#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.

Bat Cave

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.

Chimney Rock

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 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

 

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 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.

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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

 

#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

#HOGWild17: Day 18 – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Day 18!

This is the third time I’ve tried to write this post, and it’s after midnight, so if the computer deletes the post again Scott might be picking up pieces of Mac from the parking lot.

There are two kinds of people in the world. Morning people and night people. I’m sure you can figure out which ones we are without too much trouble.

For the last eighteen days, from the hours of midnight to 4am, we write the blog and watch Forensic Files. I don’t think we’ve ever watched so much TV in our lives. We might be full-blown couch potatoes by the time we get back home.

Staying up late also means sleeping late, and it’s going to be as hard for us to get back into the school year routine as it is for the kids. But for now…it’s still summer. And we’re grownups, so we can do what we want. Stop judging.

I’ve enjoyed the routine we’ve established over the last eighteen days. We wake up, we do our prayer time together, we shower, dress, and then load up and head out. It looks a lot like this.

Scott likes to keep the cart in the room. He’s a rebel.

We got an even later start than usual this morn…err…afternoon, and it was almost two by the time we got on the bike.

Instead of punching in the address for our hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which was almost a six hour drive, we punched in the address for the Pikes Peak Harley Davidson store, which was just down the road.

I found a new red shirt and Scott found a man bracelet he’s been looking for a long time. I think we’ve reached the point where we need to buy stock in HD.

Scott asked what we’re going to do with all the clothes once we get home. I diverted attention from the question by asking a question of my own. Why don’t they clean and wash the bikes while we’re shopping in the store?

Scott was sufficiently distracted by my question.

I know what you’re thinking. As soon as we got back on the bike, we punched in the address for the hotel in Albuquerque. But you’d be wrong.

We instead typed in the address for the nearest Cracker Barrel. The last time we ate at one was in Billings, Montana, and Scott gets twitchy if he goes too many days without chicken and biscuits.

We finally hit the highway for the next 350 miles. I snuck a selfie since Scott was focused on the road. As he should be.

It was another incredible drive. The weather was cool and the scenery breathtaking.

And this scenery was pretty breathtaking too 😉

I have to say, I can’t think of anyone else I would want to do a trip for twenty-one days straight, and spend this much time and personal space with.

He’s my favorite person. And we’ve grown even closer each day, with prayer and focus on Christ our anchor. It’s been incredible.

The oil light came on at about the halfway point of the trip, so we made a detour to O’Reilly Autoparts in Las Vegas, New Mexico. This man can do everything.

Thanks, O’Reilly Autoparts.

I had lots of time to take pictures from the back of the bike.

Lots and lots of time…

We even stopped at a creepy rest stop to do a facebook live: We weren’t sure we were going to survive using the potty there, but as of the writing of this post, I’d guess we did.

If y’all will recall from Day 11, we purchased a condo in Whitefish, Montana (video of our condo), so I spent the time on the back of the bike emailing realtors and bankers and title companies all the information they needed. So I was productive.

And then it got cold. 

And we still had almost two hours to go.

I did what any wife would do on the back of a bike in the dark for the next two hours. I put my hood on, hunkered down, and played games on my phone.

I guess Scott did okay driving. We made it the rest of the way in record time. Not that he was speeding or anything. He is an officer of the law and everything.

Though he used interrogation techniques to question me about why I didn’t get snacks when I checked us in.

I’ll say it on the record, the Hilton in Albuquerque did not stock their snack shop with anything Scott would’ve eaten. Scott wouldn’t go down to confirm, but he did enjoy the interrogating. 

Tomorrow we’re going to try and get together with some friends, and then we’re headed to Lubbock, Texas.

I’ve done the drive through Lubbock, so I know what to expect as far as the drive. It’ll be Scott’s first time. I’m thinking I’ll just let him be surprised instead of trying to describe the flat, dusty, desolate…

Oh, have I said too much?

See y’all tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

 

 

#HOGWild17: Day 16 – Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Day 16!

It’s my day to do the blog, so there’s something important I need to bring to everyone’s attention before we can move onto the business at hand.

I dunno…what do you think?

Okay, now we can move on.

I’ve got a confession to make. I discovered Ancestry.com pretty late last night, and I didn’t go to sleep until five this morning.

Scott and I are both fascinated by ancestry because we don’t know that much about our families past our grandparents, so this has been really cool. Don’t tell Scott, but I ordered us both DNA test kits so we can see what our heritage is.

Because I went to bed at five this morning, I slept until eleven. Scott got up early because God told him to get up and go do his prayer and study time, so that’s what he did.

I stumbled in a few hours later, bleary-eyed and in my underwear, with weird creases on my skin from the sheets. I’m not a fan of morning.

Scott let me sit in his lap, so I curled up and got comfortable. We snuggled for several minutes before he told me I looked like Gollum. Then he said, “Let me hear you say My Precious.”

This is pretty much what living with Scott is like all the time. He likes to be entertained. As he’s said before, I’m incredibly patient and almost always indulge him. 

This set an interesting tone for our morning prayer time, but it truly was a great prayer. Scott said this has been more like a three week prayer journey, with motorcycle-riding in between, and he couldn’t have said it better.

It’s been an amazing time getting to know each other on an even deeper level, and I think we’ll never forget this trip and what we’ve learned from it.

Thank goodness for late checkout, because it was after one by the time I transformed from Gollum to my regular self. We left the hotel, and Scott immediately drove us to Arby’s to eat. If he’s learned anything over the last several years, it’s that feeding me is important.

My husband is a brilliant man. And I was ready to roll.

Today’s trek was from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The terrain changed drastically as soon as we set out. The mountains became more rugged and the landscape more stark. The sky was gorgeous. 

It was a long stretch of highway before we made it to a town (that had a population of just over three hundred) so we could fill up the tank and get some gatorade. By the time we filled up and got back on the bike, the sky looked like this.

So we put on the rain gear and took off.

Other than the occasional sharp pelt of rain to the face, the cooler temperatures and the wind that came in with the storm felt nice.

Before long, we were approaching Steamboat Springs.

Which is another gorgeous resort town, but we’ve already bought our quota of property on this trip, so we’re safe.

And they have Mexican food restaurants, which perked me right up. It’s been more than two weeks since we had Mexican food, and that’s a long time for us.

I love queso more than I should. I was going through withdrawal. And I think Scott was happy too. Nothing excites that man like guacamole. Unless it’s chocolate.

I think dinner did him in, because he’s in “man position,” reclined on the bed with the remote in his hand while I dig deeper into his ancestry.

We’re heading to Denver tomorrow. The last time we were in Denver we saw all the sights in the Jeep, but I look forward to seeing them again on the bike.

I think I’m going to join Scott in his “man position,” and try to get a normal night’s sleep.

See you tomorrow,

Leah and Scott

 

 

#HOGWild17: Day 2 – Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Wow! What an incredible day 2 of our adventure.

Sleepy Heads vs. Motor Heads

I thought for sure when our heads hit the pillow last night that we’d be dead to the world for a good while. But I rolled over and looked at the clock at 6:17am and knew I wasn’t going back to sleep. Scott was still snoozing, so I grabbed my phone and sat in the tub with the shower running while I did my morning prayer time and bible reading.

Scott eventually woke up (3 hours later) and we spent a lazy Sunday morning together, eventually getting our church on with the Live Broadcast at Gateway Church. Jimmy Evans is doing a 5 week series on defeating the enemy, and he’s one of our favorite pastors. But we lost connection somewhere along the way, so only got to listen to half the message. We haven’t had great wifi luck in Arkansas, but we’ll finish it at some point. And thank goodness for late checkout at the Marriott, because we have yet to get on the bike before noon.

More Road Show Video!

The weather was gorgeous as we left Fort Smith and headed toward the infamous Pig Trail Scenic Byway along AR-23.

Scott and I have bluetooth in our helmets so we can talk to each other, and we had a lengthy discussion on why it’s called Pig Trail, and why anyone would purposefully build roads that look like scribbles on a notepad when they could be perfectly straight. Scott gave an excellent explanation as to the why. I guess that’s why he’s a doctor.

There’s a scenic view about halfway through the trail so we pulled over for a photo op. It was also a good place to stop and stretch. My behind was starting to feel the ride at this point.

Fashion vs. Function

When we got back on the bike, I had the opportunity to take this photo with my new Chanel Wallet on Chain, which I’ve decided is the perfect handbag for biker ladies, and clearly they need to market it as such.

Pig Trail was a fun ride, and we followed AR-23 all the way to Eureka Springs, where we decided to stay for the night. Eureka Springs is a super cool town. They have a population of just over 2,000 people, and more than eighty restaurants. I’ll let that sink in for a second.

Gorgeous Town

What’s been fun for me (since I’m new to the motorcycle world) is that this is a heavily populated motorcycle town. The hotels and restaurants are all biker friendly, and it’s such a great community of people. I’ve enjoyed talking to random riders at stores and restaurants. Everyone is on a journey, and it’s so cool to listen to their stories.

We’ve bunked for the night at a place called The Lodge. It’s owned by a very nice husband and wife who live here on the property and do everything themselves. The whole place is a throwback in time, with real keys that open the doors and old school phones with a cord in the room. They made it very homey for us, even setting out wine glasses and an ice bucket for our stay. Plus our room has a jacuzzi, which was perfect for soaking after riding.

After a little down time in the room, we got back on the bike and decided to do some exploring. This place is a biker’s dream as far as the roads go. There are twists and turns, different elevations, the roads are canopied by towering trees, and creek waters rush over rocks beneath the bridges. The town is quaint and surprisingly sprawling, considering the size of the population.

Big Jesus

One of the winding roads led us to Passion Play Road, which is a replica of a Jerusalem marketplace. They do a Holy Land Tour as well as perform The Great Passion Play. There’s also a 67 foot statue of Christ of the Ozarks, which we had to stop and take a picture in front of. Thank goodness Scott brought the tripod and remote for the camera. He’s always thinking ahead!

We explored the town a little longer, not bothering to look at a map, and we eventually stopped for dinner at a place called Myrtie May’s. They’re famous for their fried chicken, so that’s what I got. Scott ordered a club sandwich for some reason. The fried chicken was delicious. He missed out.

Fried Chicken Brings Rain

A few minutes before we paid the check we heard the first rumble of thunder. We double-timed it out to the bike while the temperature dropped and the wind picked up. Lightning flashed and droplets of rain fell sparsely, but it was only a matter of time before the skies opened. We made it back to The Lodge just in time, and now we’re cozied up in the room listening to the thunder and the rainfall.

It’s been a great day for adventure and romance.

Until tomorrow!

Leah and Scott

#HOGWild17: Day 1 – Fort Smith, Arkansas

Today was the day. Leah and I had planned to set out early and enjoy a morning’s drive before the day’s scorching heat set in. We ended up sleeping late.

The sound of constant rain was so relaxing that I suppose we needed the rest. On a good note, there was no heat when we pulled out at noon.

We started the day with prayer, and God placed it on my heart that this time together was about Him. I’d been so wrapped up in the excitement of planning and gathering gear that I’d overlooked the blessing of time spent in His presence. Nothing like being outdoors to experience God’s wonder.

Once we got started we headed to Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was about 350 miles away. We spent the first 200 miles wrapped up in rain gear. It wasn’t so bad as it kept the heat at bay. After a rainy ride to Biloxi for #Bike2Biloxi in May, she decided to up her rainsuit game. Good going wife!

By the time we made it to Arkansas’s Ouachita National Forest the skies cleared up to gorgeous sunshine. I have to admit, I know nothing about the state. The mountains were amazing and the national forest is 1.8 million acres located in central Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma.

Another highlight was when Leah discovered that her metal cup had a metal straw. She was also excited that it kept her drink cold and ice unmelted. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at Fort Smith, the bike was covered in soft drink. I’m not going to mention she should be drinking water to stay hydrated, but it’s only day 1. I’ll cut her some slack.

Today was a wonderful start to #HOGWild17, except when I told Leah over supper that I just wanted to lay down in bed, she laughed and said, “You know this is only day 1.” It kinda hit me that yeah, we’ve got three weeks of this. How crazy cool is that, although I’m sure there will be a few more sore butts and aching backs.

It’s fantastic to experience America on a motorcycle. I used to do lots of bicycling around the country and as great as that was, this is a real blast. Of course the time spent with Leah makes this better than ever expected.

Check out those incredible blue skies.

So after day 1’s 350 miles from Dallas to Fort Smith, Arkansas, we spent a nice evening over a light supper and laid out everything for Day 2. We’re heading over the Ozark Mountains enroute to riding Pig’s Tail Scenic Bypass. It’s about 130 miles of twisting turns, switchbacks and beautiful scenery.

Thanks again for coming along. Hopefully we can do a live video on Facebook tomorrow.

God Bless,

Scott & Leah