#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

Gateway Motorcycle Group: Toledo Bend, Louisiana – Day 3

Welcome Home

It wasn’t until we motored past the Welcome to Louisiana state line sign that it hit me. This is my home state. Unfortunately, Toledo Bend is nowhere near my Cajun Country home, but it was good to spend the afternoon back in the Bayou State.

It was another early morning. We don’t do well in the early morning. My bike’s front tire was parked on a wire coat hanger from the night before. One of the guys, Johnny Mercer, said, “I see your bike is hung up.”

I grumbled, “I don’t get it.” It was maybe sometimes after lunch before I thought about it. It was funny.

Pretty In Purple

Today was a little shorter ride. I think it was a bit over 250 miles, and the weather was beautiful. Sunny skies and moderate temps welcomed each mile. The backroads were dotted with lines of these vibrant purple flowers. Leah did a great job snapping a pic as we blew by. I’m not even sure what they are, but they are pretty awesome.

What else would we do in Louisiana but eat. This group has been such a joy to spend all of this time with. Everyone has an incredible and honest story. The way God brings people together is a miracle. It’s lagniappe that we all love motorcycles and eating out.

 

Off The Beaten Path

These were the roads that led us out and back. Endless ribbons of rolling hills and wide, sweeping curves almost rocked Leah to sleep. Well, let’s be honest. It almost put me to sleep too.

This has been so different from any other multi-day ride we’ve done. The first difference is that we’ve never ridden with a group. But it’s been a blast. The other is setting up a “base camp” location in one city. It’s been great not having to repack and unpack every day.

The history and architecture in this area is also incredible. Leah downloaded an app to look up each Historic Marker. We’ve always seen them on our trips but never knew anything about them. Most are local facts about people and places relevant to that area. Texas is full of them. It’s like a living history lesson.

Location, Location, Location

This contraption isn’t historic, but was way too crazy looking to not photograph. It’s a custom deck builder. Do you see the black panther? Yeah, let us know if you figure this out.

Our 6,000 mile road trip over the summer was an altogether epic adventure, but this has been so fun that we’ll do it again before the end of the year. East Texas has fantastic roads with many options to vary your out and back routes.

Nacogdoches is also a fantastic place to set up your base camp. There are plenty of great places to eat and a very cool bike shop, Lumberjack Harley Davidson.

Fellowship

Now to wrap up our last night together, we did what else, but enjoy a meal together. Once again, the food, atmosphere and staff were amazing. This really is a pretty cool town.

One of my friends since childhood, Donna Landry Campo, lives in Nacogdoches and showed me what’s called the “AxEm Jax.” It’s a college hand signal, but I thought she was trying to trick me into tossing gang signs.

So just to be safe, I talked Leah into doing it. See below. So, she’s either showing support for the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks, or has begun a gangland turf war between Nacogdoches  and Dallas.

Well, these days have been lived full tilt and while the biking was fun, the deepening of friendships were the greatest reward.

If your church hosts small groups, find one with a hobby that interests you and join it. If they don’t, find a new church. No, just kidding, but do start one if they don’t. It’s a tremendous way to have fun while fellowshipping.

We will wrap this adventure up with a long haul back home on Tuesday. Thanks again for coming along and God bless you.

Scott

Gateway Motorcycle Group: Piney Woods of Texas – Day 2

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It’s day 2 of the ride with our small group at Gateway Church, and kickstands were up at 8:30 this morning. We showered last night, and I went to bed at 8:45pm. Our alarm went off at 7:30am and we still hit snooze three times.

As most of you know, Scott and I don’t keep regular hours. We’re usually going to bed about the time normal people are waking up to start their work day. But it works for us, and we get more work done with that schedule, so we’ve stopped trying to be “normal.”

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Anyway, we said a quick prayer, threw on some clothes, and were in the parking lot by 8:15. As you can tell by the picture above, it was another scorcher of a day. Scott is full of all kinds of interesting tan lines.

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It was a gorgeous ride to Palestine, which was our first stop of the day. The roads were winding and tree-canopied. Unfortunately, I missed some really good photo opportunities, but don’t worry, I’ll tell you about them. The first photo I missed was of a dog jumping on a trampoline. Trust me, it was awesome. Scott and I both saw it at the same time and laughed hysterically.

The second picture I missed was one of the historic cemeteries we passed. There was a big banner sign stretched across the gothic iron gates that said “Homecoming Party, October 2nd.” Scott was like, “I ain’t going to that party.” I also found this hilarious.

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We stopped in Crockett, TX for lunch at Arnold’s Bar-b-que. I forgot to take any pictures of it or the delicious brisket I had, so I thought I’d post a picture of these cows instead, since it’s generally the same thing. There are a lot of cows in this part of Texas.

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We stopped for gas along the way, and Scott took about a billion selfies on my phone. Are y’all as surprised as I am that his beard still fits in his helmet? Seriously, it’s going to take forever to delete all those selfies.

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We got back on the bike and it was still hot. But the ride was amazing. Truly a beautiful part of the state. We did a big loop for another couple of hours, and I missed a great picture of a man in a horse drawn buggy. That’s pretty much the story of the day–me missing all the good photo opportunities.

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Did I say gorgeous?

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And hot? This was the stop where I dunked my shirt in cold water and put it back on.

The hotel was a welcome sight after a nine hour outing, and the good Doctor and I headed straight for the room and a nap. Which means he took a nap, and I thought about napping, because I’m not a good napper. And then we showered and put on clothes that weren’t covered in road grime so we could head to dinner.

I’ll admit that the food has been outstanding on this trip. Y’all know we pretty much live to eat. I’m glad I brought only stretchy pants.

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Dinner was at Clear Springs Cafe in Nacogdoches, TX, and I had chicken fried ribeye. Yes, you read that right. It was life-changing. I also had peach cobbler. Scott had cheesecake like usual. The company and conversation was as good as the food.

I’m not going to lie, I’m looking forward to posting this and going to sleep. We have another 8:30 kickstands up in the morning. This trip has been so much fun and has been such a blessing. We prayed for a group to get involved with and get close to, and God gave us this one. It’s been awesome.

Scott’s up for the next post (we’re heading to Louisiana), so we’ll catch you tomorrow!

Leah

Gateway Motorcycle Group: Piney Woods of Texas – Day 1

What’s your weather like?

Ours was hot, like really super hot. But the company was cool. Like really super cool.

Leah and I spent this day, and the next three days with our church’s small group. Gateway’s Southlake Riders is a group of motorbike enthusiasts who love Jesus and biking. In that order. Today was the start of our annual Fall Ride.

It was a fantastic start.

The Sleep

But, before I share the details of the bike adventure, it’s only fair to disclose that anyone who knows Leah and I also know we are night owls. For a ride that went kick stands up for 8:00am, it meant we’d either have to go to sleep before 4:00am or just suck it up and power through.

I was half-lidding it most of the way!!! But there’s hope for getting rest tonight. Hope I said, but no certainty.

The Ride

Anyone who’s ever travelled through or lived in Texas knows the joy that is Buc’ees truck stops.

Our group headed out with a goal of avoiding the highways and taking advantage of the matrix of back roads that traverse Texas heading out east toward Nacogdoches.  This area is new to me as is most of Texas, but the countrysides were sweeping and majestic.

The Lunch

From our home to the hotel it was a little over 300 miles, but they were broken up by what else? Meals.

We stopped in Jefferson, Texas for lunch. This is a town of about 2,000 but it’s a very cool and welcoming place. They love motorcycles and the quaint street-side parking is often reserved for bikes. We adore eating with this group of friends. There are honest appetites and no apologies.

What I love most is if you sat next to and began talking to anyone in this group, you’d immediately connect with them. Each has a life story and a spirit of kindness that makes not getting along almost impossible. Although Leah taking their desserts almost started a biker brawl.

We spent some time in downtown Jefferson and found the nostalgia to be welcoming and authentic. Lots of visitors on foot and bike made for a nice afternoon there. I even got to take a pic with my favorite actor from my childhood.

Johnnie and Jean Mercer – It was her birthday – Happy Birthday

 

The Duke and The Chief – I can out draw him
She’s All-American

The Post-Lunch Sleepy

I’ll be honest, if it wasn’t for a Snicker’s bar and Leah chatting through the headsets, I would have had to find a shade tree to fade the heat and grab a nap. Yes, I did at 2 and do at 52 enjoy a nap. Just not while cruising along hilly byways on a Harley Davidson. 

But, we persevered and in return got to see some amazing sites and new routes that I think we’ll retrace later in the Fall. We’re also thinking about coming over to watch my undergrad alma mater, Nicholls State University football team play Stephen F. Austin State University later in the season.

Nacogdoches

Once we arrived and checked into our hotel, we had a supper reservation for 6:00pm. We carried our gear into our room, and the last thing I remember saying out loud was, “Siri…set alarm for five twenty.” I was dead to the world for about 20 minutes before heading back on the bike to the Liberty Bell restaurant. 

It was so well worth it. The food was fantastic and the staff were so nice and engaging. If you pass anywhere close to this city, you have got to sit down there for a meal.

Well, Miss “I’m gonna wear leather chaps no matter what,” is sound asleep before 9:00pm. Which come to think of it, is probably what I need to do as soon as I post this article.

The Recap

It was everything we’d been looking forward to. We were actually scheduled to be in Australia this month but felt a strong word from God that we were to spend more time in our community and church getting to know the people He put in our paths.

This group of riders has been a blessing to us both, so to spend these days away with them is a gift. These are the friendships that last, and are worth the effort to grow deeper connections. I’m hoping that day 2 will be just as wonderful, but not as hot.

See y’all along the path,

Scott

 

Harley Davidson and Jesus: Ready 2 Ride

About a year ago, Leah and I were in church waiting for services to begin. I looked up on the screen and there was a video cranking up. It was full of motorcycles. What was this that I was watching?

It was Gateway Church‘s small group Gateway Riders Southlake – small groups allow people to fellowship while enjoying their favorite activities, and serving Christ. We immediately connected with this group and they’ve since become dear friends.

Saturday thru Tuesday (September 23 – 26, 2017) we take off as part of our small group’s fall ride. I was so excited about the idea of fall. Of course, this is Texas, so it’s 90 plus degrees.

This will be the first time Leah has spent any time on the Harley since our wild crossd country adventure in July. Click HERE for each day’s write ups and locations over those 6,000 miles.

Boy, how times have changed. Leah says she’s a pro now and doesn’t need as much stuff as the cross country. I’m happy because that means my back won’t be aching. No more lugging her bags and suitcases across the south.

The trip is taking us toward Nacogdoches, Texas and the areas between Dallas and there. Honestly, I thought we were heading into Louisiana’s Natchitoches, but instead looks like we’ll be at the home of Stephen F. Austin State University, and as Google shares, is the town in Texas.

We head out early in the morning to meet everyone. It’s almost 2100 hrs here, and guess what’s been packed? NOTHING!!!

We hope you join us each day. We’ll take turns writing about the day’s adventures. Let us know if you’re in the area.

Don’t forget to connect with us on the website – Faithful.Live and Facebook

See you along the path,

Scott

#HOGWild17 Recap


For some crazy reason we couldn’t sleep after getting back home, so we tried to capture our thoughts about the adventure. I’m hoping Leah had more success with the facial scrub.


This was a short video Facebook put together with a few great pics and videos from the trip.
Below is a picture gallery of some of the shots we took during our trip.
Thank for again for coming along
Scott & Leah


#HOGWild17: Day 21 – Waco to Home Base Dallas, Texas

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

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

Let’s Begin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott’s Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leah’s Version

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The whole thing had my mind spinning all afternoon.

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much for joining us on the ride!

5 QUESTIONS

What was your best experience?

Leah:

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

Scott:

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

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

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

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

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

What was your favorite location?

Leah:

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

Scott:

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

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

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

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

What was your most difficult experience?

Leah:

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

Scott:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What were your expectations before it began?

Leah:

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

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

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

Scott:

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

Thank God Leah was there.

What have you learned after we’ve finished?

Leah:

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

Scott:

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks and God Bless You,

Scott & Leah

#HOGWild17: Day 20 – Waco, Texas

It’s Day 20!

Somewhere between Albuquerque and Lubbock, we experienced a time change, which our phones chose not to observe. And for some reason, even though we checked into our hotel after 1am last night, we stayed up until 5am.

Which means we actually got up at 12:30 instead of 11:30. Once again, we’re grateful our hotel status grants us guaranteed late checkout.

Though it was probably a poor life choice to stay up until 5am, especially considering the long drive we had today, I never mind staying up that late, just laying in bed talking until the sun comes up.

It’s one of my favorite things, and we have some of our best conversations during those dark hours.

You’ll all be glad to know that Albuquerque has a Cracker Barrel. We love Cracker Barrel, so we try to find one wherever we are.

We parked the motorcycle next to a gray compact car, and a little old lady was getting out, holding her giant handbag close to her body.

She waited until Scott turned off the bike and then said, “My husband used to ride, but I won’t let him anymore.”

A few seconds later, her husband shuffled around to her side of the car so he could take her hand and help her inside.

He took one look at the bike and said, “I used to ride, but she won’t let me anymore.”

You couldn’t help but smile being around them.

They were probably on the sunny side of eighty, but you could see the adventure and youth in their eyes as they looked at the bike, and also their devotion to each other in their Golden Years.

When we sat down at the table, I looked at Scott and said, “I bet he was a pistol when he was a young man.”

And I wished at that point that I could’ve sat down and talked to them longer. I bet he had some incredible stories.

God must have been listening, because when we left, Scott had to make a call so we sat on the rockers out front.

A few minutes later, the same couple came out and they grinned when they saw us. And then they came right over and sat in the rockers next to me. We talked for a good fifteen minutes while Scott finished his call, and the man told me of all the places he’d ridden across the country.

The nostalgia was deep, and the yearning was still there. And then he took his wife’s hand, wished us well, and they were on their way. I figure that’s what Scott will be like in forty years when he hears the rumble of an engine.

We decided to bypass the Harley-Davidson store since we had a five hour drive ahead of us.

The temperature was in the triple digits, and the scenery didn’t change much over the next three hundred miles. It was nothing but blue skies, fields, and oil derricks.

We made sure to stop every hour or so to keep hydrated and cool off. At one of these stops, we had some ice cold watermelon and saw this bed roll.

If y’all remember back before we started this adventure, Scott posted a picture of Lorenzo Lamas on his motorcycle with his bedroll. He’s been talking about that bedroll ever since.

Apparently, you can’t have a “real” adventure without a bedroll. I’m all for adventure, as long as the bedroll comes with a pillowtop mattress at the Ritz

We left the gas station and bedroll behind, and kept heading east toward Waco.

I was lost in thought when Scott pulled over to the side of the road. I wasn’t sure what was going on. And then I turned around and saw the flashing lights behind me. I’ll admit. I laughed. A lot.

If y’all will also remember, Scott was more than happy to regale the last time I got stopped when we were Louisiana. You remember, when he just sat there and didn’t say anything, even though he could have helped me out.

Now, Speedy McSpeederson didn’t get a ticket like I did. That whole cop thing comes in handy with other cops. But it was highly entertaining all the same, and I snuck a picture to commemorate the day.

He was still smiling as we got back on the road, a little slower this time, and finished the trek to Waco.

I’d also like to take this moment to call out my husband’s beard. I think it has it’s own zip code. He actually brushes it with a hairbrush in the mornings.

I’ll admit, I got a little excited when I saw we’d entered the city limits of Dublin, Texas.

Those of you who aren’t from Texas have probably never heard of Dublin Dr. Pepper, but it’s a great memory from my childhood. My dad owned a small furniture store, and every couple of weeks he’d get a delivery of Dublin Dr. Pepper to keep in his fridge.

There’s nothing in this world that tastes like Dublin Dr. Pepper (it’s delicious), and it was a dark day when it was no longer available. But the memories are still great.

 

I’ve mentioned Dublin Dr. Pepper to Scott for the past several years, so it was cool to show him I wasn’t making this whole phenomenon up when we saw the sign and the old building.

We made it to the hotel around 10:30, just in time to get a table at the restaurant before they closed. I’m sure you’ll notice we’re eating healthy on this trip. Why have I never eaten bacon on my mac n’ cheese before?

Tomorrow, we’re headed over to Magnolia at the Silos. I’m excited. And I’ve been told by several people who know me well that they ship.

That’s good news. We’re getting ready to renovate our master bedroom and bathroom, so I’m all for new ideas. 

Scott’s laying next to me waiting impatiently for me to get through with this post so he can read it. Speedy McSpeederson is sometimes Nosey McNoseyson.

After the Silos tomorrow, we’re headed home just in time to pack and catch a flight to Florida.

See y’all tomorrow!

Leah and Scott