Sunday, August 06, 2006

Finger Lickin' Good

all week frank had been saying, "whatcha got planned for the weekend?"
"nothing," i said every time, "we're broke!"
but he kept persisting.
before i left for work on friday he had the pouty face on so i told him to perk up, had i ever let him down before?
don't answer that.

so i did what every good girlfriend does ... i raced to plan something as if i had been planning it all along :) !

i got to work and searched "Core" - the friday entertainment section.
piano concert at the porter center? i don't think so.
blues singer in asheville? my style, but not frank's.
movies? definitely not!
well that was no help!

okay so the scuba gear is ready, why not just go to jocassee?
did that four weeks ago, almost did two weeks ago, really just too hot to even think about
putting on a wetsuit.

motorcycle? good idea - cheap on gas and we hadn't been on a good ride in months! now to plan the route. he keeps saying, "i want to go west!" where's the map?

frank had never been to kentucky so i thought we will take that back road (25) through newport, tennessee and up to london, kentucky where "dogpatch" is. dogpatch is a great big souvenir store that was a must stop on return trips from visiting in-laws in my previous life. anyway it is a cool little spot and it gave purpose to the trip.

i mapped it out not realizing there is a 25E and a 25W. it seems weird now that the whole time we were traveling west we were on 25E and traveling east on the return trip we were on 25W, DOT people can really mess with your mind sometimes.

so we left the house around 10:30 on saturday and headed towards unc-a, where we took 25E through northern buncombe county, bypassing my favorite spot on this road, hot springs, and heading into greenville, tennessee. greenville is the home of 17th president, Andrew Johnson. we knew that not because we remembered our history, but because it is displayed so prominently has you arrive in their fair town. we continued through tennessee. we saw a sign that excited us - tunnel - we love tunnels! especially when it is 100 degrees and the thought of getting out of the sun is at the top of every other list running through your mind.

hours and hours and, I really mean hours and hours, later the tunnel finally appears. undoubtedly this was some major project - the cumberland gap tunnel - they built it up all along the way for miles and miles and miles we saw signs warning no class 1 cargo allowed. of course frank new that was for truckers. when we finally made it, boy was it fancy. lights and LCD boards and escorts for anyone going through that might hold hazardous materials. the tunnel really was cool, but it seemed such a big production for such and unpopulated area. i guess the place is a little busier than what we saw today, but if not, why all the expense?

arriving on the other side of the tunnel we were surprised to find we were practically on the campus of LMU - Lincoln Memorial University in harrogate, tennessee. from the road we could see what appeared to be a replica lincoln in his big chair. it was in the museum dedicated to their namesake. we were going to go back after we ate, but time was not on our side. maybe next trip.

we were hungry and frank's hips were starting to fill like he had given birth to an 800 pound cycle. we arrived in middlesboro, kentucky and immediately looked for a restaurant with air conditioning and booths that you could lie down in. we settled for quiznos - no booths but the air was cool and the sandwich yummy. after about a dozen glasses of raspberry lemonade we gassed up the venture and headed west once again.

the roads were good and the scene from town to town was much the same. one sign kept popping up about every three to four houses, it became ominous as if it were trying to tell us something. YARD SALE YARD SALE YARD SALE YARD SALE. it almost seemed a pre-requisite for being allowed to live on the 25E corridor. where did they get all that stuff and furthermore, who bought it? if they were all having a sale today, who was shopping them? it got to be almost laughable like counting doodle-bugs as a bored child. "yard sale," i say, poking frank in the side. he'd giggle and race to be the next on to call out, "yard sale!" i swear it was really freaky.

we rode for a couple more hours and i thought it would be neat to go see where finger lickin' chicken started! colonel sanders' first restaurant still stands in corbin, kentucky. we had to go! it was neat inside - will have pics to support soon. one of the neatest things was the "sample" motel room colonel sanders had built right into the inside of his "cafe." it was a life-size replica of the rooms located just to the right of the cafe in the Sanders Court (motel courts were popular in the 70's.) the room was set up to entice travelers to stay at his motel while passing through corbin on the dixie highway (25W.) what a marketing genius. a real life commercial. sanders' cafe had the good fortune of being at the junction of highways 25, 25E, and 25W on the main road for northerners headed to vacation in sunny florida.

we were not hungry so we just looked over all the historical items in the cafe, sipping our KFC water as we lingered. we took some pictures with the colonel and said our goodbyes.

we went on down the road a ways and i decided it was getting late so we should skip the extra hour it would take to get to dogpatch. instead we headed south-east on 25w (see how the DOT is?) we had been on the road a short while when we saw thunder clouds and about the time we got to the road to cumberland falls recreation park we saw the rain coming. we darted off the road and under a tree where we sat to stay dry. NOT! 15 minutes and bucket loads of rain later, we continued down 25W - soaked and chilled to the bone. i laughed out loud and inside. i can't help it, it was funny. about five minutes down the road we saw other motorcyclists in our same predicament ... well not exactly the same. they had managed to find the only church i have ever seen with a front porch .... covered ... with comfy rocking chairs. again i laughed :)

"do you feel like we ate at that KFC?" frank asked. not really i said, "why?" he swore his burps were flavored with the colonel's special recipe. that's funny. maybe they flavor their water with it.

traveling on down 25W, we started to cross back and forth across I-75. i was afraid that our quaint little road was going to eventually run out and we would be forced to join the hustle and bustle of the interstate highway system. unfortunately, i was right. soon after we left jellico we were forced onto the four lane nightmare. it wasn't too bad and we decided to ride it out till we got to knoxville where we would stop for some eats.

knoxville came and went before our eyes and i just knew we were going to have to wait until we got back to asheville to eat. my memory of interstate 40 exits past knoxville was of closed down gas stations and the two exits to gatlinburg. what i was not expecting was the huge amount of growth that had happened in the 10 years or so since i had traveled westward. i was amazed at all the choices to eat, sleep and gas-n-go along this route. it was incredible how it how grown. still, we were at a loss as to what we actually wanted to eat. frank took the sevierville exit and we ended up at damon's. he had steak after much waiting and taking it back and dealing with a brand new waitress (she be called Amanda.) she was almost too anxious. i think she was sent from above to keep us from arguing ... every time i tried to speak it was her voice i heard, "is everything alright, can i get you something?" everything would be fine if you would just go away i thought as i said, "we're fine, thank you." well, of course, she finally did. we argued and from there we proceeded to get back on the cycle without speaking for the next 10 miles. the good thing about being on a motorcycle at midnight in the mountains of tennessee is that you depend on each other and being mad at each other is NOT a good idea. as frank navigated the curvaceous roads, i slowly gave in and reached around his waist to hold on. you cannot stay made at someone who is keeping you on the bike.

we made our way through the gorge and back into the familiar highway 25 (notice no E or W) we travel every day. as we did i couldn't help but think about all that we had done and everything we had seen in the last 14 hours on our venture. and i laughed. i still couldn't believe all those yard sale signs :)

epilogue: we got home and took a shower - while in the shower i let a small stinky - i swear there was a faint undertone of the colonel's special herbs and spices. (TMI? I hope not!)

guess where we are going for supper tonight?

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