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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by JB2, Oct 6, 2013.
Surprisingly gentle sound, but they are really good.
Joel - It would be real easy to post a hundred videos of their music. For some reason they hit the spot with me. Not sure if it’s his mandolin, her fiddle, their harmonies, their lyrics or their whole package. With or without the band they deliver. On my hit list to see live.
Well, it has been a few days since updating but it is not for the lack of motorcycling in any form but rather trying to create a new website for hosting images. The templates for BikeNutz were created back in the day; my ideas turned into digital reality by my son. We've started with a new computer, new domain name, new plugins and updated editing software. Then there's the whole COVID19 deal. There is a lot of catching up to do so bear with me here.
Since this entry is about a memorial this song seems fitting. Roy Brown, Sr., I hope you are riding some of those stolen horses. Godspeed.
Last summer Roy Brown, Jr. stopped by the shop looking for some custom paintwork. His dad had bought a trike only to later succumb to the grip of cancer. There were some issues up front. The bike was previously owned by someone else and was also a "tribute" bike... to someone else whom the family did not know.
The actual name memorialized on the trunklid of the trike body was a straight forward fix. Roy Brown, Sr.'s nickname was Dick. A simple cover up with the new memorial and a coat of clear remedied the issue.
The Tour-Pack was a different issue. There was damage to the left front corner. Under the primer is a ghost-skull with ghost-flames rolling off the back. Fixing the numerous gouges in a confined area wasn't the tough part. Creating new artwork that incorporated parts of the original artwork was a little touchy. Roy Jr. originally wanted something that screamed cancer sucks. I agree but maybe not the best choice to memorialize your father. From talking to Roy Jr. I found that Roy Sr. loved to play pool. With the ghost flames left behind from the original paintwork why not superimpose a flaming 8-Ball over the top? Roy Jr. said go for it.
Background and 8-Ball in place it starts to come together.
Next, lay on the lettering and the background for the 8.
Next, lay out the flames and edge with an airbrush. Incorporating new flames overlaying the hodge-podge pattern of the previous artwork while making it look like it was intended was a little challenging.
After the final details were air brushed in I applied 3 coats of House Of Kolor, Kosmic Flo-Clear.
Back on the bike and standing tall.
That's Roy Jr. and his mother. He's pretty damned happy with the results according to his ADV salute. It was another one of those strange numbers meeting. Roy and I are "Juniors" and our sons are the III's. We both married our high school sweethearts and are still married to them. Him and his wife were born on the 16th of the same year, two months apart to the day. Kim and I were both born on the 16th of the same year, exactly two months apart. The more we talked the more we wondered why we had never met before. Strange stuff. It confirms my belief you meet the people in life you are supposed to meet.
Looking down the road to retirement has had me wanting to build bikes of my own making. It is something I have dreamed of for a lifetime. Life, work and family were always the top priority so those dreams were always for later down the road. Now I am here and one of the first investments I made was a frame jig.
Remember your first Erector Set?
The frame jig fixtures came from ChopSource. The cut tubing came from Marion Steel. With a little welding and a lot of figuring out it will be a frame jig. I hope.
Flash from the bandsaw is sharper than razor blades. Since it will be handled numerous times through out the assembly process and when in use it made sense to soften all of the exposed ends.
Stage one; assemble the main-frame.
Then add the neck fixture...
... followed by the rear axle fixture.
Then add the adjustable fixture for the footpegs/engine mount and the daisy-wheels for the rotisserie stand.
When the main frame was assembled the rotisserie frame was assembled using similar fixtures. Now to put the two together.
The hardtail section did not come with the frame jig it goes to another project bike.
A little bit of home-made to finish this installment.
One of the other projects I took on was fixing my tail lamps. I've never been a fan of fake boobies, fake hood-scoops, GPS's, Ouija-Phones(smart phones), sound-systems and coms for bikes but, near the top of the list, are clear-lenses.
I removed the LED tail-lamp and the 2 turn signal lenses.
I used 400WOD then 600WOD to remove the DOT markings and insure good adhesion by sanding perfectly smooth.
I used the Axalta's Plas-Stick for an extra layer of insurance then applied 3 coats of Candy Apple Red followed by 2 coats of HOK's Kosmic Flo-Clear.
And VIOLA! Lenses the proper color, they way they should have been born.
I shouldn't have turned Ray Wylie Hubbard on. You're bound to hear a lot of it once I get his music in my head...
I was buried deep in another trike job when Memorial Day was getting closer. @radianrider , @Bhuff and I conspired to head to Madison, Indiana the weekend before Memorial Day. I needed a break from all the projects in the shop and the ever changing restrictions of this COVID season.
Brian and I met early but I had calculated my arrival time wrong and we ended up camped out in a gas station for my early-bird mistake. Joel showed up nearly on time an hour later. This one is on me.
It was a blustery morning and the hour didn't seem so bad considering how cold it was. Brian and I had been gifted two cups of coffee at a restaurant parking lot when we met in New Castle that morning. And while waiting at the gas station we bantered with several folks checking out the bikes.
When we connected with our Triumph rider the weather conditions had only improved a few degrees. The wind was still steady, it was overcast and the temps barely moved upwards. By the time we got to Madison we had not taken a single picture. We had big plans for the day after we dumped the luggage at the motel. Those plans never came to fruition. Once inside a warm building and still shaking from the cold ride we opted to order in pizza and make plans for the next day. We had avoided rain but it was this only thing missing from this October day in May.
I took this from the balcony of my room once the pizza was ordered. Only two restaurants were open in town for indoor dining and the streets were empty of the normal tourists. However this is a very busy bridge across the Ohio River. This is the only way across for 40-50 miles in either direction so this bridge is well traveled.
The bikes tucked away for the night. We spent several hours eating, catching up on each others' lives and talking bikes. It was a welcome break from the news and our jobs.
As the sun set I kept taking photos hoping to catch one with all the right lighting. That's the little town of Milton, KY just across the river. The last time Brian and I were here he was on a Suzuki M109 and I was on a Victory Vegas. We ventured across the bridge to check things out and found out they were shutting the bridge down at night for construction/repairs. We barreled back across the river about as fast as we got to the other side. This time there was no bridge repairs going on this time but also no desire to go to the other side.
Madison, Indiana during COVID in May. If you've ever been here you know it looks abandoned. There was road construction right below the Hilltop Motel where we were staying so at least we had road crews as neighbors. Not many other people though.
Day one was in the books. The only thing we could say is that we were motorcycling. It wasn't grand in the scheme of things but a much needed ride for all three of us.
I forgot how talented and skilled you are. Awesome stuff !
The next day wasn't much better regarding the weather. It was overcast and threatening rain. Another October day in May. Our only hope is that we were traveling with the eternal optimist and his Indian Bobber. He said we would avoid the rain and we did... well until Brian and I parted ways that day we did.
We headed pretty much straight west from Madison the next morning while avoiding the greater Louisville area to connect with 135. Once on 135 and heading north we actually found a few pokes of sunshine peaking through the clouds. They didn't last long but really stoked the spirits.
I had planned a side trip to Medora Covered Bridge but the rains had the road flooded. We could see it from a distance but could not get there. The Medora Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the USA. Brian and I would get our chance on the next trip down here.
We did not take any photos until we got to Story, Indiana.
Joel taking a picture of his Scrambler in front of the haunted Story Inn. This was Joel's first time here.
The Yamaha Scrambler blocking the entrance to the tavern. We heard from the crew starting to show up that the dining room would be open soon. Cool! Indoor dining and we were gonna be first in line.
Joel & Brian talking bikes and travel while waiting for the 5-star to open.
I shoot this sculpture every time I come here but I have never posted the images... until now. The yellow cabin in the background is the Wheeler Homestead. Brian and I would overnight here in a few months. It was a good place to land after.... well you'll have to stay tuned to find out.
Two of my favorite tools; a drilling hammer and a chisel.
The Ten O'Clock Line is only 100 feet north on the Inn. All three of us were complacent in our photography efforts on this ride. It was the weather no doubt. The hamburgers and pulled pork were excellent. We stayed longer than we should have but had the place nearly to ourselves.
This picture is on the side of one of the buildings behind the Story Inn. It gets a little more weathered each time I come here. It has a special connection to my home town. There is a Stutz job-shop in Hartford City that still operates under the Stutz name today.
After the meal we headed north on 135 and parted ways with Joel in Morgantown. I am not sure how but Brian got us lost in Franklin. I was paying attention but missed our turn too. It was a grand moment that he got us lost because it is usually me that achieves that feat. We stopped to look at the maps on the north side of town and ran into an Indian guy who was quite taken with our bikes. I posted this on Joel's RR of the same trip.
"We stopped in a gas station to revisit the maps and find a way around the Super-Slab to get the hell out of the metro area. Unfortunately the state map doesn't show any local routes and the pages I cut out of the backroads maps didn't include this area. All the towns have grown and expanded to the point you can't tell one from another. 31 has turned into Big-Box-Ville and completely engulfed the area where there is literally no distinction between Franklin-Greenwood-Indy.
While in the gas station and cleaning our face shields I heard the distinct sound of someone knocking on the window from inside the store. Here we go I thought, they're going to ask us to move the bikes. Nope, I was wrong. It was a young Indian gentleman holding his i-Phone in the pose of taking a picture. Basically he was asking through gesturing if he could take a photo of the bikes. I nodded yes and motioned for him to come out. Then he pointed at himself and it struck me that he wanted me to take a picture of him with the bikes. Again I motioned him out.
He was obviously working alone and jumped at the first opportunity to leave the register. In twice-broken English he first asked us about the bikes. Some I understood and replied, while Brian caught other things I didn't and answered. The young man then set the phone to camera and handed it to me. I took the first few images in landscape position. He checked them out and said, "No, take like this." meaning to reposition the phone to take the images in portrait. I actually snapped off several good images of him standing between the Indian and the Yamaha with an undeniable "best moment of the day" smile. We bantered some more and ended our chance meeting with fist bumps and smiles.
As a sidebar; there's a lot of opinions about open borders and government help for folks from foreign countries just to mention two. I've been around enough to see both sides and have adjusted my own views to some degree. But, here's a kid from a far away land, who can barely speak the language and is working while others are hiding out in their homes afraid of an invisible enemy. At a young age he's got a long road ahead of him to navigate our diverse and divided society. For a brief moment motorcycles wiped away those barriers. How cool is that?
I know we made his day and he certainly added something to ours. I failed to take any images of him with my camera or even get his name but in retrospect I'm not sure it mattered. We had bantered and conversed with good old boys almost every time we stopped. Motorcycle travel has a way of removing barriers but also adds credence to the fact that getting lost is sometimes the best part of the adventure."
We didn't kill any mileage records. We didn't take a lot of pictures. It was mostly cold and windy but we went anyway... because we needed it, BAD! Brian and I parted ways about two miles from his house. I headed north alone for the final leg of my ride. I hit rain about a few miles north of Brian's place and it followed me home. It sucked. The Indian mojo had left me. Hell, I didn't even put on my rainsuit. It was just so good to get out again after winter and the COVID that it just didn't matter.
Hey thanks JD! Good to see you on here. Hope you're getting in some ride time!
Almost every night JB2 - just 40 minute jaunts. Sometimes I'll go all the way to Mansfield or make a big loop up 59 and back over on 36 or 40
Like your updates!
Brian and I had grand plans to attack the U.P. with our good friend Gentleman Jim from Puyallup, WA. As the COVID dealio played out and refused to go away it became apparent that it might well thwart our plans. It did. A phone call in late July confirmed that Jim was going to cancel, or at least postpone, the trip until next year. Brian and I both have a lot on our plate and decided to form a plan B that would also allow us some time at home to work around our properties.
Back in 1994 the Indiana H.O.G. Rally was held in southern Indiana based loosely in Corydon and the Hoosier National Forest. I attended the rally and was amazed at some of the backroads that I had literally forgotten about. Dad and I used to ride the area in the 70's for weekend trips. With that in mind and not having been back to area since the rally I proposed to Brian that we ride the area from Corydon and west of there. A plan was hatched and we agreed to avoid the weekends, especially the Labor Day weekend.
We met up on Monday morning in New Castle at Mickey D's. The dining area was closed. ARRRGH! We hopped on the bikes and headed south through town. As we passed Burger King I noticed people in the dining area. A quick U-turn and we were soon eating breakfast, inside. I threw a suggestion out to Brian, while praising him for getting us lost the last time we headed this way, for him to lead today. He was cool with that.
We followed Highway 3 south to Paris Crossing and turned west on 250. We stopped at this church in Commiskey just before IN250 to stretch our legs and confirm the routes. For some reason I ended up with a bunch of church images on this trip. It wasn't intentional but they have become a favorite place to stop between fuel stops. They are usually empty and so long as you are respectful no one seems to care. Avoiding people was paramount on this adventure, another plus of stopping in church parking lots during the week.
We didn't make it too far on 250 until we hit our first detour of the trip. The detour took us down a few miles south on US31 to IN256 where we were able to head west again. We picked up IN39 and took it into Brownstown and stopped at Joel's favorite gas station. After a quick snack and something to drink we were off to Medora Covered Bridge. We couldn't make it to the bridge the last time we were here because of flooding but there were no issues after a long hot summer.
Brian's Indian Bobber in front of the famous bridge. Even though rain is forecasted for the next few days Brian is confident that we will avoid rain entirely. I'm game. If the Indian mojo holds true we will not see rain.
One of three pairs of arch trusses that support the bridge. The Medora Covered Bridge is the longest covered bridge in the United States.
Here it is from a wide angle perspective. I had to move and adjust the camera to get the entire length in one frame.
After walking through the bridge and taking a short break we mounted back up and followed 135 south to Corydon. We snagged rooms near the Interstate on the north side of town then jumped back on the bikes and followed 135 down to the Ohio River. Just before the bridge we turned northeast on IN11. I remembered from the H.O.G. Rally that there was an access to the underside of bridge.
Proving that cruiser bikes can indeed go a little off road we took the short trek down to the river. I should mention here that I was going to shoot the massiveness of the piers with the bikes in the foreground. However, local artists have been embellishing them with large images of human genitalia. Have you ever noticed that even the worst artist knows how to accurately draw boobies, pussies and dicks? WTF?
It was from here that Brian texted a picture of the aforementioned phallic artwork to our friend Mike Breedlove. I believe he told Mike that we were thinking of him. His reply was something to the effect of FYYFF.
We took IN11 over to a tiny wide spot in the road, Laconia, then took IN337 north back to Corydon. I led this small leg of today's adventure because I had a gnawing memory that none of these roads were marked. I was correct but managed to navigate the unmarked roads by feel and memory. IN337 from Laconia to Corydon was an absolute E-ticket ride and a great way to finish our first day on the road.
Once back in Corydon we stopped at the statehouse square. Note the historical church to the left.
A cannon from WW1. An enemy cannon at that.
The marker for the cannon.
Folks, here is the original statehouse for the State of Indiana back when Corydon was the state capital.
The historical marker.
The Emmett Beanblossom building. I wonder if the town of Beanblossom, Indiana was named after him?
Conrad Music, founded in 1890. I took this picture for my wife who is a musician. The building looks very mid-century modern. Odd for a place that was founded in 1890. I guess at some point I will do the research on it to fill in the blanks. We ended the day at a Mexican restaurant that resides in the same plaza as the motel. It wasn't "great" by any means but average and filled the empty spaces in our guts.
As an observation it was sad to note that all of the "Mom & Pop" restaurants in downtown Corydon were shuddered. Closed. Tiny spaces make it hard to practice "social-distancing". It is a shame that only the big-box eateries were open. I have reservations and concerns about the whole COVID deal but I won't test the water here. I'll just post a song that says what I think about the way this is being handled and presented to the population at large.
Stay Tuned for Day 2!
Day 2 started with a trip to the Cracker Barrel. It was on the plaza across 135 from the motel. The food is always good and there was indoor dining. It still gripes me though that the independent restaurant owners were down for the count and some of them will never come back.
I had picked out some routes for today that were also from the '94 H.O.G. Rally so I led the ride today. Lots of stuff to see and some really twisted and hilly roads awaited us. Let's go!
We took IN62 west out of Corydon and stopped in the old town part of Leavenworth, IN. Brian and I were here over ten years ago on different bikes. It was a hopping place back then. The boat ramp was busy but today it was overgrown with weeds and not seeing much use. This is the view looking up the Ohio River.
And this is the view looking down river.
Brian and I ate here back when it was open. I took almost the same exact picture of our bikes then. It would appear that the flood of 2018 pretty much wiped any chance of this place ever re-opening. I have no idea if it was open up until COVID or not. The grounds, the outdoor stages and dining areas looked to have been unkept for quite sometime.
We took 62 westward until it intersects with IN66. On 66 you are traveling west, or so they say, but for this leg down to Derby, IN you are actually traveling south. Somewhere between Leavenworth and Derby we hit about 10 sprinkles according to the Eternal Optimist and his magic Indian.
A six mile jaunt east from 66 lands you at Buzzard's Roost.
It was a nice diversion and something I had missed on earlier rides. We had no idea that hiking a half-mile away from the bikes was going to be involved. We opted to view the river and the buzzards through the trees instead.
What I was surprised about was this long twisted road ended in a small, primitive campground. There was a loop with four level campsites, asphalt parking spots, a water spigot and a Porta-John. There was a fifth campsite on the narrow lane coming in. All the sites were full when we got there but it was at the time of day everyone was leaving. We stayed about 30 minutes and there was only one car remaining when we left.
Back on 66 and pointed towards Derby was one of the best roads we've ridden in a long time. The asphalt was new, there was no traffic and it was overcast. Unlike mountain roads in the south and west that are cut on a shelf and are mostly level these roads follow the contour of the land and trails that were first established by Native Americans and animals. You can't see around or through the corners in this part of the world. Hills in the road blocks the view of the direction. When you crest you ain't sure if it will hook left or right... unless you know the road. The telephone poles ain't much help either because they may take a shortcut across the field just to avoid a really twisted section. To add to the excitement about half the corners are off-camber. YIPPEE! This has to be a top-ten road for Indiana. Better have your game on when pushing it hard.
There's a large parking area along the river in Derby. We stopped at a gas station and refilled the bikes and grabbed some more snacks. Breakfast as wearing off. We parked the bikes and ourselves at a picnic table and watched a barge struggling up-river.
Some perspective on what it is like to live on the Ohio River. The 2011 flood line is about 36" off the ground.
From here we continued west to the Cannelton Locks. It wasn't like the locks on the Mississippi River where there was public access and platforms to climb and view the working of the locks. These locks were guarded like Fort Knox. All we could do was a slow-roll past and see what we could see while moving. There were plenty of barges going through them but no place to stop and photograph the workings. Just before the town of Cannelton we turned north on IN237 to avoid the bridge traffic and Tell City traffic. That jogged up to IN37. After a short ride on 37 we turned off for what looked to be another road equal to 66, route IN145. It was an equal until we hit a detour at I-64. We weren't about to do any time on the interstate so we rode around the barricades and continued to Birdseye, IN. Well, almost to Birdseye.
Just outside of Birdseye we encountered another set of barricades. We pulled into the parking lot of this church to look at the maps. Knowing that sometimes roads are passable even when blocked and not having many other options Brian took off to ride down past the barricade to investigate while I called Kim. Cell coverage had been limited down in this area but there was a slight signal here.
This cross sets next to the church in an unkept field. It is assembled in three pieces that were all cut differently than each other. It was hard to tell if the slabs used to build it were carved by man or nature.
Brian returning from his recon mission. Nope, the road really is out. To avoid the interstate option we retraced our steps south and crossed I-64 to reconnect with IN62. We took 62 east and picked up IN37 and headed north until we eventually ran back into 145 north of the detour. This leg of 145 was a disappointment in comparison to the southern leg. The beauty was in crossing all the sections of Patoka Lake. At US150 we turned east towards Paoli. This path through French Lick, West Baden Springs and Paoli was filled with trucks and traffic. Such a let down after all the good roads we had traveled that morning but better than riding in the rain.
In Paoli we turned south on IN37 and were gifted a nice surprise. We had, on a couple of occasions, people pull over and let us by. We always give a wave of thanks as we pass. Coming out of Paoli we caught the tail of a good ol' boy in a rusty Chevy pickup truck going the same direction. When we cleared the city limits I really expected that he might pull over. Nope. He put the pedal to the metal.
It became apparent after the first set of turns that the challenge was on. He set us a gauntlet. There might have been one or two places I could have taken him on a straight with the torquey Yamaha but never enough room for Brian and I both to pass. Ten miles later after pushing our low clearance, footpeg dragging bikes to keep up with him he turned off. But, before he did, he slowed, signaled and did a huge wave out the window. When we passed him he had a huge grin to match his wave.
I've had this happen to me several times in the past. The most memorable was my solo journey on the healing road to meet @Fast Ferris for what he later dubbed the "Out Of Words" adventure. However, these experiences for me have always been riding solo. This was the first time I had someone riding in tandem to share it with. It was a moment for three guys that we will never forget. There's no chance Brian and I will ever get to meet the guy, nor him us. But, with that said, all three of us will cherish the story and tell it again and again.
We followed 37 further south and picked up IN64 eastbound to IN66 and done the northern leg we had missed earlier in the morning. At the intersection of 66 & 62 we turned east on 62 and back to Leavenworth.
In Leavenworth is the Overlook Restaurant. It is a "Mom & Pop" that has survived. It was open for indoor dining. It was late in the afternoon on what had turned out to be a glorious day in the wind.
Looking at the Ohio River through the seat of the Magic Indian. Good looking bike even if it didn't have all that mojo.
Everytime we seen a barge today Brian was humming this tune.
Any way you slice it we had a pair of ribeye steaks, an attentive waitress and a view of the river to die for. Hell, the sun was finally came out and joined us for the meal.
Both bikes soaking up some free heat.
After good long sit in the late afternoon sun we steered the bikes back to Corydon and our motel rooms. We had met a couple who lived and worked at the motel. He had a tricked out Rukus. I think it was their only transportation as we got to know them a little better our second night there. She was outgoing and friendly, he kind of kept to himself... the first night. They had a young daughter, a cat and a dog. He worked 15 hours a day, 7 days a week for the motel and in return he got a pittance income and free room and board for his family. She was a recovering alcoholic, he didn't have a license, they didn't own a car. Barely getting by but getting by. Kind of like the folks in this song.
Brian and I secured our bikes underneath the lobby overhang being watched by our new temporary family. We toasted another good day in the wind and set our sights for Story, Indiana tomorrow and an unknown new friend. I am a firm believer that when you take off into adventure no matter how good the plan you always end going where you are supposed to go and meet the people you are supposed to meet. Almost as if God had it planned out before you even had the idea. Plans are rarely kept on a good adventure. You always meet people that have been placed in your path, not of your choosing. It was a great day to be alive.
Stay Tuned for Days 3 & 4!
Really enjoying the read, JB2!
Not sure about having a favorite gas station--though that one will live in the memory banks for a long time and not for good reasons! Brownstown indeed!
If you came looking for photos days 3 & 4 will disappoint. We were pointed to places we have been numerous times now that Brian and I have 15 years of history traveling this great country. Most of the "rest of the story" will be in words not images.
Day 3 started with light rain coming down and our bike seats holding water. Brian, being the excellent riding partner he is, was toweling the seats dry before we loaded the bikes. By the time we left the rain had stopped. We said our goodbyes to our new friends, rolled across 135 again to the Cracker Barrel for breakfast and parked next to a trike pulling a trailer. The riders were leaving just as our breakfast was served but we flagged them down and bantered for a few minutes. Their trip was just getting started and ours was half over. I kind of had a pang of jealousy that we weren't on one of our long-haul adventures but at the same time we were pretty happy just to be on the road again. Damn, I miss this place! The road I mean.
Our plan today was to meander to Story and overnight there in one of the cabins. We left Corydon after breakfast and headed north on IN337. This little leg of 337 made for a good start to the day. The plan was to avoid as much of IN135 between Corydon and Salem as we could. Thoughts on this decision later. At IN64 we turned west for a few miles then connected with IN66 again and turned east. At US150 we turned east again before reconnecting with 135 in Palmyra. From Palmyra to Salem is a yawn of a ride. We hit the same detour on 135 that we did this spring but having navigated around it previously we knew the shortcut that only added 3 miles out of the way. Somewhere in those morning hours we hit sprinkles again but Brian insists that it was 10 drops or less. Indian mojo working. Our plan was to take IN58 from Freetown over to I-65 then back to 135. 58 looked like a gnarly stretch of blacktop but our plans were thwarted again just east of Freetown at yet another detour. We stopped at the barricade to decide a new plan of attack.
While buzzing through Freetown Brian and I had both spotted a small restaurant that seemed to be calling our name. It was early afternoon, breakfast had worn off and the parking lot appeared empty. We turned around at the detour and aimed the bikes back to Freetown and stopped at Sgt. Rick's American Grill & BBQ. The first thing you notice when you spot the building is all of the signs. Sgt. Rick is a prolific sign maker and collector.
I'm traveling with Chris Knight's doppelganger for those of you who do not know. He goes by Brian but damn, he looks like Chris. Especially as they both sage. Pun intended. You know it's a good trip when you are constantly seeing if you have cell service!
There's no doubt you are in the land of rednecks and conservatives. We both felt at home before we even walked through the door. I noticed that there was nary a mask sign among all the other signs and asked Rick, "So open carry and no mask is good?" He laughed and said, "Keep your mask with you and if you see the County Health Inspector put it on unless you are sitting at the table." Duly noted.
It should be noted that the inside of the diner walls are completely covered with signs of a conservative nature. There was an older gentleman eating at the table next to us and noticed we were looking at a painting of the previous restaurant with 2 vintage 50's era cars parked in front. One of those cars just happened to be his back in the day. It was his first new car and he explained how a local artist had painted it and gave it to him as a gift. After many years hanging in his home and once Rick reopened the place he gave it to them to grace the diner's interior. It seemed everyone in the community was connected to the establishment.
I learned from a good friend that when you go to a BBQ joint you order the BBQ. Brian ordered the brisket sandwich and I ordered a rib plate. After stuffing ourselves to the point of not being able to move we decided to hang out a little bit and talk with Rick. Rick and his wife have an interesting story to end up in this town of barely a few hundred people. Rick served 14 years in the Marines then 25 years as an LEO in SoCal. She was from Freetown and he was from the Trafalgar area. Once he retired they moved back to Freetown and purchased this little slice of heaven. It was originally a grocery store that later became a family style restaurant. It had been shuddered several years when Rick and his wife bought the place.
They spent a fair amount of time refurbishing the restaurant. He even went to work at a Waffle House to learn their system because he wanted to be equally known for their breakfast as well as their BBQ. He went through their entire system from cook to management school. They were just getting things up and running when COVID hit. It's a daunting situation when you work all those years, pour your life savings into a retirement business then have something like COVID come knocking on your door threatening to wipe it all away. They chose not to shut down and opened for curbside pickup.
What transpired in the following weeks and months is a story fit for a movie. Local patrons and patrons from towns 20 and 30 miles away lined up and kept his curbside pickup hopping. Heavy tipping and a lot of dedicated customers prevented their business from failing. He got pretty emotional when telling the story. As the afternoon crept on it was clear that Rick was a down to earth, hard working individual. Much like many people who have had extended military service. He is the real deal.
In the parking lot before leaving for the Story Inn Brian and I agreed we were lucky to have run across the detour and back-tracked to Rick's. We mentioned numerous times that we wished Joel was here to try their hamburgers and were doing our best to burn his ears crispy brown. Truth be told we've enjoyed the few short adventures with our Avon buddy and sincerely wished he was with us. You know, because a good RIB-bing is much better in person. Pun intended.
When we arrived in Story we found our way down to the tavern and ordered the first round. Two generously proportioned older ladies took the stools to my left. We bantered with them for a while then headed up to the lobby to pay for our lodging.
We secured the Wheeler Homestead cabin for the night. It is divided in two parts. We got the back half which had 2 bedrooms, a bath, a kitchen and large living room. It was a little salty and came with amenities that we did not need but the price split in two was about the same as a motel room. Cool! We parked and unloaded the bikes then headed back to the basement tavern.
Bring on the beers! And they did.
We ordered a second round and noticed that the many deer mounts hanging from the walls and the stuffed critters were all wearing masks. They were the only ones wearing masks. Hopefully they don't catch COVID. The bartender was originally from California and moved here three years ago. He had an interesting life story.
As the third round was ordered we moved us and the adult libations up to the outdoor patio. Almost immediately we garnered the company of two married couples, one with a 15 month old daughter and one of their family friends. They were on horseback. For those who don't know some of the most traveled horse trails in the area pass right through Story. I was quickly corrected when I asked what kind of horses they were riding. Four of them were actually riding mules, only the old man(Mike) was on a horse. The group was from northern Indiana and they did this trip every year over Labor Day weekend. They were staying at the campgrounds near the stables.
One of the ladies asked what kind of beer I was drinking and ordered herself a Busted Knuckle Ale too. I might mention that I am fond of very dark beer and Busted Knuckle was as dark as Guinness Stout. She put the hurts on her first and ordered another. The rest of the crew except the young girl's mother were drinking a wide range of liquid happiness. Long Island Ice Tea seemed to be the drink they all kept ordering. Things for me started getting a little fuzzy about the time the fourth round came.
I don't remember laughing this hard in a very long time. Although we exchanged stories of being on the road watching their group interact with each other convinced me those mule riders were a lot like motorcycle riders. The stories they told had us rolling off the benches. When the 5th round came the bartender wanted to make sure we weren't going to be hitting the road. No, the bikes are parked and locked across the street from the Inn.
As darkness neared the mule riders went to retrieve their mounts and head back to camp. As Brian and I were laughing at the day and the stories of the crew they all of a sudden appeared on the road just outside the patio. They had came back around to show us their equine motorcycles and bid us farewell. I wished I had got a picture but at that point I couldn't even walk let alone operate a camera. So long folks, you made our evening.
The nice thing about it was our cabin was within staggering distance from the patio. And stagger I did. My cant was to the right so I aimed for the left side of the sidewalk and managed to get across the road and hit the sidewalk dead center. Once on the back patio of our cabin I made a few slurred calls to my wife then Gentleman Jim. This trip was supposed to include him so I promised I would call one evening. He got a big kick out of our state of inebriation. As our good friend Hillbilly Ed would have said, "Drunk Bastards!"
Somehow I made it across the street with a full beer and my camera all in tact. For someone who can usually count the drinks I've had in a year's time on two fingers I was out of my league trying to keep up with the Eternal Optimist. The bartender had warned me on the second or third round that Busted Knuckle Ale had more alcohol content than my favored Guinness Stout. Things were starting to get real fuzzy but Brian and I replayed our adventure and laughed until we were out of laughs.
I can't tell you what time I hit the hay. I only woke up twice. Once to expel more dark ale and once because I didn't get back in bed properly. With a leg hanging off the side I awoke about an hour later with a Charley Mule in my leg. I did about ten laps staggering around the living room until the cramp subsided.
Day 4 came a few hours later than the previous days. When I got up it was raining but by the time I had showered and dressed it had stopped. Brian had coffee made and was once again toweling the seats down on the wet bikes. It was nice that I wasn't hung over, no headaches, no body aches but my head was as fuzzy as the morning was foggy.
Foggy days and foggy nights.
The Eternal Optimist's magic Indian. Will we avoid the impending rain for a fourth day?
One thing we both agreed on is that we would travel 20 miles back south to Freetown and have breakfast at Sgt. Rick's.
We missed the breakfast crowd but there were still a few patrons inside. The breakfast was spectacular and that is an understatement. The last time I had fried taters this good is when Grandma Bantz was still alive. Maybe it was my body screaming for something other than alcohol but it ranks pretty high on the best breakfast list. We took our time eating and the place had cleared by the time we were done. Rick once again spent the good part of our visit there telling stories about his military service and the places he had been.
The day before, while we were eating BBQ, Rick was making a sign. When we arrived the next morning we found this. Probably had something to do with asking him if open carry and mask free was okay. Or maybe that danged County Health Inspector?
The roads were going to be straight from here to home. It was going to be a pretty mundane ride considering the roads we had been on the previous three days. At checkout we both tipped Rick handsomely. He thanked us with dead-eye contact. I caught a glimpse into his soul and knew he genuinely appreciated us and our business. I thanked him for being there in Freetown. This is the kind of place we seek to find when traveling. Best to you and your wife Rick!
(You can find Sgt. Rick's American Grill & BBQ on FaceBook or better yet, go visit them in person!)
Even with the late start and extended breakfast we arrived at our homes around 3:00 in the afternoon. My odometer showed 789 miles for the entire four days. In comparison Brian and I have several days with more than our total mileage. Our intent on this adventure was to slow down, stay local, meet the locals and find the good stuff. All of those goals were accomplished in spades.
In retrospect I have only one major gripe beyond the COVID and the closing of small businesses. That is 135 from Salem down to Corydon. I first rode this road on the back of Dad's 1970 XS650 when the bike was new. The road was as twisted as it is from Salem to Beanblossom back then. Since then they have leveled out the hills, straightened the curves, widened the easement, added passing lanes for the semis and removed all of its personality. It is a vanilla road now. The rider is no longer connected to his environment just beyond the ditch line.
The good far outweighs the bad though. IN66, IN62, IN145, IN337, IN237, IN37 and 135 north of Salem to Beanblossom are some very twisted pieces of asphalt. There are stretches where you are literally on asphalt whoop-de-doos. Cresting a hill means being prepared to turn left or right. You only have a split second of reaction time once you figure out where the road is going. These roads connect the rider to the contour of the land within arm's reach of the tarmac.
The Overlook Restaurant and Sgt. Rick's American Grill & BBQ would probably be at the top of the list even if we had found other independent restaurants. Busted Knuckle Ale is one of the best dark ales I've ever drank. However, it might be many years down the road before I drink myself out on the end of that pier again.
In the end we met the people we were supposed to meet and went the places we were supposed to go. The Eternal Optimist and his trusty Magic Indian kept the rain at bay. This adventure is in the books now but regardless of the short length it rates up there in the top of my life-list. We left a lot of backroads on the table. Maybe a trip to Leavenworth or Tell City for an extended stay is in order to get more intimate with the landscape. Joel? Brian? JD or RD? 250 dual-sports?
Reckless Kelly has the best song to describe our four days on the road but as a curve ball this is the instrumental version.
You know I want in! Dual sport or Scrambler-I'm ready for either!
Think I'll try the sushi at Sgt. Rick's.
I think the Indian could handle some dual sport riding. But not sure I could on the magic Indian.
But hey there is always more bikes!
Great read and a great time with a great friend. Can't wait till the next one.
When? Where? What? Let's Gooooooooooooo !
Maybe we should plan something, sooner or later. You'll have to let us know when you can break away from the college or maybe we wait until spring?
I'm pretty sure there's no sushi at Rick's. Around here we call that bait.
The cruiser riding position doesn't lend itself well to bumpy, rutted roads. However, any brand of 250 dual-sport would cover the base and they are certainly on the lower end of pricing.
That friendship works both ways. Thanks. We've covered many thousands of miles together now. Here's to many more brother.
JD, we will have to wait on Joel to let us know when he can break away from his day job but I'm certain those plans will made on his thread or mine and you'll be invited!
So a blank text box in this app says something like "Your brilliant reply"
So, here it goes !
We should team up and start an Indiana motorcycle rally!
Design would be around one general "loop" but we could have two options "Main roads," and "Other."
Main roads would be no gravel.
Other would be just about anything "Dual Sport friendly"
I have a lot of other ideas about this...
"Old Coot Hoosier Rally"
What do you guys think ?
Rally name and theme / design ideas were just for starting convo and stirring your imaginations...better ideas will undoubtedly rise from this group of erstwhile inmates