Monday, June 6, 2011

Quest III, Part I: A Journey Begun...Rain, the Waffle House, & Exit 95...But No Chainsaw

When I take off with my son on one of these quests, we generally are preoccupied with the trip to and from wherever it is we are going.  This trip was a lot different, because once we got to our destination we were going to ride within the area we traveled to.

In the end, we rode 1875 miles.  We rode across seven states: Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and did a short bit in Georgia.  While in Tennessee we rode: the Tail of the Dragon, Moonshiner's 28, the Devil's Triangle, Thunder Mountain, Diamond Back and part of the Cherohala Skyway.  It was all outstanding.  Every one of these roads was fun and had its own challenges that were unique.
We took off at about 10 AM on Wednesday, May 18.  The first hundred or so miles were a shakedown for the bikes.  Neither my son nor I had carried so much stuff in our saddlebags before and this was the first trip I took on board the Valkyrie.  We stopped several times just to rearrange things and make ourselves more comfortable.  We adjusted highway pegs and moved the saddlebags on my son's bike several times in order to get them in a good location. In Kendallville, Indiana, we were going to stop at Hayden Honda.

Hayden is a huge dealership and I have heard from many Honda owners that the service they provide is worth the drive to get there.  We started out looking for some clamps for my son's highway pegs but ended up buying a new universal set for his bike.  We took some time to put them on and then mounted up head south again.

Going through Indianapolis was not too bad even though it was close to rush hour.  As the day wore on, more and more dark clouds started to roll in.  Somewhere close to the Ohio border, the bottom fell out.  We pulled underneath an overpass and put our rain gear on.  This was the first time the new rain suits had been worn.  The gear fit fine and kept both of us dry as we continued to press and a southeasterly direction.

This was the first time I had ridden in a steady rain at highway speed.  The worst part was the rain smearing the visor on my helmet.  My son figured out that if you held your head upward the wind would actually below the rain off the visor.  I tried it and it worked.  The rain was mostly just steady and it actually slowed down by the time we were riding for a few miles.

Pulling into the hotel in Florence, Kentucky, we were lucky enough to be allowed to park our bikes under the awning.  Of all the hotels I have stayed at while riding, I have yet to run into one that would not allow me to park up near the door.   I do appreciate that courtesy.
We slept a little late the next morning but were on the road after breakfast at the Waffle House.  I have yet to find a single Waffle House in Michigan so whenever I travel south I make a point to eat there as much as possible.  My son and I both love the hash browns: scattered, covered, smothered, and diced.

At exit number 95, on Highway 75 we pulled off to meet KyChick.  She is a fellow rider who lives in the area.  She was nice enough to drive from where she lived all the way to the exit we were passing by just to meet with us, share a soda, and say hello.  What a nice lady and loved that Kentucky accent!  On the road, you meet the best people. 

After that stop, we continued to cruise southward until we reached Tallassee, Tennessee.  We had rented a room in a cabin there for the next three days.  The only problem was, when we got there no one else was around.  Taking a chance, I reached up above the door and found the key on the ledge, opened the door, and walked on in. 

We searched the whole house for signs of anyone who might be staying there and found none.  Since we were both a bit tired from riding, my son and I sat and watched TV for a bit.  After a little while, I was getting a little antsy, concerned that we might be in the wrong place.  I have seen a lot of slasher movies over the years and a lot of them start with people wandering into places that appear to be okay then suddenly turn sinister… so, I decided we should leave and come back later.  We leathered up and headed for the door.

As we walked out, the other folks we were sharing the cabin with arrived.  Which was much better than a guy wearing a hockey mask and toting a chainsaw; well at least It was a lot friendlier.


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