Day Thirteen by Dave Schultheis
Saturday, May 31, 2003 - Gardner, Tennessee
I managed to get _some_ sleep, and was up at 6:40 a.m. Between my tent neighbor snoring (he _did_ warn me!), dogs barking, cars, trucks and bikes driving by, feeling sticky, not sleeping in my own bed, birds chirping and a rooster crowing too early, it was hard to sleep.
Part of the problem was that I did not have a pillow. A rolled up towel or jacket, or other clothes, just don't work for me. But the pillow didn't make this trip. It _will_ make the next trip!
I know that I snore, as do many others. When Paulie passed by on his way to the "facilities," he commented about walking down snorers row. It occured to me that perhaps I should announce my own biker party, on the lawn at the Stanford University Hospital, and invite some of the Sleep Clinic folks to come out and make mass diagnoses. Maybe they'd give us a group rate!
Roger & Karen had arranged a very nice breakfast, served in a separate tent. Mother Lynn volunteered to cook sausages, Karen made the pancakes, and Roger prepared tater cakes. They also had bagels, bananas and other fruits, juice, two syrups (!) and coffee. Something for everyone.
Roger led a group ride to the university's arena for those who wanted showers.
New arrivals included da Prez (Ira) & Ronnie (Veronica) from Oklahoma, and Jack and John (father and son) from east of Nashville.
About ten o'clock a large group of attendees started their bikes and followed Nashville Jeff down Hy 431 for a mid-morning ride. We went into Union TN and stopped at the Dixie Gun Works and Old Car Museum. A number of the folks work with black powder and were interested in seeing some of the supplies. There were also numerous historical artifacts and other memorabilia on display.
Since Bob Carroll was unable to attend the weekend activity due to his recent surgery, we checked for a possible "replacement part," but nobody knew if he preferred steel, cork, or brass balls, and what size, so we didn't get any.
The Old Car Museum was a separate admission, and a few of us decided to tour that section, while the others were still wandering through the main store.
I recall seeing an old Edsel that had spent its whole life in Union, lots of old car parts hanging from the ceiling, an old blacksmith shop, a 1924 Marmon, and a 1912 Cadillac, the first car with an electric starter, invented by Charles Kettering of Dayton OH in 1911.
From the gun works we rode over to Abernathy's Harley-Davidson and Honda store on TN Highway 5, where I found a nice yellow XXL shirt on the bargain table for $10, and one of the clerks overheard me looking for a Fat Boy logo tee-shirt and found one for me. I really like the Fat Boy logo, and Abernathy's has a very nice logo on the back as well, so I didn't mind paying full price. At this time of this trip, I now had 7 of the Fat Boy logo tee-shirts from different dealers.
There was a big sign in a field across the street from the dealership, and one of the employees told me that they would be building a new Harley-Davidson store over there and keeping the Honda side of the business in the existing building. I will be looking forward to seeing it next year.
We then followed Jeff out TN Hy 5 and TN Highway 22 to Reelfoot Lake, where we parked across from Boyette's barbeque restaurant near Tiptonville about 12:40 p.m., causing quite a stir, as there was a large extended family just leaving the restaurant and walking across the street. Two big crowds at the same time was a lot of people.
I'm not sure if it was because my pretty blue bike matched her hair color, but one of the wonderful elder ladies of the family came over and asked me about the Road King. Others admired some of the other motorcycles. We offered one of their little children a photo opportunity on one of the bikes, but Grandma wanted to ride with me! I haven't been hit on so hard in a long time! Too bad nobody had an extra helmet. Whew!
The people at Boyette's put us at one long table, and many of the folks had catfish for lunch. I had a chicken salad, because I thought I needed something healthy after a couple nights of barbeque fun.
After lunch we took a slightly different route, TN Highway 21, through more beautiful country, then back through Union to Roger & Karen's. I decided to go in to Martin again for fuel before shutting down for the day.
I noticed two things on the motorcycle. One was that instead of "pulling" toward the nearest dealer, it "pulled toward the nearest Wendy's," and the other was that the engine didn't seem to be idling correctly all the time, so I thought it might be the engine temperature sensor going bad. I'd had this happen before, so I knew some of the symptoms, but it wasn't too bad.
So after stopping at Wendy's, I stopped at the Shell Station for fuel, then across the street at the CVS (drug store) for a couple items and some cash back, then returned to Roger's Temporary Bar & Grill.
New arrivals were Waro (Steve) and CWedge (Craig). Also on the property was Roger's neighbor Robert, in his coveralls, who had helped at the scene of the earlier accident. He was shown the pictures and filled in on John Ross' condition.
Underneath the big tent, Len Bradner was kind enough to take a picture of me for the "ridden with" section of his web page. Meat was cooking in the big cooker trailer, tended by Kenny and others. And I think some beer may have been consumed.
Dinner was served, and a fine dinner it was. Riiibs, chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, beans, and all the rest. Everyone had their fill and really enjoyed it.
Sometime later a cellular-phone call was placed to Easy, who was recuperating from recent surgery, in his home town on the Sweat Coast of Florida. I've never had the pleasure of meeting him, but was glad to talk to him on the phone for a few minutes. I tried to reassure him that I was eating right (plenty of riiibs), keeping the shiny side up, and watching carefully for red-headed waittresses.
As darkness fell, we set up the small barbeque for Cheese Racing. This is an activity that is hard to 'splain; you kinda hafta be there. But suffice to say a good time was had by all.
New arrival: Fred ("Frito") Snetzer. Hellos were said all around.
The evening's first movie was 1957's "Motorcycle Gang," which was really awful; just as Roger had intended.
I headed for my tent about 10:30 p.m. or so, before the second feature began.
Miles for the day = 81. Miles for the trip = 4451. Tee-shirts for the day = 2.
Tomorrow: on the road again, the Missouri boot-heel, and a minor "spill."