#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

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#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 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.

Great Recommendation

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: 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