Dave's Cross-Country Trip 2003

Day Twelve

by Dave Schultheis

Friday, May 30, 2003 - Franklin, Tennessee

I slept fitfully and was awake at 5:45 a.m. I got up and dressed, rolled up my sleeping bag and Therm-A-Rest and stowed all my stuff as quietly as possible so as not to wake others.

Some had a light breakfast and coffee; I had toast and cream cheese. Belongings were packed and bikes were moved from the garage to the street in preparation for departure. The weather was excellent.

Today's destination was to be Roger & Karen E.'s property in Gardner, just outside Martin TN, variously described as The Temporary Bar & Grill, The Great Gardner Gabfest, and M.A.M.B.M., for reasons that are too complex to go into in this trip report.

Bob would be unable to travel due to his delicate condition, so he and Willa became the Farewell Committee. After everyone said their thanks for the wonderful hospitality, they wished us a good and safe trip and they'd be there in spirit, if not in person.

Six of us left Casa de Carroll on four bikes and a "chase car" at 9:25 a.m. We rolled westbound on TN Hwy 96, then north on TN Hwy 100 and stopped at the BP Station near U.S. Highway 70 to wait for the others. Somewhere along the way I saw a sign on a church that said "You can give your word and still keep it." Some fueled, but mostly we waited in the shade.

A short while later we saw Nashville Jeff and some other bikes go by, but they didn't see us, so we saddled up and followed. A few miles later we found them at another BP Station (near Interstate 40) and pulled in. Besides Jeff, there was Mike L. from 'Bama, Turbo Dave, and Paulie, also from Alabama.

With Jeff leading, we continued north on Hy 100, where I saw a sign on a church that said "Give to God what is right, not what is left," then after a while we turned west on U.S. Highway 70. I had pre-warned the group that I would need to stop at the Benton County line, and so I did, took an ABCs picture, and caught right up with them.

At 12:05 p.m., about 100 miles into our trip, we pulled into a BP Station near Camden TN for fuel. Nikki noticed that the chase vehicle was very noisy, and the mechanics among us immediately diagnosed the problem as a faulty fan belt tensioner. Following the suggestion of a pickup truck-full of high-school boys, Taz located the part by phone and rode into an auto parts store in Camden while Tim and Paulie removed the failed part. It was only about 20 minutes and he was back. The part was quickly installed, proper operation was verified, and we were back on our way. Life is great when you can travel with your own mechanical staff.

As I am fond of saying, and no doubt paraphrasing some famous writer, "if you're not the lead sled dog, the scene never changes," so I wasn't able to keep up with every highway we rode on, but I did make note of U.S. Highway 641 and TN Highway 54, and we ended up riding northbound on TN Highway 22, right into Martin TN, home of the University of Tennesse at Martin (UTM).

At 2:20 p.m. we arrived in Martin and stopped at the KN Root Beer Drive-In on Lindell Street, where they offered car-hop service and no outside seating, so we stood around outside, trying to stay in the shade as much as possible, dining on burgers, milkshakes, fries, onion rings and other health foods.

[I don't know what the "K" or the "N" stand for, but I did note that there did not seem to be an "&" in between.]

We were met at the KN by Jeff's mom, the Postmistress of Martin, who had brought him a few things. Jeff was raised in the Martin area, and knows most of the roads, a great benefit to the rest of us who did not.

Lunch finished, we rode through Martin and out the other side, then turned onto TN Hwy 431 for a short distance and looked for Roger & Karen's property. Several of us had been there before, and it was well-marked, so we rolled right into the yard, parked and greeted our hosts. Roger had a bright orange plastic cup for everyone, and there were custom-made metal "coasters" available to keep kickstands from sinking into the grass. I carry my own plastic coaster, and parked where there would be shade later in the day.

I picked a spot on a small rise, rolled out the ground cloth, put up the tent and staked it down, then stowed my gear inside. This would be my home for two nights. I was not too excited about camping, but now that I had a Therm-A-Rest instead of having to sleep directly on the ground, I thought I would give it a try, and try not to whine too much about it.

As with many other IRL ("in real life") events, I knew some of the folks but not all. Besides Roger & Karen, and their dogs Maggie and Sammy, I talked to Bear from Syracuse, ?ng, Roger _the other one_, Mike F. from S.C., John (Homebrew), Rosie & Kenny (with his bike in the pickup truck), Kurt The Korporate Spy, Scott & Paige from Memphis, Tony D., Larry & Deborah, HydraGlider Ed (who rode his 1949 Panhead with sidecar down from Ohio!), Vox Knox (Jim from Knoxville), Dennis CB and his daughter Lizzie, Ray from Philadelphia, Old Crow (formerly of Los Gatos) and Mother Lynn (both formerly of Hemet) from AR, Bill (SpaceCriter), Jeff & Debbie, and Roger's friends Jim and Nathan. (If I got something wrong, please let me know. I had trouble reading some of my notes.)

[Kenny's bike had died enroute, so they put it in the truck and continued the trip.]

Roger's FLHTI Standard, with "cop air seat," was on display, and I think it liked the attention. I enjoyed looking at it, especially after reading Roger's ride reports.

Roger and friends had erected a large tent in the yard and set up a number of tables underneath. This was to be the central meeting place. Roger & Karen had thought of everything! The beer fridge, bug repellent, bulletin board, tiki lights, coolers full of various liquid consumables, twin outhouses, an on-site shower, and so many other things that you just can't believe.

Somewhere along the line, Roger issued tee-shirts that had been ordered for the occasion. I had ordered a short-sleeve and a long-sleeve version, and they both looked great!

One of the early arrivals was John Ross from Indiana, but as he slowed and signalled to turn into Roger's yard, a non-attention-paying teenage girl driver, who was talking on her cellular phone at the time, ran her little Neon right into the back of "Hal" (the bike), smashing him up and sending John to the hospital with some fairly serious back injuries. The car was seriously damaged, the girl was shaken up, but not seriously injured. I'm not sure, but I think the carried on the cel-phone conversation in the ambulance. You know how important those conversations can be.

Roger _the other one_ had been right there and immediately took digital pictures of the scene, the Neon, Hal and John. One of Roger & Karen's neighbors came over to help right away while others called for help. Several people came forward to tell the responding police officer that the young woman was busy talking on the phone and never hit the brakes; evidently she "didn't see the motorcycle." A likely story.

Karen went to the hospital to be what help she could, and was quite irritated that the girl's family members were very interested in her condition, but didn't seem to have one bit of concern for John, the innocent victim of the crash.

John was evidently treated well, but decided to call his wife to come get him. He later returned to party central to tell everyone he was okay, but then went home with his wife before most of the rest of us arrived. Everyone was sorry that he would not be able to enjoy the weekend with us, but for the rest of the weekend we had Roger's pictures of John, wearing hospital scrubs and a big smile.

John Ross commented:

Around 7:30 p.m., Old Crow (Wally) and Mother Lynn prepared to depart for food in nearby Martin. I started to 'splain to them how to get to the KN Root Beer Drive-In, but it made more sense to just show them. So we fired up three bikes and headed out for the scenic tour. On the way back from the KN, we had to go right by Wendy's, so of course, we made a stop there for Frosties, then returned to the TB&G about 8:15 p.m.

Good thing, too. It was about time for the first movie to begin. Roger has a collection of really good, or depending upon how you look at it, really bad old movies. Tonight's first film was "Code Two," an early fifties look at the Los Angeles Police Department, pre-Jack Webb. I enjoyed it, but didn't think I could stay awake for the second movie, so I headed to my tent about 10 p.m.

As I prepared for bed, I tried to add up the "pros" and "cons" of tent camping. On the "con" side I put "sticky and unable to bathe," "unable to stand up," "having difficulty going to sleep," and "could use a sheet inside the sleeping bag." But, no whining out loud.

Miles for the day = 169. Miles for the trip = 4370. Tee-shirts for the day = 2.

Tomorrow: The Dixie Gun Works, Reelfoot Lake, and a Saturday evening barbeque.

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Created on January 5, 2004. Updated on February 6, 2004.
David W. Schultheis, San Josť, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara County, California, USA