April 13 - 14, 2018

The Last Moonshine

April 13, 2018
It's with a bit of mixed emotions that I head out this morning. This will be the 14th and last Moonshine Lunch Run. This will be the 12th one that I've attended. It always gives me an opportunity to see some riders that I don't often get to see. I'm meeting John and Michael this morning in Erin for breakfast at Fitz's Restaurant so I've got to be out and about. I have to chuckle a little bit because today is Friday the 13th which some folks figure is an unlucky day. But since I was born on a 13th and got married on a 13th, and I'm getting to ride today, it's a pretty dandy day for me. For this trip, Frost gets the honors as I am running her up to the 100,000 mile mark so I can get her all serviced for my Canadian adventure later in the year.  
It's as dark as dungeon out this morning so I am on hyper Bambi watch as I make my way along the backroads headed toward Erin in a less than straight path.  
When I get to highway 250 it always makes me a little sad to see Mary Helen's Grocery still closed. It was one of those country stores where you were a friend not an interruption to their day. I was hoping someone would open it back up after a while.  
I have to be careful as I twist my way along 250 in the dark but it's still a great road to ride even at this time of the morning.  
As I hit highway 49 toward Charlotte, the sun is beginning to peep over the ridges.  

Charlotte is the county seat of Dickson County although Dickson is a much larger town.

On May 30, 1830, a tornado destroyed most of downtown Charlotte. The roof of the courthouse was found 13 miles away, and most of the county's early records were permanently lost. A new courthouse was completed in 1833, and still stands as the oldest functioning courthouse in the state of Tennessee.

So I reckon if it ain't broke, you don't need to fix it so Charlotte remains the county seat.

It's an area of lots of farms and just good old plain country folks.  
I arrive at Fitz's Restaurant, one of my favorite eating spots, early so I go ahead and gas up Frost. If I have my figuring right, I should only need one more gas stop to make it to Greenup and Casey. I pull into the parking lot and looks like I've beat John and Michael. I get us a table in the corner and make myself at home with a nice cup of hot chocolate.  
The restaurant is located at the junction of highway 13 and highway 49 - two really good riding roads. It is in the Irish Capital of Tennessee - Erin.  

John and Michael pull in pretty soon but since I got here earlier than them, I ask

"Well boys, did you bring the evening paper with you?"

John says "It's between 7 and 7:30 like you said, though it's closer to 7:30."

We both laugh and make our way to our corner table. I get my usual 'traveling' breakfast - an omelet with cheese and some sort of pork product, sausage this morning.


It's all good and we do our best to solve all the world's problems while we sit here. But Michael and I have got about 300 miles of back roads to cover, so we settle up. John is helping get his mother-in-law moved closer to her son, so he won't be able to make it. He asks me -

"Can you pick up my T-shirt I ordered?"

"Sure thing" I tell him "If I can just get Michael to remind me to do it."

Soon we're off through the megatropolis of Erin.

I've decided to take Michael through one of the best highways in this part of the state called 232. It's a little out of way, but I know that he will enjoy it. It's about 13 miles of some of the twistiest stuff you'll find around here and one of my favorites.  
I've planned our day to stay on back roads for most of the day with no interstate in the mix. We pass by some pretty reservoirs ...  
and every now and then a lovely little country church. I always like a church building that looks like church building so you ain't confused as to what you are going into.  

Pretty soon we are in Marion, Kentucky which is a little over half of the way there. I tell Michael -

"I figured we'd stop here and fill up. Then we should be good to go all the rest of the way."

A little further north we pass through another town with a familiar name to motorcyclists - Sturgis. This one is just a little further south than the more well known one but they hold an annual motorcycle rally here also.  
My original plans were to take the Cave In The Rock ferry across the Ohio River. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to call them and check. They said the ferry was closed due to the high waters and probably wouldn't be open til after Sunday. When we cross the bridge over the Ohio near Shawneetown, I can see how bad it really is.  
The mighty Ohio is out of her banks in a lot of places.  
We make it over to highway 1 and are well on our way to Greenup where I have a motel room for the evening.  
Soon we make it through Graysville and on to the last road of the day, Highway 130.  

We pull into my motel and I tell Michael -

"I don't have much of a clue on how to get to the farm so I won't be much help from here."

Michael is camping there so he breaks out his electronic gizmos and gets it sorted while I check in. Then he's off so he has time to sent up his tent and make it back for supper at Richard's Farm Restaurant. I unpack Frost and decide to rest a wee bit before I head that way.

When I get there the parking lot is already filling up. I find a spot to back Frost into so I can make an easy getaway when the time comes.  
It doesn't take long until parking spaces are at a premium as many have come since this will be the last time for this event.  
Folks from all over on all sorts of motorcycles and other motorized conveyances have come and the chow lines are long.  

My buddy, Kreis, who has been in a long, difficult battle with cancer is here and I give him a big hug. I tell him -

"I love you, my brother."

He points upward to the One Who has his soul in safekeeping and we both rejoice in knowing that things will be fine one day. For those who trust in Christ, we have the peace that living in this old world is the worst that it ever gets for us and it only gets better on the other side. We've known each other for a long time and I remember when he first got the prognosis. It has been a serious matter of prayer for me all of this time. Kreis is also the only one who has made it to all of the Moonshine gatherings and is honored by Jason for this and his excellent example of determination to continue in spite of his severe physical afflictions.

Seating is at a premium, but some dear riding friends make room for me at their table for which I am thankful. It's good to catch up with what is going on with folks that you don't get to see very often.

After dinner various folks talk a bit about what this all means to them.

But too soon, this part is over and folks slowly make their way out to their waiting steeds.  
I figure if it is this crowded for supper, tomorrow at the store will really be tight on parking. I head on back to my room and figure I'll get up early and get to the store to beat the crowds. It does not take me long to make the short ride to slumberland.  
April 14, 2018
The weather weenies have predicted rain for most of the day and it appears that they got it right this time. When I look out, I figure I might as well gear up for all day rain at the start of things.  
I want to be headed for the Moonshine Store by 5 AM so I'm up at 4 AM getting my stuff packed and loaded on Frost. I figure there won't be too many other nut cases out this early in this kind of weather. But it's prime wildlife moving time, so I proceed very cautiously when I get on the road. And looks like I get my choice of parking spaces since I'm the first one to get here. I get a shot of Frost in front of the store since there won't be another chance for that later.  
The folks that have to do all the work start showing up and I try to help where I can. I'd much rather be useful than just ornamental. Soon other riders begin to pull in and indeed parking gets really tight.  
As we say out in the country 'Go big or stay up on the porch' so I get my order in for a triple bacon cheese burger. Soon the ladies are hard at cooking the various pieces of dead cow in the proper manner.  
Since it is pouring down rain outside, most of us gather inside the store waiting for our name to be called when our burger is ready.  
I am fortunate to get Number 1 of the last MLR Moonburgers since there will be no more 'official' Moonshine Lunch Runs. Dan, my riding friend, who got here second, gets Number 2. But thankfully the Moonshine Store will stay open so folks can still get one of those wonderful burgers when they feel their cholesterol level dropping too low.  

And it's a dandy, a real heart attack on a plate. But as I always say

"The undertaker will make money on me if it kills me. He'll say 'He's already got a smile on his face, so I won't have to fix him up much!'"

With burger in hand, I head outside so other folks can place their order. I settle up with the till and make it over to the condiment tent.  
It looks like the rain has settled in, so I figure I might as well give up my dry spot under the tent so somebody else has a place to get. So I say my good-byes and give my last hugs and then head for the Holler. The bikes just keep coming so I hope they set a new record for the number of Moonburgers fixed today.  
I make my way back toward 130 through Hazel Dell that I passed through in the dark this morning.  
It's going to be a long ride back in the rain, but a long ride in the rain is still a lot better than no ride at all. I get a quick shot of the Burl Ives Statue in Newton, close to his birthplace. But then you'd probably have to have some age on you to know who he was without the Internet.  
Newton also has a pretty neat courthouse sitting in the town square.  
It's a wet run back to the Holler, but gives a feller a chance to rattle a few things around in the old noggin. I'm sure when Terry started the Moonshine Lunch Run, he had no idea that he wouldn't be around for the end of it or that it would grow as big as it has. Jason did a great job to carry the torch all these years after Terry died and for that many of us are very thankful.  
It reminds me that life is often like a bridge - we don't know what's on the other side til we get across it.  

There will be other riding events but in the end, the Moonshine Lunch Run was one of a kind. And I am awful glad I got be at most of them and spend time with some of the best folks on the planet. As Terry always said

"It ain't about the burger"

but about the friendships that are made and last a lifetime.





  P.S. Special Thanks To My Friends Dave Marrier and Scott Williams For Some Of The Pictures At The Moonshine Store. They Are Both Much Better Picture Takers Than I Am.