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Monthly Archives: March 2012

There I was sitting at home thinking about life. Thinking about what I had in mind for the day. Thinking about how a wonderful evening the night before had gone to shit. It was one of those mornings that had completely put me out of the mood from doing the things I had in mind to do.  Then it happened.

I could hear the vibrations of my cell phone on the chest of drawers. Who on earth could this be? I was surprised at who it was. It was a text that simply stated we are wanting to ride who else wants to go? I briefly thought about declining. I thought I don’t really want to be around anyone right now. I was still licking my wounds from the night before.  Then I thought about it. I thought how nice that someone asked me to join them on a ride. That is something that’s extremely rare for me.

I sent the reply saying I’m in. When I made it to the meeting spot there were only the couple who had sent the invite and myself. The other folks weren’t able to ride. It was decided we were hungry. So we needed an out-of-the-way place to eat. I made a phone call and got some well guarded info. Soon it was kickstands up and the low rumble of the engines. Or was that the low rumble of our growling stomachs?

Back roads were the path of choice. For me they always are. I love them. I love seeing the out-of-the-way places. I love the little pieces of history along the way. I love seeing the lives of the people who make up the true America.  I love the folks on the fringes. The ones that the mainstream media doesn’t see. The generations that have speckled the landscape of this great nation to season it with the flavor of their blood sweat and tears. That’s the America that I’m in love with.After enjoying some good grub we were off to explore some more of Tennessee. I can’t help but think of the similarities of the water passing over this dam and the people passing through my life. They’ve served their purpose and moved on along. I seem to find answers to most things when I’m enjoying nature. My mind’s eye sees more clearly when it’s outside the confines of walls. With every journey comes challenges. New bridges to cross. New hills to climb. The choice is ours to make. Do we cross them? Do we climb them? Only you can answer that. It’s the wanting to know what lies beyond that fuels this great wanderlust within us. Sometimes from a distance we can’t see who’s coming down our path. Sometimes it’s a blessing. Sometimes it’s good people who bring happiness and laughter and brighten our day. Those are the times and people to cherish in the vaults of our memories. Those are the times to relive when we’ve grown old. When we’ve grown apart. When the road has led us farther along the journey. When someone crosses our path we should greet them with a wave and a smile. Doesn’t matter what brand they ride. Doesn’t matter what group they are with. Doesn’t matter if they simply ride alone. Because when you give a smile and a wave to someone both you and they realize that you truly aren’t alone.

Ride Safe

Ronman

That’s right. I saw him yet again. But this time there were other trucks around me. I wasn’t the only one to see him. I was headed north in the early hours of the morning. Just before I reached the 344 mile marker there he was.

Once again he had on the dark hooded jacket, jeans and the brown back pack.  It made me wonder what does he have in the back pack. Each time he has been wearing the exact same clothes. I wonder where he is going. Where he has been. Why is he in this same general area?

As soon as I saw him I grabbed for the mic on the CB radio. I asked the drivers of the other trucks if they had seen him. Two of them replied that they had. I asked what he was wearing and they described the same things I had seen. I really don’t know if this makes me feel better about this or not. Now I know that he truly exists.

I couldn’t help but get some stuff done today when I got up. Having done that I rewarded myself with a ride. The temps were in the 80′s here today in Tennessee. Gorgeous would be an understatement. I left out with a general idea in mind of where I wanted to ride. Nothing in stone though. I love riding like that. Just take whatever road the spirit points ya down.  Today was such a day.

I started on some familiar paths. With the temps this high I wanted to see if some of the local scenery was out and about. I soon came to a road I normally take. Today I decided to keep going. Sort of shake things up a bit.  I needed to do things differently. I needed to refresh myself. To clear my mind. To see some new sights.  I needed to get lost in the wonderful rolling hills of Middle Tennessee. It’s when I’m lost that I find myself. Soon I found the sort of thing that stops me in my tracks. Here it was. Someone’s collection of old signs and memories.  A cold drink bottle rack hanging on the wall full of old glass bottles. Man oh man did those drinks ever taste good from those glass bottles. Remember when you found a place that kept their machine so cold they would have slush in them. Now that was good stuff!

Traveling these new paths I’d found my mind was in overdrive. My sensory intake was at high alert. The sights. The sounds. The scents. Everything was flooding in and being processed.  Somewhere between the smell of chicken shit and fresh-cut grass a light bulb went off. There it was plain as day.

We’ve all seen the beautiful white blooms on a Bradford Pear tree. We’ve also all seen a Cedar tree.  These two trees are like people. First you have the outward beauty of the Bradford Pear. Although decorative and pleasant to the eye, that’s about all it’s good for. The wood is soft and doesn’t withstand any pressure.  A moderate wind can topple or break it. Not to mention they stink.

Some people are like the Bradford Pear.  Outwardly they are beautiful. You enjoy looking at them. They seem to be wonderful. However when you get a little closer to them you come to realize they stink.  Let the storms of life blow in and see how soon they break. They can’t take it.  They leave you with nothing but broken pieces. In fact the fire from a Bradford Pear is fast and doesn’t put off much heat. Just like these people.

Now take the Cedar tree. It’s just an evergreen. It grows mainly in the worst ground. It will grow where no other tree will grow. It’s not a flashy tree. It doesn’t grown into the huge stature of say an Oak. But the Cedar thrives where no other tree will.  If you need shelter you can use the Cedar. It’s green branches when placed together will block the wind. It will conceal you from the view of others.

Let’s look at the wood of the Cedar. Outwardly it’s sort of fuzzy. Not very smooth. Peel some of it off and it makes an excellent fire starter. Fire that can save your life.  Cut into the cedar and you’ll find beauty. The red wood is some of the most beautiful on earth. The fragrance of the Cedar is wonderful too.  Go to any town square and I  bet you’ll find old men sitting around whittling on Cedar.  How many times have you seen a hope chest made of Cedar? How many times have you seen fence posts made of Cedar?

If you want something that can protect you from the storms of life. If you want something to build a lasting place to store your valuables. If you want something to be pleasant on the eyes and your sense of smell. If you want something to relax you and give you pleasure choose Cedar.

Now I ask you, Which person are you? Are you the Bradford Pear with its outer beauty and pungent odor that can’t stand up to life’s pressures? Or, are you the meager Cedar that can thrive in less than ideal ground. That although outwardly less appealing, inwardly you bring strength, beauty, hope, longevity and pleasantries to the senses?

Ride Safe

Ronman

I can’t remember anytime in my recent past when I’ve gone so far into a year without riding.  When I’ve had a scooter that is.  It was about time to rectify that.  The morning started crisp and cold but I didn’t care. Today I ride.

I rolled out-of-town soaking in the sunlight. I was breathing the cold air. I was filling myself with life. This was a solo journey. Most are these days. It’s best that way it seems.  You rebuild the walls and hope somehow the shattered pieces can be mended. All the while knowing they never will.

I noticed a Life Flight helicopter as I was leaving town.  They always tend to catch my eye. Then a short while later I saw another Life Flight landing as I passed through a small town. That’s when it hit me. I was on a Life Flight. Only I was flying at asphalt altitude, to borrow a phrase from Viking Dave.

My flight took me North this morning. I was on familiar roads. I tooted the horn as I passed by the home of a friend. I knew come tomorrow when we talked on the phone he would say “you should have stopped in”. I wasn’t ready to stop yet. I needed to feel the cold wind on my face. I needed the chill of winter to soak through to the bone.  I needed that ache to feel alive.

My mind was traveling a life flight of its own.  As I climbed the ridge into another small town I couldn’t help but remember the time Daddy drove mistakenly here instead of the town we were supposed to be going to. That’s when we knew something was wrong. That was the start of the end for him. His life flight would be over shortly. He fought bravely for three years. Hell we all fought.

Soon I was crossing the state line. I had entered the land of the Love Buzzard. He’s been on a Life Flight.  He too is a fighter. I thought of the journey he’s been on for the past year and a half. He didn’t give up.  He’s the poster boy for overcoming obstacles.

Soon I was at  another town. I pulled into a parking lot thinking about what today would bring. Thinking about what life would bring. Thinking about if life would even continue. I kicked back on the Little Woman and looked at the sky. Pondering so many things as I watched high-flying airplanes and circling birds overhead. The sunshine had warmed the temperature into the lower 40s.  I think I even dozed off for a bit.

So many thoughts running through the valleys of my mind. So many memories. I wondered what memories were to come. I wondered how long my Life Flight would last. I wondered are my best days behind me or are they yet to come.

 

Ride Safe

Ronman

Do you like to camp? Do you like to fish? Do you like to find places  off the beaten path? Do you like good food?  Are you looking for a place to stay that has lots of roads to ride, historic places to visit or just a place to relax?  I have just the place for you.

Located on the banks of the Tennessee river just below Pickwick dam is the Historic Botel. The Botel is a motel that is built on a barge. It’s been around for many years. The place has changed hands several times over the last few years. Some of them really haven’t taken very good care of this hidden gem. Luckily the new owners are correcting that. They are taking the time to renovate the restaurant. The plan is for it to reopen on Friday March 16, 2012.

Speaking of the restaurant. Let me just say I enjoyed some of the best catfish I’ve ever had on my last visit there. I drove my truck camper down a few weeks ago just to relax and visit with some friends a few weeks ago. The buffet had several choices of veggies along with a salad bar. If you leave hungry it’s your own fault. If a buffet isn’t your thing they also have a menu to order from.

I didn’t need hookups so I just camped on the bank of the river. Should you need them, they have hookups. They also have tent camping sites as well. Just beyond my camper in this picture is the boat ramp. You can put in and be fishing in no time. Perhaps you simply want to pleasure boat. Well put in and enjoy a day on the river and come wind down at the Historic Botel.

Close by you have Shiloh National Battlefield to explore. I highly recommend a visit there. Shiloh is one of my favorite places on earth. Perhaps a visit to the Buford Pusser Museum is for you. How about a short drive down to Corinth Mississippi?  Whatever you enjoy I’m certain you will find something to fit your tastes nearby.

Should you want more information on the Historic Botel check out their website at http://www.thehistoricbotel.com. On Facebook you can find them by searching Historic Botel.

Ride Safe

Ronman

The fourth time I spotted the Phantom Hitchhiker I was once again headed north at the 354 mile marker. Once again it was a Friday night / early Saturday morning. For whatever reason that seems to be the only night I spot him.  The last time was unnerving for me. The way he stood and watched me drive past really got to me.

Having spotted this Phantom Hitchhiker several times I’ve started looking around for him when I approach this exit. This particular time I spotted him on the overpass. He was standing directly over the lane I was driving in. He leaned over the guard rail and peered down at me from above. Talk about getting your attention.

There is one other thing that’s come to mind about this Phantom Hitchhiker. Just south of this exit is another exit. Sometimes I stop for a break at a little market there. I’ve been known to take a nap behind this store. Well back last fall one morning I stopped to take a nap and there was someone sitting at the picnic tables between the store and the motel behind it.

I remember thinking it was odd seeing this person sitting there at this time of morning. After taking my nap I noticed the person at the table was staring at me. I believe this was the Phantom Hitchhiker. They were wearing a black hoodie and jeans. I don’t remember them having a backpack. But they were facing me and I didn’t really pay that close attention to them. Strange how they starred at me though.

Until I see this Phantom Hitchhiker again there won’t be anymore posts about him. I may never see him again. We just never know what I’ll see on the road.

Ride Safe,

Ronman

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