50 States Nashville to Sweetwater 181 miles
"It doesn't matter when you get there. What matters is that you're going the right direction."
Thank you, one and all, those who are praying for our safety. We'll talk about the mattress later.
We woke to frost and cold with clear skies. Took our time to start, let Mr. Sun melt that pesky ice. Fortunately, the weather once again was dry and calm. To get to Sweetwater, we needed to haul down 40 for a hundred miles, and then follow the little lines on the map. Nine miles before the anticipated exit, traffic stopped. Fortunately an exit provided a means of escape and we stopped for gas. At least we tried. The first attempt we got no zeros on the pump, so we moved. The next pump told us to see the attendant. Being a clever man, I went inside to see the attendant. She fiddled and faddled and we moved to another couple of pumps. Instead of waiting and growling-or going across the street-we met Mr. Wallace, a fellow biker with his Harley. Not only was he fun to talk to, I loved his accent, a Tennessee drawl that sounded soft and warm like a maple log in the fireplace.
What a manly rider, as he headed out this morning at forty-eight degrees, wearing leather, open faced helmet and minimal fairing. You are the man! He was one of two motorcycles we sighted today. A half hour later we got our fillup.
Checking our map, we found a route to miss the accident, as the parked vehicles kept mounting. We took off and rode winding and wonderful roads, speeds around fifty-five or so, a few downshifts for some turns. We stopped a few times for map rechecks and then hit the Colonel's joint for some chicken. While it tasted great, not until later did I realize I missed a chance for their best dish-cole slaw. Drat!
Back on the highway, perfect day, fifty plus degrees, sunny with huge vista views. Then a pickup approached, and if you figure he's going fifty-five and we are too, our closing speed is 110. A hundred yards ahead a mattress flies off, does a cartwheel and then slides into our lane. I swung to the right (gently, don't be stupid!) and kept the gas on. "Please, dear God, miss us." The mattress cleared the bike and then I watched it miss the trailer by a foot. One second sooner...thanks friends for your prayers for our safety. And no, an inch is not as good as a mile, because a mile won't give you a heart attack.
Soon we found our motel, a (PP!) Day's Inn, and not only did it greet us with freshly sealed pavement, but the windows were clean. Just something I've noticed, crummy or dirty windows, something that can make a motel room seem clean and comfortable, or...lacking. Good job, Day's Inn Sweetwater. And a nice name for a town, don’t you think?
And now, safe and sound, Quilter Girl!
After walking to the lobby for breakfast, I decided it was too early to leave! I could see my breath so we went back to the room for a bit of reading (me) and writing (Kevin). An hour later it was so much warmer and worth the wait. There were so many things we didn't see in Nashville; we will be back. Today was good riding after we left I-40, farming country, small towns and cute houses. We missed Highway 68, but after looking at the map, we managed to find another way. The joy is in the journey, right? For the next couple of days it truly will be as we are heading for some great rides.
Tomorrow we should ride Skyway, some Blue Ridge Parkway and the Tail of the Dragon. Can't wait!