#HOGWild18: Day 11 – Biloxi, Mississippi to Dallas, Texas. We’re Home!

We’re home!

Sorry for the day-late post, but we got in just before midnight last night after a 600 mile day on the bike, and the only thing either of us wanted was to un-numb our behinds and take a shower. We did both of those things, and then crashed, sleeping a solid ten hours.

We left Biloxi after noon, and after looking at the weather radar, we decided to travel farther north to avoid as much rain as possible, even though it was a longer ride. We made the right decision, because half of Louisiana and Mississippi were getting deluged.

Once we made it past the rain and the radar showed clear, we found the nearest Cracker Barrel to keep the tradition alive. Scott ordered his normal grilled chicken (he’s a creature of habit), and I spiced things up with chicken fried steak. Then I rocked for a few minutes because I’m obsessed with Cracker Barrel rockers.

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The drive back from Mississippi is not one of the more fun drives in the country, though it is about a hundred times better than the drive through west Texas (you Texas people will understand that). But it was really amazing the way God paved the way for our travel home.

There were rain clouds all around us, and there were storms literally on both sides of the highway, with just a small sunny path along the highway. IMG_5486

It’s June in the south, and the days have been steady in the high nineties, but the temperatures were nice and cool for the next nine hours as we crossed three states. IMG_5481

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This is Scott giving me a thumbs down for not taking more pictures, but there’s not a lot of pictures to take along this route except for highway.

All I can say is that home is awesome, and our bed is the most comfortable thing in the world. Also, we’re in love with our My Pillows. They really are the best. We also had a crazy amount of packages and mail waiting for us, and Scott’s 10,000 mile patch was in it. Of course, we passed the 15,000 mile mark on this trip, so we’ll just have to work toward the next patch. IMG_8276

Thanks to everyone who follows along with us on these trips. We mostly do them so we have a good memory of everything we’ve done, but we also enjoy sharing our time with you.

Here’s our coming home video.

So until next year…

Leah and Scott

 

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#HOGWild18: Day 10 – Biloxi, Mississippi (Part 2)

Today’s big question was what did Leah do besides rock out at the Rick Springfield concert with me? I’ll give you 21 guesses.

Yes, I made the mistake of introducing her to the game. Like most tasks requiring logic, patience, numbers and a bit of luck, she mastered it. So while I wrapped up some work on a new writing project, she dazzled the crowd with her ability to budge up to the number 21.

Also, the lure of ice cream got her away from the table. We know Monday will be an intense pace of catching up on everything we’ve placed on the burner before we left for #HOGWild18, so we took advantage of this last day off the bike to do nothing.

Part of my doing nothing involved wearing a bathing suit the last two days. Although the torrential rain storms kept the swimming pool closed, I opted for the suit. When underwear are at a premium low after a week and a half, the swimming suit was cool.

We also spent a late morning watching an extreme rain storm. While we were hopeful it would run out of rain, it seems that there’s much more rain being made for our Saturday departure.

Leah suggested we ride out the rain from our room. It’s supposed to rain along the Gulf Coast until next week.

Nice try, but I’m ready to start working our way back home.

 This is me.

We were heading to see Rick (Rick Springfield if you’ve not been following us,) and Leah said look excited. She wanted to send a picture to our girls as we walked to the concert. Trust me; after many tries, this was as excited a look as I could muster.

Although I am excited about shaving soon.

So I’m not going to lie (much.) I wasn’t happy when the show started late, and it looked like a bush league effort was going to be offered to the small crowd. But heck, it was $10 bucks a head, and over thirty years ago since he had a hit song. But still, I expect people to give an honest effort.

This dude is almost 69 years old. This dude played the fire out of the guitar. This dude rocked the crowd for about an hour and a half. This dude had more songs that I knew than Jessie’s Girl. This dude came through the audience, and to us as if we were lifelong friends.

I might’ve gotten a little excited to touch him. Yep, that dude.

After the show and more table time for Leah so she could practice counting to 21, we slipped in for a late night breakfast in the cafe. We agreed to share the pancake stack. By share, I mean she gave me one. After I finished up the eggs and bacon, I slid over my single pancake.

I anticipated the warm maple syrup coating the big, fluffy cake. The tin cup was bone dry. I looked across the table at a very full and sleepy looking wife.

I said, “Seriously?” While holding an empty syrup cup.

“It was delicious.” She sipped tea, “It’s empty.”

“Yeah, I see that.”

“I used it all.” She informed me.

“Seriously?”

I’d like to offer evidence of Leah’s mental state from earlier in the day. It wasn’t until I saw this that I understood just how lucky I was to escape with only an empty syrup cup.

Well, we’ve a few days to go. There’s really no scenery or fun roads from here to home. It’s just grueling hours of empty highways. It’s not the long hours that concern me as much that Leah packed both of her rain suits and zero of mine.

While we’re prepping to pack and head out, all I can think about is the last rain day.

We’re so thankful for your prayers, and ask that you lift us up on these last few days.

Do Good,

Scott & Leah

#HOGWild18: Day 9 – Biloxi, Mississippi

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Today’s post will be short and sweet. It’s day 9, and this is the first time on the trip where we’ve stayed in the same hotel more than a day and we didn’t get on the motorcycle at all. I won’t lie, it was a nice break.

We woke up this morning with the intention of renting a cabana and spending the day at the pool. But the weather had other ideas about that. They closed the pool when the thunder and lightning started. Gulf-Shores-beach-1

Scott and I were already in our bathing suits, so we made a detour to the ice cream shop. As one does. We decided this was a much better decision.

As we walked through the hotel with our ice cream, we noticed men kept giving Scott the random thumb’s up, or the occasional salute. We finally figured out that everyone was quite impressed by his “I Love My Wife” t-shirt. (It’s my favorite shirt).

We decided to flee his adoring fans and run outside to finish our ice cream in peace. The rain was holding off, but it was still thundering and lightning. We decided to chance it.

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We also filmed this video.

After we finished our ice cream, we headed back in and I kissed Scott goodbye so I could go sit in front of the penny slots for a little while. Scott is pretty much the kiss of death for stuff like that, so it was best he went back to the room to nap off his ice cream.

I did well on the penny slots and promised to take Scott to a fancy dinner at our favorite restaurant to celebrate. So we called Uber and headed over to Thirty-Two where we had delicious wine and bacon. Yes, WINE AND BACON!

The hotel’s got a great view, and even better food. Our conversation consisted of discussing our funeral wishes. We really know how to have date night. But seriously, despite the weirdness of the conversation, we had fun having it.

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We Ubered back to our hotel, got late night snacks, and now we’re watching a Naked and Afraid marathon. Married life is awesome.

Tomorrow night is the Rick Springfield concert, and another day of relaxing before the long ride home. Scott’s been singing Jessie’s Girl all day to prepare for the concert, and I’m sure we’ll have some video tomorrow night.

See y’all tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

#HOGWild18: Day 8 – Montgomery, Alabama to Biloxi, Mississippi


Have you ever felt like you’d threaded a needle when logic said it wouldn’t be possible? Over the last two days the weather radar has hinted (well, actually more than a hint) that we would get soaked. I told Leah this morning that we’d have to be surgeons to slice through the heavy rain.

When I say that not a drop touched us, I’m not kidding. At one point there were dark gray clouds to the left and right of us, and a bright blue strip of sunshine ahead. Prayers are powerful.

We hit the road from just outside of Montgomery, Alabama after noon. Our first objective was Cracker Barrel. It was an hour away, so I might’ve edged it over 70 mph a bit. Needless to say, we made it in record time. Leah was very happy to enjoy her meat loaf and then relax in the rockers after lunch.

After lunch, we knew there were lots of miles to go before reaching Biloxi, Mississippi. After days of navigating the twisted ribbons twined around mountain roads, the long, straight strip was a welcome change. I often wonder what Leah does during these long rides. I now have proof that she was being “creative.”

She also does the best job ever of navigating, and making adjustments on the fly. She’s a planner. I’m not. We’d spend every night in a tent if it were up to me. Thanks to her and her “points,” obsession, we do get to spend a few nights in her favorite hotels.

But when you’re hammering out miles on a cross-country adventure, there’s really no way of knowing where you’ll end up by the end of the day, or when you’ll get there. She really is the most resourceful person I’ve ever known.

I always ask her to take pics throughout the day so we’d have stuff to share in each night’s travel blog. I think she gets too wrapped up and forgets. Then, as the end of the ride nears, she goes into a snap frenzy. You can see how she tricked me into this photo op.

 

Looking at this pic and besides wondering why I didn’t delete it, I noticed my helmet. The wind lifts that rascal up so it barely touches my head. It’s kinda cool feeling but until now, I didn’t realize how dorky it looked. Of course, if I cared about aesthetics, I would’ve shaved a month ago!

I had my turn taking pics while we gassed up and grabbed a few bottles of water. Our Harley Davidson shop is Longhorn Harley Davidson, where we not only trust them with the bike’s care, but buy most everything we need after market.

Leah loves the handmade clothes they feature, so she had to have the tank top and headband. She said it makes her feel like a rebel. I just roll my eyes, and agree. Yeah right, rebel.

Well, me and my rebel are in Biloxi for a few days before working our way back to Dallas. I think, and I say this with caution because the reality of it is pretty powerful, but I think we might get to see Rick Springfield. Huge, right? It’s the 80’s baby, and tickets are a whopping $10 bucks.

I wouldn’t care if tickets were $11 bucks, this is 80’s icon Rick Springfield!!!

And, if we decide to sleep late or watch more weather channel instead of rocking with Rick, maybe we’ll get time along the beach. Just us, not with Rick.

Thank you to everyone who continues to pray for our traveling safety, and clear skies. You are amazing.

Do Good,

Scott & Leah

#HOGWild18: Day 7 – North Carolina – South Carolina – Georgia – Alabama

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It’s day 7! And yes, we are wearing matching Silverii Summer Sizzler t-shirts. Scott and I have decided as we get older that we’re going to start wearing matching clothes more often. We always see elderly people doing this when we take trips to Las Vegas. We figure they dress alike so they don’t lose each other in a crowd. It’s sound logic.

Today wasn’t an exciting travel day as far as routes and roads go. We were a little sluggish getting out of bed this morning after such an exciting night at Harry Connick Jr. Plus, we raided the vending machines at about 1:30am and watched the Summit with North Korea until the wee hours of the morning.

I know, I know! I’m sure you’re thinking, “Those Silverii’s are party animals.” Well, if by party animal you mean eating Nutter Butters in our pjs in bed and watching TV, then you’d be right.

Also, I have to give mad props to my husband. There are things you find out about your spouse only after you get married, and one of those things Scott got to find out about me is that I’m obsessed with the weather. Like, I’ll watch The Weather Channel for hours. HOURS!

Considering Scott experienced Hurricane Katrina and all the others that have hit the Gulf, he’s probably not all that excited to watch it play out again on television. But he indulges me. That’s sacrifice, people.

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We made the four-hour drive from Charlotte, North Carolina to Stone Mountain, Georgia to meet up with friends for an early dinner. Tom and Lynnell Tysl were the leaders of our motorcycle small group at Gateway, and they got relocated to Georgia last year.

We miss them lots, but they truly bring joy to everyone, and they’re the most generous people you’ll ever meet. They’ve never met a stranger, and they have the gift of making anyone feel welcome.

We got to visit for a couple of hours and have a delicious home cooked meal. Let me tell you, we had Blue Bell ice cream and fresh Georgia peaches for dessert.

I’m STILL thinking about those peaches and wondering how I can get some home on the motorcycle. As a side note, how do people eat anything other than Blue Bell? There’s no comparison.

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We left the Tysl’s with full bellies, and headed out for the rest of our route. We’re going to spend the next couple of nights in Biloxi, so we wanted to get as close as we could before it got too dark.

When traveling in other parts of the country, I always think of how big Texas is. We rode through four states today (North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama), in a matter of hours. It takes two days to get from one side of Texas to the other. This doesn’t have anything to do with anything, I’m just full of wonderings tonight.

The weather looked ominous all day today, but we managed to avoid any rain. We’re going to keep praying for rain avoidance for the rest of the trip too. It could be a close call in the next day or so.

Scott and I are checked into the Hilton (Yay, for Hilton points), and we’re yet again watching The Weather Channel and eating pizza we had delivered to the room.

We’re winding down the trip, and we’re going to take these last couple of days to veg out by the pool and the ocean, catch up on some work, and eat at our favorite restaurant. If you’ve never been to Thirty-Two on top of the IP Resort & Casino, you need to go. They have a bacon appetizer that will blow your mind.

See y’all tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

#HOGWild18: Day 6 – Asheville To Charlotte, North Carolina

Harry In Concert

Leah had one objective today. Well, two objectives. One was lunch before nightfall and the second was seeing Harry Connick, Jr’s concert in Charlotte, North Carolina. We barely accomplished the lunch goal, but we thoroughly enjoyed the concert.

They say it’s the little things in life. Leah always pays attention to the little details that makes everyone else comfortable. I guess it’s the cop in me, but I have to sit at the end of a row. If I’m stuck in the middle, I’ll passed on an event. Not only were we super close to the stage, but I was comfortably in the end seat. That’s what I call a victory!!!

Leah, a music major and classically trained musician, who has toured Europe and played in Carnegie Hall (yeah, fancy, I know) absolutely loved the brilliance of Harry’s talent as well as the ensemble of musicians in his band. I was happy he’s from New Orleans, and that Leah was so happy to be there.

I will share that it was announced several times that there was to be no photography. Of course, when I warned Leah to put her camera down, she said for me to zip it and that it was worth her going rogue. I tried to notify the usher, but she punched me in the neck. So, look how great her pics came out.

Show Road

Now, the road up to this concert was filled with some of the most gorgeous scenery either of us have ever experienced. Leah’s goal was to see Lake Lure because it’s where one of her favorite movies was filmed. Dirty Dancing touches her heart, and I must admit, I like the show too.

This is how I see us when we dance. I’m not saying we can do this, but it’s my imagination.

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We checked out of Asheville, North Carolina enroute to Charlotte. We headed back into the Blue Ridge Parkway, and along the way, we cruised along a crazy curvy two-lane road. The road led us into a town called Bat Cave. No kidding, Bat Cave.

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When I looked at my phone’s GPS, the blue line representing the roadway was so squiggly (yes my word) that I turned it off, dropped the bike into second gear and let the bike swerve left and right until we arrived in the next village called Chimney Rock.

The greenery along this route looked prehistoric. Ivy covered slabs of stone stretched into the sky on one side, while on the other, we were paralleled a babbling brook. It was so incredible that even video couldn’t capture the brilliance. Leah gave it a shot.

Whatever these yellow flowers are, they were very pretty along the long stretches of highway. There were no shortages of surprises and sites along the way. The Carolinas are some of the most amazing regions in this country. If you haven’t visited either North or South, as well as Tennessee, stop what you’re doing, and come now. We’ll meet you at the state line.

The only hiccup in between Lake Lure and Charlotte was getting nudged behind this logging truck. It was a very, very long twenty miles until we parted ways. Now I always defer to work vehicles, and as challenging as these roads are, this guy did an amazing job navigating them. It’s hard to imagine what living out here is actually like, but for those who do; you do it with style.

Charlotte the Queen City

North Carolina’s Queen City is also one of our favorites. A little known fact, that only Leah and I know, is that years ago, I was flown to Charlotte as one of four national finalists for the Chief of Police position. While I wasn’t selected, it was a great reminder of how honored I was to be considered for this major city. Of course had that happened, I may not have ever met, Mrs. Silverii. Whew, I dodged that bullet.

Since our goal for coming here was the Harry Connick, Jr. concert, we remained low-key before and after the show. Honestly, we’re exhausted. The June heat has taken a toll on both of us, especially since we had both been really sick last week.

Looking at this picture moments before the concert began, I’m really surprised Harry didn’t ask me and my biker beard to join him on stage. I’m okay with it though because the last time I hugged on Leah, she gave me the confirmation I needed when she said that magic word, “Yuk.”

Cloudy Skies Ahead

Day 7 starts with us heading toward the Atlanta area to meet with friends. After that, we plan to head into Montgomery, Alabama for the night. We drove through there a few years ago and fell in love with the area. We’re familiar with the Mobile area, but it wasn’t until we’d come through Montgomery and Mountain Brook that we discovered north Alabama.

Unlike the sunny skies we’ve had since leaving Dallas, the 7 day forecast shows serious rain all along the Gulf Coast. No problem I thought. We’ll avoid going south and loop back into Dallas. That tricky weather looks to be pushing up through that area too. Unless we’re planning to head up to Chicago, then to Colorado and back home, we’re going to get wet. A lot.

Well, it’s a great thing Leah packed both of her rain suits. I’m sure while she’s back there playing phone games and Facebooking, she’ll be nice and cozy dry. Because while my Duluth Trading Company’s rooster booster boxers saturate with rain water, Leah might just get a high score on her phone.

Keep us in your prayers. It’ll be a sketchy few days navigating safe travel.

Do Good,

Scott & Leah

#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: Day 4 – Knoxville to Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, Tennessee & Asheville, North Carolina

Leave Me Alone

Day 4 was scheduled to be a low-key day of travel through the Smokey Mountains with only about 120 miles of biking. Leah hadn’t slept well since we’d left, so she said sleeping late was her goal. By late, I assumed she meant about 9:00am. I was incorrect.

I was up at 8:00am and gave her my usual morning rally cry, “Let’s roll.”

Unfazed, and with covers, pillows and an arm covering her face, she replied as usual, “Leave me alone.”

So around 11:00am, I tried again. It worked. Kinda. But we did beat the 1:00pm checkout. But not by much. To be fair, she said a Charlie horse had slowed her down. Honestly, I don’t recall hearing any screams associated with a cramp.

Sweet Surprise

The moment we pulled into Pigeon Forge, we felt the positive energy. Neither of us had ever been to this area, but have heard from so many friends how wonderful it is. They weren’t kidding. The streets were full of motorcycles, Jeeps and families loaded down with camping and recreation equipment.

I’m not sure where my mind was, but it never dawned on me that Dollywood was located here. We saw the sign for Dollywood Boulevard, and like a lightening bolt, I realized we were close. And just like that, there it was in all of its glory; Dollywood.

Now I’m not a big Dolly Parton fan, but you have to appreciate all that she has accomplished and the Americana of it all. I guess Dollywood has found its place in our cultural lore, so it was a nice surprise to see it.

We drove through Pigeon Forge looking for the Rocky Top Harley Davidson shop. The main street was lined with multi-level go-kart race tracks, putt putt golf and tons of family fun activities. We can’t wait to bring the kids here for a vacation.

Of course, Leah and I are crazy competitive. Last summer we spent about $500 bucks racing each other around a 3-story wooden go-kart race track. It wasn’t pretty, and the kids were starving by the time we stopped. But it was a great opportunity for them to learn patience. And sometimes that we talk smack to each other. I won every race that day.

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Leah had asked on Facebook about places to eat lunch. Several very wise sages recommended the Old Mill restaurant. We found a great parking spot and hustled over to be seated immediately. I’d like to think Dolly was in the kitchen making us some fixin’s.

It drives my bride crazy that no matter where we eat, about 95% of the time, I order grilled chicken. Well, she wanted to show me, so she ordered the chicken too. The special southern fried chicken. I don’t know if it was good, but from the look on her face, I really do think Dolly had magically prepared that meal with her own sweet fingers.

Down The Road

After a stop at the Harley shop, we headed down the road to Gatlinburg. Like Pigeon Forge, it had a very unique vibe, but very different from where we just were. The traffic along the quaint downtown street was jam-packed with bikers and pedestrians.

Balancing a big bike with a full load, and two adults in super slow, two-way traffic with people darting back and forth is a challenge. I mean a real challenge. My poor clutch and patience were worn out by the time I squeaked through a red light to get a little space from the rest.

Of course we had to stop at the Hill Billy Harley Davidson before heading out-of-town. Last year we bought t-shirts from every town’s Harley shop as is a tradition. This year, we smartly only bought the plastic poker chips with the shop’s name.

The Big Climb

Heading into the Great Smokey Mountains, there was a gentle sweeping of roads that allowed brilliant glimpses of massive vistas. We climbed the Rockies last summer, and there is a definite difference between the two majestic ranges. Today seemed more graceful and lush. It was so beautiful, that I completely lost track of how high or how far we’d travelled.

When Both Are Mediums

Once we coasted off the mountain, we came into a very cool town called, Cherokee, North Carolina. As we prepared to re-enter another stretch of curved mountain roadway, Leah “claimed” to have felt a rain drop. A trick I’ve learned to check for driving into rain, is to watch the vehicles coming toward you from that direction. If their vehicles are wet, it’s raining up the road. If their windshield wipers are on, it’s raining very close and we’re about to get wet.

Leah’s miracle rain drop was the only atmospheric moisture in the tri-state area. Of course, that meant we had to skid to a stop so she could slip on her impermeable rain suit. I handed her the pants, but they didn’t meet her standard, so I  I handed her another pair of medium rain pants. How could they both be a size medium?

I shoved my hand back in the designated rain-suit bag, and there were no more options. Oddly enough, both of her rain suits were packed, and zero of mine. As if I wasn’t about to lose it, she assured me it was okay because she only needed the one pair. I think bears fainted at my mountainous roar.

Beloved Asheville

Leah and I stumbled across this city a few years back by complete accident. We fell in love and stayed a few more days. We’ve agreed that we’ll buy a home here one day as a vacation / retirement property. Every time we mention Asheville to others, they respond with as much enthusiasm about it as we share.

I think I scare people in this gentle city, but Leah helps balance the effect. Of course the staff at the Village Wayside were very cool and helped us enjoy a super supper after a wonderful day. My biker beard has slipped over to the other side and is in a zone I like to think of as in desperate need of a shave. But, I committed to the effort because actually, I have no idea.

It’s nice to have gotten a few hours to do nothing tonight, but lay in bed. Tomorrow is another day in the mountains. We’re starting on the Blue Ridge Parkway and possibly heading to Boone, North Carolina. I did a bicycle race there called Blood, Sweat & Gears – a 100 mile race through the mountains, and Samaritan’s Purse is headquartered there. It’s the home of Franklin & Billy Graham ministries.

We appreciate you keeping us in your prayers,

Scott & Leah  

#HOGWild18: Day 3 – Memphis to Knoxville, Tennessee

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The alarm went off this morning at 8:30. I pretended I didn’t hear it. I was exhausted after our day-long ride the previous day, plus all of the anniversary-ing. Scott really knows how to party.

I was dreading today’s ride because I knew it was going to be a long one. And the temperature was just shy of Satan’s armpit. Needless to say, we spent a little extra time in prayer this morning before heading out. You can see from the picture below that it helped immensely.

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That’s Scott’s, “How do I get out of this?” face. Don’t worry. He figured it out, and we loaded up the bike and prepared to make the long trip to Knoxville. We made this video. I still wasn’t quite awake.

 

As I’m prone to do, I like to have a plan for the day. Before we were struck down with contractors and sickness, I had the most beautiful schedule ever created. I had routes mapped and hotels booked. I was still able to use some of my hard work, but I’ve had to make a plan on the fly the last few days.

The first leg of the journey took us to Shiloh Battlefield National Park. Once we got off the highway and into the park area, there was a nice breeze and ample cloud cover. I said a lot of, “Thank you, Jesus,” when those clouds came over. Because it was hot.

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We made our way toward the visitor’s center so I could reprogram the GPS to take us to our next destination. When we got off the bike, I noticed the cemetery just across the way from us. I decided it was worth a picture since we’re sharing our adventures with you. Scott told me he wasn’t waiting.

So of course I walked across the parking lot and down a little slope to take this picture.

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It took less than two minutes, but when I returned to the parking lot, the sound of the motorcycle was already in the distance. One of us thought that was hilarious. I was not the one.

Because I’m not a dummy, I went into the air conditioned Visitor’s Center and waited for Scott’s return. You’ll be glad to know he did return, but what he didn’t realize was that he’d re-started the GPS I’d programmed for our next destination.

An hour-and-a-half later, I realized that something wasn’t quite right with our location, but by then it was too late to turn around and make it to our next stop. I’ll confess I was aggravated, hot, and hangry (because it was after 2:00 and we’d not had anything but water all day).

Fortunately, Scott read the signals very clearly and found a McDonald’s stat.

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This is a picture of Scott AFTER we ate. We were both in much better moods.

We made an executive decision to just get to Knoxville as quickly as we could, and abandon any and all backroads and scenery the rest of the way. So we set out on the remaining four-and-a-half hour trip.

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(After I had my Big-Mac the clouds came again and the temperatures cooled, so the smile came a little easier).

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It was a gorgeous ride, but there was nothing better than finally seeing the Knoxville skyline. We’ve both been to Knoxville before, but I somehow missed the fact that they have a mini Reunion Tower. (For those of you who aren’t from Dallas, it’s the big ball in the Dallas Skyline)

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We checked into the hotel, showered, and went down to the restaurant to grab a bite to eat (and have dessert). Scott took a picture of both of us together in the elevator, but I didn’t look good in it, so I vetoed posting it for this blog.

The next couple of days we’ve got some more laid back mountain rides ahead of us as we head into Asheville, North Carolina. The important thing is we get to sleep late in the morning, so don’t text us early, okay?

Until Tomorrow,

Leah and Scott

 

#HOGWild18: Day 2 – El Dorado, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee

We spent our honeymoon a few years ago bicycling from San Fransisco through Sonoma County wine country and along the PCH until we reached Healdsburg, California.

As a long time road cyclist, I loved it. Leah, who was not a fan of cycling, actually passed out on the first day’s first serious climb. But, she did survive to go on and finish the tour.

I later asked her why in the world would she book a trip like that if she hated cycling, and had spent about the sum total of zero hours training for it. She said, “Because you love it and I love you.” Okay, point made.

Fast forward to today, and we spent our anniversary on a motorcycle during sun-soaked hours while cruising along the scenic highway toward El Dorado, Arkansas to Memphis, Tennessee. Good news is, although Leah is sunburned, she didn’t pass out; yet.

Oh, and before you get too worried, we did find a Cracker Barrel in Arkadelphia by lunch.

The ride to Memphis was a mixture of winding back roads and 18-wheeler in left and right lanes interstates. It got brutal for a few hours, but the goal was Beale Street and BBQ by night.

Memphis is a very cool, but confusing city. There’s a giant, Egyptian pyramid in the downtown area. It’s a Bass Pro Shop. Now, I’m not complaining, but it’s a Bass Pro Shop!!! 

Okay, back to the run up to the Bass Pro Shop. Traveling cross-country is incredible because you never know what you’ll find. One turn reveals a lake and old train tracks, while another offers sweeping vistas or ancient swamps peaking from the thicket of trees and foliage.

A quick turn Downtown, USA and charming southern homes stand guard over historical buildings and long-ago signage weathered by time and progress.

It’s America, and it’s breathtaking.

Well, it had to happen eventually. Tennessee is a helmet law state, so we swept into a parking lot before the state line to don our new summer bonnets. I was glad because it was a break from the sun bouncing off my noggin. Sure, it was coated with high SPF sunscreen, but it’s still sun.

These are the thinnest, lightest official DOT helmets made. Oddly enough the brand name is Badass Helmets. They also come with a big sticker that reads the same for your helmet. Leah tried to sneak it on mine, but I caught her. She’s tricky, but not that tricky.

Looking at this picture, I realize that my biker beard is ridiculously out of control. But I committed to it, so that rug is staying put until we get home. If you’ll look close at Leah’s eyewear, they are big, bug glasses I bought her in Biloxi for one dollar. They look cute on her.

Folks, I’m going to get serious with you for a moment. if there are kids in the room, you might want to send them away.

Now y’all know it was our wedding anniversary, so I promised my bride I’d take her anywhere she wanted to eat. As long as it was within walking distance, and I wasn’t wearing pants. Shorts yes, more pants, no. Also, we’re a block off Beale Street, so there are lots of options.

We returned to our favorite spot called Rendezvous BBQ. If you’ve ever eaten here, you know how weird it is to walk down an alley, squeeze past the giant dumpster, and walk into a basement. I know, if we were giving directions to our kids, they’d think we hated them. But this place is worth the odd obstacles.

I had chicken breast. My carnivore had meat.

After this amazing experience, she stopped to mug in front of the iconic Peabody, and then onto Beale Street for a quick walk before zipping back to our room to “type” this up!!

Sorry, we missed the march of the ducks at the Peabody.

Ha! I just saw the guy taking our pic as I was taking this. Or he was taking a selfie. Who knows.  So we headed back to the room to rest up for day 3. It’s about a 600 mile day, and while we’ve regularly knocked those out, still recouping from a virus and the extreme heat, might have better sense cutting the day off in Nashville instead of our goal of Knoxville.

And off course, what’s a trip to Memphis without running into the King.

Do Good,

Scott & Leah

 

 

 

 

 

#HOGWild18: Day 1- Dallas To Magnolia, Arkansas

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Well, it’s here! The official start of #HOGWild18. Scott and I didn’t think it was going to happen because we first had an issue at the house and had to wait on a contractor (and you know they never do anything fast), and then we caught a stomach bug that would have made things very awkward if we weren’t married. As it was, we staggered our illnesses so we were able to take care of each other. Yay marriage!

Speaking of marriage, it’s officially our anniversary. We pulled up to the hotel in Magnolia, Arkansas one minute until midnight. We kissed, high-fived, and thought about dancing under the carport, but we were both hungry and tired, so we’ve put off dancing until tomorrow night (uhh…later tonight since it’s past midnight).

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(this is us after the kiss and high-five)

I should go back to the beginning of the day, since we didn’t just arrive in Magnolia by magic. We had no plans to leave today. We had no plans at all since we weren’t sure how we were going to feel coming into this trip. But we’ve got tickets to see Harry Connick Jr. in North Carolina, and my will is strong where he is concerned.

I went to get my nails done before the trip, and while I was sitting in the chair I had an epiphany. Since neither of us were no longer vomiting, we should head out immediately. Like tonight. While it wasn’t 5,000 degrees outside in the midst of a Texas summer.

I immediately sent a text to Scott saying we should leave at 7:00 and just ride until dark, just to beat the heat and take some time off our ride. He said okay, and then I immediately sent him a frantic list of all the things that needed to get done before we left. He didn’t seem impressed by my list, and he didn’t seem in a hurry. I was perplexed.

I sped home with the list on my mind and was grateful to see he’d read his texts. He was pulling out shirts to wear so I could get the bags packed. But there were still so many things to be done. I told Scott to leave the packing to me (because otherwise he’d leave the house with a pair of underwear and a bandana, and forget all the stuff in between), and I asked him to go take the sheets out of the dryer and put them back on the guest bed.

I was chugging along, ticking things off my packing list, and I needed to ask Scott if he was going to pack his flip-flops. So I went off to find him. In the guest bedroom. Where he was supposed to be putting sheets on the bed. Mind you, he’d been in there almost half an hour. When I stepped into the guest room, there he was, laying in the middle of a bed with no sheets on it, watching Fox News on his phone.

I gave him the same look I give the kids when I catch them doing things like that. And he gave me the same grin the kids give when they know they’ve been caught. Scott is very good at getting out of trouble. All I know is we were suddenly dancing in circles and I was helping Scott make up the bed. I’m not sure how he does it.

Anyway, we were behind schedule so I went back to packing and laying out my clothes for the night ride. That’s when he asked me if those were my clothes for the next day. I told him, “No, those are my clothes for tonight.” He looked confused and then asked why I was wearing them tonight. I told him it was because we were leaving to go on the trip tonight. He seemed very surprised by this information.

I asked him if he actually read any of the texts I sent, or if he just responded okay out of habit. But to be fair, I did just say 7:00 and didn’t specify whether it would be a.m. or p.m. (though I personally thought it was self-explanatory enough, but whatevs).

But I did discover why he wasn’t in as much of a hurry as I was, which made total sense considering he thought we were leaving the next day. Somehow we managed to get packed, get the house straightened, and I’m pretty sure we didn’t forget anything too important.

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We were treated to a beautiful sunset over Rockwall Lake, and the weather was perfect into Arkansas.

It’s about an hour and change into our anniversary, so I’m going to wrap this up by saying I’m so thankful to be married to a man like Scott, and I look forward to many more amazing years. We’ll let you know how anniversary day went in tomorrow night’s post.

Until Tomorrow! (I promise I’ll take more pictures tomorrow, but it was dark most of the trip tonight)

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

Romance Writers of America: #RWA2017 – Orlando, Florida

Soooooooooo….what do you do to follow up on a 21 day, 6,000 mile motorcycle adventure across America?

Get home on Saturday. Wash piles of dirty clothes. Go to bed about 3:00 am. Wake up and throw clothes into suitcases. Fly to Orlando Sunday morning.

I was also surprised once we picked up the car at the Orlando Airport. Seems fancy pants ordered a convertible Mustang. Besides her gigantic suitcase not fitting in it, we couldn’t figure out how to pull back the top. We ended up Googling how to do it, but when we tried opening the top while we were flying down the interstate, we got an alert on the dashboard to cease and desist.

 

Once our bodies stopped lurching in forward motion, as if still wrangling against the wind on the bike, we collapsed in our Disney World hotel. We woke up Monday around 2:30pm. Neither of us panicked at the time. The weeks had taken a physical toll.

The writer’s conference began Tuesday, and immediately we began running into friends. Running into friends is what makes all the meetings and signings during the week worth it.

Today was a fun time, where Leah got to hang out with a few authors to do a live video promotion for an anthology they all contributed to. Julie Kenner, next to my bride, is our friend who we promised we’ll visit soon at the shooting range. Then Leah mentioned something about a spa weekend.

I enjoyed being there to broadcast this chat session on her Facebook page. BUT, I got a little distracted and started taking taking my own pics with another very cool friend while the professionals chatted up their work. It’s a fun pic with Melissa MSRheilander Consulting, me and my beard. Yes, I’m still sporting it.

There’s a long commons area where everyone seems to hang out when they’re not attending courses and meetings. It’s kind of where Leah and I hung out to do what I love to do. Talk to people.

Leah, on the other hand, is a bit of an introvert, and she wanted snacks. She has also developed what I think is an unhealthy desire to watch Forensic Files. I’m not sure if I should be worried.

I would like to take this moment to say that this wasn’t my donut. I’m not saying Leah ate it all, but it’s not mine. And maybe she did eat it all.

For those of you who follow our Faithful Marriage blog, we had lunch with the amazing Hallee Bridgeman, who writes incredible articles for the blog. We love her dearly and treasure her friendship and wisdom.

Besides the meeting and greeting, we had fantastic eating. Shula’s Steakhouse happened to be where we ate two nights in a row. I was happy to give it a try because The Miami Dolphins were my all-time favorite team in the 70’s. The menu was a football with Coach Shula’s autograph. I gotta tell ya, if Leah had not stopped me, I was going to dine and dash with that thing in my prized menu.

Now, in all honesty I would’ve never tried that, but I was about one more delicious sour-dough bun from convincing Leah to high-tail it with the pig skin.

We did end up breaking away from the consecutive nights at Shula’s. Leah’s agent, Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency invited us to dinner at Columbia’s Restaurant. We were joined by several other of her clients who are all amazing people, as well as authors. In addition to the great time and meal, we figured out how to drop the top to the convertible.

It was a fun ride during a cool evening to taxi these ladies back to the resort. As an added bonus, our 15 year old is crazy about author Ally Carter, and we got a picture to prove it to give us street cred. Oh, and there is the fantastic Kristin Nelson behind Leah who didn’t get nervous about the impending rain and lightning. Like we did. Notice the lack of a low-slung black canvas top. It’s official, we’re driving a rented convertible.

Now, I won’t say Leah has been a bit aggressive since getting all bikered up after the #HOGWild17 motorcycle adventure, though maybe she has been a little aggressive after all the Forensic Files. But this was the last thing I was able to escape before bedtime. I know what you’re thinking. I’m a little frightened too.

Big day tomorrow. We’ll see you all soon.

Scott and Leah

 

 

 

 

#HOGWild17: Day 12 – Helena, Montana

Day 12!

I don’t even know what’s happened the past couple of days. We’re high on mountain air and delicious food.

Apparently, riding a motorcycle for ten days in the heat fries the circuits in the brain, and then you end up looking at condos and putting in an offer.

This is a shot of the living area. Scott wanted to stretch out across the couch to make the scene look more homey, but I talked him out of it. I told him the picture of him laid out on the massage table was enough for a twenty-one day trip.

So…that’s what we did today. Just a normal day in Whitefish, Montana, which we’ve never been to before, but fell in love with immediately. I think it’s easier to justify this because we travel so much and have seen a lot of incredible places in this country.

And this is one of our favorites. That says something. Now everyone needs to come to Whitefish. We have a place for you that sleeps up to 8!

And the balcony has a fire pit and TV.

And it has a pretty awesome view too!

Condo-buying takes a while, so we didn’t actually leave Whitefish until five o’clock this afternoon. But because Scott learned his lesson a few days ago when we left town and then discovered there weren’t restaurants for a couple of hundred miles, I suggested we eat something before heading out. He readily agreed.

Our realtor suggested a place called Loula’s. It’s in the basement of a corner building in downtown Whitefish. And it was awesome. If y’all know me, you know pie is my favorite dessert. I adore pie. And Loula’s is famous for their pies.

You can buy them by the slice or the whole pie. I was tempted to get the whole pie and just eat it on the back of the motorcycle, but Judgey McJudgerson would’ve written about it in tomorrow night’s blog post.

After we had pie and signed a billion papers, we finally left Whitefish. We were sad to go, but we’re supposed to be back home in another ten days so we can catch a flight.

I know, we’re crazy. But we have to get back to work, though I’m not going to think about that right now.

Our realtor also suggested we head to Helena instead of Butte, which was our original plan. He’s a motorcycle guy too, and said the drive was gorgeous. He wasn’t lying.

But first, we had to stop at Glacier Harley-Davidson. It was on the way, and Scott was able to add to his shirt collection, even though he doesn’t shop.

The ride truly was spectacular on the way to Helena. And we couldn’t have asked for better weather.

This was the view on one side of the highway.

And this was the view of the other side.

 

It was like that the whole way, which is why y’all need to come visit Montana. It took right at four hours to reach Helena, and we checked into the hotel.

This is the part where Scott wants to write a guest paragraph in this post, because he’s got some drama, but I told him it’d be better if I just laid out the cold hard facts.

When we checked into the hotel, there was a tray of iced tea cookies sitting on the counter for hotel guests. The guy checking us in, we’ll call him Ryan (actually, that’s his real name, we don’t keep secrets here) told us he was very tired and the end of the day had caught up with him.

Scott couldn’t pick out Ryan in a lineup, but he could pick out one of those tea cookies.

After we checked in and unloaded the bike, Scott went to go park it, thinking he’d just get a cookie once he came back inside. Unfortunately, within the span of five minutes, the tray of tea cookies disappeared.

And no one was behind the counter. Scott scouted around for stray crumbs, but someone had cleaned that counter like it was the week after a crime scene and the apartment needed to be rented.

We checked into our room, where we discovered our room is connected to the hotel pool. Literally. We just walk out our door and if we’re not careful we’ll fall into the water.

That excited Scott to no end until he saw the pool closed at ten and people weren’t going to be belly flopping outside our French doors.

We changed clothes for dinner, and then we walked back by the counter. The culprits had reappeared. You know Scott, he’s all about confrontation. Actually, he hates confrontation. Unless it has to do with missing cookies. 

Ryan was talking on the phone, but his eyes were shifty and he was sweating. Scott zeroed in on the woman and asked point blank where the cookies were.

She cracked under the pressure and threw Ryan under the bus, confessing that he ate the rest of them. I guess the stress of the end of the day got to him. But that didn’t leave Scott with any cookies.

I got to hear about Ryan and his cookie eating as we walked down the block to the restaurant on the corner, and Scott mentioned something about Ryan eating six cookies and the kind of person who does such a thing.

He also told the hostess all about Ryan. I think she was traumatized because we had to wait for a table.

This was me waiting. The chair was giant, and I felt like Lily Tomlin.

By the time we got back to the hotel room it was after ten-thirty and still light outside. Our times are totally thrown off. Tombstone was on the TV when we got in.

Scott’s never seen it. I know. It’s a crime. And he seemed a little scared when I told him, “I’m coming after you. And I’m bringing hell with me.” After an uncomfortable pause, I explained that was a line from the movie.

We’re heading to Red Lodge, Montana tomorrow, where we’ll do all the necessary preparations for riding Beartooth Pass. There aren’t really any preparations other than visiting another HD store and looking for a Cracker Barrel.

See you tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

 

#HOGWild17: Day 9 – Whitefish, Montana

I’m pooped.

It’s day 9 and I’m a whipped pup. But the beauty of this state of exhaustion is I’m not tired of being on the bike or on the road. We’ve just been nonstop since July 1st, so our stay in Whitefish, Montana comes at the perfect time. To be honest, Leah had scheduled a break period earlier, but I wanted to push forward to cover more ground.

We left Great Falls, Montana around noon after another good night sleep. Leah and I are used to living out of hotels, but we both have trouble adjusting to the whimpy pillows found in most places. At this point, we’d sleep on a log and snooze all night.

I wish there was news about another feisty older waitress at our favorite Cracker Barrel, but resources were scarce between Great Falls and Whitefish. There was a wonderful lesson learned by Leah about resources. I’d stopped for gas right outside of Great Falls and asked her if she wanted to grab something to eat. She snarked and said she’d wait for real food.

Guess what? Over 40 miles through highways and hay bales, we found a Subway in Conrad. I guess next time it’s better to eat what they got than hope for what doesn’t exist. Of course, she still has a saddle bag full of beef jerky. I knew she didn’t feed it to the sweet donkey back at Custer State Park.

An observation I’ve made over the miles is that highway warning signs can be horrifying. Elk crossings, free range roaming animals and beware of bear are just a few signs you don’t want to see while on a motorcycle. Even the picture on the deer crossing signs is a giant 10-point buck.

Although it was 106 degrees, we found slices of shade as we rode through Glacier National Park. The beauty of this area is unrivaled. As much as we adored the park area, once we hit Whitefish, we fell in love.

With as many places as we visit, there are just a few locations that we say immediately, “We’d live here.” Deadwood was one, and Whitefish is the other.

At our cabin, the welcome guy was explaining what buttons activated the fireplace, hot tub and 16 shower head human car wash, but I knew Leah was thinking the same thing as I was. Let’s buy one. Sure enough, by the time the old guy left, she’d googled real estate in Whitefish.

We have friends who live here full-time and I’ve a life-long friend who just bought a condo downtown as an investment property. Seems like a no-brainer as long as we’re out of here by winter.

Speaking of friends, we met them for supper and enjoyed speaking with people not dressed in leather and sunburned. Leah claims she went hiking before supper, but we simply walked to the restaurant. I gave her a C for creativity. It’s funny wearing regular shoes. We both said our feet feel floppy without the weight of biker boots.

I had Alaskan salmon which was incredible. I’d spent a few weeks in Alaska a few years back, and went crazy for fresh salmon and halibut. Leah had more red meat. A lot of red meat, but I was afraid to photograph her in front of company.

We returned to our cabin and decided to stock up on groceries so we’d not have to get on the bike all day tomorrow unless we just get the bug. We’re going to sightsee with our friends.

The rest of our night was spent outside watching a giant round moon rising and then around the fireplace watching TV. It feels incredible doing nothing particular.

Today wasn’t the longest ride, but the days in Big Sky country are super bright and sunny. We’re using sunscreen and covering up as much as we can, but the 100 plus degree days make too much cover a difficulty. I think we’re both a bit “tanned” and kinda ready for a sun break.

As we near the halfway point, I have to say that we’re still loving our time together. The hours of silence on the road has allowed for lots of praying and meditation. It’s incredibly liberating to stop worrying about so many things, and only focusing on what truly matters.

We really appreciate you coming along and love your comments here and on Facebook.

Scott & Leah

 

#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.

Closed 4 Fourth

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