This week I’ve been in four states. I’ve noticed one overwhelming thing. The annual pilgrimage down to Daytona and trailer week has begun. Oh wait! I should have said bike week….yeah that’s it.
Today up in Indiana I saw countless trailers loaded down with bikes. I saw pick up trucks with bikes. I saw enclosed trailers with every brand of bike written on the outside. Oh and lest I forget I saw four…….yes four bikes being ridden south. Here is the score…….one Goldwing pulling a one wheeled trailer…….one Road King Custom with a coverall clad driver and a HUGE RED duffle bag. Lastly there were two Electra Glides being ridden by leather covered bikers. As for the trailers………well you name it and I’ve seen them.
I must admit that I’m ashamed to say I trailered down to Daytona back in the late 90′s. I know I know…….it still haunts me. Perhaps that’s why I divorced her…..yeah that’s it……..she wouldn’t ride to bike week……Been there done that….didn’t care for all the traffic. Granted I was wanting to be riding Doll Baby just like those four people today instead of driving that Damn Freight Truck. I need to find some other means of support so I can ride more. Work keeps getting in the way of my scooter time.
Hey I know I’m poking fun at the people trailering down but at least they are getting to enjoy their scooters. I can’t argue about that at all. If I had the time I would be right there on the road going someplace new or perhaps a favorite haunt of old. In fact I don’t even care what your ride of choice is just as long as you ride.
Have you ever thought about how cycles are connected in so many ways to our life? I don’t know why but it hit me today. Everything is a cycle. Friendships are cycles. Well at least the ones that aren’t everlasting. Think about it. Most friendships seem to run a two year cycle.
The seasons of the year are a cycle. There are solar cycles. Then there are the lunar cycles. Sun spot cycles affect radio communications. In fact radio frequencies are measured in kilocycles.
Look at the cycle of life. Something grows until it’s either consumed or dies. Then it rots to fertilize whatever is growing now. The cycle goes on and on.
Then we have the unicycle. There is the bicycle. Let’s not forget the tricycle. Finally we get to our beloved motorcycle. No wonder I feel so at peace with the universe while I’m riding my scooter. It was meant to be. The best therapy of all is taking off on a trip to destinations unknown on a motorcycle.
Well after making a couple of phone calls this morning it seems my riding pals weren’t gonna ride. So stealing a line from my close friend Brian Welch’s song “Devil On The Run” I was a lonesome rider today. Ok so I wasn’t really lonesome, but I was the only one of the group riding my scooter. The others of the group that showed up were in their cars. That’s ok too. We did get together for a great dinner at one of our favorite little meat and three joints. Good food, good friends and great laughs. What else could you want.
When I left the house this morning it was 30 degrees and snowing. The first thing I thought of was one of my favorite blogs “Scooter in the Sticks”. You see Steve Williams writes his blog about his journeys on his scooter. Now I call my motorcycle a scooter but Steve’s really is a shure nuff scooter. He lives up north and has incredible pictures on his blog of all the riding he does even when the roads are covered in snow. Granted here in middle Tennessee the snow wasn’t sticking but still I was riding while it was snowing.
My travels today didn’t just consist of running around the ‘boro, though I did make a stop on the square at one of my favorite stores, Bink’s. Next I took a brisk little ride up to Cookeville, Tennessee about 80 or so miles away. Nothing like the cool wind to wake a body up. Call me crazy but I loved riding along hearing the sound of my scooter and thinking of all the many times I’d traveled that same road. Seeing the fishermen wading in the Caney Fork river trying to entice a trout to take their flies brought back thoughts of the many fishing trips I’d made to those same cold waters.
On my return trip from Cookeville back to my home I passed two other motorcyclist. The heartfelt wave we shared brought a giant smile to me. I was thinking ok so I’m not the only one who couldn’t stand the thought of not riding today. Then I remembered a sign that I saw hanging at the shop I visited in Cookeville. It read “You never see a motorcycle parked at a psychiatrist’s office”. Which made me think of one other thing. I remember someone telling me that the department of safety testing station in Murfreesboro is right down the street from a psychiatrist’s office. While taking the skills test this individual was instructed to ride their motorcycle down in front of the psychiatrist’s office and turn around. This just struck me as funny. Was the instructor trying to say you must be a little crazy to want to ride a motorcycle?
Well go right ahead and call me crazy because I don’t care. I know one thing for certain though. I enjoyed every single one of the 171.2 miles that I rode today. Cold, snow, misting rain I still loved it. Perhaps you could even call it passion……..yeah, I like that ……….. I’m passionate about riding my scooter.
Ok so it’s 30 degrees this morning. I can’t help it I’ve just gotta ride. It was a long week at work and there is only one sure fire cure to make it all better. That’s right, gonna get “Doll Baby” out and put a few miles on her. I think a handful of my riding buddies are going as well. Stay tuned and I’ll let ya know how things went. Also I’ll tell ya about some of the upcoming rides that we have planned for the year. Can’t wait!
Here in Tennessee we are blessed to have several types of terrain. West Tennessee has the flat fertile bottom land. Middle Tennessee has rolling hills with some flat land and a few larger hills or little mountains. East Tennessee has the majority of the Mountains with some flat lands on plataus and valleys.
On my ride the other day I found myself on top of Monteagle Mountain. If you’ve never taken a journey to the Domain of the University of the South in Sewanee I strongly recomend it. There are many old rock buildings on the campus to admire. But as for me I absolutely love the overlooks.
I first became aquainted with Sewanee several years ago when I started volunteering for the ADA (American Diabetes Association) “Tour de Cure”. Every spring a group of bicyclist ride to raise money to help find a cure for diabetes. The midway point on this 150 mile two day event usually winds up being Sewanee.
One of the overlooks is at St. Mary’s across highway 41 from the University of the South. The other two overlooks are in the Domain of the University of the South. One of which is the War Memorial Cross overlook and the second is Green’s overlook.
Today my destination was Green’s overlook. Turning beside the motel next to the golf course you will dead end at the overlook. Just ride until the gravel starts and you are damn near there. I find it extremely peaceful and restful to sit and admire the beauty of the valley below. Scenery such as this always makes me think I can see things the way a bird sees them.
So if you like winding mountain roads and peaceful vistas you need to make a trip up the mountain to Sewanee. You’ll have several great rides to get you up top and just as many routes to take you back down.
Ride Safe Ya’ll,
Many years ago I became interrested in Tennessee’s State Parks. You see we are blessed here in the Volunteer state to have many vast and varied state parks. I have been telling myself for years that I’m gonna visit all of em one of these days.
I’ve thought of many ways to go about this little endeavor. First I thought of camping at all the state parks. Sounds good but, not all parks have a campground. Now granted there are “Urban Outdoor Enthusiast” who will tell you it’s fine and dandy to sleep at the park anytime.
The second idea was to incorperate another hobby that I have. You see I’m a Ham Radio Operator and I thought it would be cool to make HF contacts from all the parks. I’ve made HF contacts to all 50 states and to every continent so why not make one from all the parks. Though I’ve put this one on the back burner, it wasn’t what I was looking for.
That brings us to idea number three. Just like the line from Roy Clark’s live recording of ” Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone”, I think some of you are just about a half a block ahead of me here. Ding ding ding, we have a winner! You guessed it, I’ll do it on the scooter.
Last monday I was enjoying another day off work and I just couldn’t pass up the great weather for riding. I know that comes as a shock to many of you. NOT! I got “Doll Baby” out of the garage and loaded up with my camera gear and headed out.
The State Park target for today was one I had ridden past several times over the last year but had yet to stop and make official. My journey there would take me over familiar roads through the wonderfully winding hills of Middle Tennesee. I went through McMinville up Hwy 56 into Beersheba Springs. I really need to stop and give this tiny place a good looking over one of these days. But that’s another journey for another day.
Westward from Beersheba springs I can to Tracy City. Between Tracy City and Monteagle lies my destination for this gorgeous sunny February day. I pull into the entrance and see what I have to work with here. Ok do I set the tripod up on the other side of the drive or do I take my chances and set it closer to where the bike will be? After coming to my senses I realize I’m not gonna take a chance on getting my camera destroyed so I set up on the other side of the drive.
I was 100 miles into my ride and only spent maybe five minutes total there. Some say this is crazy but then again I am about a half bubble off plumb. The picture at the top of this blog is the proof for my personal Tennessee State Park Challenge. This wasn’t my only picture of the day nor the end of the journey. Ah but that’s fodder for another blog……..stay tuned.
Today was one of those rides that you do just because. You know what I mean. Here it’s February 10th and the sun is shining and the scooter just begs to you from the garage. Ok so it was a tad windy and a bit chilly. But really now, you know you would do it too.
I was being lazy today from the nice ride I led yesterday and from staying up way to late last night. I kept looking outside thinking damn it sure is a nice day. Finally I couldn’t stand it anymore. I got off my ass and put on some layers and got ready to ride.
This was one of those rides that I went no place in particular but really travelled to my happy place. I rode around parts of Rutherford county that I’d been through for many a year. Thing is I’d never really gone down some of these roads before though I’d always wanted to know where they went.
Though it was only 78 or so miles it was wonderful. I really get a kick out of checking out roads I’ve never been on before. I love taking roads and riding til I figure out where I am. I call it finding myself. What better way to find yourself than riding your scooter.
Ride Safe Ya’ll,
I was listening to a radio interview the other day with Willie Nelson on XM radio when he spoke these words. He was telling a story about once when he and Roger Miller were watching a sunset somewhere while traveling. Well my ride yesterday brought that to mind.
What a beautiful winter day it was here in Middle Tennessee. The day started out a bit brisk but it warmed up nicely. It was my turn to be the road captain so I had come up with our route for the day. Eleven souls on nine bikes left out of the local Harley-Davidson dealership here in Murfreesboro around 10:40 am. I know it was a late start but hey I just led the ride I didn’t make the start time.
We rolled out of the ‘boro east through McMinville where we picked up Hwy 8 which took us up the mountain to Hwy 111. Our stopping point was Fall Creek Falls state park. The park has a nice buffet at the inn there. You can eat and overlook the lake at the same time. Come to think of it we didn’t really pay much attention to the lake. Seems we were way too busy picking at one another to do that. Don’t ya just love how when you get a group of riders together then through in a little food, they seem to try and make each other laugh until something comes out someones nose.
After eating way too much at the buffet we headed out the north entrance to the park onto Hwy 30. Now if you’ve never rode Hwy 30 you really are missing out on some of the most beautiful road in Middle Tennesse. 30 is a winding twisting turning road up and down a couple of mountains and valleys.
In fact it was after we passed through Spencer and dropped down in the valley that I thought about the quote from Roger Miller. The green of the pasture land was so inviting that I damn near wanted to stop and chew on some of it myself. I know the cows seemed to really be enjoying it. The sun shine on the mountains to either side and the rolling valley farmland was wonderful.
Turning off of 30 we road over and cut through Rock Island. Rock Island is a tiny little community that also has a state park of the same name. Granted Fall Creek Falls is known as the crown jewel of Tennessee’s state parks, but you really should check out Rock Island state park sometime too. I think it’s the best kept secret in the state park system.
Taking back roads all the way around to Centertown we picked up Hwy 70 and turned back west toward Woodbury and on into Murfreesboro. It always seems just a bit sad as slowly the bikes peel off and head toward their own homes. The friendships we make while riding our scooters are some of the best on this earth. How wonderful is it to be able to share the passion we have for riding with close friends whom we love.
All told I clocked 210 miles for the day. Not a long ride by any means. The journeys we take build fodder for our mind to remember on those days when we can’t ride. As for me, I know the memories of this ride will take me through many a mile on my mind’s roadway.
Ride safe ya’ll,
Well it seems that the days of a regular two up partner have passed for now. That’s ok. I enjoy riding no matter what. In fact I love riding. Nothing beats getting out on my scooter and enjoying a little time in the wind. Seems that no matter what state of mind or mood I’m in; things always look better after some time in the saddle.
Take today for instance. I was able to get out and run some errands on my scooter and get in a bit of a pleasure ride as well. Granted all rides are pleasure rides. Just like the roads we journey down our life makes many a twist and turn. Isn’t that what keeps it interresting? Today’s ride may have been short in distance traveled but it went countless miles in clearing my head of the events of this week. Tomorrow brings a longer ride with my local HOG chapter and I can’t wait. Something tells me I’m gonna wind up being the ride captain for this one. With that said I had better get the route set in my mind.
Now I know it’s been a while since I last spewed forth something here so don’t get excited. I’ve recently been doing something I haven’t done on a regular basis for quiet some time. That’s right I’ve been riding two up. I will say that it’s taken a bit of getting use to.
Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed the company on some of my recent short jaunts around middle Tennessee. These little starter rides we’ll call them have been around a hundred or so miles. Giving credit where credit is due, my two up passenger has been a trooper. She has yet to complain in any shape form or fashion. Sure we’ve had some great winter days here to ride. No one can complain about temps in the 50′s in the middle of winter. Though not all have been that warm.
One such ride was on a friday night with the mercury dipping down into the 20′s. I must admit that I was impressed with her willingness to ride in such conditions. Granted it’s no big deal to me. Come on I grew up spending most of my time outdoors year round. Fishing , hunting, riding scooters, camping, hiking and the like. I understan how to layer up in thin layers to keep myself warm and to be able to peel said layers off when needed.
So credit she gets for being a trooper and learning about this crazy way of life called motorcycling.
Thanks for taking the time to read my bablings,