Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tennesse, Tennesse, ain't no place I would rather be,,,

On route from Hendersonville, NC to Savannah, TN, there were several points of interest and unique moments.

  • Ordering a adapter for the heated vest from the side of the road. I always find it amusing to search the Internet and place an order from the side of the road, as trucks are barreling by,
  • Passed Oak Ridge, TN, home of nuclear device development…a place of sorted history. hoping the wind was not blowing my way. From a highway bridge I could see a series of enormous smoke stacks above some kind of plant. Across the river were several vacation houses. Like these were weekend getaway houses, each with a boat dock. I could only imagine the owners sitting on their dock at sunset with drink in hand…looking at towering smoke stack across the river.
  • Seeing a sign for “Mud Sink, TN”, it gave me a good laugh.
  • Getting passed by a cherry red Lotus.  I loved that car since I was 10 years old.
  • See the sign for Sandy Hill, the manufacturing plant for the Saturn car, now gone.
  • Getting stopped speeding at the base of a steep hill, 10 miles from my brother and sister-in-laws place. I explained that I was trying to catch up to another driver, that I was following him as a “guide” because I’m not from around here…  The policeman asked if I had “any citations.” I politely replied, “I’m 53 years old, I have gotten speeding tickets...nothing recent” He checked for open “wants and warrants.”  After asking about the motorcycle and my sharing my final destination, he cut me loose.
Rick and Elaina lived half of the year on a sail boat and the other half in a motor coach. Now they live on a 7 acre farm in rural Tennessee. “We did it on the water, now we’re gonna do it in the dirt.” Rick sold me his 1987 K75 BMW back in 2006. This bike took me from New Jersey to Costa Rica in 2008-2009. I named the bike AMEGA, the feminine in Spanish for “friend.” For the current trip a bike better suited for off road riding was in order, enter the 2012 BMW F800GS, named Nostrumo. Rick bought a Harley Davison…I don’t think he even gave she a name. I tease him, saying he went from a BMW to a HD, that he is a recidivist. That would not really be the right word. One might say that he de-evolved. He always wanted one and their reputation has improved, so who am I to judge. I have close friends that ride Harleys.  =)

It’s hard to get Rick and Elaina off the farm. They have a host of animals: 3 dogs, a cat, Guinea hens, chickens, ducks, 2 or 3 little pigs, 2 steer and a calf (I may be forgetting some animals or have some counts slightly off…) They keep farmers hours, rising with the sun and going to bed fairly early. I arrived somewhere after 10:30 PM and kept them up till 1:30 AM.  The next day I got a tour of their farm and their many projects. Moss doesn’t gather on a rolling stone. With all of their projects there is no chance they will ever lack for something to do.

Cross Country PIAA light were recently moved over from the K75 to the F800GS. One of them wasn’t working, but I had a spare. This was the first opportunity to install the back-up light. The installation of the light required more time than expected, but it was worth it. Now I have one less thing to worry about and one less object in my bags.

 Rick helped me install a round disk to make the base of the kick stand larger. This is very useful when trying to park the bike on sandy soil or on gravel.  My friend Salvador from Maplewood, New Jersey provided the disk. It was part from the compressor of an air conditioner. Thanks Rick and Sal!

The day I left Rick and Elaina ask if I wanted to see lumberjacks that “snake” logs out of the woods with mules. We rode a little further up their road to a nursery, then into the woods.  The guys were just finishing loading the truck with the trees cut that morning. Using mules is less destructive to the forest and they cut trees selectively, not clear cutting everything in their path. This approach is the green method and the old tradition way of pulling lumber of the hills. The gentleman on the left is 76 years old and the skills are being learned by the young man on the left.

Once a tree is in place, it is flung into the truck.

Elaina rode one of the mules out of the woods.

The load looks precarious, but the owner said, “I haven’t lost one yet.”

 The goal was to get to Little Rock, Arkansas by the end of the night. It occurred to me that Memphis, Tennessee was on my route and I had never been to Graceland, Elvis Presley’s mansion and museum. 

Next stop, Memphis, TN.

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