Thursday, September 24, 2015

Riding all 95 Tennessee Counties

Well its done all 95 Tennessee Counties have been ridden.  It was one heck of a ride about 4000 miles.  It started in March and over a series of weekends finally ended in September.  Actually I never intended to ride all of them.  I thought I could win the free service from the local Harley Ownership Group (HOG) with 30 or 40.  But I had some competition from a fellow Tuckessee Chapter  member that pushed me to do it.  

It was an incredible ride in scenery and the wealth of knowledge gained.  Don't get me wrong I had a lot of WTF moments, but it is something that no one can ever take away from me. We have a beautiful state,  rich in the history of the birth of our great nation and the history that almost tore it apart.   Tennessee is a great diverse place to live and it's getting better everyday.   My wife Terri was also a big inspiration.  She rides a softail slim and rode all but 20 counties with me.  It was a fun time with her.

In riding my motorcycle from Memphis to Bristol there was never a moment that I didn't feel safe.  It was a incredible run. So I challenge everyone get out there and ride, learn about the place that you live and call home.  There will be a time in your life that you wish that you did.  Don't let any place in America scare you. I don't plan to have any regrets and I hope you don't either.

Friday, September 11, 2015

A Quick Run to Memphis

I have been to Memphis many times.   It is a great town, a unique Southern American city.   Seen the Grizzlies beat up on the Thunder in the FEDEX Arena.  I have been to Beale Street, listened to the Blues at the original BB King's Blues Club.  Heart-wrenching Blues imported from the Mississippi Delta.  Howled at the moon near the Mississippi in sight of Mud Island.  Know the history of STAX Records and all of the great music that comes from this city; music that brought black and white together.

Been to the hotel where Martin Luther King was shot and the room where he died, personally a very moving experience.    So riding my motorcycle on the streets of Memphis has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time. The same streets where Elvis road his Electra Glide.

My younger son was coming back from a month long motorcycle journey from Chattanooga to Seattle, and I had 4 counties in West Tennessee to ride.  So I was off to meet my son to ride home with him.   A quick run to Memphis and back to see my son finish his 3000-mile odyssey.

So I'm off at 6 in the morning.  After stopping at 3 other county courthouses before arriving at the Shelby County Courthouse, two blocks from the Mississippi shortly before noon.   My mission is almost complete with 78 of 94 Tennessee counties ridden.  I leave Memphis and meet my son in the Dyersburg soon after he enters the state.

It was great to see him sitting on a park bench as I rode up.  It was a good feeling knowing that I'd be with him on the final leg of his journey.  So we're off to Clarksville and get home shortly before 6 PM. The steak dinner cooked on the home grill tasted good.  We were all happy that he is home.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Tennessee Lost Highway's: Highway 31 and 63 the Roads to Sneedville TN

Sometimes a road captures your soul and then sometimes it scares you out of it.  I have ridden some curves in my lifetime, both the Tail of the Dragon, in the mountains of West Virginia, and a lot of places in between.  But the roads in and out of Sneedville are something I will always remember.   After finishing Terri and I agreed much more difficult than Tail of the Dragon.

After leaving Rogersville on US Highway 11W, you take a right on Tennessee Highway 31, the road to Sneedville.  This winding road climbs over Clinch Mountain.  The views from the switchbacks are breathtaking.  On the descent, you are dropping into the Caney River Valley.  You then ride through a small mountain gap.  Once crossing the  Cinch, you arrive in the backwater town of Sneedville.

As if Highway 31 wasn't enough Tennessee Highway 63 will surprise you.  The large trucks are not recommended sign should have been a warning.  The very steep winding ascent was most unusual for a paved state highway.  For the 1st mile, it was mostly 1st gear to negotiate the steep uphill turns. Once getting into Mulberry Gap, you think that it's over with until the descent into the Mulberry Creek Valley.

Getting down to the Valley you would think the road would straighten out a bit, but it doesn't.  Negotiating the winding road while following Mulberry Creek with dozens of blind curves is challenging.  After making a left onto 345, we rejoin US Highway 25E at Tazewell for the trip through the Cumberland Gap and home.

This road should be a motorcycle destination an incredible ride both in scenery and a test of your technical riding ability.  The Tennessee Lost Highways gives you what you need.