April 13 - 14, 2012

Off To See My Friends And Eat Some 'Que

April 13, 2012
When I find myself getting up early to get ready for ride, I sometimes wonder why I do it - other than I enjoy getting up early to get ready for a ride. Since I've got my 'new' knees sorted out, I try to stick my regular work out schedule. I pre-calculated that if I got up a 3:30 AM, I would have time to do my scrunches, bench presses, 30 minutes of stationary bike and 1 1/2 mile walk. I got everything packed and ready to roll last night so I tend to the business at hand. I whip up a quick breakfast up my usual - hen fruit and sausage - and I am out the door right on time - 5:30 AM.

 It's mighty dark as I leave the Holler and Nashville behind, but it's nice and peaceful. I figure on this trip I will probably hit a lot of rain, so I'm wearing my AeroStich Darien so I don't have to pack a rain suit. 
Judging by the sky once the sun come up, I figure I've made the right choice about the gear.
 This ride up through Paducah to Saint Louis is always a 'river run'. By the time I get there, I will have crossed the Cumberland, the Tennessee, and the Ohio rivers. 
 I always chuckle at this water tower in Metropolis but I've never seen Superman flying except on the tank. I guess he's out fighting villains today - which there sure seem to be plenty of. 

I'm making great time as I get near Saint Louis, but then the old construction zone brings my progress to a screeching halt. Not many options at this point, but fortunately things clear up and I'm rolling again.

 As I finally get into Saint Louis proper, I see the familiar landmark. Normally I head north of the city and miss this junction if I am going out I70. The connectors near the Arch are a 'dead man' zone for a motorcycle rider - a bunch of merges in a short distance with folks coming from all directions. If you are not careful, you get to be a hood ornament pretty quickly. 
 But I do manage to get to my exit and soon I arrive at Pappy's - one of the best BBQ places in Saint Louis if the tales are to be believed. 

I see lots of familiar faces and some not so familiar. Tim Keel, who has really been through it physically is there, so I give him and his lovely bride, Miss Leah, a big hug. I tell her -

"So you are the poor women who has to deal with this feller. You have my deepest sympathies."

Soon we are inside and near the getting place. Tim's advice is good -

'Get here early to beat the crowds.'

The line winds outside and around pretty quick but we are right near the front.

 And at least we are inside as the rain starts to really come down. There's a ball game in town so I don't know if this sign is serious or not. But I'm not a Cubs fan so I'm in the clear. But then again, I'm not a Cardinals fan either ... 
 I go for the ribs, brisket, green beans and fried corn, Unfortunately the green beans are cooked 'Yankee style' but they are edible. The rest of the grub is pretty good. 
 There was some talk early on about a museum visit, but that seems to have gotten washed away with the rain. I'm not much on standing around, so I figure I'll head on over to Casey/Greenup and get my motel room. 
 I was counting on following some folks around but I revert to Plan B. I know the slab whizzes by the Arch, so I just point RedBird in that general direction and figure I'll find a get on somewhere. 
 Sure enough, I make a few turns to avoid the crowd gathering for the ball game and see the I70 East sign. It's slow going but soon I'm on the concrete ribbon - and it starts raining buckets. I finally stop under to bridge to tighten up the openings that the rain is coming into before I get completely waterlogged. 
 After a hour, the skies clear up and for that I am thankful. Once I check into my room, I realize I've got some spare time before supper. I figure I'll run out to the Moonshine Store to see if I remember how to get there and get a picture. My memory serves me well and I take advantage of the deserted scene - cause it sure won't be that way tomorrow. 
 When I get back to Casey, I see some folks already gathering over at Richards Farm and Restaurant where the night's gathering will be. I can't sing and I can't dance, and it's too windy to haul rocks, so I head on over. I see my great friends, Carole and Mac, and we manage to get a table together. Carole is delighted to see me moving around so well. This time last year I was still using a walking stick and in a lot of pain. The food is good, and there are tons of awards, drawings and remembrances of Terry Hammond, the founder of the Moonshine Gathering. I know most of the fellers on the Regents Board who Terry appointed to make sure that it would go on if he wasn't around. I sometimes wonder if he knew he was not long for this world, but that answer will stay safely with him. 
 I hang around for while to shoot the breeze with folks I haven't seen for a while, but the bed is calling me so I go find it.  
April 14, 2012
It looks like another rainy day to contend with, so I get RedBird all packed up before the liquid sunshine starts to fall.
 I notice an interesting ride parked nearby. One of the things that makes Moonshine so different is the wide variety of bikes and people that show up. This is Piaggio scooter with two front wheels. Don't know if I'd like to ride it or not, but I'm always checking out three wheel options in case I get where I have no other choice to get my head in the wind. The seat on it really looks comfy and the wind protection appears to be pretty good too. 
 Rather than head over to the Comfort Inn in Casey or get breakfast, I decide I'll just head straight for the Moonshine store and get a good parking place. On the way through Casey, a fast moving freight train has other ideas about my progress. 
 It's a nice little run out as the rain has not started and the crowds are still waking up behind me. 
 I figure a bacon cheese burger won't be bad for breakfast. So as soon as I see folks coming out of the store with burgers in hand, I go inside and get in line for mine. 
 With a bottle of water, some mustard and maters, and a bag of chips, I get my MoonBurger properly dressed, then properly consumed. 
 The local burger dog knows I am a soft touch, so he hits me up pretty quickly with much success. He's a real professional and really knows how to work a crowd. Maybe it's his pearly whites and that dazzling smile ... 
 The burger makers keep cooking and the folks keep coming ... and so does the rain. 
 I can see that the storm is moving in quick, so I give good-bye hugs and decide to get out of Dodge. 
 Just about the time I pull out, the bottom falls out. I'm glad that this part of the ride is on backroads cause dealing with this kind of rainstorm would be especially dangerous on the slab. At least there are not a lot of semis to double drown me along the way. When the sun does come out, I take a short break at Albion. I swap into some dry gloves and double check my map that I am still on the right route. 
 Soon it's back to the slab and reverse visit of the bridges. But at least the traffic is light for now. 
 But that story changes as I get closer to Nashville, land of the wannabe Nascar Drivers who think drafting is fair game on the Interstate. 
  I get home early for me which gives me time to hang out the stuff that got wet over the last day or so. Lady Bug, my behind the house dog, is mighty happy to see me again and I am glad to see her. I slip into the old hot tub to ease some of the road weariness away and after about two rinse cycles, I hit the bed. It's been a good time to get out in the wind, to see old friends and meet some new ones.