Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Wonderful Ride
Six days, nine different states, and just over 2,000 miles.
We headed out on the BigYellowBike last Thursday morning, bound for Hendersonville, NC, to see some good friends and eat a little BBQ. The first day out, we left Michigan, heading southeast through Indiana and crossing the Ohio River near Cincinatti, Ohio. We made it as far as Manchester, Kentucky before stopping for the night.

Friday, Day Two: Kentucky to North Carolina
Friday morning we left Kentucky, and arrived at Gatlinburg, TN, around noon. There we met up with some of our friends from the GL1800riders board and rode over the Smokies to Cherokee, NC, for lunch.

Riding with WimpyHonda, TNCharlie, PidJones and friends on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Directline Parts sponsors our bike forum, and they threw a BBQ at their North Carolina warehouse for any forum members who wanted to attend. We got to see lots of old friends, and meet some new friends. And then, there was this guy...

Our friend Polecat, and some guy in a furry bear suit... Don't know what that was all about.

We had a wonderful time at the BBQ. We've missed the last two years, due to the birth of our grandson in '06 and his first birthday in '07. This year, Grandpa decreed that the second birthday would have to be celebrated another day, because we were not going to miss it again.

Saturday, Day Three: North Carolina to Alabama

We left our motel at 8:00 Saturday morning to ride with a group of our friends to Dillard, Georgia, to eat breakfast at the Dillard House. If you're in the area, you must try this place! Meals are served family-style, so take your big appetite with you.

From left: Glen "BusterCrabbe", Lowell "Snoopy", Scott "Shadowslayer", Boyd "Stroller", Jay "Jay1021", Marian (Jay's wife), Becky and Rich, Ross "5Ross", David "Sailor", and Ralph "Ralph2".

Snoopy's brother, Boyd

Snoopy and son, Scott


Beautiful bikes...
We ate too much and talked a lot, but then it was time to say good-bye and begin the next leg of our trip. Our friends' destinations included South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. Jay & Marian and 5Ross rode with Rich & I through Georgia for a bit. We got in behind a group of riders on Harleys in the North Georgia mountains. One of them had some trouble, and his bike went down just before we rounded a curve. There were a few small parts scattered across the road and the bike was in the ditch, but the rider was up and walking by the time we got there. There were several bikes and a pickup truck stopped to help, so we went on our way. After a beautiful ride, Jay and Ross split off and started for Indiana, and Rich and I continued toward Alabama.

Rich plots our course on the iWay

Saturday evening we arrived in Tuscumbia, Alabama, to spend a wonderful evening with good friends. We know John and William from our forum and chat room, and they came up to visit us last May. It was a great pleasure to meet their wives, Debbie and Nina, for the first time! Mr. William and Ms. Nina welcomed us into their lovely home for the night, fed us, entertained us, and treated us like family. We are truly blessed to know these folks.

Sunday, Day Four: Alabama to Tennessee
After a tasty sausage-and-biscuit breakfast, William presented us with two jars of Ms. Nina's homemade pear preserves. Nina left for church, and William set me on the back of his Valkyrie and rode off with me to Mississippi, with Rich following on the BigYellowBike. We then rode through Tuscumbia, past the birthplace of Helen Keller and through a park with a wondrous fountain synchronized to music before picking John up at his home in Florence.

From there, William and John took us here. This place, known only as "The Wall" is a place of sorrow and gladness, a memorial to a Native American woman called Te-lah-nay, built by her great-great-grandson, Tom Hendrix. This is a special place, deserving of much more than a note in my trip report, and I will write more about it on another day. Suffice it to say that this was one of the highlights of this trip, if not one of the most special places I have ever visited. There is a stone from our home in this wall that was carried by John in the saddlebags of his VTX after his visit to Michigan last May.
Mr. William on his Valkyrie

John and Rich at The Wall

William and John rode with us for a time along the Natchez Trace and into Tennessee, then left us to return home. I hated to see them ride off, but am looking forward to seeing them both again very, very soon.
Rich and I continued on our way, stopping in Clarksville, Tennessee, for the night. Rich plotted our route for the following day in our motel room.

Monday, Day Five: Tennessee to Indiana

A fairly uneventful day...good roads, great weather. We rode all day until we hit Indianapolis. Only three more hours to get home, but after a long day riding, we decided to stop for the night. As it was early, we decided to head into downtown Indy for a bit. We parked the bike on a side street, made a quick stop at Border's, then walked around the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. We've rounded it many times on our trips to Indianapolis, but never stopped to look at it before. We walked for a bit, stopped for a drink at a sidewalk pub, then headed back to the motel.

Tuesday, Day Six: Home again, home

Today was an easy ride through Northern Indiana and home. We stopped at Max Pitt's in Peru, Indiana and looked at a lot of motorcycles. We got home late in the afternoon, spent some time with our son, his girlfriend, and our grandson, went to supper with a friend, and that was the end of our wonderful trip. Good friends, good times, good riding.

Thank you to IWing and RonBien for the pictures I stole...Thank you, Hal, for the wonderful BBQ and the excuse to make this trip...Thank you, thank you, thank you, Nina, William, Debbie and John, for the wonderful hospitality.

We arrived back home on Tuesday afternoon, tired but happy and looking forward to our next ride. We'd never traveled on the bike in Georgia, before, and had never been in Alabama or Mississippi at all. Now our "States Visited" map looks like this:

Free, personalized travel maps at

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