Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Day Four: The Devil's Triangle

Day Four: The Devil’s Triangle
Al had heard that the roads for The Devil’s Triangle (http://devilstriangletn.com/) weren’t so great and we had taken it off of our ride list. No sense in doing a route that the roads suck. But, after talking more, he heard that they redid them. And, while we were on our ride on Saturday, someone told us do definitely do the Devil’s Triangle and the roads are great – just watch out for the gravel right past the prison.



With Mike and Susan not getting to Knoxville until about noon, we head out to do this ride. Up 140, turns into 162, which turns into 62 in Oak Ridge over to Oliver Springs. And then we needed to get on 61, but missed that turn. My map didn’t make it clear that there was an extra turn. Then right onto XX to do the Devil’s Triangle (we’re doing it clockwise on this ride). Stopped at a gas station on the way (they sell t-shirts there and if you need gas, get it because it’s over 40 miles to the next gas station). Stop at the Brushy Mountain State Prison (it’s closed and the gates were closed so we didn’t really get to see much – they say that is where James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., stayed. He escaped in 1977, but they got him back a couple of days later).







The Devil’s Triangle is a lot of fun. It has really interesting turns and “rolls” and switchbacks. A lot more elevation than Tail of the Dragon. It’s not as well marked with yellow signs as Tail, but pretty good. They tend to put one sign and then not follow up with others in a section. There also are very few guardrails. Like Al had heard, sometimes we’re riding through “Deliverance” home areas and farmland, with their Confederate flags flying. There isn’t a lot of traffic on the road, which is nice with all of the turns and twists.

Note: my camera memory was full, having been trying to video a lot of this. Why there are limited photos here.

On the map is a section titled “Triple Switchback.” Yep, that’s exactly what it is. And no guardrails. Probably not my favorite part of the ride, since they were also downhill (I like uphill more than downhill – probably because I’m not a big fan of heights). At the end of the Triple Switchbacks, there’s a store, Al’s Market. Unfortunately, it’s closed. This is the “haunted” section of the ride, according to my map. We stop at the store. A group of bikers stop afterwards and we chat with them. Jealous because when they pulled up to the prison, someone came and unlocked the gate and let them in. They say it’s going to be turned into a tourist attraction with a bar and restaurant. That’d be cool.

The Devil's Triangle ride is complete. We find that Mike and Susan are at the house and we could meet them somewhere for lunch and do a little more riding. We decide on Golden Girls (wow, they don’t have a website), a southern cuisine place. Chicken fried steak all around, except for me (chicken tenders).


After Mike and Susan catch up and eat, we decide to check out Norris Dam in Lake City, Tennessee. Pretty nice ride, again, nice roads. And, we were able to cross over the dam. We then circle back and to the part of the Devil's Triangle that would have completed the circle (but technically not part of the dam). This part of the ride was definitely pretty simple, but nice. 

Back to the house to get ready for our ride on Monday for Labor Day. 

Day Three: Ride the Tail of the Dragon


Al & Eileen haven’t done the Tail of the Dragon (http://tailofthedragon.com/)  yet. They’ve only had their trike a little bit and have been getting used to it. They’ve put “disco lights” on it. Cup holders. New pipes. New windshield. Etc., etc. More in a month than we’ve even thought of with ours!
We picked a ride that include Tail, plus 28, back up to 129 (there is a part of this that we haven’t done – that includes the dam from the Fugitive – Tony and I like seeing moving sites) then back down 129 over to the Cherohala Parkway (we can’t pronounce it and Tony calls it Chernobyl, and I call it Cheerios) and then back up to home. That’s the game plan. We gas up, grab a bite at McDonalds and off we go, stopping at the Harley Davidson dealership (http://harleydragon.com/ ) right outside the Tail for a pee break.





The Tail of the Dragon is much more enjoyable the second time. We don’t have crutches, we don’t have a chair, and we aren’t loaded up with everything we need for Ashville cabins. Tony and I head out first, then Al and Eileen. Want to make sure they go as fast, or as slow, as they want. 318 turns in 11 miles is a lot. Tony goes a lot fast this time since he’s more comfortable and there isn’t as much weight on the bike. It’s really not that “big of a deal” now that we’ve done it. And, as I read on a blog earlier, getting the Tail done before 11 am is key (we started out around 9 am) before the traffic picks up in both directions.

And then I hear “I think we lost a bell.” (we have two bells on our bike – one that Al & Eileen got us and one that Mike got us when Tony lost his other bell – you aren’t supposed to buy your own). That’s not a good thing since your bell is supposed to protect you from bad things. [Note to self: read up on the bell story.]

And then not a minute later, I hear, “I think we lost our back brakes.”

Tony slowed down for the rest of the Dragon. While there isn’t a lot of elevation, there are a lot of curves. And around the curves there aren’t many guard rails. No back brakes, lots of curves, no guard rails – not good.

We get down to the end of the Dragon without incident to Deal’s Gap (doesn’t have a repair place, but you can buy t-shirts and stuff). Al & Eileen made it down shortly after us. New game plan: there is a repair shop on 129, Wheelers (http://www.wheelersperformance.com/ ), and we can take it there. Means bypassing some of the route, but avoids us having to redo Tail of the Dragon with bad brakes.






Off we go. The Cheoah dam is more impressive in the movie “The Fugitive” with Harrison Ford than in person. Tony thinks that his brakes are feeling better and may have just overheated (something to that affect since I don’t know car/motorcycle terminology) and we don’t really need to stop. We pull over anyway to tell Al & Eileen at Wheelers (gets a lot of business we think – and may have been a really long wait, and possibly expensive).

Off we head to the Cherohala Parkway, it’s about a 50-mile ride and has plenty of curves and elevation. And, it’s chilly. The first stop is only 2000+ in elevation, but it’s going to get to over 5000+. We read about the flying squirrel posts on a sign at our first stop. They can’t fly across the parkway, so they’ve installed these telephone pole looking things so they can fly from one pole to the next (no, we didn’t see any squirrels, but we saw the posts). Nature note: flying squirrels only live at high elevations, which is why they live here.
See those telephone-looking poles. Those are for the flying squirrels.



The North Carolina roads on this ride are in better condition than the Tennessee side, but all in all, pretty nice and smooth ride. Al & Eileen are getting the hang of all of these curves and keeping up (kinda). On my map (yes, the paper kind) shows a deli towards the end of the road, in Tellico Plains, Kat’s Deli (http://tellicokats.com/). We stop there for lunch. It’s nothing special, really small, and the service is pretty slow. But, if you’re not packing a lunch, that’s pretty much it. We enjoy it sitting alongside of a creek.

When it's sunny, always good to have a towel to keep your seat cool.

And then we gas up at the Shell, after getting stuck behind some sort of “Amish” parade (horses and carriages) and head towards Smokey Mountain Harley – we’re going to see if they can look at the brakes and get them fixed late on Friday, so that we don’t have to worry about them on the rest of the trip. The ride to the dealer is relaxing. Weird that you’re riding in hills, then come across lakes with people jet skiing next to farmland.




We get to the dealer and they take us! Have a couple of beers. They are getting set up for a concert that evening. We’re supposed to go, but being at the dealership for a couple of hours, we sent Al & Eileen home while we waited. And then when we got home, bailed on the concert. It was a long day. But, we found out that we only burned out the brake oil and a flush job fixed it. No new pads needed. We’re good to go (and they accidentally did the front brakes as well so we’re even better).

Day Two: Road to Knoxville (continued)


In the morning, we head out to find a Home Depot in Trussville to “rig the trailer lights” back. Found a Lowe’s first and bought wire and reflector tape. Tony and I (I played helper) rewired the one remaining fender in the parking lot. Success. While we only have one light, it works. And the reflector tape helps as well. Hopefully if we get pulled over, the cop will take pity on us. Besides, we see lots of trailers on the road without any working lights. Note: if you have to work on a bike in a parking lot, a Lowe’s isn’t a bad place. Lots of helpful people, and nice people. One even told us that the Harley dealership was right down the road from us if we needed more help.

Back on the road. Up through Tuscaloosa, then Chattanooga, then Al & Eileen’s house. We make it. Unpack. Tony and I have “reserved” the basement bedroom, right next to the bar. Perfect!
Kat and Molly meet and it’s pretty uneventful.

Unload our bike. And then head for a quick ride for a late lunch/dinner and to Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson (http://www.smh-d.com/ ) so that Al can put a new windshield on his bike. This Harley dealer is pretty impressive and big (I didn’t go last trip since I was on crutches). They have a bar/restaurant called The Shed, with good pulled pork sandwiches. Mac ‘n cheese and macaroni salad not bad either. This trip will definitely warrant a diet when we return!

Mike and Susan don’t get to Knoxville until Sunday, so Saturday we’re going to do our own trip with Al & Eileen – it’ll include a return to the Tail of the Dragon.

NOTE: It is December and I'm sitting in my hotel room in Phoenix finally looking to publish this trip. This write up was done back in September. Since this trip, we found that at Home Depot we could have purchased a trailer light kit and it would have made this much easier. They are in a weird aisle, but wanted to make that note (http://www.homedepot.com).

Day One: Road to Knoxville

Thursday morning, we got loaded up (including Kat, who we decided would make the trip with us. Al and Eileen have Molly, a rather crazy/shy dog. Figured they may, or may not, get along) and on the road. This time, heading 20 through Louisiana, Mississippi, then up through Alabama to Knoxville. It will be a good route, or one we regret.

First stop was quick and at Buc-ee’s in Terrell (https://www.buc-ees.com/index.php ) to see what the deal was with this “truckstop, but for cars only.” It’s HUGE. They sell everything from candy to crawfish boilers. To beef jerky and all kinds of stuff that you don’t need. We bought breakfast tacos (not that great) and on we went.

It’s really a pretty easy start to the drive.

Until we got to Shreveport. Interstate 20 through Shreveport is AWFUL. Bumpy, bumpy. More bumps (you get it). We’re rounding a corner and HUGE bump. I happen to be looking through the mirror and … there goes the right fender off the trailer. Straight off and up in the air. Bye-bye. We exit (at a not very good place to exit) and pull into an alley-like road to check things out. Yep, it’s gone. No getting it back.

So, off we go, stopping outside of Monroe to grab lunch on the go (Burger King – forgot that their burgers are drippier to eat in the truck). In Birmingham, we decide to stop and gas up before moving on. At this point, we’re not making great time. It seems that every stop loses us 30 minutes and we’re not terribly efficient with our stops. And, we had some rain that slowed things down for a bit.
That’s when Tony checks the trailer and bikes (Note: Yet again, we’re not in a very good place to exit. There’s a lot of iffy characters – one kept pulling his shirt up and peed on their truck). Well, fender number two (the one with the license plate) is completely lose and just sitting on the tire -- big surprise it’s still there. It’s getting dark. This is not good. We look up hotels that are pet friendly in Birmingham (not near this exit because I don’t want to stay anywhere near here). We’re going to have to stay the night. Driving a trailer without any lights – not a smart thing. We’ll figure something out in the morning.

Holiday Inn Express (we stayed at the one in Birmingham-Irondale, on top of a steep hill with a view of Sam’s Club) it is. Not bad. Not great. I hate that they charge an extra $35 for a dog, but can’t do anything about it. Kat’s better this time in a hotel room because we brought her bed. The remote in the room doesn’t work and they can’t find a replacement (don’t stay in room 203 in case they haven’t fixed it).  The woman at the front desk was very helpful and apologetic and we tried new batteries, but no luck.

Hope for the best in the morning. Tony and I have definitely had our adventures to and from trips with this trailer.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Returning to Knoxville

In a week, Tony and I will be back on the road to Knoxville. Sans crutches this time. Hopefully without any injuries and incidents. This time, we're trailer-ing the Route 20 to 59 to 75 route to Knoxville, heading through Louisiana and Alabama and then up to Tennessee. As I was looking at a map, realized how close we'll be to Atlanta.

Because I didn't get to do my Michigan golf trip, realizing that 13 rounds of golf in a week only 6 weeks after knee surgery wasn't going to cut it, we quickly started looking at dates to go back to Knoxville.

Right now, we're trying to plan out the trip. Al and Eileen bought a trike, pretty much the week after we left last time. Mike and Susan are coming along as well. Base camp will be at Al and Eileen's in Knoxville.

A folder is started and looking at dates. The challenge is that we'll be there over Labor Day weekend, causing more traffic on the roads we want to visit. Which means probably fewer bear sighting opportunities.

* Tail of the Dragon: this is a must. And, we think we missed the end of the tail last time.
* I want to cross Kentucky off my "States I've Ridden" list (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Tennessee, North Carolina), and think that a ride to and around Cumberland Falls (the "Niagara of the South") may be the ticket.
* Eileen sent a ride to Cades Cove (between Marysville and Gatlinberg), an 11-mile route with lots of wildlife (BEARS!) -- https://smokymountains.com/drives/cades-cover
* Devil's Triangle: now we're not sure of this, since we heard that part of the road isn't in great shape.

Looking forward to a crutchless experience this time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Lessons learned from crutches

I know I’m not the only one who has been on crutches. And I keep hearing Tony talk about the years at a time he’s been on crutches (in Germany, on ski slopes, up hills at concerts – you get the picture). I’ve learned some things during my time:

1    1. Adjust your crutches and the readjust as needed. This is not the time to lie about your height.
2.      Doors are evil (except the automatic ones). They are inconsistent and have no logic (e.g. some push, some pull; some are heavy, some are light). It helps to have a butt to get in and out of doors. Don’t even think about going near a revolving door.
3.      After a couple of days of being on crutches, your armpit areas will be really sore. And you would prefer to walk on your bad leg than use the crutches. You would prefer to crawl than use the crutches. 
4.      Underwire bras and crutches are not friends. While dealing with the digging into your arm pits, add the digging into your armpits AND into your underwire bra.
5.      Floors are slippery. Especially gas station floors.
6.      Those elevator doors that you think open and close too slowly? They are perfect.
7.      The handicap bathroom you could use because it’s vacant. Don’t. It’s great with crutches and I never thought I’d show disdain for someone who doesn’t need to use the handicap stall use the handicap stall.
8.      Running floorboards on a truck/SUV are a necessity. If not, a bucket of some sort may be needed to get in (out is easier).
9.      Carrying anything, especially a liquid, probably won’t go well.
10.   You may not know it, but you put your clothes on the same way everyday. Who thought that changing the first leg, second leg to get into clothes would be an issue. It is.
11.   Your nightstand is definitely not big enough.
12.   Bathing is a challenge and should not be done unattended. While you may make it in, you may not make it out.
13.   Grocery stores are BIG. HUGE.
14.   Amazon Prime is more amazing than ever.
15.   Stairs. Try not to use them. But, if they are carpeted, using your butt and arms to scooch up and down is perfectly acceptable. Even in public.
16.   If you’re used to wearing heels to work, and pants, your pants will be way too long to wear. You don’t want to wear heels with crutches. They probably would in Sex in the City – that’s a TV show, not reality.
17.   You will learn how to moderate your beverage intake. The more you drink, the more you’ll have to pee, and the more you’ll have to use your crutches.
18.   If you’re wearing Harley gear, someone will ask if you did it on the bike.
19.   All of the stuff you usually carry around without an issue (e.g. phone). It’s an issue.
       20 .Feel free to ask for help even if it’s not something you’d normally do.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Thursday: Asheville to Knoxville (heading west)

Thursday morning I got up early (as usual) and started a fire in the fireplace. Tony got up and cooked ALL of the breakfast stuff we had left. Enough for 10 people. And then he had most (all) of the work to do to get us ready to leave and head back to Knoxville while I sat around. That meant cleaning up the cabin and throwing trash, etc. out. Packing up our stuff. Loading up the bike, including strapping down the crutches (we realize that we don't have any pictures of the crutches on the bike). It's cold, and it's going to be a cold day. They say snow in the mountains. And rain. Our original route -- Blue Ridge Parkway to 441 to go through the Smokies, then Gaitlinburg and Pidgeon Hole before heading to Al & Eileen's -- needed to be changed and we elected to go I-40. Lots of semis, but only about 130 miles to Knoxville. Wearing rain gear, off we go. Well, little incident getting me on the bike. 35 miles down the road it starts pouring and we pull off and go into a BP station to warm up and dry off and hope for it to stop. My helmet has a shield so it's not as bad as Tony's half helmet. And his goggles keep fogging up, making it really hard to ride in the rain. And, with all of the semis, and the curvy road that is I-40, riding in the rain isn't pleasant. It's downright miserable. And, there really aren't any bail off routes on this trip unless we want to head back West along the Smokies (where there is snow). So, we hang out at the BP for a while, until it looks like it's stopped and the radar kinda looks clear for a while. There was this nice woman who said if she had her truck, she would have loaded us on it and taken us with her. And said it a few times. There are some nice people in this world.
Rain stop at gas station
We just want to keep progressing towards Knoxville, even if it's only 35 miles at a time. We're about 10 miles down the road (for reference, the BP station is Exit 20 -- you'll need to know this later) and it starts pouring again. There's a 45 mph sign for a road shift coming up. Tony decides that his goggles are too fogged up and exits Exit 7. Nothing on Exit 7... But the entrance back on to I-40 West is closed. We're going to have to head BACK east in order to exit to head back west. In the pouring rain. We go through a tunnel and make it to the rest area. I go inside (it's a really nice visitor center and they were helping two ladies find pamphlets to the Billy Graham museum). Back on the bike, in the rain. There is an exit 15 (I think to Fine's Creek or Fine's Landing, or something) that we pull off again at and sit under the overpass. Tony's talking about us dying. It's freezing. It's raining. We decide to try and find a town. There is no town, but we pull up to a heifer farm with a nice house. The barn door is cracked open and I want to go inside, uninvited. Tony doesn't. He's ranting and raving and I lose it. I didn't care, and I was about to have a Rainman moment ("One minute to Wapner" https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp9AClR8qCY) and throw a fit outside the farmhouse across the street to get inside. A man came out of another house and obviously didn't have a care about us in the pouring rain, on a Harley, with crutches bungee corded to the back. Told us Maggie's whatever would be the best place to head since there is no town in this Fine's place. This exit is five miles down the to road, east. Note that we are at exit 15.  Yes, we made it to exit 20, back to the BP, again. It's Groundhog Day. All over again. We are cold. We are miserable. We are thinking about heading to this Maggie's place and getting a room and quitting for the day. Tony calls Al and says he doesn't think we're going to make it. A gentleman in the BP tells us that it's only about 30 miles to Newport, the next town west and they have a hotel. Nothing much until then. And then only about 80 miles to Knoxville. I call the Peabody Hotel (www.peabodymemphis.com) to cancel since that's about 24 hours away and we don't know when we're going to get to Knoxville, so it's hard to predict when we're going to get to Memphis. You would think that a classy hotel like the Peabody would be all about customer service. Not so much. Unfortunately I was too cold and stressed to do my normal routine when I call -- ask for the person's name I am speaking with. Yes, you see a story coming here. The woman I was speaking with told me that if I cancelled that they would still be charging for the room. I told her again the reason we were cancelling was because we were stuck in Asheville, on a Harley, and unable to ride and not knowing when it would stop. "Is there a tornado?," she asked. I guess it takes a really big storm like a tornado to get your reservation cancelled without a charge. I repeat my story again. And she brings up the tornado, again. And then asks if we want to change our reservation to another day. Finally, I ask if there is someone I can speak to about this. Yes, my manager, who is in a meeting for two hours. I give her Tony's mobile number and ask for a call back. Before I hang up (without asking for her name), I ask if the manager will definitely call me back. Her response "I don't know why not." So, we still have a room at the Peabody until I speak to the manager. Since I'm on a movie citation, it seems like Beverly Hills Cop (https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIBajSxXAzYAtke5mWRH;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Beverly+Hills+Cop+and+Beverly+Wilshire+Hotel&vid=66e4643bc822de2f805a6b6de55a61b8&turl=http%3A%2F%2Ftse3.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DOVP.V882c5ffac81b2d78004eeaea4eaac40a%26pid%3D15.1%26h%3D168%26w%3D300%26c%3D7%26rs%3D1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DlMQtvbLIyo0&tit=Beverly+Hills+Cop+-+%26quot%3BAxel+Arrives+at+the+Beverly+Hills+Hotel%26quot%3B+-+%28HD%29+-+Eddie+Murphy+%281984%29&c=0&h=168&w=300&l=104&sigr=11b0cfcin&sigt=134bv5915&sigi=1310638tf&age=1440045765&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&fr=yfp-hrtab-901&tt=b) The rain stops and the sun comes up. We decide to try this one more time and see if we can get to Newport. We do. With only a little bit of rain. The sun tries to come out a bit (it was a good thing that we had to have this head back to exit 20 moment because it would potentially have been a disaster if we had continued since that part of I-40 is really curvy) and we don't even stop in Newport. At this point, I am pretty much counting the exits and miles because it is windy, it is cold. And I had to put my gloves away because they were too wet (wringing water out wet). Finally we pull off at. Love's truck stop to warm up, dry off (not really) and drink more coffee and some Chester's chicken. On the bike and headed to Al & Eileen's. I don't think we ever have been happier to see exit 376 to 140 and then exit 5 to their house as we did. A drink, or two, or three is needed. My while right leg is swollen because of the ride. It is so nice to be here and inside and warming up. After our adventure, can't see why Al &a Eileen would think getting a trike is a good idea. It just took 8 hours for Tony and I to go 130 miles. Tony makes me call the Peabody to confirm our reservation that wasn't supposed to be canceled. And the manager never called us back. After being on hold for five minutes (yes, this is supposedly a multiple star hotel) before I get Maggie on the phone (yes, I remembered this time to get a name). No,  I don't have my confirmation number. We find out that our room HAS been cancelled. No call from the manager. Maggie is able to rebook our room that should not have been cancelled without a call. Good thing we called. Maggie is helpful, but still doesn't feel like I'm speaking to someone at a multiple star hotel. I ask her to have the manager call me when he gets off the phone with another customer. We finally go to bed -- without a returned call from Dwayne (yes, I got his name as well). Sorry there are no photos for this adventure, but pouring rain on a Harley doesn't equate with photo ops.

The Duck Walk

If you're going to stay at The Peabody Hotel and spend that kind of money, you need to have front seats to see the duck walk. They don't give patrons a special section. Tony and I got up, got packed, had the hotel's breakfast buffet (I only really cared about the coffee, since there is no in room coffee maker -- this is horror for someone like me. But, their coffee is brought to the table in a French Press and is pretty awesome) and then set up camp at the Lobby Bar (it opens at 10 am) in front of the fountain. Bloody Mary for me (OK, nothing special) and Bailey's Hot Chocolate for Tony. If you want a good view, you really need to come early and set up shop. The Peabody Hotel earned another plus (I still need to add up the pluses and minuses to see what they average out to be prior to posting on TripAdvisor) with an app called Press Reader. It lets you read hundreds of newspapers and choose from them instead of leaving a newspaper at your door (they say it's for the environment, but they need to advertise it giving you the ability to read lots of papers instead of one -- including The Dallas Morning News). For a news junkie, I need to look into this service. Didn't see The Wall Street Journal, but it is a Sunday.  The Duck Master shows up early to get set up. He ropes off areas, get the potted plants just right. And deals with the media/camera crew who are shooting for something. He is very gracious and proud of his job (he's the fifth duck master). About ten minutes until 11, he does his "talk" to get you excited about the walk. Talks about them being on the Johnny Carson Show, and Sesame Street (for Rubber Ducky Day). And then goes up the elevator to get the ducks (BTW, they close one of the elevators for this procession).
Duck Master
Bloody Mary (with pickled okra) at The Peabody Lobby Bar
Breakfast time
 
Peabody ducks in the fountain
  At exactly 11, they come down. The ceremony is much more entertaining in the morning. At night, they pretty much get out of the pond and walk down the red carpet to the elevator and go home. In the morning, they get off the elevator and roam around outside the fountain a bit before getting in ("Use the stairs," says the Duck Master a few times). And then it's over and people crowd around the fountain to get pictures. But, if you wait another 10-15 minutes, the Duck Master comes back with a silver platter to feed the ducks. Another ceremony. Time to head out and Tony sets me up at the curb and goes to get the truck. Outside they have the duck walk of fame that includes Elvis. We have a moment. Missing key to the truck. Tony unhooked it from the door opener and it's missing. We go through the backpack, and open up the suitcase. Tony is about to head back to the truck to search it again and moves the suitcase for me to rest my leg on. They are clipped to the suitcase. Sigh. Tony bought a coffee mug for me, and a fuzzy duck pen, and some Rendezvous BBQ sauce and rub (the Rendezvous is down the alley from the hotel). 
Elvis Presley (and my shadow) on the Duck Walk of Fame
Peabody Hotel
Rendezvous BBQ
  Off to get the truck. Pulls around and we have a mechanical issue. All of the road bumps have blown out a bulb on the trailer, and the  fender is loose. Tony works on it on the trailer and finally off we go. We will stop at a gas station to buy a bulb and gas up to head home.  Before crossing to the bridge, there's a weird pyramid. Then across the Mississippi River and off to a Love's before heading towards Little Rock. Tony's worried about the trailer and his bike -- says that it's bouncing through the plate metal and is going to fall through.     Does some more work before we head off. 6+ hours and we'll be home. That's a lot of driving for Tony. And a lot of bent knee time for me (my knee to my foot are pretty swollen from not elevating -- that's what I'll be doing on Sunday. Tony says that I'm not leaving the bed.).
Trailer work outside the Peabody
The Bass Pro Shop Pyramid???
  Home. Wayz again amused us and we have lots of points and likes from our posts. Home. Kat is happy to see us and doesn't leave us out of her sight. Adventure over. Sunday is a rest and clean up day (and rig the bathroom for me to take a shower). Liking this new app to blog, but still new to it. Have to learn how to make the links live. Tony is also reading all of my posts and looks like I need to go and fix some incomplete sentences and typos (a horror for me, but part of blogging on a trip). Pretty happy since this is my first time blogging on an iPad. And, the gizmo I got from Amazon worked -- I uploaded the photos from the camera. Unfortunately user error and all of the video I took on the trip... Well, nothing over three seconds. Good trip. Now time for surgery.

Knoxville to Memphis

Friday morning we get up and packed up to head to Memphis for our last leg of the trip back to Dallas: The Peabody Hotel and Beale Street. Towing the bikes back and of course it's a nice day -- sunny and perfect riding weather. Figures. We stop at the Harley dealership in Nashville (Bosswells) on the way (it's in an industrial area on Fessler and took a moment to get there). Tony helped some guys unload a Harley from a minivan (yes, a minivan). This dealership has one of the only two cafes in it -- and we had lunch. Pretty good burgers and fries. Picked up a shirt for Tony (purple) and a ride bell for Al & Eileen.
Minivan Harley Hauler
Part II. Tony helps.
Nashville HD Tshirt (purple)
Ride Bell for Al & Eileen!
Memphis ballpark
  And then off we sped to the Peabody. We realize that we are cutting it really close for the duck walk and Tony may be throwing me out of the truck to see (not that I'M extremely speedy). I call the Peabody on our way because no one has called me back as I have requested. I get Angie on the phone and she's sympathetic to the situation and apologizes. She also moves us to a king room and was going to see about a room with a bigger bathroom since I'm on crutches. While I'm on the phone, I ask her about parking. When we spoke to the hotel on Saturday, they said it shouldn't be a problem to park, and if it is, they have an overflow lot. What they didn't tell me on Saturday is that if we have to park in the overflow, offsite lot, there is a $75 extra parking charge. Angie says she'll speak to them and they would call me back if there is a problem, but they aren't full so it shouldn't be a problem. I amuse myself with Wayz, this cool map app that is like a game. You see hazards and cops and other stuff. And can get points. Great for a road trip. I don' think it's that great if you're doing it while driving, but while navigating, I had fun. We get to the Peabody just in time and I take Tony's phone and head that way while he parks. The lobby is crowded on two levels, with people waiting to see the walk. No one is terribly sympathetic of me and my crutches -- I even dropped one and they all just looked at me. Trying to video this while trying to balance on crutches led to a rather poor (well, complete and utter c**p) video.  We decide we're going to stay later and watch them walk again at 11:00 am. The Peabody has upgraded us to an Executive King Suite. Quite nice and roomy. Cool thing: they have automatic sensor lights around the bed, so when you get out of bed, you have a nightlight. Bad thing: they do not have in room coffee maker (this isn't just bad, it's awful). Good thing: they give you duck shaped soap. Bad thing: Tony said that the bathtub would have been a disaster for me. 
Peabody Elevator Floor
 
Resting after drive with high-class snacks (Cheez It's and Pringles)
We decide we're going to do Beale street, but after chatting with some of the horse carriage drivers, it's a bit of a haul for me. All of the horse carriage drivers have dogs with them. They just sit and ride along. The carriage drivers all charge different amounts (from $25 to $55, plus tips). Ultimately, Tony and I decide I'm going to see about getting to Beale Street on my own. And then figure out how to come back. Just as we rounded the corner, a horse carriage driver offers to take us there for $10. Sold! Off to Beale Street (which is closed to traffic, with a security check point to get in). They also ID you for everything. We sit on the street and Tony goes to take pictures and do a check for where we might go and how far I could go. End up at the King's Palace Cafe, where we split a rack of ribs (half wet, half dry) and a bread pudding (total chocolate goodness, and I don't really like chocolate). Sorry that there aren't more exciting Beale Street stories, but that's how it goes on crutches. We catch a carriage back, with a woman who has a cat, not a dog (cat named Gelding...). Back to the Peabody and give the horse a kiss and call it a night. Damn crutches. Tomorrow morning we're going to see the duck walk and then head back to Dallas.
BB King's on Beale Street
Beale Street
King's Palace Cafe (if you don't know if you like ribs wet or dry, ask for half and half)