-eighties, cornered Scott and I stood next to his wife.

I couldn’t hear what the men were talking about, so I told her Scott and I had been on a 6,000 motorcycle road trip. She smiled and said, “My husband and his first wife used to do that all the time. They went everywhere. She died a few years ago. I’m his second wife.”

My curiosity was immediately piqued. There was a great story there, and I was dying to ask questions. Fortunately, I didn’t have to ask.

She followed that up by saying, “We were high school sweethearts a long time ago. And a couple of years ago, he got in contact with my brother and asked if I was available. And when my brother told him I was, he asked if I’d be interested in seeing him again. We’ve been married a year and a half now.”

The writer in me was dying to ask questions at this point. What made them part ways in high school? What happened in the sixty-four years between high school and when they said, “I do?”

Had they always loved each other all those years and life just got in the way? Or had they done the right thing and shared their lives with the person they were supposed to, only to come back to each other in the end, once their children were grown.

The whole thing had my mind spinning all afternoon.

We finally said goodbye and got back on the bike. When I say it was miserably hot, I mean it. It hurt to sit on the seat. And hot wind slapped us in the face the entire ride home. Fortunately, it was only an hour and a half drive.

By the time we reached our street we were more than ready to be home. We high-fived each other as we entered into our neighborhood and made our triumphant return to real life.

As soon as we stepped inside we stripped off our sweat-soaked clothes and collapsed. We had the thought of going to jump in the pool, but I think we were both too tired.

So for now, this is the end of our #HOGWild17 adventure. I know we’ll do it again, and we take off tomorrow for another trip, so stay tuned for those posts.

Thanks so much for joining us on the ride!

5 QUESTIONS

What was your best experience?

Leah:

I’d say the best experience was our morning prayer time. I looked forward to it every day, and I knew it would set the tone for the day we’d spend together.

Scott:

Motoring to the 11,000 foot summit of Beartooth Pass. Beyond the sheer brilliance of the scenery, the experience of safely navigating around narrow, winding mountain roads was a first for me.

I was apprehensive the days leading up to it. I’d read so much about the hairpin turns, switchbacks and sudden elevation climbs that I worried I was too inexperienced with mountain rides for it. We have a big bike. It’s a beast.

And it was loaded down with cargo to last us the entire journey. As small as Leah is, I can still feel the difference in handling with and without her. The cargo and her added to the already robust bike, had me concerned.

To my pleasant surprise, it was amazing. The road wasn’t crowded with stop and go car traffic, the weather got cool at the top, but not cold and rainy. We were able to stop as we went for pics, and to enjoy the sweeping views from amazing heights.

Of course, coming down and right into Yellowstone National Park only added to the majesty of the experience.

What was your favorite location?

Leah:

I loved Whitefish, Montana, obviously, because we ended up buying a condo there, and Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to get back there.

Scott:

This should be easy, right? Whitefish, Montana. I (we) loved it so much that we bought a condo the next day. Please, not to sound condescending or flippant about money, but we’ve both saved to buy a vacation home.

This wasn’t about finances as much as it was we felt this place touched our souls.

Asheville, North Carolina had the same effect on us last year, and we hope to buy there too one day, but when your soul cries out, you have to honor its call.

Of course, besides the lakes in the area, there is the incredible Glacier National Park, and the amazing sky park at Big Mountain. Yes, Whitefish was my favorite location.

What was your most difficult experience?

Leah:

I’d say the most difficult for me was the long haul between Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota. It was a lot of hours on the bike in hundred plus temperatures. But even that was fun.

Scott:

I realize I just said cresting the summit at Beartooth Pass was my favorite experience, and it was, but it was also my most difficult one too. And maybe a little embarrassing also.

We were coming down the mountain pass when Leah had asked about stopping to get a jacket. Everything was on a slight or steep down sloping grade, and almost every pull off was covered with gravel.

I thought I spotted a level pull off, although the road grade was steep. I slowed and drifted across the highway and into this huge gravel lot.

Immediately as I slowed, my feet began slipping out from beneath me. The front wheel jackknifed to the left and the bike began to slide out from under us.

It was all very slow speed, to almost stopped, but we were moving downward as the bike leaned over upward. I tried to muscle the frame back upright. I was also telling Leah to be careful and to get off and clear away from the bike before it toppled.

The bike laid over on it’s left side. There was zero damage thanks to highway bars. I squatted and gave it a quick jerk. It was embarrassing as people began asking if we were okay and running over.

I just wanted to get the bike up and get out of there. I was so mad at myself.

This bike is over 102 inches long and weighs well over a 1,000 pounds. Not to mention Leah and the fully loaded cargo. It didn’t budge. An older couple (we learned in their 80’s) stopped to a halt on the road to offer help.

I wanted to get it up and out. It wasn’t happening.

The old guy came and grabbed the bike and said he used to ride. Another younger guy grabbed hold and the three of us got it up and I dropped the kick stand to let it come to rest. There wasn’t a scratch on it, and I thanked them.

It had me so mad at myself for misjudging the grade and gravel. I told Leah from that point on, she’d either get her coat before or wait until after. Of course, there was no one else to blame but me.

What were your expectations before it began?

Leah:

I’m pretty relaxed about everything as long as there’s at least a framework of a schedule, so the only expectation I had going into the trip was that we were going to have a great time because we were getting to do this trip together.

We always have fun together, no matter where we go or what we do, and I know as long as we’re together we’ll get through anything. So I went into the trip full-speed ahead ready for a great adventure.

I think Scott said it best in one of his blog posts. When we started on the journey it was about riding a motorcycle every day, with a little bit of prayer and bible along the way. But it turned into an amazing prayer and study journey, with a little bit of motorcycle every day.

Scott:

I had expected to just hit the road and rough it. I thought we’d figure it out as we went. Food, drinks, gas, rest would all just fall into place. I was going for the mileage, and to experience the open roads.

Thank God Leah was there.

What have you learned after we’ve finished?

Leah:

I’ve learned that Scott’s an over-packer, and that I love him more every day. I couldn’t imagine doing life with anyone else.

Scott:

I learned along the way that this trip wasn’t about a motorcycle ride. We pray together every day. Admittedly, we get busy and “forget.” This wasn’t going to be one of those times.

The days were ours and praying before we began was our priority.

From day 1, God pressed on my heart that this trip was about Him. Each day, our morning prayer sessions grew more intimate and intense until we understood God sent us away from everyone and everything so we could focus on Him and on us.

It was in reality a prayer revival and marriage retreat that also involved riding a motorcycle. There was so much time spent in silence while we rode. I used that time to pray for people and meditate on what God wants from me.

The experience has been life-changing, and not at all what I expected when we drove out of our garage on July 1st. Thank God for that.

Thanks and God Bless You,

Scott & Leah

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