4.14.2014

Fort Smith, Arkansas to Nashville, Tennesessee

I was ready to light out for the territories, but I was not ready to bid my compadres farewell. The journey home after such an excellent trip is difficult and complex. We were all having such a memorable trip together and that is why it was difficult to leave; I did not want our mirthful times to end!Nor did I enjoy the distance between my wife and daughter!
Ken exercised excellent judgement when he put his rain suit on before we set out for the interstate. I was in denial and refused to admit that what I saw on Ken's phone would reign down upon us! We rode east and with each mile rode the less sunlight we saw. The wind started blowing and soon I could see the light-green underside of tree leaves, a sure sign of a full-value wind! My denial was being blown away by the burly wind and the eastern horizon was black and blue with titanic thunderclouds. Well, I reckon we should stop and put our Gumby suits on. (That is old Marine Corps parlance for rain suit)
The liquid apocalypse poured intently upon us. Any time a vehicle would pass us, our world became a liquid white-gray white-out; blind during the day in the rain at 60 mph-not good! Despite having a very good rain suit the rain was driven into the cracks by the wicked wind! The further we went, the worse it became. Time to stop! You know a rainstorm is bad when folks driving cars decide to get off the interstate! We all agreed that we had not been in such a rainstorm in a long time! On a day when you need to lay down beau coup miles, you do not want a steady heavy rain keeping you company  ALL day! And that is what seemed to be happening! We cinched up our gear a bit more, rode through the flooded parking lot and rejoined the rat-race on the super-slab. The intensity of the rain had subsided a lot but continued to accompany us only to pick-up around refuel time. Donner and blitzing greeted us as we fueled up and I kept thinking that it would be a real bummer to catch a bolt of lightening while Ole Girl was sucking down 5 gallons of 93 octane!Back out on the super-slab we noticed that the rain was dissipating the further we rolled east. Eventually it was time to water our steads and part company. This occurred not to far from the Arkansas-Tennessee state line. Wyatt and I would have been more than happy to follow Ken and JT into the Heart of Dixie but that was not the plan and our Belles at home would not have been 'cool' with that! I told JT and Ken that I would see them again-no 'good-bye'. Ponder that for a moment.
The sky looked safe so I ditched my Gumby suit-handy it is but boy do I enjoy riding with out the feeling of a MOPP suit! And then it was just me and Wyatt,



 roaring down the line towards the Volunteer State; our goal for the day was the Nashville KOA. A local back at the gas stop urged me to stop at Nick's for lunch instead of another place that I had mentioned to her; I am always amazed at how I can get good information on places to eat while watering Ole Girl! Nick's it was...
over in Carlise, Arkansas. If you like bad food you will NOT like Nick's! Our meal was very scrumptious, a righteous BBQ for sure! Our bellies were loaded and we hammered on down the line over the Mississippi and into Western Tennessee. We enjoyed a time consuming traffic jam east of Memphis before moving on. Our pace was steady, dry and uneventful. An awkward coffee/fuel break somewhere in middle Tennessee. An Egyptian clerk: "Are you an Iraqi vet?"
Me: Answered with mystified look, "Yeah."
"Why do you want to know?"
Clerk: "I was just wondering."
Wyatt and I thought this was strange, once again proving that trips on freedom machines can be rather interesting. The rest of the day passed uneventful on the super-slab under semi-threatening overcast atmospheric conditions. We found Nashville and after becoming slightly disorientated we found the mega KOA kampground. By far the biggest KOA I have ever been to; the place was covered at least 20 acres of prime Oprelyland real estate! We dumped our junk in our kabin and promptly made a bee-line for the restaurant with the life size steer...
What a day! Tomorrow would be even longer, and better with the promise of a side-trip to Wheels Through Time!

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