Posts Tagged With: Tennessee

Black Friday Ride 2016

I don’t much care for shopping so the thought of spending the day shopping and fighting crowds for the sales just didn’t work for me. It seemed to be a good day for a ride.


The plan was to meet Gary (Sharla’s brother) for breakfast at the Wolf River Cafe but they were closed. Perkins did a decent job as a substitute…not quite the “hole in the wall” places I like but it was open for business. Pickwick lake is about 2 hours east of Collierville Tennessee and my next destination.




Pickwick dam and the lake. Sharla and her family spent a lot of time here when she was younger. The area has lots of marinas along with restaurants featuring catfish, campgrounds, and family cabins along the shore. Pickwick Lake was created by the Tennessee Valley Authority with the building of the Pickwick dam. With a surface area of over 43,000 acres the lake is a summer hotspot for boating, fishing, and camping. The lake is also the north area of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway providing a water route to the Gulf of Mexico.

My route takes me down route 25 toward Highway 72 where I would turn east to intersect the Natchez Trace.


Looking north along the Natchez Trace. I highly recommend driving or motorcycling the Trace but before you do…read up on the history of the Trace. To ride it nowadays one would never consider the role the Natchez Trace played in our history or the struggle folks had when traveling this road. This stretch of the Trace is just over 60 miles north of Tupelo Mississippi.


Rock Creek along the Natchez Trace. Fording creeks, streams, and rivers along the Trace was a challenge requiring perseverance and often extra days to be successful.


My route will take me off the Trace along Highway 30 toward Hobo Station, Booneville, and Ripley Mississippi.



Hobo Station is not really a town but an intersection. The gable with Hobo Station in the first picture is from the building in the second picture. The road is Highway 4 and my route to Holly Springs through the town of Ripley.



Many small towns in the area of the country have town squares with a courthouse or a park in the middle of the square. Ripley is no different.

It was an interesting and enjoyable ride. The roads around and heading west from the lake had more corners and were fun to ride. Temperatures were in the 50’s and the weather was good for a total of 315 miles. Stay tuned….


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1st Tennessee Ride

Welcome back and for those of you who are following this blog…the move is complete. Well mostly complete. We are currently staying with family in Collierville TN with the final move into our new place the middle of this month. Now that we are here it’s time to explore so I decided to ride east. My brother in law told me of an Amish bakery northeast of here called Backermann’s. Backermann’s is outside of Whiteville, northeast of Collierville, so I planned a route using country roads to reach the bakery.



Every ride should start with coffee and some kind of breakfast. The town square of Collierville has a great coffee shop called Square Beans. The coffee is good and while the breakfast selections are somewhat limited, they are adequate. I spent about 40 minutes outside the coffee shop enjoying an Americano along with a breakfast biscuit.



Heading east along Highway 57 toward Moscow and LaGrange through low rolling hills and trees that provided some nice scenery. Lots of green along with some beautiful horse ranches. My intended route is east along 57 to 18 then north toward Hickory Valley.



Somerville Road heads west from Highway 18 just outside of Hickory Valley. A nice road that winds through the countryside. Lots of trees and farms along the way. My plan is to follow this road until I reach Whiteville/Newcastle road which leads to Whiteville. It didn’t quite work out that way. Somehow I missed the Whiteville/Newcastle road and ended up on Jernigan Drive which I followed to Somerville. From Sommerville I followed Highway 64 in search of Backermann’s.



Backermann’s Country Store for lunch and to rehydrate. The temperature had been steadily climbing from the low 80s to 90 and up which required stopping about every 40 minutes to rehydrate. A nice bakery and a good place to stop for lunch. They have a pretty good deli selection along with daily specials. They also have bread and various other food items for purchase. A burger (the daily special for Friday), macaroni salad, and lots of sweet tea did the trick. After lunch I went out to relax on the rocking chairs in front of the store. While there I visited with a work crew up from Memphis. We talked motorcycle rides and places we have been. They passed on some nice rides in the area and down along the gulf that I should explore when I get the chance. Thanks guys…

Taking the Whiteville/Newcastle road to Sommerville road I motored back to Highway 18 to backtrack my route to Collierville.





This mansion is located just west of LaGrange on Highway 57. Civil War actions are woven into the fabric of this area so to get a better grasp of the conflict I began listening to the History of the Civil War podcasts by Richard Youngdahl. The podcasts are very well done and are providing some useful information.



I needed to rehydrate so I stopped at this store. Unfortunately it was closed but the building is kind of cool…a general store in a small town in the south. I am looking forward to exploring the area more and looking for small town with general stores. From here I headed west back to Collierville with a rehydration stop in Moscow.

The ride was 166 miles with temperatures ranging from 80 to 95. A great ride and I’m looking forward to more rides in Tennessee and Mississippi. Stay tuned….

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Bikes, Planes, and Automobiles – Summer Trip 2015 Memphis Interlude

Sharla and I arrived in Memphis late on the 13th. Overall it was a good trip from Colter Bay WY to Denver and then via plane to Memphis. It provided me with an opportunity to see eastern Wyoming…nice place but pretty windy and flat.


We stayed a day in Memphis to relax, visit, and plan our trip. The heavy showers moving through the area made me glad that I wasn’t on the bike.

The plan is to explore Tennessee and perhaps find a place to retire. I apologize to those of you who are following this blog and expecting the trip to be done on a motorcycle. The plan to use the bike was not feasible so the trip began on a bike, then car, then plane back to car, and finally will end on a bike. The bike trip begins on Thursday or Friday so hang on.



We headed east out of Memphis toward our first stop…the Shiloh battlefield. The battle of Shiloh was fought April 6-7, 1862 when Confederate forces conducted a surprise attack on the Union forces of Ulysses Grant. With over 23,000 casualties, the battle of Shiloh shocked participants on both sides with the level of violence and destruction.


Bloody Pond Shiloh battlefield. During the battle wounded and suffering soldiers from both sides struggled to get water, for many their last drink, from this pool that ran red with the blood of the men and horses who died in and around the waterhole. A very somber place. (The red color is from pollen and leaves in the area.)

From Shiloh we headed through Savannah Tennessee, Clifton, Centerville, then on to Cookeville. Cookeville is the home of Tennessee Tech and one of the areas we are investigating to settle down. We spent the night there and the next day I met with the director of Veteran Affairs at TTU. He is a very nice guy and there’s a lot of activities where I can get involved but the “wow” factor just wasn’t there. After two nights in Cookeville with a side trip up to Standing Stones state park, we headed west toward Only Tennessee, then up to Spur, then across the tail end of Kentucky Lake to highway 69 then back to Clifton to explore.


The Bear Inn outside of Clifton. We spent the night and explored the area.


An area along Mill Creek where Sharla’s Great-great grand parents lived in a log cabin. Sharla’s great grandmother grew up on this creek not far from this spot.


Dinner at the Bear Inn…a nice steak, a Yuengling beer in honor of Chief Combs, and with great company (my wife). Tomorrow we work our way back toward Memphis via Natchez Trace State Park. We drove 1,031 miles over 4 days.

I had been complaining that the last catfish I had tasted like mud so I wanted to eat some good catfish. Apparently to be a good Southerner one must like catfish.


Here it is…catfish, hush puppies, fried bologna, onion rings, and slaw. Very tasty and all from the Wolf River Cafe.

Over the next couple of day we did some more exploring.


The largest Bass Pro store in the country…and I didn’t spend a lot of money. (Although I could have.) We spent 2 or 3 hours there…unfortunately the pictures I had from the top of the pyramid would not load….sorry.


Beale Street for lunch. If you look close you can see BBKings club on the right of the picture.


Lunch was at the Rum Boogie cafe…and as you can see I’m sampling the famous Memphis ribs (dry) with the sauce on the side and a small bowl of gumbo with alligator, andouille sausage, and shrimp. Very tasty…

Today we also spent some time on the firing range with my brother-in-law Gary. We went through over 300 rounds of 45, 9 mil (3 different ones), and 22 mags. I surprised myself. Most of my groups were in the black at ranges differing from 10′ to 30′. Thanks Gary…it was great.

Tomorrow I fly back to Jackson Wyoming via Denver. In Denver I pickup a rental car and head north. Stay tuned….I’ll be back on the bike soon.


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