Day 29 – Ah ha huh

15th July 2018

I want an early start this morning as I have another 30 miles to go to arrive in Memphis. I am just passing through as I plan to stop over 2 nights in Nashville. Ready to leave at just gone 10am and…

Yep already over 100 degrees!

I am surprised that I haven’t crossed over into Tennessee yet… just then I am almost in Memphis, just crossing the Mississippi River and there it is…

So, adieu Arkansas and Ta Dah Tennessee…

So, this is Memphis.., the first thing to note is the roads are unbelievable, there are ridges every few metres, some must be 6-10 inches tall in places and potholes. The ride is extremely uncomfortable. I have tried to capture it in these photos, (apologies for the wobbly ness, they’re taken with the phone fitted to the handlebars that I’m using for directions).

I’m mean it’s not just a bouncy ride, I am actually being raised out of the seat and the packs behind me are shifting.

I stop to check out where I’m going. Even though I’m not an Elvis fan, I am planning to visit Graceland, but where is it in relation to a Harley dealers as I do want to collect my poker chip for Memphis. I check out Harley and there’s actually one at Graceland… fab so I head straight for it… down Elvis Presley Boulevard no less. I arrive at Graceland and am grateful for a stop, it is actually scorching today.

I pull into the car park, this is where the dealership should be according to Waze, but it’s nowhere to be seen. There is a payment booth for the parking so I ride over, the woman says $10 to park… seriously! That’s even more than Cape Canaveral. ‘It’s ok, I’m coming back later, I’m actually looking for the Harley Davidson shop’, ‘ Oh, that closed down a few years back, ain’t no Harley store here now’. With that I ride over to some shade to look at my phone to check out the nearest Harley shop. It’s in town, so makes sense to pay the 10 bucks and do Graceland now, so I do.

A young couple offer to take the photo for me… I also promised Chris at Lujan Motorcycles in Albuquerque that I would take photos of his t-shirt on my travels so here it is…

That done, I make my way to the entrance… the whole place is like a huge factory…

I was expecting a mansion, but can’t see one anywhere. Now, what to do? I’m not an Elvis fan… I’m actually not a fan of anyone, I don’t believe in the cult of celebrity, never have… it’s just not my scene, all this greed. Yep, greed, the people behind these ‘attractions’ are just playing on an extremely talented, but ultimately very sad, person who in this instance drugged and ate themselves to death. The entrance fee plus the parking comes to $50, which to my mind is a rip off. I’m not interested in the displays of his wealth… cars, airplanes, costumes etc. etc. I don’t bother to go in… I do have a quick look in the shop… don’t buy anything, but there are some replica gold discs so I take a photo of them.

I’m sure the Elvis fans amongst you think this is sacrilege, but hey ho… bothered?

Back on the bike and more hideous riding to the Harley shop. When I get there I am beyond hot and probably dehydrated. It’s just a small shop selling t-shirts etc. The woman does however give me a bottle of water… bless you xx. She also tells me there are 2 other full dealerships in Memphis and one is on my way to Nashville, it’s at Collierville, on the outskirts. Fab, I’ll go there then.. I do get a poker chip here though to add to my growing collection.

So more unpleasant riding until I get out if the city when the road surface improves dramatically… thank the goddess.

I think it’s gonna rain…. 😞 but it’s still hot.

I arrive just as they are about to close, so quickly pick up my poker chip. I have a browse around and when I get outside it’s bloody rained… my bike is wet… so I give her a wipe down and put the rain covers on. Better put the wet gear on, time to try out the new suit I bought at cycle gear in Albuquerque. It’s quite comfortable but the material reminds me of the NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) suits we were issued with when I was in the WRAF 40+ years ago… niiiiiice.

So now to make my way to Nashville… over 200 miles and it’s 4 o’clock now so it’s going to be a late one.

What… stop it…. how have I entered Mississippi? This avoiding the interstate is full of surprises… so Ta Ta Tennessee, My My Mississippi.

But not for long, because….

Here we are again… on the national bird dog highway no less… and just up from here is the museum… no idea what a bird dog is though!

I am on the 100 passing through..

Then..

and as you can see it’s getting darker. The gps routes me along the 100 and up into the mountains so I am riding in the dark and the road twists and turns. It’s hard going as I don’t like night riding; my glasses were lost with the laptop and I would normally use them for night riding. It has rained on and off and the new rain suit is crap… not only is it NOT waterproof, it has melted all over my exhaust pipes… very unhappy bunny. I am soaked and there is water inside my left boot… my right one is fine…strange.

Speaking of strange, I stop in a largish town called Centreville, for a break and to think about maybe staying over. I go into a garage to get petrol and have a coffee. I notice the license plate on the bike has broken… the saddlebag bouncing up and down on it in Memphis has broken it in two!! Luckily the yellow plastic sheet inside has managed to hold the broken half on. I buy some gaffa tape in the shop, but she doesn’t have any sellotape to sell… I need see through tape to go on the front as I cannot obscure the actual number. She is very helpful and gives me her tape to use, so I pop out and make some repairs..

Yet another Pogs bodge job…. Now for the strange part… the woman cannot stop taking… she is Irish of course, from Limerick, but has been in the states for many years, used to live in Boston. She proceeds to tell me all about the only hotel in town, which she has stayed in one night because it was too icy to drive home… are you starting to get my drift? Yep, jabber, jabber…. the hotel take in homeless people because a local charity pays for them and maybe it’s ok, if you don’t mind them and blah blah. I can’t wait to get away… luckily when I check on booking.com the hotel is full, but she insists I should ring them, or maybe she can ring for me…. no it’s ok am going to carry on into Nashville, I’ve managed to book a room there, but thank you for all your help. Well, she says, the weather is very bad, it was on the news, our local news station has the radar, hold on I’ll put the tv on for you.. she insists on showing me the weather radar… she can’t find the channel… I explain it doesn’t matter as I have to ride through it anyway. Eventually I am able to escape… lovely and helpful though she was it was getting a bit annoying.

I decide to get off this winding road and get on the interstate for the last 40 miles. At last I arrive at my motel, 11.30pm.. I am absolutely shagged! At least I have a day here being a tourist tomorrow as have booked two night here… I bloody need it too.

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