Well, with 7,000 km’s on the clock we’re now making some progress west across the states.
We left the comfort of the ‘Dirty Dancing’ hotel and headed back to finish the rest of the Blue Ridge Parkway….and back to tenting….boooo!
A group of friendly bikers we met along the parkway told us about a great biking road through the Great Smoky Mountains – known as the ‘Tail of the Dragon’. 318 turns in 11 miles…..there was no way Dan was going to let us miss that, even though it was pouring with rain when we woke up on the morning we were due to ride it.
Once in Tennessee we didn’t really have any plans or ideas about what to see or do, other than head for Memphis – but we met a local guy who took his BMW around the world last year (including riding the ‘road of bones’ – pretty cool and great to chat to him and see some of his trip photos). We stopped to get some tips, check out some maps and take a few pics.
With some local knowledge, we headed for the Natchez Chase Parkway, another scenic drive – it’s much better than riding the busy highways and interstates – and it took us down from Tennessee to Alabama and into Mississippi – two states we hadn’t planned on venturing into. We’re enjoying the southern states where everyone says “y’all” all the time.
Next up was Memphis – a city with a lot of history – and a great place to go if you like music. We’re not Elvis fans, but it was still cool to see the sights – especially ‘Sun Studio’ where Elvis and many other famous musicians have recorded over the years.
And the famous Beale St, where a lot of the Blues bars are located. There are loads of crazy Elvis fans who visit this place every year.
We also saw where Martin Luther King was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the Peabody Ducks. There’s a crazy hotel in Memphis who bring 5 ducks down in the elevator every day at 11am and march them along a red carpet to a water fountain in the hotel lobby area – they’ve been doing it every day since the 1930’s. Very strange, I’m not sure why, but it was funny to watch!!
After Memphis we headed across the border into the state of Arkansas and onto the Little Red River area of Heber Springs, famous for trout fishing apparently. Dan set out to catch our dinner….all I can say is it’s a good job they had a restaurant at the campsite….haha. I think the heat beat him, with temps in the mid nineties it was pretty hard to stay out standing in the sunshine fishing – or at least that’s his excuse 🙂
We met a friendly family from Missouri whilst camping, they invited us on their boat on the nearby lake which was great fun. After jumping in their car we found out they all carried guns (although they hadn’t bought them along in case they got wet). Our first experience of guns in the US. Thankfully they weren’t crazy, but it was eye opening to find out that normal run of the mill families carry hand guns in this part of the country. Anyway, the boating was great and the family very nice and they had a couple of very cute dogs.
Travelling by motorcycle is proving to be the best way to meet locals which is great. People are really friendly and everyone is keen to hear about our trip.
We’ve now crossed into Texas, it’s super hot and it’s tough wearing the bike gear in the heat! But we’re not crazy like the locals – they don’t even have to wear helmets in this state and they just ride around in shorts and t-shirts!!!
Next up…….ummm….not really sure, I hear steak is pretty good here 🙂