#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