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Our 2 ½ weeks on the Harley’s (Last but not least Home!)

So we saddle up and head out early and it’s hot already and I am hearing monkey butt whining already but Aengus drowns out all that mess. We think we are going to try for Thomasville, Ga as our overnight stop but the secondary roads had other ideas. We really need to get a Go Pro next time, we went through and stopped at a few places that Time tried to change but instead these places just adapted. The old Victorian homes, Railroad tracks that went through places that were obvious boon towns for one thing or another and some towns that looked like the town from the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes”; just all grown up with few inhabitants. I can’t say this enough my friends, take a drive; put the windows down and breath in the fresh air!

So while we are enjoying the scenery, it is getting HOT! Like Florida in August HOT! We stop for water and gas and to soak up some AC in some little town with no cell service (I Know! The Horrors!), but when you are figuring out the path on the fly this can be a problem. Lucky for me I am following Sherlock Holmes with a beard; I’ve told him a million times if he drives off a cliff I will be right behind him because I have a VERY bad sense of direction. We think we are somewhat close to our target but we have a lot of daylight left so I suggest we press on to see how far we can get.

We press on and find ourselves in Tallahassee, FL at 5pm on a Friday afternoon and our legislature is in session. So what this means is, its 5 O’clock rush hour traffic in the capital of Florida which also happens to be a college town, its hot enough to make you think you’ve lost 20lbs stewing in your own juices! For some reason I have a flash of Lucille Ball and Ethel getting trapped in one of those sweat boxes…anyways! But Ethel (aka the Bearded Sherlock) misses the turn we need so we end up in a Dollar General drinking water and soaking up AC and trying pitifully not to sweat all over the place. By the way, Monkey Butt is now a Pitcher’s Butt with steam coming out of it! I was praying for a rain storm this time. We even passed a billboard for an AC company that says “Your Wife is Hot…” I started looking around for that ridiculous Captain Obvious from those commercials.

So my Hero does the only thing he can think to do and booked us a Hotel at the nearest place he could find; back into the heart of the madness we go! Did I mention Tallahassee is hilly? No, well it is and did I mention its HOT as four-hundred Hades? Then guess what happens? As we are within eyeshot of the Hotel, it starts to rain, not bad just enough to create steam EVERYWHERE! So let me clarify, by everywhere I mean from the hot pavement, the HOT motorcycles and our hot bodies. I am fairly certain we absolutely know what a steamed Hot Dog feels like and Monkey butt just passed out thankfully, I was sick of hearing about it. Oh! I forgot about the traffic, it’s crawling so slowly it takes 5 changes of a red light to get us to the wrong entrance or should I say Exit driveway to the Hotel but we take it because we are Bikers!

Guess who I found at the check in desk at the hotel? Captain Obvious! He says to me as I walk up to check in “You’re wet is it raining?” now mind you I’ve just taken my helmet off, my shirt is sticking to me and I am pretty sure I smell like open road and steamed monkey’s butt. But I humor him and turn and look out the 2-story window in front of his check-in desk and say “yup seems to be!” then I begin to giggle. I finally compose myself and check us in; then I help put our bags on one of those fancy brass rolly carts. We proceed to walk back through the lobby (because he won’t let me hitch a ride) passing people with name badges hanging from lanyards and drinking wine and staring at us, but I smile and keep moving. We get up to this very nice room and all we can think about is a shower and since it took me longer to peel my clothes off he got to it first.

The next morning we head out (I am not even speaking to Monkey butt) towards home again. Yup it’s still hot but we’ve driven over 2,000 miles on our motorcycles at this point so we ride right into the Sun with our shades on and our tunes loud. We stop for a bite to eat and some water at a restaurant and I am pretty sure the Bearded Wonder has heat stroke because he tells the lady we’ll sit at the bar which is OUTSIDE! Of course I asked him why on God’s green earth would he not want to sit inside to cool off, but I don’t get a coherent answer and I am convinced its heat stroke. But he orders a drink and I decide I better eat something as I glance up at the TV which is showing the current weather conditions. I want to cry and laugh at the same time, Big Rain Storm right in our path to the house. This leg of the journey will not be fun but I can tell you we lived through it and have one hell of a story to tell. By the way, we locked ourselves out of the house and had to wait for our son to come let us in!

All in all we drove almost 3,000 miles on this trip. This was my first long trip driving my own motorcycle and even though I was nervous as heck at times; it was an absolute blast.

Our 2 ½ weeks on the Harley’s (Part3)

Parrot Head shenanigans? If you don’t know what this means, I highly suggest you experience it for yourself at your earliest convenience; you will not be disappointed. Honestly, I love the music but the tailgating is totally where it’s at! Here we are with some of our most favorite people and we are all in various stages of inebriation (plenty of time to sober up later); concert doesn’t start till dark and it’s like 11am. We set up our canopy and began sharing our treats with others as they share with us. Who knew you could soak gummy treats (like those blue and white sharks) in Moonshine? Holy moly those were good! We are all dressed in appropriate Parrot Head attire and some people push the limits on what’s appropriate, but that’s all I am going to say on that. Skip forward to the end of an awesome concert, two of our crew members are missing. We find one of them, eventually. The other one, well let’s say security helped get our lost sheep headed in the right direction; honestly there was no sun to navigate by and those beer goggles weren’t helpful. The parking lot clears out and we head back to the camp ground.

In the morning, the Hubs and I saddle up to start the 3rd leg of our journey headed to a friend’s house in Harrodsburg, KY. This was about a 4 hour ride, monkey butt was quite happy. So here I go again, when you drive around in this area you see gorgeous landscapes and horse ranches. I was absolutely awestruck at the stone and split rail fences which being a bit of a history buff had me imagining platoons of military and militia from the revolutionary and civil wars walking around these areas. You read about these areas and the events that took place here but when you see where they took place it’s surreal. (Soap box: maybe what we need is to really teach History again?) So we arrive at our friend’s house for the night; which is set on some of the most beautiful property I have ever been on.

Now we are heading to Nashville, TN to take in all that is Country Music and then some. This was a 3 hour drive through more amazing countryside; seriously pictures just don’t do it justice. We are checked in and changed and hopped on the shuttle to downtown in record time. Can I just tell you now, if you like Savanah or New Orleans you will LOVE Nashville MORE! We spent 3 days but totally needed a full week. The first place we stop for a drink was BB Kings Honky Tonk. So let me tell you now they call Bars “Honky Tonks” and by definition (thank you Meriam-Webster) are “a usually tawdry nightclub or dance hall; especially: one that features country music”, don’t get me started but that’s what the dictionary says. On to the fun, we saw and experienced so much and just cannot wait to go back. By and far our favorite Honky Tonk was the Orchid Lounge aka “Tootsies” and our favorite eat’n place (hey just speaking the language of my people) was FGL’s new restaurant. We took the trolley tour and saw Music Row; my mouth hit the floor it looks like a residential neighborhood. We went to the Ryman; the atmosphere in that place gave us goosebumps. That’s how we ended up at Tootsies by way of the back alley from the Ryman; the short story here is there is no “green room” at the Ryman so artists would hang out in the alley and Tootsies. We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame; holy crap that place is Huge! We visited many other Honky Tonks up and down Broadway in this 3-day period but shucks darn we didn’t get them all; well we had to leave some for next time!

By the end of the week we are saddling up again headed towards home.

Our 2 ½ weeks on the Harley’s (Part 2)

So we made it to the cabin and we began our first leg of this adventure with some of our closest friends. On the third day, I have a mishap that totally threatens my being able to ride my bike the rest of the trip; I twist my ankle, badly. The Hubs makes alternate arrangements for Aengus (that’s the name of my bike) to ride home with a couple friends but I don’t like this idea. As nervous as I was about riding my bike on this trip, it never entered my mind that this could happen nor did I want to ruin this adventure because my hubs spent a lot of time planning out all our stops. So by Sunday morning, which was checkout day and the start of the second leg of the journey, I was determined to “suck it up buttercup!” So I told my hubs I was riding even if I did have some discomfort. Truth be told, I had a lot of discomfort but a compression bandage and a tightly laced boot got me through it for the remainder of the trip.

If you remember in part 1 I told you about that trip UP the driveway, well now I get to drive down that sucker. Luckily, I had ridden on the back of my hubs bike up and down that thing over the last few days so I was prepared. So off we go, slow and steady wins the race and when we got to the bottom I was able to breathe again! There are 3 of us on this leg and we are headed to Shelby OH then on to Michigan in the morning. It was a 12 hour day in the saddle and holy moly we had Monkey Butt! We saw some of the most beautiful scenery so far, if you ever took a long trip and drove in or around the mid-west you would agree that you saw a lot of corn growing. But the advantage on a motorcycle is you get to associate certain smells with this amazing scenery as well. Let me just add here, that each state (and some Cities) has its own unique smell but more on that another time. We pulled in for the night and the fellas wanted to sit by a fire to drink a brew; me, I wanted to not SIT anywhere!

In the morning The Hubs and I strike out on our own heading to South Haven MI to visit with family. It ended up being about a 6 hour drive on some non-interstate highways, just beautiful (you might get sick of hearing me say that lol) as we started out not much past daybreak. I am not sure I can adequately describe what it’s like to see a sunrise or sunset while riding through vast open areas. It is something that you should experience yourself even if it means you’ll be in a car. We got a little concerned when we drove nearly a hundred (yes! 100) miles without seeing a gas station! But just when we were starting to sweat it, bam! A gas station in the middle of God’s country! I kept thinking “where do these people gas up or buy lottery tickets” but when you live in a place like this what more could you possibly need? Have you ever seen an orchard of Cherry trees? These things amaze me and mean a lot since we live in Florida, where you see all kinds of groves of citrus or peaches but never orchards. Moving on, we reached our destination in the early afternoon just in time for a family gathering and it was a good thing because monkey butt was starting to act up. Ha ha

We rest up for about a day and a half and we head out on another short adventure with cousins; so we all ride in a four wheel vehicle (monkey butt said Thank you!) to test out some Microbrew/craft beer locations. So this area of Michigan has some excellent choices and I think our favorite was a place in Grand Rapids. As a matter of fact there are a few great ones but this one was at the top of the list for the fellas. I am not a huge beer fan, I do like dark beer (like Guinness) or ciders (like Angry Orchard) but I tasted all kinds this day. By the end of the week we are back on the bikes following the cousins who are pulling a big motorhome headed back towards Cincinnati OH for a Parrot Head gathering the next day. On the way we hit some serious weather and end up loading our bikes into their “Toy Hauler” for the rest of this part of the trip. But we make camp and the weather clears and we prepare for shenanigans!

Our 2 ½ weeks on the Harley’s (Part 1)

I’ve only been a motorcycle rider since 2009. Before that I had never driven so much as a moped (yeah that just dated me LOL) or even a skateboard. I started out on a 650 Yamaha V-Star then moved up to a 950, which I loved! The only thing was I was riding with people who drove Harley’s. Now I have never been one to succumb to peer pressure; however, I was having a hard time keeping up because they had much more powerful bikes than mine. I really started feeling like the little sister that tagged along because momma said I had too. So for my 50th Birthday and our 30th Wedding Anniversary, I got my 1st Harley Davidson Motorcycle; which is “all that and a bag O’chips!”
Now let me say I LOVE driving my motorcycle it is the best “wind therapy” it just dusts off your soul and makes you put all that crap that is floating around your brain away for the duration of the ride. There is not a good way to describe what you see, smell and feel while riding; ever wonder where they get the ideas for those good smelling plug-ins and air fresheners that we pay dearly for?
So fast forward to June 2017, my Hubs (I have many nicknames for him, but more on that in future posts) of 30+ years has planned a 2 ½ week vacation for us and I am as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. We start out this adventure with a group of friends headed to Gatlinburg TN

with an overnight stop in Milledgeville, GA. I am the only Lady driving her own bike on this trip and this kinda adds to the pressure of not screwing up because everyone is watching. Kind of like when the teacher calls you up to solve one of those dreaded math problems on the board for everyone to see. Anyways, so we make it to Milledgeville with no issues except it was hot as Hades! The next day the caravan heads out for our final leg to Gatlinburg; did I mention it was HOT!
Technically, we stayed in Pigeon Forge but we had not only driven through Gatlinburg but we had a group function that was taking place there that weekend. Nevertheless, on our way we drove part of the Smokey Mountain parkway, OMG that was amazingly beautiful and nerve-wracking! So the twisty turny road is exhilarating at 45mph but when the curves start to tighten and the speed limit decreases to 25-35 mph you get hyper-focused because the thought of screwing up and hurting yourself, someone else or your Bike is breath-taking; literally, you have to remember to breath. We make a stop in Cherokee NC at the Harley Shop, yes, it is a rule you must stop at and buy 1 item from every HD shop, ok not really but I love shopping.
Moving on, we saddle up and head to the gorgeous cabin we rented for our whole group of about 24 people, most of which are on bikes right along with us. Now let me just say this is beautiful country and there is a reason people have written so much about our scenery here; but who and why anyone would take one look at a frickin mountain and say “Hey! Let’s build a house up there and Let’s build a driveway STRAIGHT UP or switchback curves that take you to the edge of said mountain with no guardrails!” is absolutely amazing to me!
We make it through the terrible traffic in G-burg in the 100 degree heat (remember we are sitting on a large engine that gives off immense heat especially in traffic), we finally make it to Pigeon Forge and we start the ascent to the cabin. In my brain at this point, is a grown ass woman who desperately wants off this ride. Until we make that turn into the driveway that takes us UP to the cabin on yet another twisty turny road; this was no ordinary road and this is where my inner woman starts to hyperventilate. Not only did this road go straight UP but it tuned 90 degrees (twice!) while still going UP! Don’t forget there are other people following us so I know I need to “man the heck up” as they say because we are leading this pack. But, as we get to the cabin my hubs not only makes a sharp left turn into the parking area for the cabin, but does so by driving over a CURB or about 3inches. This is where my brain says “Oh! Hell No!!” and I stop before making that turn and my hubs dismounts and starts walking quickly towards me because he knows I am on the edge of a complete meltdown and I dismount shaking not only my head but in my boots as well. My second thought was “Crap! I am going to have to drive back down this thing in a few days!” Of course my first thought was “I need a damn drink!”