Archive for May, 2016

Epilogue..the best for last

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Friday May 20

How do I sum up a trip of a lifetime?

I have, since childhood, had this thought to ride across this country on a motorcycle. Thinking back to my first experiences with motorcycles, (http://njregularguy.com/2010/06/14/mild-hogs/ ) I can tell you that I have always wanted to feel what the freedom of riding was about. What better way then to ride across country with no time table or plan other than taking it one day at a time. Earlier, I wrote about just getting the bike out of the driveway and that’s really what life is all about isn’t it? We all have dreams and many are attainable if we just put that first foot forward.

I realize more today than I did three weeks ago how lucky and grateful I am to have had two of my best friends make this journey with me. I tried to do this trip last year and the plans fell apart, partially due to poor timing, but mostly I believe, due to the fear of the unknown and just plain making up excuses why we can’t do it. This year the Gods were smiling down on me because everything just worked out and for some reason we all had the”balls” to do this.

Traveling anywhere for three weeks with someone  can be difficult and can make or break your vacation. I am fortunate that even though the three of us have different personalities, we all seemed to have one thing in common. We made this trip about us and we considered each others opinions and desires each day as we planned out the ride from town to town. The common bond we shared was our love of motorcycles and the idea that we would experience life together in a way no one else could understand unless they were here with us.

Everyone we met was so interested in our story. My friend Ed made it a point to tell them exactly what we were doing, so much so that it became what sounded to us like a  prepared statement because we had heard him repeat it daily to almost everyone we came in contact with. The laughter that was ever present, is the number one thing about our trip that made it so enjoyable. We laughed so much everyday that at times it hurt. For some reason the three of us just found humor in everything we experienced, especially with the people who roamed the streets in NOLA, Memphis and Nashville. The interactions we had with these people ranged from scary to interesting but mostly hilarious.

About the people we met…..

The ride itself is one thing, sometimes hard but always rewarding, when traveling so many miles. The best thing though about the journey is the people you meet. We grow up in a shell of sorts, experiencing only the people where we live.  In some part, for that reason, we form opinions and such about America and its inhabitants. For instance, we are told how divided by race this country is but when you go out and experience real life in America you find most people regardless of race just want to connect with each other. They want to hear your story and tell theirs. They, like us, are just ordinary men and women who want to live their lives peacefully and happily, one day at a time. It’s unfortunate that we grow up in a country that continues trying to divide its people instead of uniting them despite the promise of the opposite from our so called “leaders”. It’s easy to feel uncomfortable or worried about a different race when you are uneducated or inexperienced with such people. So hard to talk about for fear that I might say the wrong thing or that my words might be taken out of context but it was so great being around people of color and experiencing what life outside my bubble is really like. We were treated so well by the ordinary folks we encountered each day that I found it so hard to believe we have a racial problem in this country. I am not naive enough to think it doesn’t exist but there are so many good, honest people in this country that have to live with the idea that we don’t like each other when in fact it is so far from the truth. I never felt out of place or threatened except one time in Memphis during bike night on Beale street where there were dozens of gangs wearing their colors. Both white and black gang members made our time there very uneasy and if not for the police presence we would have left quickly after we arrived. Even then, there were no incidents based on race. If anything, it probably would l have been more to do with club colors than skin color. I guess what I am trying to say is that this stuck out in my mind more than anything else on our trip. The south is such a friendly place and the people in each town were quick to show us how friendly they are. We were treated to food, drink, free room upgrades and one man Rick Fairless of Strokers Dallas, took us on a 45 minute tour of his business just because we were there. Americans are truly amazing people!

My greatest memory of this trip will always be of the folks that shared their time and their stories with me.  There is something about traveling by bike that attracts people to you that would normally never interact with you otherwise. So many men and women approached us with stories, questions and sometimes awe and envy when they realized the scope of our journey. Bill Hiatt from Floyd’s City Barber Shop in Mayberry took over his dad’s reins when he passed on, as the face of Floyd’s. Bill spends his days as his dad, Russell, did before him for decades, meeting and greeting visitors who stop by to experience a place from television history. Bill hears tales all day long from tourists who remember the show and all its characters. This day Bill would be so interested in hearing about our 911 experiences when he found out my friends had direct involvement in the events that followed that days tragedy. We shared stories about that day and how it affected us all in one way or another. Bill is truly part of the heartbeat of America.

Most riders who take trips like these talk about the bonding they experience from being together for such a long period of time. This is all true and became clearly apparent during the last days of our trip. As our time together began to wane, I felt a sense of melancholy come over the three of us. I am sure we were all anxious to get back home once we knew there was little time left to explore new places, but also the reality that we would soon be apart made it feel strange. We had spent almost three weeks doing everything together and now the thought of it ending was kind of sad. I mentioned earlier that I was fortunate to have done this trip with two of my best and closest friends. What I didn’t say was that they didn’t  know each other except for the fact they both knew me and had met once some 30 years ago.

My friend Guy, I met briefly when I was 7 years old. We didn’t know at the time that we were making our Communion the same day but we spent the better part of the next 10 years growing up together until I left for college. Time and distance may have had some doing in the fact that we lost  20 years where we didn’t see or talk to each other much or at all, but true friendships never die. The past three years we have been trying to get back on track and this trip was a testament to our friendship. Guy has always been the brother I never had.

I met Ed the first day of college. We both attended school in Rhode Island and made contact during freshman orientation. We later shared a house together along with my only other close friend Donn, during our days at school. We have been friends ever since and survived times where we lost contact over some stupid stuff but in the end our friendship prevailed. I first approached Ed with this crazy idea of riding out to Texas by bike and he thought I was nuts. This was Eds coming out as he never really rode such long distances before and now after this I’m not sure he will again. LOL!  I have always felt like Eds older brother even though he is my senior, and during this trip I felt like it even more.

I love these guys and I couldn’t be happier to have accomplished with them, such a great thing. Only the three of us know how hard the ride was but also how great it makes you feel each time you pull into the next hotel and know you made it safely.  The laughter and experiences we shared will be the things we talk about for the rest of our lives and no one will ever be able to take that from us. If my friendships with these guys ended today, I know the memories we share, will live on in our hearts and minds forever.  This is what they mean when they speak of bonding. It’s just something that happens but you can feel the difference as each day passes. I am sure that Eddie and Guy both know what I mean.

I am back home now and all the laughter has stopped. The long days rides are behind me now and it almost feels like a dream. I went from bad ass biker dude to yard boy in one day, as today I weeded my property. Funny how much can change in one days time. Still, my memories live on and I laugh a bit everyday when I think back on the time I spent with two of the greatest men I have ever known. Thank you guys,  I owe you big time!!!

This about sums it up!!

Just One Man’s Lifetime Experience!

The Regular Guy

 

The ride home…..

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Thurs May 19

This is it. The end of our adventure begins today as we wake, shake off the aches and pains, head for breakfast then pack up the bikes. Ed will stay behind and board the train around 2pm but by then we should be home.

There’s a lot of reminiscing, laughs and promises to keep in touch. I have one surprise left in store for these guys as we take our last picture together. Last night I wrote up some signs for us to hold during the last picture we would take before heading our separate ways. Check out my next post tomorrow to see it.

The skies today are cloudy but the forecast promises warm and sunny weather later on in the morning. The ride back to New Jersey should take about 4 hours and just one tank of gas. I load up the bike and tune in the radio, say my good bye to Ed and point the bike north for the our final run.

I do a heck of a lot of thinking when I ride. I go through thoughts of my life mostly. Marriage, job, family. I reflect on how I got here and where I will go next. Life has changed a great deal for me in the last three years and has given me time to catch up on the things I have missed out on and also the things, like this trip, that I had always dreamed of doing. They say getting old sucks but I say it depends on what old is and how you choose to live your life as you age.

My life turned a corner when I was roughly 40 years old. It has progressively gotten better since then. I met my wife during this time and my marriage has been a blessing, as she is very supportive in all I do, including encouraging me to take this trip. I recently rediscovered my parents and what it is like to be their son again and not their business partner. Spending a month in Florida with them last winter was the best time of my life. They have always pushed me to be the best person I can be and have always showed me love and support and without that, this trip would never have happened for me. Funny how I do so much thinking when I ride but what else can you do when there is no one to talk to but yourself.

I wonder as I get closer to home how I could possibly describe to my friends and family what this was like and for that reason I am glad I blogged this trip. Keeping a daily account of most of what happened makes it easier to remember everything  and gives me something I can go back to and reread in the future. There is this feeling I have inside that can’t be described. I just feel different now. Nothing great but just different and hard to put in words. Maybe because its all so fresh in my mind but I do feel differently.

We pull into my driveway and let out a sigh of relief and satisfaction for what we have done. It’s officially over now for us but Ed still has a half day ride home after getting off the train tomorrow. There’s not much left to say for both of us as we have covered everything over the last day or so but we just smile and remark how incredible it has all been.

Who knows what the future holds for us all but we now share a past that we can talk about forever. I am sure we will remind each other of the moments and events from our trip over the years to come and I look forward to it all. The pictures we took are priceless as we have some 300 or so to go thru. Many of them will pop up on my site, as some have already and  I look forward to printing an old school scrapbook for my coffee table.

In in the end we spent 18 days riding through 9 states for over 3500 miles to meet hundreds of people, to hear hundreds of stories and gain a lifetime of memories…..

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

 

The last ride together

Saturday, May 21st, 2016

Weds May 18

Roanoke Va to Lorton Va

Today was the last day the three of us rode together. We wake to dark cloudy skies but warmer weather. We dress in rain gear and ride out to the highway as this is strictly a get to the next stop ride. No back roads or stopovers just roughly 200 miles that will get us all closer to home and the end of our ride.

Traveling the highway today, my mind is filled with thoughts of the trip and I find myself not paying attention to the bike and road. It happens at times that you get comfortable not unlike driving a car, and you find yourself getting somewhere and not knowing how. It’s like auto pilot and most would probably think that would not be possible on a bike but I can tell you it is. It doesn’t take long to pop out of it when you again realize you are on a bike. It scares you a little but I make it thru and ride on.

Tonight’s stop is in Lorton Va. the home of the Amtrak Auto train. Tomorrow Ed will put his bike on the train and take the 16 hour ride back home to Florida. We arrive at the hotel late in the day, safely and without incident. At one point we meet three younger guys who are traveling together for work reasons. They must have asked Ed what we were doing there and when Guy and I walk up, Ed’s in the process of telling them “the story “! We spend about twenty minutes laughing and exchanging stories as we have done on so many occasions, with so many people, each day along the ride.

Nothing crazy tonight but Chinese food and early bed, knowing that both Guy and I still have about 225 miles to get through tomorrow. We sit around the room one last time and talk about all the things we experienced over the days we spent together until we fall asleep.

Tomorrow the Goodbyes…

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

Asheville NC to Roanoke Va

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Tues May 17th and Weds 18th

 

Our stays in Asheville and Roanoke amounted to nothing more than dinners and sleep, with not much time for sightseeing as our days left are down to two. We spend both nights just catching up on much needed sleep as the last two days rides have been long with cold wet weather. It takes a lot out of us and we still have one last long ride to get to Lorton Va and the train that takes one of us back home.

The trip has been amazing! It has been full of long rides in both great and terrible weather. The first day out we were frozen before we put 20 miles on the bike but we were so happy to be doing this that we laughed off the cold and pushed forward until we reached the train that would take us and our bikes to Florida to begin the long journey.

Along the way and each night we would plan our next days ride, the route we would take and the place we would spend our nights. We didn’t use a GPS but only for one time when we were clueless where the heck we were. Most days we would ride between 200- 250 miles with the longest ride being 475 miles and the shortest trip 185 miles. We averaged 200 miles a day for  a total of 3700 miles. We often traveled back roads and avoided highways unless we needed to make up time or if bad weather was nearby. Riding thru old towns and back roads were often both rewarding and risky and more often than not they weren’t clearly marked by road signs designating the direction in which we needed to go.

We ate sparingly while we were riding with mainly just Peanut Butter sandwiches for a mid day snack so as to save money and not overeat, which would drag us down if we did. Only twice did we eat lunch, the first day in Florida and once again in Arkansas during a gas up. In fact the station had some great BBQ Brisket, but not quite as awesome as Rich’s homemade brisket we shared in Seafood at his home. Eating light for lunch was probably the only reason I gained only three pounds on this trip because we made up for it with the dinners we had in all the great towns we visited.

Sharing the highways out west is challenging for motorcyclists due to all the tractor trailers that move goods cross country on these routes. All in all they were very courteous and aware of us and it seemed as if they made an effort to make it easier for us to navigate around them. The roads through Texas were the worst both highway and city but the back roads were great both wide open and lightly traveled. The best roads by far were in Tennessee as they are paved, curvy, long straights, high speed limits and most times extremely scenic. At one point we passed a body of water that was the bluest green I have ever seen. It looked crystal clear from the seat of my bike and all of us commented on it when we stopped for gas. The waters in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and even along the coast in Texas, are horrible and I can’t believe anything can survive in them. Nothing but murky muddy waters which surprised me.

Crazy huh?

The best scenery had to be between Tennessee and North Carolina with all the mountain vistas and overlooks. They were at times breathtaking and must look beautiful during the fall months. I have to say that the open roads in southern Texas were pretty cool too. Grassy fields as far as you can see off the sides of the roads, many filled with cattle grazing. It reminded me of the movie Twister especially when we rode thru some stormy skies. I kept waiting for a funnel cloud to move in front of us.

With only one more days ride ahead, things begin to feel strange. Our time together is coming to an end and we share mixed feelings about it.

Tomorrow Lorton Va, the Amtrak Auto train and our farewells!

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

 

 

Mt Airy NC and Floyd the Barber

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Tuesday  May  17

Mt Airy North Carolina

The roads from Robbinsville start out like the Dragons Tail as they are filled with twists and turns but we handle them well until we run into a tractor trailer hauling logs down the mountain right in front of us! We move at a snails pace but know we must be cautious just in case those logs cut loose. There isn’t any way to pass the truck so we lay back and wait until he reaches a shoulder and allows us to move on. We have dealt with hundreds of semi’s along our way and everyone of them were very aware of our presence and most went out of the way to allow us the road. Unlike a lot of motorists who sometimes made us feel like they were trying to hit us.

Coming out of this mountain the road opened up and we made up for the lost time quickly. Mt Airy is the birthplace of Andy Griffith and we planned to spend some time in the town that is known as Mayberry in honor of the television show. We arrive and strip off our rain gear and head to the first place we find for some hot soup and lunch. Our waitress Samantha greets us and answers all our questions about the town and what we should see while there. Her husband, who also works there, cooked up our lunch and also filled us in on some town tidbits. Both went out of there way to accommodate us and make us feel at home, with good ‘ol southern hospitality. Make it a point to stop in, have lunch, chat it up with them both and mention we sent you. Thanks again Sammie (:

Floyd’s Barber Shop Mt Airy NC

One of the favorite characters in the show, anyone and everyone who watched the Andy Griffith Show knows very well who Floyd is. In this town, Russell Hiatt had manned the barber shop until just recently when he passed away but everyone who comes to visit can meet his son Bill, who will tell you the story of Russell and the shop. Bill spent an hour with us talking about the shop, his dad and then about where we come from and our thoughts on 911, being that we had ties to NYC and what happened. Bill posts pictures of visitors to a FB page “Floyd the Barber” everyday in honor of the people who take time out of their life to visit and share their memories of the town of  Mayberry. Our time spent with Bill was one of the highlights of our trip and I appreciate the time he spent with us.

 

 

There are buildings in Mt Airy that are replicas of the show. The sheriffs office and jail, the garage where Gomer Pyle worked and others. There are tours given by police cars from the 50’s and everyone in the town seems to enjoy all the attention the town receives because of it once well known inhabitant, Andy Griffith. One thing we found a little upsetting was we were told that Andy Griffith made the town pay him to come home for the naming of a highway in his honor. I hope that wasn’t true.

Sheriffs office

Jailhouse. Wheres Barney?

Prepare to spend a least full one day to take in all the town has to offer especially its inhabitants and all they have to offer in the way of stories about the town and all that has happened over the years. Visiting here was like taking a time capsule back to when I was younger to find myself walking the streets of Mayberry. I couldn’t help but feel that Barney Fife was going to stroll by me at the next corner.

Time to hit the road again as we are only about halfway to our destination so we are off to Asheville NC for dinner and a nites stay.

 

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

 

The Dragons Tail

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016

May 16 Monday

One of the best things about traveling thru America is all the small towns you pass thru, the people you meet that live there and the overall friendliness that they have or motorcyclists.

Our living room!

Robbinsville NC is such a town and if you blink you might just pass thru it and never notice but this town happens to be located just 20 mins south of the famous biker destination “The Dragons Tail”. With a population of less than a couple of thousand, you wouldn’t expect mush in the way of accommodations or  restaurants, but you will be surprised. I thought I was renting a motel room an I arrive and find an apartment with two bedrooms an a full kitchen, all for less than most hotel rooms we stayed in.

Dinner tonight was Mexican and the best Taco’s al Pastor, I have ever had. Amazing to me how you find great places in such small towns. The Mexican owned restaurant featured authentic food not the tradition fare like you would see on the menu of Chili’s. I wish I could remember the name of both places, I’ll check back and add it in later. Also check out Nana’s and Papa’s for breakfast. Very friendly owner and biker must stop!

Tree of shame at the Tail

Anyway, we head out the next day for the Tail and I for one have no interest in riding it. I feel like everyone does it because they have to challenge themselves and prove they can do it.  I don’t need the challenge and hate these types of roads because they drain you and really aren’t enjoyable to ride because you have to concentrate s much. Talk about white knuckles! So two of us take the challenge because only one wants to do it but needs the company of the second, I guess so he’ll have someone he can talk about the ride to. They survive and nothing of theirs is placed in the “Tree of Shame!” Way to go ED!!!!

As it turns out, the next road out is called Hellbender, and its more of the same white knuckle riding for some 20 mile. Blind turn after blind turn until it breaks lose into a wide open three lane highway with no one but us to travel on. Man this was the most fun today. Riding at 70 mph and nothing to worry about but open road and fantastic overlooks all around.

We pull into Asheville late but again the good Lord looks down on us and brings us home safely.

Tomorrow we visit Mayberry and the home of Andy Griffith!

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

First Scare

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Sunday May 15

We leave Nashville early Sunday morning and no more than 10 minutes in we have a moment of fear.

As the three of us make our way onto the highway one of us gets separated  and we lose sight of him. The first thing we do is pull off to the side of the highway and try to figure out whats happening.

We both take out our phones and wait for a call from our friend who is still nowhere in sight. By now we figure we are about a mile away from where we last saw him, so we figure to give him 10 minutes to call us. As the time passes we begin to think the worst and pray we are wrong, but decide to circle back in hopes that he will be waiting where we last saw him. That is usually the best way to get everyone back together, especially if the person who is separated doesn’t know the route or roads well. Just as we get ready to leave I se him in the distance making his way to us. First thought is he’s not hurt and okay enough to be riding his bike. Turns out his wallet and cell phone flew off the bike onto the highway at which point he pulled to the side and ran out onto the highway and got them. Truck 1- Phone 0. but the wallet survives and more important our friend is safe and unharmed.

The roads from Nashville to and thru North Carolina are the best ones yet. We navigate to the Cherahola Skyway which by far is the best motorcycle road we have driven on the whole trip. Curves and switchbacks, long well paved straightaways and climbs that take us to heights of 6000 feet above sea level. Spectacular views of the surrounding states, dams, waterfalls and trees as far as the  eyes can see. Really a great road for motorcycles but one that you white knuckle most of the way just trying to stay on the roadway as you climb and descend the tight turns throughout the mountains.

We reach our destination in Robbinsville North Carolina safely, a little cold but in one piece with the scare of the trip behind us. Tomorrow we head further east and north to Deals Gap NC and the Tail of the Dragon.

Nashville Rocks!!!

Monday, May 16th, 2016

Friday May 13

Friday the thirteenth, a scary day to be out on a bike if your superstitious.

The road to Nashville is a short 4 hour ride but again laced with tractor trailers as far as your eyes can see, but the blacktop is smooth and the weather is great. Highway 40 stretches out across the southern part of the country pretty much from North Carolina to New Mexico and we have ridden a great part of it over the past two weeks.

Nashville at night is a spectacular view from Broadway, the riverfront or from any of the roof top bars/restaurants along the street. Neon signs are everywhere outlining Broadway’s music spots and eateries. Not unlike Memphis or Bourbon St but much, much more intense. Its almost hard to hear the person next to you as you walk up and down Music City’s District area. Smokey BBQ whiffs thru the air competing only with the sounds of Country / Rock and Roll music. Streets are lined with more people than I have ever seen in a city at one time, perhaps even more than NYC during Christmas at Rockefeller Center.

I’m BATMAN!

Museums for legends BB King and Johnny Cash, Titans stadium, boot stores, Grizzlies and Opryland are just a few of the tourists attractions for most visitors. Uber makes it extremely easy to get around town when the distance is too great to walk. Tonight we stroll up and down each street surrounding Broadway so as to take in all the sites and sounds it has to offer.Downtown Nashville is very similar to Memphis in that music is oozing from every door and window opening on Broadway. Walking Broadway you see neon lighting almost every window or building with rooftop restaurants and bars filled with people. Nashville has its share of homeless and street entertainers just like Memphis and NOLA, working to get your money but they are somewhat passive in their efforts to attain such. Not much of a bother and somewhat interesting they approach you with all sorts of crazy things from stories to songs.Bar hopping is easy here as there aren’t any covers and you can choose to just stand outside and sample the music. Tipping buckets are the norm here for bands playing in bars.

Nissan stadium where the Titans play is a short distance across the walking bridge that connects the downtown with the stadium across the river. We visited one of the music museums that featured Johnny Cash and it was worth the $18 fee. Broadway is hopping tonight with so many brides to be and their friends, who all seem to wear matching clothes, hats or something to designate they are together. This seems to be the new hot spot for bachelorette destination parties.

We get our share of Nashville over the two days we spend here with all the food, drink and excellent music we can handle. From here its on to Robbinsville NC and the Dragons Tail

 

 

Blues and BBQ’s

Saturday, May 14th, 2016

The only thing better than getting into Dallas was getting out of Dallas. This state is huge and takes forever to get through. When I finally see that Welcome to Arkansas sign, I am relieved!!

We get some rain most of the day but only drizzle that is mostly just annoying. There are tractor trailers further than my eyes can see. More trucks than cars. We constantly pass these behemoths all day long and the wind that whips around them make each pass challenging. The road to Memphis starts to turn greener and greener as we put on the miles between Texas and Tennessee. Texas is as flat as a pancake with no trees lining the highways, but a lot of open space, mostly pasture for steer and cows. As we get into Arkansas the roads begin are heavily lined with trees and clear views of mountains in the distance.

Riding the main highways gets boring because the distance between towns provides nothing else to look at. You can actually find yourself daydreaming  but having music helps keep you awake and able to rack up the miles. Today we stretch the limit some and pile up a total of 475 miles, which is some 200 more miles that we have been averaging each day, This puts us at 9 hours on the road for the day and when we finally find our hotel, I feel a sense of relief as the heat, rain and miles in the saddle have taken its toll.

I always say that the hardest part of the ride is finding the hotel because they never give you the right directions over the phone. Looking out for street signs is hard enough but when directions are poor conditions get dangerous. Being on a bike its hard to look at the road and for signs of a hotel at the same time. Road conditions inside city limits are often horrendous as is the case in Memphis. Couple that with a trolley system that has rails running all directions and its pretty scary. Those rails are buried in the ground and bike tires don’t cross them as well and as safely as a car tire does.

Pizza on Beale…Ask for Cole

We hit Beale street and  can’t help singing “Walkin in Memphis” as I marvel at all the neon and music that overloads my senses. This place is amazing and it reminds me of Bourbon St in NOLA but much, much nicer. Very clean too!. The music is just pouring out of open doors at ever turn and you don’t know where to go first. We make our way up and down the street and check out the motorcycles as it is bike night on Beale every Wednesday evening. Music from the bands and the bikes fill the air along with the enticing aroma of BBQ.

Having eaten just a few hours earlier, we all decide to have a slice of pizza and stop by Pizza on Beale, a brick oven joint run by a cool dude named Cole. He hooks us up with the history of the place and how he and his wife now run the business. He makes his own slow cooked pork for his pizza’s and generously gives us a sample to try. He also does catering off premise which by the taste of the pork is probably deadly good. Stop in and say hi and tell him NJREGULARGUY sent you. Try the pulled pork or buffalo chicken pizza, and remind him he needs some hot sauce or he’ll cut you up some pepperoncini’s!!!

Ducks march at the Peabody hotel in Memphis

Site of MLK asassination

The next day we set out on a tour of the city and stop by the Peabody Hotel( to watch the ducks march),  Graceland, Sun Studios, Bass Pro’s Pyramid store( amazing with fish ponds,alligators archery range and bowling alley) and the Motel Lorraine, where Dr. King was assassinated. This site gives me chills as we approach the site and I see the walkway that is so familiar to me from seeing so much of it in television and print. It made me think about the color divide we so have in this country. I know it still exists but for the everyday people in this town it seems that black or white is just fine. Being a visitor to this town you will be among a population of mostly black people who treat us wonderfully and share in our excitement of their town without any discomfort pertaining to our race. I really believe that most Americans don’t care what color our skin is as long as we respect each other as human beings.

This town is incredible and everyone who lives here should be proud.

Our last night in town and its time for some BBQ. We wind up at Blues City Cafe on Beale and 2nd st, where we finally get those ribs everyone here talks about. Staying away from the chain restaurants, we seek out local places where the portions are always better and the service is friendlier. Blues City offers food, drink and entertainment with tonight’s band playing the best of Buddy Holly, Cash, Elvis and others who roamed the streets of Memphis back in the day. The food is exceptional and the music awesome, and so a fitting end to our stopover here.

Blues City Cafe

 

 

 

 

Tomorrow Nashville!!

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

 

The Lone Star State

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Texas
Sat May 7
Leaving Louisiana and we stop at Cajun Harley Davidson outside Lafayette before heading out on I-10 to Texas.

 

Today’s ride was tough. The wind and road conditions were extreme and difficult for travel on a bike. The winds  blowing east to west and knocking us around especially on the open roads and bridges. The roads themselves were  lined with tractor trailers that filled the air with plumes of black smoke and the smell of diesel  fuel. We hit Texas about an hour and a half into the ride and the road turns to concrete covered with  cracks and tar and bumps and grooves. A lot to have to think about compared to the smooth easy roads we’ve gotten used to. The mental part of this ride is draining as we have to concentrate on the roads  and trucks more than ususal. We make a second stop at Cowboy Harley Davidson in Texas. Still no shirts worth buying.
We make it to Seaford Texas where we have friends and a home to stay in for the next two days. This is where  we get to settle in like normal people. Room to roam, friends to hang with, hot showers and washers/dryers.  We settle in quick then head out by CAR to a restaurant on the water where we partake in in the local seafood and Vodka! Having a designated driver is great! We eat, we drink, we smoke cigars then we go home and pass  out.

Saturday morning we wake to home made breakfast and hot coffee. In need of supplies we head out to Walmart  then make our way to a gun range and fire off some ammo in a friends Carbine. Texas is right up there with  Florida when it comes to gun laws. Everyone around has a carry permit and no one feels in danger in spite of it. They love their firearms here and there are plenty of places to buy them.

Seaford area is surrounded by water with plenty of boaters and fisherman, its heaven for water recreation. Its great  being with my friends and they couldn’t be more hospitable. Good news is they are moving back north this year  cause they miss me so much. Well maybe not me but they are coming back.

Tomorrow, San Antonio!!!

 

Sunday May 8
Mothers Day today and we are on the road to San Antonio after another homemade breakfast. Pancakes, French toast, sausage, coffee, I like this B and B! What a crazy laughter filled time we had here. It was a great stay over and we are sorry to leave but we need to get going.

We head out on 90w and the days weather looks bad. Lucky, we ride half the day without getting wet, but our time has come and we need the rain gear. With tornado and lightning storms raging all around Oklahoma and Texas, we are lucky to only get a little wet before we get the

THE ALAMO

gear on. Riding in these nylon suits on hot days can be horrible but today is cool and its not a problem, although when the air gets under the suit it makes you look like the Michelin Man!

We make it into San Antonio by 3pm, unpack , hit the heated Jacuzzi and pool, then shower and head into town for dinner. Steak tonight for the first time since we hit the road. I gorged on seafood for the last week every chance I got since it was all caught and served fresh from local waters. Tonight we eat like the carnivores that we are!

THE RIVERWALK

The river-walk is alive with many of the restaurants serving up families for Mothers Day, but we find our steakhouse and indulge ourselves. Walking off dinner is easy to do around the river-walk which stretches for 15-20 blocks, upper and lower levels and also at the street. We stop by the Harley store on the walk and finally get some T-shirts!

We head over to Coyote ugly for a beer and to watch the girls dance on the bar. Not so crazy a scene as its a Sunday night and pretty quiet but they do abuse you there. Better buy booze and tip or you will get an earful from the girls and they aren’t shy about letting everyone in the bar how they feel. How about Uber. Gotta love this app. They respond to requests for a ride within 5 mins. I don’t know why anyone calls cabs anymore. We ride by The ALAMO and grab a pic!

 

 

Dallas
Monday May 9

We travel to Dallas and along the way we pass thru Austin where Jesse James has his Austin Speed shop. Well we tried for an hour to find it and then gave up. Hope we have better luck with Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas.

In the hotel parking lot we meet up with three other guys who are riding cross country from LA and happen to be doing a lot of the same roads we are so we exchange stories and ideas to help each other out. Going in opposite directions so we won’t be riding with them at all but its always cool to meet up with other riders on a long trip.

Dallas is dead tonight. Now I know why people say New York is the city that never sleeps. This is a ghost town and its  spread out all over the place. Walk up a street and there can be a restaurant then nothing for blocks. Trolley stops  running at 930p. No ice cream. I gotta have an ice cream when I go on vacation and I can’t catch a break. Last night  Ben and Jerry’s was closed ’cause their A/C went down and tonight nothing. Not a ice cream shop anywhere.

 

 

Tuesday May 11

This is Dealy Square. JFK died here. We go to the Book Depository and take pictures, walk the grounds, ask questions and fight off the guys trying to sell souvenirs. When you see where it all happened you know that there was a cover up. Its impossible that Lee Harvey killed JFK. The angles don’t add up to that fatal bullet coming from the building. This place looks very different when walking around  in person compared to what I have seen on television.

After Dealy Square We head out to Strokers Dallas, where custom bikes are built and reality shows are filmed and meet up with the owner, Rick Fearless who gives us a tour of the grounds including his office, the build shop, the machine shop and the rest of the business. He treats us like family and we talk about people we both know and the places we’ve been to on our trip. This becomes the highlight of the trip as we never expected to meet a legend and then to be treated so well after just showing up and requesting a photo with Rick. Man this was definitely cool. Later we stop at Strokers Icebox adjacent to the shop, where they have cold beers and food. We meet up with some locals who we compare notes with about motorcycles. Great end to our stay in Dallas!

Just One Mans Opinion

The Regular Guy