Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 6 – Wednesday, June 15, 2011 - Headed West: From The Tail of The Dragon to Muscle Shoals, AL

Bloody Mary Morning
This day consisted of waking up, getting ready, packing, mixing a bloody mary, and watching the weather forecast, since it was our last day at the retreat and we were headed west. The rain appeared imminent and it appeared like we were going to get wet, but with excellent meteorology skills and supreme intuition, we avoided it - for the most part. We went to Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, yet again, but this time for some last minute souvenirs as well as a bit of breakfast. If you are ever in the area, their biscuits are excellent!

Cheoah Dam (The Fugitive)
Once getting our bags even more filled, we directed the bikes towards the Cheoah Dam, which is the location where Harrison Ford was filmed jumping from in the movie, "The Fugitive." Matter of fact, there were a few spots in the area we visited that the directors used for that movie as well. The day was bittersweet. On one hand, we planned to leave the mountains. On the other hand, to get out, we were forced to take the Cherohola Skyway towards Tellico Plains, Tennessee. That was the most scenic, however not yet travelled, route to Chattanooga. We chose the path for a couple of reasons... First being a different route than how we arrived. Second, all the heavy rainstorms appeared to be around the Nashville area and headed to Knoxville. So, south it was. Highway 64 out of Chattanooga Tennessee looked attractive, from a motorcyclist’s point of view. However, the storms crept along that route, so we opted for a more southern route. After hitting it pretty hard, in order to get to the south side of a west-to-east storm, we found a good stopping point named Bar B Q Corral in Ringgold Georgia. It was time for lunch anyway. There isn’t anything like going to Georgia for lunch, right?

We covered the bikes up and went inside. Kathy was tired of BBQ, so she opted for a BLT sandwich. It has the same amount of letters as BBQ, but vastly different to the pallet. The rest of us chose a BBQ sandwich of some type. They come with slaw on the sandwich, but I got mine to the side. We noticed a break in the storm system rolling through, so we headed back in to Tennessee (for about the 6th time this day) and over to Alabama via 72 hwy. We didn't make it far into the "Yelowhammer" state before the rain showed up again. Since we needed gas, we pulled off near Bridgeport at a BP station. This place was a mini Bass Pro or Cabela’s-like store. They were a gas station, convenience store, and outfitter all in one. They even had stuffed animals there, which included a coyote, deer, and even a lion. We waited there for around 20 minutes, then made our way to Huntsville.

Budweiser friends
at The Furniture Factory
It started getting pretty warm, so Huntsville was an agreed stop to wet our whistles. After traipsing through the great city, we landed near a bar that Kathy picked out via GPS, called Partners. It didn't open until 5:00 PM, so we chose to go next door to The Furniture Factory Bar and Grill. What a score! But before I completely gave up on Partners, I felt compelled to find out a little bit more about it... after a quick Google search, we found Partners to be an alternate lifestyle establishment. The owners, both obvious women, who plainly enjoy an occasional softball game and heavy man bashing, informed us of the opening time. We politely left and didn't turn back. Now don’t get me wrong. I am a diverse and very accepting white male who happens to be heterosexual. I don’t look at being gay as a choice, but as what is born in to a person. Like most heterosexual men, I even sometimes think about… wait, that is enough, back to The Furniture Factory...

As it turned out, there were 7 or so Budweiser reps buying rounds of Budweiser for willing patrons. Coincidence had it, they were buying and we were willing! After just a couple Budweisers, we headed westward towards the Muscle Shoals and Florence area to find a landing spot for the night. Kathy and I wanted to try and make Memphis, since Wednesday nights are bike nights. However, it wasn't meant to be, since that was roughly another three hours away and we were done for the day. Ronnie was a little disheartened too, since he wasn't going to be able to show off his bluish-purple Honda Goldwing, but he got over it. We found a landing spot at Days Inn in Muscle Shoals. Since rain and severe storms were imminent, yet again, the manager even offered to let us house our bikes under the entryway to the check in office. We humbly accepted.

Once we unpacked for the night, we asked the manager for a good location to eat within walking distance. She suggested a mexican restaurant "just up tha streeeet a ways" called Rancho Viejo. In the rain, 1/2 mile is longer than "just up tha streeeet a ways." Especially when you have to walk back, stuffed. We thought about a taxi and even asked our severely hispanic sever. She did not understand english much and it was obvious she had no idea what a taxi was, so we walked. All was good on this day as well. We headed in for the night, not needing Lysol or any other cleaning agent to ready our room with.

Some revelations for this sixth leg of the road trip:
  • Budweiser is partnering with Folds of Honor and providing $0.05 per case of their signature lager (only Budweiser heavy) sold this summer to go to the FHF. Nice.
  • What did people ever do without cell phones with weather radar ability? Got wet, that’s what they did!
  • Getting around Chattanooga with a heavy storm barreling down at 60 mph towards you makes for some interesting scenery and lunch somewhere other than Tennessee.
  • American breakfast in North Carolina + BBQ lunch in Georgia + Mexican dinner in Alabama = awesome day for food. Yeah food!
  • 350 miles this day - give or take – click here our general route.

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