#HOGWild18: Day 5 – Asheville, North Carolina – Little Switzerland – Blue Ridge Parkway

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I’ve got to confess that tonight’s post is going to be short. Mostly because Scott ordered me a Lemon Drop martini at dinner, and that makes me super tired. Yes, I’m a cheap date.

We slept in a bit this morning because the alarm didn’t go off. Or maybe it got turned off. It’s kind of a blur. But we dragged ourselves out of bed, showered, and I put on my Spanx motorcycle pants. Seriously, they’re awesome and comfortable, and Scott seems to enjoy them tremendously. You should go get some even if you don’t ride a motorcycle.

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We decided to stay two nights in Asheville and use it as our home base for a couple of day trips. Today wasn’t a long riding day, but the roads and the weather made it especially exhausting for Scott, since he was actually driving the motorcycle. I just enjoyed the ride and the scenery.

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Our first destination was a place called Little Switzerland. It’s a stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina, and it’s an amazing road to travel no matter how you drive it. The roads are steep and curvy.

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We ate at the Switzerland Cafe, and the food was fantastic. Plus, there was the added bonus of finding the Books and Beans Bookstore, which was really cool and deceptively large. This was a fun hidden treasure in the middle of nowhere. And as an author, I can never pass up a bookstore.

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This cute little cabin was our view at lunch, along with sweeping green mountains. And the weather was just right. Someone should tell Texas that it should have North Carolina weather.

After lunch, we headed out on the Blue Ridge Parkway. FullSizeRender-12

This is where things get tricky. I believe Scott mentioned in yesterday’s post that he forgot to pack his rain gear (though I think he tried to blame it on me). We found a Wal-Mart along the way and he grabbed a cheap rain suit, which was good timing because it started raining pretty soon after that. I remembered to pack my rain suit, so I was very comfortable on the back of the bike.

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This is us in the rain. One of us is grumpy about the rain. Hint: His name rhymes with Spot Milberry.

Fortunately, the worst of the storm passed after about twenty minutes, and then there was sun. Glorious sun.

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And we headed all the way back into Asheville with nothing but gorgeous scenery and the smell of fresh rain and pine trees.

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Asheville is one of our favorite places, and I’m sure we’ll get a vacation home here at some point or another. But while we’re here, our favorite place to stay is the Omni Park Grove Inn. You can’t beat the rooms or the view. And I’m obsessed with their shampoo and conditioner (you can buy it in the spa). It’s what I use at home.

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Plus, there’s this:

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That’s a plate of Praline and Brown Sugar Bacon that we had as an appetizer at the hotel restaurant. Don’t tell anyone, but I ordered another plate of it for dessert because it was THAT GOOD.

Scott came back to the room and immediately fell asleep in my lap, and I waited him out by watching The Weather Channel really loud until he woke up and I was able to start writing this post. Married life is pretty awesome. It’s the little things in life.

It’s supposed to rain tomorrow, so we’ll play out the day by ear. All I know is we have to be in Charlotte by tomorrow night so we can see Harry Connick Jr. If the weather isn’t too bad we’ll detour by Lake Lure, which is where they filmed Dirty Dancing. I’m almost positive I can talk Scott into doing a reenactment, even though he thinks the movie is creepy.

I might take some of that bacon for the road.

See y’all tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

 

#HOGWild18: Some Days Are Diamonds, Other Days You’re Cold

It Started Out Grand…

Well, Leah and I had a fantastic month of May that saw all of the kids finish up their school years, and a few nights of hosting friends and family around the pool and BBQ grill. It was a great way to wrap up before we took off on our 5,100 mile motorcycle adventure.

But…

I woke up early Friday morning, and shuffled off to the potty. I figured since I was up, I might as well stay up and get some last rounds of writing done before we hit the highways. But… I had to shuffle back off to the potty.

Without being crass, I can tell you that the morning’s paperwork had absolutely nothing to do with writing, and everything to do with a budding stomach virus. Leah was busy in the house, so I figured I’d sleep it off in a guest room and stay out of her way since it was still mid-morning.

I spent the next 24 hours in so much pain that the best of those times were when delirium gave me a break from reality. I cycled through the bouts of hot and cold, and shivering so intense that three days later and my hips and knees are still sore.

Reality Check…

I managed to make it out back on Sunday evening once the sun had taken a time out. It felt good to get some sun on my face, but it wasn’t long before I realized I wasn’t 25 anymore. A few days past the worst of it, and I was still weak.

Leah asked the dreaded question about whether I felt I could handle taking off on Tuesday after she’d already delayed the start date thanks to a house repair issue. Sometimes the macho man mind does really stupid things, and other times it surprises me and faces reality.

So, being the master scheduler and navigator, Leah once again readjusts our route, negotiates with the hotels so the stings of cancellation aren’t so severe, and notifies friends along the way that plans have changed once again.

Then There Is Hope…

One of the anchors on our trip is to see Leah’s all-time favorite performer in concert. She’s tried for years to catch Harry Connick, Jr at a venue, but it’s never worked out. Guess what? We’ve got him in our sites, and we’ve got tickets for Charlotte, North Carolina.

All we had to do was create a more direct route from Dallas to North Caroline and we’d make the 1,026 mile sprint with a day to spare. I had finally begun to feel better, and knew the extra day of fluids and rest was paying dividends.

And Also…

I haven’t forgotten that this week is also our anniversary. So it’s really important that I get my sea legs back beneath me. For huh, you know…dancing?

We’ve not packed a stitch of clothes and beyond my old Harley Davidson boots and her new, fancy ankle boots she swore she just couldn’t ride without, we were still unprepared. Although, after last year’s monster romp around America, we feel pretty confident about what to bring and what to leave at home.

So…

So…me and my bride are rescheduled, I’m rested and the route still allows time to see some great sites along an unrushed way.

And Then…

Monday morning, Leah wakes up early and in a hurry. I just knew she was excited to get packing and possibly make us a lite breakfast. But, instead of heading toward the kitchen, my sweet baby shuffled off to the potty. And that was what would become the first of an entire day and night of quick trips in between rounds of hot and cold shivering and mind-numbing stomach and head pain.

I’m not sure if Harry Connick, Jr is in the cards, because it’s beginning to look like #HOGWild18 is in the toilet. I sure do miss these two crazy, optimists. But I also know that where there’s a will, there’s a way. Don’t give up hope, we might just zoom right past you.

Keep us in your prayers for quick recoveries,

Scott & Leah

#HOGWild18 – Motorcycle Cross Country Adventure Starts Soon

Hi All,

We’ve put some fantastic miles on the bike since our cross-country adventure last year. It was such an amazing experience that we’re doing it again. Except time we’ll be heading east from Dallas.

When I think back to just a year ago, Leah & I were so excited and nervous about doing this. We asked for and were blessed with so many suggestions about what to pack that I think we incorporated them all. It was a big list and we probably looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.

We feel so much more ready this time around. The big lesson was that it wasn’t about the technology or the gadgets. It was about the road. As each day passed last year, we became unconnected to the world, and closer to God and each other.

Come along this year and we’ll try our best to post after each day’s adventure. We had a ball taking turns sharing each other’s perspective on alternating days. Sign up or click to follow the blog, and check us out at Marriage Matters while you’re in the Like clicking mood.

We’re praying for a similar experience this year. We’re also packing fewer miles into most days so we can spend more time enjoying the locations and meet up with friends along the way. There might even be a Harry Connick, Jr. concert along the way. If you’re along the route, let’s connect if possible.

We’ll be heading toward different terrain than last year, so if you have good advice or experience, we’d love to hear about it. We’re connecting with friends from our church’s small group. It’s a married group of motorcycle enthusiasts from Gateway Church. They’re introducing us to cool places like the Tail of the Dragon at Deal’s Gap, TN and Blue Ridge Parkway, so please pitch in suggestions about these and more.

Here’s a tentative schedule. Let us know if you’re on the route. We head out for June

God bless you,

Scott & Leah

Check It Out:

Dallas to Hot Springs, AK

Hot Springs to Memphis, TN

Memphis to Nashville,TN

Nashville to Fort Knox, KY

Fort Knox to Lexington

Lexington to Charleston WV

Charleston, WV Seneca Rocks, WV

Seneca Rocks, WV to Skyline Drive VA (Shenandaoh Nat Park and Blue Ridge Pkwy)

Blue Ridge Pkwy to Washington Nat Forest to Beech Mountain to Cary, NC

Cary, NC to Asheville

Asheville to Charlotte

Charlotte to Bryson City to Chimney Rock to Blackberry Farm

Tellico Plains to Memphis, TN

Memphis to Monroe, LA

Monroe to Dallas

Give us a LIKE if you enjoyed – #HOGWild18 – Motorcycle Cross Country Adventure Starts Soon

#HOGWild17: Day 4 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Happy Independence Day!

Whew! We got a super late start to the day due to the fact that Day 3 wore us out. I tried to wake Scott up in time to see the sunrise, but he grumbled something impolite and rolled back over. In a show of solidarity, I went back to sleep too.

My favorite times with Scott are just after we go to bed, and when we wake up in the mornings. This is when we talk about anything and everything. It might take twenty minutes or it might take hours.

There has been many a night when we’ve fallen asleep mid-sentence just before the sun is about to rise. All I know is that by the time we got out of bed this morning, it was noon. And by the time we showered and managed to drag our tired selves down to the bike, it was after one. Thank goodness for late checkout.

Since it’s July 4th, we dressed appropriately in our America shirts. I also accessorized with a red bedazzled headband and my favorite red lipstick.

Hangry

Now, those of you who have followed us for a few years know that I need to be fed at regular intervals. I get what’s universally known as “hangry.” Did I mention we were in Iowa and there’s not a whole lot going on for long stretches of time?

Fortunately, Scott had to stop for gas, and I think the Lord must have told him where to exit off the highway because there was an Arby’s right next door. When Scott prayed for us to have a safe day of travels during our morning prayer time, God understood it wasn’t just the motorcycle ride we needed safety for.

With full bellies, we begrudgingly left the air-conditioned restaurant and back out into the heat. Now, we’re from Texas, so this isn’t really “heat,” but the heat still works on you after you’re on the bike for a while. After pushing an all day ride yesterday, we made a smart choice in making the one today quite a bit shorter.

The Border

Before we knew it, we’d crossed the border from Iowa into South Dakota and were met with rolling hills, endless green fields, and blue skies. We listened to Johnny Cash, and I got four new book ideas sitting on the back of the bike and watching the clouds go by.

Something else we found particularly exciting about South Dakota was the speed limit. We finally found one that kept up with our normal speed.

Our final destination for the day was Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The motorcycle alerted us that there was a Harley Davidson in Sioux Falls, so we pushed the button for the navigator to lead us in that direction. We also saw a billboard for Duluth Trading Company, which has a local store. You guys know we love Duluth. Scott particularly enjoys their Rooster Booster tagline for their men’s underwear.

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Unfortunately, the HD store and Duluth were closed for the holiday, so we’ll make a stop at both stores tomorrow before we head out. With nowhere left to go, we headed to the Springhill Suites (Yay for Marriott points!) to get settled for the evening.

I’d already been thinking about dinner at this point (see my previous statement about being fed at regular intervals), and I saw a Johnny Carino’s billboard. Italian food sounded like just the thing to hit the spot. The only trick was whether or not Scott would want to get back on the bike to go eat.

Things didn’t seem too promising when the first thing the did when we got in the room was take off his pants and lay down on the bed. In a show of solidarity, I did the same. It was hot after all. And after a short rest and Facebooking, the subject of dinner came up.

By some miracle, our legs managed to find our pant holes and we headed out to Johnny Carino’s. It was delicious. We’re still full.

This is the look of a satisfied man.

Kick Back

We’re back at the hotel, the road grime showered from our bodies, and we’re watching a special about the eighties on the TV. Tomorrow we’re heading to the Badlands, which we’ve decided sounds dangerous and intimidating.

Do we have to fight our way out? Do I need to buy brass knuckles at the Harley Davidson store? We’ll report back tomorrow in Day 5’s report.

But for now, have a safe and happy 4th of July! Scott and I are so blessed to get to see so much of this beautiful country, and at every turn we’re witnesses to God’s magnificent creation.

God bless and we’ll see you tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

 

 

 

 

 

Motorcycle Cross Country Is Almost Here: No Cold Feet, Right?

Talk about a double whammy this week. Leah and I are prepping for #HOGWild17 and this is the last week with all of our kids for the summer.

It’s been an incredible month, as it’s been every year when we switch to a month and month schedule. Obviously the joy of unity transitions into the pain of being apart. I fly my youngest son back to New Orleans on Friday, so this is the last full day he has with us. The rest of the kids bug out Friday night.

To tell you that my focus has been on this cross-country trip would not be telling you the truth. I’ve not packed or even kicked stuff into a pile yet. Fortunately, I’d developed what I call a switch during my years of working undercover and SWAT. It allows me to immediately transition from one environment to the next without being tethered to what I’d just experienced.

This switch will flip once I head back on the return flight after hugging and kissing my boy goodbye. By the time TSA sees me slip through without luggage, I’ll be planning our departure on the Harley Davidson for Saturday. If you’d like to connect and come along on our adventure, please CLICK HERE

I did however bring the Ultra Limited into the shop at Longhorn Harley Davidson this week for service. Leah made sure to have a cup holder installed for her. It’s so big, she could slide an ice chest in it.

I was talking to one of the guys at the service desk who had made many pilgrimages across this country. He wished me a safe trip, so I asked him if he had any last-minute advice. He grinned, “Keep it upright.”

Speaking of Leah, she is the planner. While I’ve always taken off with one extra undies and bathing suit, she actually likes to know where we’ll sleep and when we’ll get back home. It works out wonderfully. But, at the expense of her prep work, she likes to buy just about everything based on recommendations for our 6,000 mile trek. We’ve purchased everything from beef jerky to pure air bottles.

On a side note, we discovered those last December while in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado. We were at about 9,000 foot elevation for the week and never acclimated to it. Snowshoeing, snowmobiling and simply walking to supper exhausted us. They are actual cans of air. It looks like bug spray, but what the heck. It beats altitude sickness swirling along the backside of Montana mountains.

Anyway, I saw a giant pile of black, orange and leather shoved in front of our bed. I asked Leah what it was, and she said it was for the trip. Unless she’s going to wear it all, all of the time, there is no room. After all, we need the bottles of air, right?

We always go through the same routine of piling up everything short of the kitchen sink. Then we start weeding out duplicates, and then unnecessaries, and finally we try cutting to the bone. When we’re limited to two hard saddlebags, a touring trunk and a bungie-strapped duffel bag, you have to cut into that proverbial packing bone.

Basics such as rainsuits and jackets take up lots of room, but can’t be left behind. Planning for weather that will range from one hundred plus, down into the thirties also requires layers along with versatile overcoats. We’ve each got a favorite leather jacket, but they’re too bulky for the trip.

Now to the topic of cold feet. I guess on an occasion or two I’ve stopped to think about the reality of living on the road for 21 days. The limited resources and unplanned stopping points. I’ve also considered that I’ve never driven a motorcycle up or down a mountain or high elevation roadways. I cycled up and down mountains in several 100 mile bicycle races, but never on a motorbike.

Leah has been showing pictures of the epic roads we’ll be travelling. The curves and switchbacks are amazing. But as I told her, I’m basically pretty good at going straight. We’ll see how it all works out. Like her, I just want to ensure we have a safe and fun adventure.

I’m never one to draw back, but I also realize the last time I was consistently logging hard miles on a motorcycle was about 20 years ago. My body and my butt were much tougher back then. I’m sure ibuprofen will be in ample supply. Our goal is to cover ground, but at a pace that allows us to enjoy the journey. Typically I say that, but I can’t live by it. I love to push it.

So with two days left and zero packing started, we’d appreciate any words of encouragement!!!

We’re posting on social media as we go, and will attempt regular articles on this site. We’d appreciate you coming along with the hashtag #HOGWild17, and also signing up for the latest in our adventures by CLICKING HERE.

If you see this face, smiling or exhausted, please say hello, or I will. Either way, it’s always fun to meet new folks on trips and connect with friends.

I hope you enjoyed Motorcycle Cross Country Is Almost Here: No Cold Feet, Right? Please feel free to Like and Comment below.

 

Welcome To The Adventure

faith travel picGod has blessed Leah and I both with an adventurous spirit and the ability to work anywhere in the world. An irony before I retired as a chief of police was that our own travels kept us separated most weeks each month. It was a major decision in my retirement, but once I honored God’s calling to leave the job, He blessed us with regular adventure.

Leah and I have talked about a travel site for a few years, and on the cusp of our 21 day, 6,000 mile motorcycle trip in July, we finally made it happen. Talk about procrastination!

Now we sure don’t want you to hesitate to sign up for adventure updates and good news. We promise not to bug ya…much. It easy, just CLICK HERE

Not only do we look forward to sharing our adventures, faith and lessons learned along the path, but we look forward to solid advice from others who travel or live in the areas we visit, and possibly fellowship along the path.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and follow our adventures.

Scott & Leah

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