• 28 Oct 2008

    Unquestionably, the coolest part of a trip like this is finding yourself in the most surprising and incongruent places.

    Tonight it would be a vintage motorcycle club meeting at a tea room in Knoxville, Tennessee. 

    It was a convoluted path that brought me here.  It started with the weather delay that grew into a small depression (mine), which led to a day of logistical maneuvering, and ultimately meeting Charley Cox.  Charley is a local mainstay in the Knoxville motorcycle community and the most recent addition to my roadtrip angels club.  More on that later.

    Pulling up to the Time Warp Tea Room with its rows of meticulously maintained motorcycles lining the sidewalk, it is the coolest of contradictions.   Here, Knoxville riders gather and drink gourmet coffees, eat homemade cookies and tea cakes after downing their signature tamale/chili combo and surrounded by motorcycle memorabilia.  You can’t make this stuff up.  In their own words ‘where else can one play a 40-year old pinball machine amidst walls covered with 1980’s Cycle News?’  This defines cool.

    Here I met David Rhynehart.  

    Born in North Carolina, but raised here in Knoxville, David is a mechanical technician and a veteran.  His family is here and includes his mother, brother and sister, and his son.  He is both clear and concise, and unwavering in his support and strict interpretation of conservatism.  

    David Rhynehart

    Roadtrip News:  Due to 25 mph winds and a high of 43 degrees, I am getting a ride (read tow) to Marion, Virginia tomorrow.  It is about 140 miles and gets me into striking distance of Washington DC.  From there, I promise only to ride if the weather permits.  Fingers crossed.

  • Rekindled

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    27 Oct 2008

    At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person.  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

    - Albert Schweitzer

    Sometime our own words just don’t cut it.

    To my friends and family who wrote, called, and commented, I am forever grateful.  I could not have imagined loving you all more when I pulled away from home last month.  It is, without question, the sweetest reward.  

    All is well.  Today I worked on some contingency plans, did my laundry (in a machine… so cool) and went for a hike.  Life is good. 

    I revisited several interviews that I had not had time to review and discovered a gem.  While I was passing through Santa Rosa, New Mexico, I met a kindred spirit in Vicki Sexton.  Vicki and I are close in age and share a love of scooters.  She told me about the basket that her husband custom made so that her dog could ride along with her.  A real character, Vicki has an infectious smile that lights up the room.

    Vicki Sexton

  • 26 Oct 2008

    I am sulking.

    When I originally conceived the idea of scootering across country I carefully proclaimed, in my most zen-like manner, that I would be willing to accept whatever the outcome.  If I only made it as far as Modesto, so be it.

    And so it is, that I find myself just east of Knoxville, Tennessee facing the very real possibility that I may not be able to complete this journey.  Upon my arrival and the requisite weather.com check in, I discovered that the high pressure system that is creating so much havoc in the midwest is going to cost me at least two days of travel.  If the high winds persist past that, I will simply run out of time.

    There is nothing spiritual or even marginally adult in my reaction.  I am pitiful and bitter.  After 2,460 miles of eating diner food, washing my one set of clothes in the sink of a Days Inn in a town where the only other choice was a Motel 6, and regularly losing the feeling in the last three fingers of my throttle hand, I am invested. 

    And seriously, if one more local person says to me ‘yeah this <insert today’s meteorological freakness here> never usually happens this time of year’  the next time you see me will be a CNN perp walk. 

    Tantrum off.  I will figure this out.

    While there may have been difficulties, there were also gifts.  Today it came in the form of deepening autumn colors and sharing my lunch with Clarence Pickel.  Aside from a name that just makes you smile, Clarence’s family pre-dates the American Revolutionary War.  We met at the Huddle House in Kingston, Tennessee.  A war veteran and widow, Clarence is soft spoken in a noisy environment.  Off mic, there was an endearing softness to his voice when he spoke about his daughter, Rachel.

    Clarence Pickel

    It was the nicest part of my day.