I could have started this out with a cheesy “Sweet Home Alabama” reference. After all we are in Alabama in a small town called Athens. In fact I typed Athens in Google Maps and it took me to Athens, Georgia. That was quite a shock since it is about 270 miles from where we actually are. We would still be riding in the heat of the South if I chose the wrong Athens.
The first order of every day is to find breakfast. We struggle with that sometimes. A small diner would fill the bill perfectly but it’s hard to search for something like that on Google Maps or on the TomTom GPS that we use. Across the street was something that may have satisfied my morning craving for food but that idea was vetoed by the chairman of our travelling group – my wife. I will never know if it truly sold the “Best Donuts”.
The departure today was slightly earlier than yesterday. The total route today was 238 miles along 2 lane highways through Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama. After much discussion and some soul serching, the route was changed to take advantage of the Interstate network of highways. The trick would be to avoid Nashville.
The interstates were still several miles from where we were so we stuck to the 2-lane plane until we found the perfect breakfast diner – NOT. I surrendered and pulled in to Shoney’s after a 50 mile jaunt. There was nothing picture worthy at Shoney’s and to top it all off the crane machine was broken. Ugh!
After some parade laps we found I-840 West which would lead us to I-65 South and we could cruise on “back home”. By the way a “parade lap” is what happens when my route is flawed and I drive around the same block a few times trying to get straightened out. In this case it almost was a real parade lap as people were lining the streets getting ready for the 4th of July celebration. (Insert fireworks and marching bands here.)
The end of the could not come soon enough. We rode through a few very light sprinkles and a couple of areas where it had recent rained and left the roadway wet. Another day with no rainsuits. I ended up with only a bad case of “helmet hair” from the 96 degrees in Tennessee and Alabama.
Being hot, tired, and a little bit “fragrant”, dinner was not a big priority. Problem was staring us right in the face is one of our favorite places – Applebee’s. You can see in the picture below how close it was. Our bikes are parked at our room door.
If you don’t really care much about motorcycles, the next few lines may bore you. I did make a couple of changes to my Harley Davidson Low Rider for this trip. I added a “batwing” fairing which is made by Memphis Shades. It was painted by a friend of mine – Lamper Customs. The fairing provided just what I was looking for in wind protection. The other change I made was a purely reversible one – I increased the preload on the rear shock from level 3 to level 4. This turned out to make the bike a lot more bump foregiving when loaded up with all my belongings. Both of these were positive changes (not my usual outcome).
Closing thoughts – “never is a long time”. I am more convinced than ever that long distance motorcycle touring may be over for me. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. The searing heat, wind resistance, and the crazy “cell phone in hand” people have made this type of touring pretty uncomfortable. I really don’t like cooking my body in 96 degrees, dodging maniacs, and potholes and road construction. It may be a little too soon to say “never again” but that day is not too far distant.
For now, I’m still rambling. Thanks again for reading along.
One thought on “Cooking Again”
I hear you brother. Stay cool and safe.