From Pulaski I headed north with the intention of cutting over towards Lynchburg. Highway 129 looked pretty crooked and twisty on the map, so I figured it would have some interesting enough contour and I was right. I should mention (or maybe I shouldn’t) that climbing the hill out of town some trucker thought it was funny to chuck his plastic soda bottles out the window in my path, I should also mention (or maybe I shouldn’t) that this trucker and anyone else who thinks it’s funny to pull that shit on a person on a motorcycle going 65 mph if a f$in’ TOOL.
I didn’t get your plate number buddy.
Next time that’ll be a priority and you’ll find out how unfunny that shit is.
But anyway I was having an awesome ride on an awesome day…in too good of a mood to let the little things bother me and the ride over to Lynchburg was pretty great. I’d only been over there in the winter before, when my buddy Mark Bannerman thought it would be cool to go flyfishing in the snow at the Elk River. YES, we did catch fish.
Lynchburg was much more vibrant at this time of year and this time of day (I think I’ve been there twice at 6am on a Sunday) and if the food in Pulaski hadn’t been so good I might have parked the bike and tried something cooking in town, but as it was the clock said the afternoon was approaching the 7th inning stretch so I motored on and steered myself toward Wartrace, a small hamlet I’ve visited at least a half dozen times when running in the RC Cola Moon-Pie Race held in neighboring Bell Buckle TN. The Moon Pie was an annual tradition with my wife and I before I started hitting the road so hard a few tears back. It was a rite of summer to book a room at the Walking Horse Hotel In Wartrace, have Frogs legs at Millers Grocery in Christiana and get up the next morning to run the 10mile race in Bell Buckle. After the race the Moon Pie festival commences and there’s carnival food, more carnival food, and a parade that’s followed by a campy pageant that is classically southern and classically American and is something even Renee finds embarrassingly entertaining. I hate to miss it. Haven’t made it in about four years.
It was nice to se that Wartrace hadn’t changed much. I think the old gas station and it’s pumps are still there. The Wartrace Hotel was still open and they now have live music and dancing. More accurately they have live music and dancing again. I’m sure that kind of stuff was going strong here fifty years ago. I don’t know how they hold on know except to try and exploit that very homey-ness that draws somebody like me. Bell Buckle is much the same, a few more stores, mostly antique dealers, a pretty great little meat-and-three. They’ve got live bluegrass there as well, so does Millers grocery in next-door Christiana. You could call the music a quaint touch but it always seemed to me that the quality was good and people listened and the repetoire wasn’t tourist-centered, Heck the towns aren’t so much tourist centered as they cater to neighbors and the odd straggler down from Nashville to show friends and relatives around or up from Chattanooga on their way to Nashville (to show the relatives around). And the waitresses call you “hun” and the food is fried and what ain’t fried is creamed and the tea is sweet unless you ask for it unsweet and if yo do you must be a yankee like me.
Then again, I’ve lived down south long enough to not ask for my tea to be un-sweetend, to know that “tea” means “Ice tea” not “hot” tea, to be able to say y’all without feeling weird about it and to know the difference between good gravy and bad gravy, and by gravy I mean sawmill gravy like the good lord intended.
Out of Belle Buckle I was at a loss as to the best way to waste the remaining daylight while getting back to Nashville without getting into too much Murfreesboro traffic…and I tried to make sense of the myriad of roads going in and out of the area and ended up putting the map back in my pocket and heading up Murfreesboro Pike (Highway 41) and if it wasn’t fun for being able to lean the bike over on the twisty’s it was cool enough to open up the throttle a little passing a few cars and seeing what the bike could do. With that 96 inch engine it can certainly DO…my only disappointment being those stock pipes just don’t make the windows rattle the way I’d like em too. Before I’d ever gotten on a bike I wondered why the hell those damn Harley’s had to be so loud and now that I’ve ridden a few miles in traffic I get it: loud may be cool, but it’s really a safety issue. If I pull up in the blind side of a truck and my pipes are loud, the trucker may not see me, but at least he hears me. This bike I was on had a bigger engine than any bike I’ve ridden so far, but with the stock exhaust system it sounded like a honda.
Anyway. I headed north and did get stuck in a little bit of Murfreesboro traffic, not much but some, and without looking at the map I figured I’d head east when I hit Hwy 70s and maybe go as far as the 53..whiich I know pretty well from flyshing the caney fork around Gordonsville. I figured if I could make it to Watertown in an hour I could jet up to Lebanon before heading back west and make it to Nashvegas by sunset. Which is about exactly how it panned out. While I’m not a big fan of riding interstates and divided highways (unless I’m in a hurry) that section of divided Hwy 70 was cool enough to ride at this time of day and again if you can ride twistys it’s cool to ride the flat straight stuff fast and the road here is in great shape and there was no traffic so I got to some small two lane just before the 53 that lead me through Auburntown TN which is half abandoned town like half the towns in Wyoming and Cattaraugus Counties in Western New York where I grew up. Auburntown could be the other side of Dayton NY and I’d never know the difference and I don’t know what anyone does there, I’m just pretty sure they don’t really do it there but in the city and then come back to that house to sleep, and the only reason an outsider like me is there is because they’re a) lost b) on a motorcycle c) heard a rumor there was fish in that creek.
Eventually that road from Auburntown leads you up to the other Highway 70 (confusing, I know) to Watertown, TN and this road I’m pretty familiar with. Hell I was here last week. Rumor had it there was fish in the creek.
Somehow I managed to go around downtown Lebanon and I wished I hadn’t ‘cause I haven’t been through in few years but at this point in the day I was facing riding in the dark on the 40 going west into Nashville and the thought of doing that on a bike unnecessarily seems like an irresponsibly stupid act, so I lit on down the old 70 through Mt Juliet as fast as I could legally and got back within Davidson County limits about the time the sun dipped below the Horizon. Just because I could I rode all the way into downtown on Lebanon Pike and on down Broadway, chugging along in third gear with my finger and the clutch and the RPM’s up. Damn pipes still making that bike sound like a honda. So much for inpressing the tourists.