Two other MTF folks were also trying to make it to Bill's house last night, but they threw in the towel and stopped at a hotel for the night. As I was loading up my motorcycle this morning, they arrived, Phred on a GoldWing, Jimmie in his spiffy red convertible. It was cold this morning, in the mid-40's and the skies were a leaden gray color. Before we departed, I wanted to lube the chain, especially after riding in that heavy rain yesterday. I was only able to do about half the chain when the can ran dry. I promised my little Fuzzy FZ that I'd give her chain a good soaking when I got home. Loaded and ready to go, our little caravan headed northeast toward Fort Donelson, where we watched the 15 minute movie and I got my national parks passport stamped.
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Bill set a spirited pace riding up the Trace through Land Between the Lakes (LBL). About halfway, 20 miles or so, is the visitor center, where we stopped so that I could get my KY state stamp. Along the Trace the invisible line marking the start of ice damage was remarkable. Many trees were lost to heavy ice in this past winter's ice storm which had hundreds of thousands of folks without power for up to 6 weeks. The damage to trees was every bit as devastating as the damage done by Ike in September in the Galveston-Houston area.
We arrived to a parking lot filled with motorcycles! Nearly every one had arrived well before 11:00 and we pulled in at just about straight up 11:00 AM. A couple of others arrived just minutes later and we moved the party inside the restaurant...Patti's....where the owners have gone one step beyond overboard on the Easter decorations!
Our group filled the large table they'd set for us, plus two more tables...maybe 14 or 15 of us all together. What a great turnout! And the food was excellent. I had stuffed potato soup. the name says it all. I couldn't finish the bowl. And I ordered a pot of bread with strawberry butter to go with it.
Brandy, our waitress, took excellent care of us, getting the drink orders filled, the food to the table quickly, and even gave an outstanding performance telling us about the 30 different home-made pies to choose from for dessert. The list was so extensive and the descriptions so detailed, that by the time she got to about the 6th or 7th choice, I'd already forgotten what the first few were. If I had hoped to order one of the earlier described choices, well... there just was no hope. Here's my slice of coconut cream merigue pie. I barely made a dent in it:
Joyce came! She and I sat together and we had a chance to get caught up. Love ya, girl! We need to get together more often! I also sat with Buck, who I'll be seeing along with his wife in a couple of weeks at Cape Fear, and with Steve, who I'd seen in Jacksonville and who completed an incredible back-to-back 2X100CCC ride on his way to the IBA party in Jacksonville. When I asked him where he lived, I discovered we'd both be heading the same direction after lunch, so I asked if I could ride with him.
On our way out of the restaurant, Joyce showed me something in what used to be the ladies room. She said it scared the you-know-what out of her the first time she went in there.
I'd been trying to get Bill to take my FZ for a spin, so before we all left, he took me up on that offer. Hmmm....if he doesn't come back, did he leave the keys in his GoldWing and, furthermore, could I touch the ground enough to ride it? Good thing Bill came back.
We were the last ones to leave, and I realized that Steve was sitting there on his bike, waiting for me....I couldn't believe I would get to ride with him for the next few hours! When we stopped for gas about 50 miles outside our destination, he informed me that he'd called his wife and that they'd like me to come to their home to spend the night, rather than a hotel. How generous of them! I was thrilled at the offer.
I was leading until that point, but Steve took over and led the way the last 50 or so miles to where he lives. He took me on a really beautiful county road, and we passed a few Amish folks in their horse-drawn buggies and a few adults and children on foot. The whole scene, with the low late afternoon sun, the freshly greening pastures was like a beautiful painting.
We had a nice quiet evening watching his wife Gloria finish up a sewing project and Steve telling some great riding stories. He even programmed my GPS to get me to the Wilson Creek National Battlefield the next morning and would even move my bike out of the garage and get it pointed in the right direction the next morning (us short-legged folk are so disadvantaged!).
Tomorrow: ride over to Wilson Creek National Park to get the stamp, then head south toward Little Rock AR for more stamping.