Blues and BBQ’s

May 14th, 2016  / Author: slip60

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

May 10th, 2016  / Author: slip60

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ragin Cajun’s

May 7th, 2016  / Author: slip60

May 6 Thurs

Easy day today as we take off for Lafayette La. as its just 3 1/2 hrs from New Orleans and our last nights
stay in Louisiana.

Quick takes on our stay in NOLA
1. It’s stinky on Bourbon street and in the French Qtr in general.
2. Cafe du Monde makes excellent biegnets.
3. The food is phenomanal (Check out Verti Market on Royal street, you will not beleive such great tasting food a at such low prices is possible. Get the BBQ Brisket with two sides and then invite two people to share it with).
4.The Qtr is easy to navigate but scary at night off the main streets.
5. Good police presence but little interactions with the crowds.
6. There are naked women on Bourbon street.
7. There are crazies on Bourbon Street.
8. There is an ungodly amount of homeless people.
9. Still not over Katrina.
10.A must see. It’s a dirty Key West on ‘roids.

Well worth the wait to visit and definitely the current highlight of our trip. It’s a lot of fun if your 3 men because you don’t have to worry too much about your safety but 3 women should be very careful.

Lafayette provides us with our first experience eating Crawfish. We head over to a place named Don’s on Johnson Str and our waiter provides us an education on how to eat Crawfish. $5.97 will get you 3lbs of steamed Crawfish which in reality amounts to about 8 ozs of meat, but a very tasty 8 ozs.Beers are 2 for 1 and my Catfish and shrimp dish is all you can eat tonight. Really good food!

Tomorrow we head out for Texas.

Just One Man’s Opinion

The Regular Guy

NOLA part duex

May 7th, 2016  / Author: slip60

May 4 Weds

This is our first day without riding to another place and its nice to be able to relax, kick back, wake up late and take in the town for a second day.

The French quarter in the light is a mixed experience of the senses. The architecture is really something to see with its French influence, a lot of iron fences, cobblestone streets and old buildings. Its a great town to walk around, sight see, shop, eat and especially drink, which most people do the the extreme here. The thing that ruins this town is its disgustingly filthy. The odor in the streets is overpowering and hard to tell exactly where its coming from although its everywhere. Poverty and devastation is all around and New York has nothing on New Orleans when it comes to homeless. Its really too bad that with all the tourism and money spent that this town is in such bad condition. This town reminds me of a French Key West covered in stinky odor.

Today we walked down to the Mississippi river where the walls didn’t hold the flooding back. Some homeless guy put us into a tense situation when he insisted on cleaning our shoes. Not taking no for an answer he proceeded to spray what we think was water and buffing my friends boots with a dirty towel. Then after insisting on $20 he wouldn’t give change back from a $50. After some calm but forceful words, I grabbed the $50 back from him and we eventually walked away. Not good to get into it with the homeless especially with five other guys hanging close by.

Its so strange that things like this happen so close to places like the Cafe du Mond, where hundreds of people are sitting and standing while eating their famous desserts.  Well known for its Beignets and strong coffee, its way to tempting to pass by without trying some. Food in this town is everywhere and the choices keep you wanting to try food constantly, even when not hungry. Boudin, gumbo, jambalaya, oyster bars everywhere and the shrimp from the gulf waters. I know people here drink a lot but I have a hard time not eating more than not drinking.

Everywhere you go in town something strange happens. There are so many wacky and scary folks just walking around the streets that its impossible not to stumble upon something unusual.This town is so weird and more so then any other place I have ever been. How one town can make you feel both excited and scared at the same time is really obscene and a major part of the reason so many people are drawn to New Orleans.

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

Aart Accent Tattoo, 1041 n Rampart NO

May 5th, 2016  / Author: slip60

http://maps.googleapis.com/maps/api/streetview?sensor=false&size=550x300&location=1041+North+Rampart+Street%2C+New+Orleans%2C+LA

What better place then New Orleans to get a new tattoo? I can’t think of one.

 

This road trip we are on is full of great things to see, great things to eat and drink and great reasons for getting another tattoo. On the night before we get ready to leave New Orleans, we decide to get it done. Place a lifetime mark on my skin to remind me of how great this trip has been.

We ask around town for a reputable Tattoo shop and low and behold there is one a block away from our hotel and they take walk ins. We get our act together and head out to see if we can design something and bring home a souvenir.

James Wallace

From the outside, the shop looks just like any other Tattoo Parlor with tattooed people hanging out front, motorcycle at the curb and customers poking around. Most places like this are not usually filled with friendly guys and most can be very intimadating as this one looks to be at first glance. Its always awkward going for Tattoo because you dont want to feel as if your wasting an artists time but you don’t want to make the wrong decision either. I kind of figure that most artists get alot of tire kickers and first timers trying to get the nerve up to do it.

Meet James Wallace, our Tattoo artist this evening. This guy just took the reins and drew up a design, asked the right questions and made us feel comfortable throughout the process which ended up in the two of us leaving with new Tattoos.

For anyone who wants an experience not just a Tattoo, this is your shop. All the guys who work there were extremely friendly and even offered us the opportunity to order food delivered since we would be there through dinner. I can’t say enough good things about the staff and the work they do so I’ll just end it here with a thank you!

Hows this for a white GTO?

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

 

 

 

 

Fight.. Fight!!

May 5th, 2016  / Author: slip60

May 1, Sunday

Morning breaks and we make it to Sanford Fl by 830a. Waiting for the bikes to be unloaded takes about two hours so we sit and watch for them and our third party, who has made plans to meet us here today.

Its HOLY HOT outside as temperatures reach the high 80’s and so we dress accordingly. Speaking of which, today’s new fabrics for underwear work wonders when riding long distances. With our plan to ride 275 miles and in this heat, these new synthetics do the trick. Best part about them is you get in the shower with them and wash them there, hang them to dry and in the morning they are good to go.

So we make the long haul only stopping once for lunch and twice for gas, but at the last stop for gas we meet some of the local residents. While pumping fuel two guys without shirts,shoes and covered with tats start fighting. Well one guy was fighting and the other was getting pummeled. Quite a scene. Funny still because as they were chasing each other and later as they fought, they ran into my friend and almost knocked his bike down. Where it got funny is as they were leaving the station, each guy came up to my friend and apologized for knocking into him!I’m guessing they didn’t want to leave us with a bad impression of the locals.  Crazy stuff. This is what I mean by the funny things that happen on these trips.

Anyway, other than that it was pretty uneventful. Great roads with no traffic but not much to see as it was mostly
farms and flatland. Tommorow its off to Alabama and the gulf shores.

Just one man’s opinion
The Regular Guy

NOLA

May 4th, 2016  / Author: slip60

May 3 Tuesday

We leave Alabama with the threat of rain again, cloudy , hot, humid and 250 plus miles of road ahead

 

After a short 25 mile ride, we load our bikes on the Fort Morgan Ferry, which will take us across a body of water to the other side of Alabama’s coast.  As we pull up, some crazy little man in a helmet and high water jeans , tries waving us into our respective lane for entry to the ferry. He’s quickly shown his way by the attendant who then takes over the job of getting us in position to pull on to the entry ramp. We come to find out that the little man is traveling with his son on a rented HD bike. They both flew from France with a group of 20 people who somehow got ahead of them with all their luggage and money. The  support team they hired to lead the group wasn’t being very supportive in guiding the group safely thru the states. After hearing that they didn’t have any cash, I offered them gas money to help insure they make it to their next hotel. We wind up chipping in $15 to give them enough money for gas and lunch if needed and offer them a spot in our line to ride with us so to insure they get to their destination okay. Hard to understand us I guess since they don’t speak much English, but they agree to ride along with us. Funny, but that lasted about 5 minutes after we left the ferry parking lot. As I pulled in to gas up, they got nervous and thought I was going the wrong way and took off in another direction. Damn French still don’t appreciate Americans and all we do for them!!! Not even a good-bye.

 

The ride today takes us through 3 states from, Alabama to Mississippi to Louisiana, back roads most of the way. Passing through small towns that look the same as they did 50 years ago but with no or little business. Abandoned homes and buildings line the roads for miles. Some towns have shrimp boats lined along the river banks like in the Forrest Gump movie, which happens to be one of the areas we pass through.

Coming into the New Orleans area you need to cross a lake that had to be more than 2 miles across, and the span that you need to drive over is crazy big. Four lanes across, windy and full of fast moving trucks and cars that don’t care too much about bikers. I tuck into the bike and throttle it hard to get the bike to stay steady in all the wind and  pray that this long span will end soon. The town is full of ongoing construction and plays havoc on the bikes as we navigate thru it all looking for our hotel. By shear luck we happen upon it after driving in circles for 20 minutes. Our place is in the center of the French Quarter which makes it very easy to get around without a motor.

I have been looking forward to our stopover here and I am excited about the local food scene and can’t wait to eat Cajun and Creole seafood! Our first stop Bourbon Street!

 

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy!

 

 

 

Alabama getaway, getaway!

May 4th, 2016  / Author: slip60

May 2 Monday

Tallahassee looks better in the mirrors as we head out to Alabama’s Gulf Coast!

It looks and feels like rain and the forecast says we are going to get some. I hate getting wet but we set out with hopes of making it thru most of the day without getting rain. The first 20 miles or so are highway but after that we settle in to back roads that are perfect and without any traffic. When you plan a trip like this its hard to know from looking at google and maps, just what kind of roads you will be on. You do get a sense of what type they are based on the states designation of the road. Interstate, rural, state highway to name a few, gives you an idea how fast you will get to your destination. Taking back roads are the way to go on a bike but they increase your riding by up to 2 times.

Most of the  roads  so far have been country or farmland , which plays right into the ride perfectly because they are the most fun to travel on. All the smells that range from sweet and flowery to holy horse crap! But that’s what makes riding that much better than driving.

Crossing the ” Flora-Bama” state line is a big deal here. Flora-Bama is known for its Mullet toss once a year, where people come to see how far over the state line they can toss a mullet. Actually at the state line is a Flora-Bama property that has three restaurants and a nite club. On this nite we chose to eat in the Ole River Bar. Hey Eryn, I hope you read this! Eryn was our waitress and a great one at that. Extremely friendly and she set us up with the Mets game broadcast right to our table. A Batman fan at heart, she gave me her check sleeve that she made herself, when she found out Batman’s my favorite character. Thanks again Eryn!

Gulf beaches are nice but not today. Cloudy and damp. Tomorrow NOLA!!(New Orleans Louisiana)

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy

 

 

 

Getting out of the driveway

May 1st, 2016  / Author: slip60

April 30  Saturday

Temperatures at 43 deg which makes it 33 on our bikes. Cold air when moving makes it feel about 10 deg colder. Not a good start to our trip but we get off as planned at 6am and with no rain, so why complain! Getting out of the driveway is going to happen.

The plan for today is simple. Get to Lorton Va by 2p for the auto train. By car its a 4 hr trip, by bike it turned out to be about 6 hrs. Being it was so cold we stopped 3 times to eat, thaw out and get gas. All things considered, we got here safe and that’s all that matters.

This isn’t a room, it’s a closet

The auto-train is interesting and being I never rode a train like this it is also pretty cool. They put our bikes on a pallet, tie them down then load them on an empty train car. Leave at 4p arrive in Fl at 9a next day. I booked a sleeper “roomette” which turns out to be a closet with two fold down beds. Quite a laughter since both of us sitting in the room face to face means our knees touch. Good news is the bottom part of the train where we are is empty so we have the whole car for ourselves which means we can stretch out in another room.

Annette, who is in charge of our car, is very helpful and informative and offers to set up our sleeping arrangements for at a time of our choice. The ride so far has been smooth with a few towns to look at as we pass thru. Dinner was nothing to talk about, kinda like plane food but slightly better.

People always seem intrigued by motorcyclists. First they tell you how dangerous they think it is and then they want to know all about the trips. Always curious why we take them. I have to say that one reason I do it is for the laughs. The strangest and funniest things always seem to happen on these rides. This trip will be the longest and furthest I have ever been on and should provide quite a few crazy events to say the least. Already the cold itself inspired some choice words and laughter to follow. But its the sense of freedom and simplicity that makes motorcycling so great. Traveling by car you never see and feel the world like you do on a bike. It sounds cliche but its true and you won’t get it until you ride your own bike. There’s such a feeling of accomplishment when you make it thru another day that is so taken for granted from behind the wheel. Your senses are constantly being challenged by so many things that go unnoticed on four wheels.

Waiting for the bikes!

Anyway, day one in the books! I still can’t believe I made it out of that damned driveway…..

Just one man’s opinion
The Regular Guy

Go West Old Man

April 26th, 2016  / Author: slip60

Harley Road king

Some bikers dream about being like the guys in the movie Easy Rider, where they head out on their bikes with basically nothing but the clothes on their backs. The ultimate freedom, as it seems, what every biker might be in search of.

I have always wanted to ride a motorcycle cross country because it seemed like the perfect way to see America up close and personal. Challenging because of the danger, uncertainty, unknown weather conditions and overall personal safety.

There used to be a saying “Go West Young Man” from which I am not sure but when I was young I can tell you this trip could never have happened. Usually because of the cost. Its difficult to pick up and go when your young enough and have time on your side because usually you don’t have a bike or the money for one.  Now as I am older, time has become available to me and money is no longer an issue. So whats stopping most of us who ride to just pick up and go?

It takes some “guts” but usually its just getting that bike out of the driveway that is the hardest part. The vast majority of us are wired with fear of the unknown. We take comfort in dreaming of the big ride but most times come up with reasons why it can’t be done instead of just doing it. It starts with getting that bike down the driveway and taking it one day at a time. I have met a lot of guys who ride great distances by themselves and when they tell their tales we all listen with a bit of envy because we know he’s got the “guts” to do what we only dream of. Funny thing, is that I have never spoke with one guy who said he wished he didn’t do it. Never heard one guy talk about how scary it is or how lonely he is out there by himself.

So this week, I hope to find the “guts” to get on my bike and finally get down that damn driveway. All my excuses have been used up and time is beginning to run out.

Plans have been made and the time is now.

Keep an eye out for future posts as I make my way out west to Tennessee, NOLA, Texas, Oklahoma and the likes. A lot to see and hopefully a lot to write about.

 

Just one man’s opinion

The Regular Guy