Nashville, Tn to Memphis, Tn I40W, 210 miles
For some strange reason maybe due to a bit of fatigue but today just wanting a straight and 'easy' route I choose to take the long boring interstate where the mega trucks play games in overtaking at the last moment and love to drive close up behind you!
Even though someone had said to take the scenic route on the Natchez Trace Pkwy - but hey have done almost 500 miles coming down on a similar route n even if it was to divert by just 200 miles to see Elvis's birth home, the tiny white shack in Tupelo, I just couldn't be tried n tested again.
Lesson #2 don't get distracted from your route and boy was I glad I took my own advice.
Also lesson #3 I needed to prioritise and look after the bike n had planned to stop into a Triumph dealer just outside Memphis to check all OK - no bike, no transport, no trip.
So left lovely Indigo and cool Nashville around 7.30 to avoid some of the traffic but more importantly now, the extreme heat which would quickly beat down on man, bike and asphalt!
Already the Tennessee County Sheriffs
were out in force on Interstate 40 to Memphis. And boy are they strict. I've now been told that this a major drug highway between both cities.
On just today's route I bizarrely happened to meet the most incredible, interesting people.
It all started at the usual first stop at one of the many gas stations I would visit each day - oh by the way gas here is just 3.29dollars a gallon! I just keep explaining to everyone I meet how lucky they are but all they think is it's expensive - when I say I fill the tank for approx 5 dollars here and about 25 dollars in the UK they can't believe it.
Anyway I'm sidetracking ...
Never go by looks - a Latino highly tattooed guy at the next pump looked at me and the bike and I looked at his tattoos! Incredible exquisite angels of his entire neck and chest - he politely struck up conversation and wished me a safe, peaceful journey which I really believe he meant from his tattooed heart .
2nd station and again people just approach and start talking about everything and nothing - remember this is a Harley or HD country so most bikers know not much else. So my usual question knowing what the answer will be is 'so what kind of bike you got?' The answer this morning was 'an HD but I like yours!' That's a big compliment and these were the sort of answers I always get. Triumph is well respected here, make no mistake.
Then the most unexpected encounter at the 3rd gas station. Sitting by my bike in the shade eating a bagel and putting some oil on the chain. In drives this rat bike with what I can only say is a cool boho traveller with what looks like all his worldly possessions.
I'm about to leave but can't resist starting up a conversation on where he's headed.
What I learn later from yet another encounter is this guy, George The Painter, is famous n known across the country by the biking community, is a key journalist for the famous The Horse Backstreet Chopper Magazine and a reputation as an incredible artist.
And boy has he got stories about constantly travelling thru America n good advice - as he says 'remember Oklahoma is a windy place so try and drive at night, if you see a storm coming in from each side as the country is big it will give you enough time to stop n shelter in random tornado shelters on the highways, thru Monument Valley remember its an Indian Reserve so be careful when stopping the bike as there may be broken beer bottles on the roads, ... some small moments are so valuable - anyway he was driving the opposite direction having driven from Arizona over the past few days and heading back to NC.
And boy, is his art incredible n what a talent, the bold dynamic colours and sexy story in a picture I love which are reminiscent to pieces I've had the pleasure to collect. Love the style. Check him out on -
We wished each other well as I headed further west.
Next encounter - meet Travis n his crew just outside Memphis at Powersports www.frspowersports.com to go over the bike with them. Couldn't be more welcoming and they must have one of the biggest showrooms I've seen with the incredible Victory Motorcyles. So it's the guys here who just couldnt believe I met the actual George The Painter - they were totally impressed n thought he must be a fictional character with the sort of stories he told! I told them all true! Well I think so !
So the most interesting encounters with those we feel least inclined to open up reap the rewards of life's stories.
And now heading into town and Beale St to stay with my good friend Liz and let the Bonnie rest for a day while I go and find Elvis!