Mixed Bag: Looping the Southeastern US

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by G-Tex, May 24, 2010.

  1. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    Time to start a thread for the next adventure.


    The Basics...

    Your Humble Ride Reporter

    G-Tex
    KTM 990ADV

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    The New Rider

    Z-Tex
    F800GS

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    The Harley Guy

    B-Tex (we'll call him that since he's not an ADV'r)
    HD Road King Classic

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    The Route:

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    Day 1: Dallas to Jackson, MS
    Day 2: Jackson to Sewanee, TN via Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham
    Day 3: Sewanee to Gatlinburg, TN via Cherahola and Dragon (open parts)
    Day 4: Gatlinburg to Huntsville, AL via Cherahola and Jack Daniel's in Lynchburg
    Day 5: Huntsville to Mt. Nebo, Arkansas via Corinth, MS
    Day 6: Mt. Nebo to Dallas via Talimena Skyway

    Updates to come!
    #1
  2. eatalotapeaches

    eatalotapeaches finding my own way

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,471
    Location:
    Jackson, Miss'ippi
    Is this trip over or waiting to be? I live in Jackson, MS. Holler at me before you pass through.
    #2
  3. Reddane

    Reddane Circling pi

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,024
    Location:
    Mountain Brook, Alabama
    Sweet! drop me a line when you make Birmingham, AL, it would be good to meet you folks!
    #3
  4. Hawk

    Hawk Pretentious Fukwit!!

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    28,757
    Location:
    Paradise
    In Huntsville :wave
    #4
  5. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    Folks-

    Thanks for all the well wishes and chances to meet up...

    We ended up missing Jackson, MS and blowing through B-ham, other than to visit the Barber Motorsports Museum. Good times...

    Our route ended up like this:

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    Day 1: Dallas to Memphis
    Day 2: Memphis to Sewanee, TN via Barber Motorsports in Birmingham
    Day 3: Sewanee to Gatlinburg via Chattanooga
    Day 4: Gatlinburg to Sewanee via Tail of the Dragon (most of) and Cherohola
    Day 5: Sewanee to Mt. Nebo, Arkansas
    Day 6: Mt. Nebo to Dallas via Talimena Scenic Drive

    All in All...amazing tour with a couple good guys!

    Day 1 RR in progress.

    More to Come...
    #5
  6. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    DAY 1:

    About to set off...

    None of us had ever ridden together for more than 200 miles. This was going to be quite interesting. From Left to Right: G-Tex, B-Tex, Z-Tex.

    Strangely, Zach was late...WTF? Apparently, the young man had an unexpected late night the previous eve...We had originally intended to ride to Jackson or Meridian, Mississippi, but ominous weather lurked along old I-20. Quick confab and we decide to head to Clarksdale, Mississippi to check out Ground Zero and the blues situation...


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    Heads down, we head east...

    Good time made, we see Arkansas around 12:30 after hop-scotching through Texarkana traffic.

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    Blow through Little Rock and we're rolling towards Memphis.

    Those clouds are looking a bit ominous.

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    Z-Tex toward the...storm?

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    Onward.

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    40,000' thunderheads? Starting to get interesting.

    Subsequent to our decision to head to Clarksdale, the group decides that Beale Street, Rendezvous Ribs, and Juleps at the Peabody are in order. Clarksdale will have to wait for another trip.

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    Enough, we pull over 15 miles short of Memphis. :deal

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    Very ominous. We check out a convenience store and settle in to wait for a little while. Hail. High Winds...


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    Wall Clouds.

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    Z-Tex is not worried. :D

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    Time to take a break. Normally, I am accostomed to riding through weather, but my travels in Mexico have made me more careful when there is a possibility of hail. Hail is VERY NASTY STUFF and you have to be :loco to ride into it.

    Some very interesting drinks were available...

    A brand called BEER:30 ICE:

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    A Malt Liquor called "Four Loko" in Watermelon flavor...

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    (nothing was actually consumed...the mere thought of $.99 for 16oz is too disgusting to contemplate)


    Back outside...storm footage:

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    We wait it out and when it looks like all is clear, we make a ride for it...

    MEMPHIS DIGS:

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    We head over to the trolley and go down to Union and into The Rendezvous. Good ribs, Sausage Plate, Pork Nachos, and lots of Michelob have us ready for Beale Street, but first we stop in for Mint Juleps at the Peabody.

    Z-Tex sees a few things he likes...


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    My mom grew up in Corinth, Mississippi and when I was a kid, my family always had a house in Memphis for shopping trips and general city needs. I got pretty comfortable with Memphis growing up and have continued to visit pretty often. I always get Mint Juleps at the Peabody; not really their specialty, but a tradition nonetheless...

    Juleps down, we move on to Beale street where we encounter Bike Night...

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    Have a few beers...

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    Look at some more bikes...

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    And head home for the evening...

    Good Day.

    More to come...
    #6
  7. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    Day 2:

    The Gentlemen were a little weary this morning...yestereve's cocktails and yesterday's longish ride were relatively strenuous for a Day 1.

    Today, we have much to feast our eyes and other senses upon:

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    Relaxing coffees were consumed in the hotel lobby...too relaxing. By the time we realized what we were doing, it was 8:30 and we needed to bust some sprockets to get out of Memphis.

    Beautiful Memphis!

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    Memphis in May was earlier in the month, but they had one more event for Memorial Day Weekend; quite a bit of preparation...

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    We had agreed to get "Housed" for breakfast, so we stop at the first Awful Waffle we spot in the beautiful state of Mississippi; Olive Branch to be specific.

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    Few quarters later, we are enjoying "Special Lady at the Waffle House" on the jukebox and are waiting for Miss Sara Lee to bring us our feed bags.

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    A certain "gentleman" walks in with a very impressive bluetooth setup...

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    Perhaps a closer look...

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    Very impressed...we were set to eat our meals...

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    We finish up and we're back on the road; full of awful...

    Z-Tex is feeling it...

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    G-Tex is doing well...

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    We hit Birmingham around 2:00...

    We have to stop for about 30 minutes, because Z-Tex is not doing well. He's dehydrated and the morning's vittles are working up an Old Number 6 on his body... He looked pathetic and I know that it was weighing not only on his physical constitution, but his mental toughness as well. We needed a break and it loomed 25 miles away at the Barber Motorsports Museum.

    Two bottles of water later, we were back on the road towards the Motorcycle Mecca Museum of the Mountain South!

    Barber...for those who haven't been there...amazing! If pictures are worth a thousand words, here's about 30,000...

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    Famed rides of Investment Biker and Alabama Native, Jim Rodgers:

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    Just outside and behind the museum is a fine racetrack, which is home to a Porsche Driving School and the attendant wackos that hang out at such places...:evil:clap
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    AN AMAZING COLLECTION!

    One more pic and it was time to hit the road to Sewanee, my alma mater!

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    We get on I-59 North toward Chattaboogie and after a couple hours we are at Nickajack...

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    We made it to Sewanee just in time to grab a photo at the cross...

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    Big Dinner at High Point, a restaurant housed in Al Capone's old safe house in Monteagle, Tennessee. It is called "High Point" due to its lofty location as the highest point between Chicago and Miami. Capone and Dillinger were found of cocktails on the veranda...we liked 'em too...Z and G had Moonshine Teas...

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    Post-meal...we retired for the night...there was talk of Dragons in the 'morrow...

    More to Come...
    #7
  8. B-Tex

    B-Tex n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3
    We all were clear from the beginning that this trip was to be about riding, and we were in search of some of the greatest roads in the US. After 2 days, we had a lot of fun and clocked about 900 miles, but we had not begun to ride. The best was yet to come.

    Z-Tex, what is your take on Day 2?
    #8
  9. Z-Tex

    Z-Tex n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5
    Not going to lie. Day 2 put the hurt on ol' Z-Tex. It must have started when we played "Special Lady Waiting at the Waffle House" on the jukebox, and Methhead waitress Sara Lee brought a glass full of lemons when we ordered coffee and tea. She must of thought we were making fun of her, because some part of the meal was not right. 3 Five Hour Energy Shots, 2 Redbulls, and a Mountain Dew and I could not stay awake for the life of me. Whatever it was, I know I will not be eating Waffle House anytime soon!

    All I know is I was glad to make it to Tennessee in one piece!
    #9
  10. BusyWeb

    BusyWeb Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Oddometer:
    99
    :clap
    #10
  11. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    If Zach had been a dog, we might have shot him...boy was hurting!

    That methhead Sarah Lee did him ZERO favors by serving him his breakfast...
    :puke2 :puke2 :puke2
    #11
  12. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    Day 3

    Day 2 was a mix of good and bad. It was great that we got to see Barber and ended up in Sewanee. It wa BAD that Zach got sick and nearly fell off the bike.

    Day 3 was supposed to be a great day...

    The Plan
    1) Have Breakfast with my College Advisor, Reinhard Zachau
    2) Hit the road for the Cherohola Skyway and Gatlinburg

    Day 3 would be short compared to the previous 450+ mile days. A mere 260 miles separated us from our goal for the day.

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    First, it was time for breakfast, so I putted down to the Blue Chair and met up with Dr. Zachau.

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    I was a German major at Sewanee and Dr. Zachau helped to successfully shepherd me through 3 years of Sewanee and 1.5 year stint in Germany. He is quite a scholar of German Film and I still remember his History of German Film class being one of my favorites on the mountaintop.

    Zachau was quite interested and possibly amused by our little adventure on the motorcycles. We spoke over a leisurely breakfast and were joined by Brent later in the meal. The service was horrible, or maybe it was just perfect...hard to tell sometimes.

    After our auf Wiedersehens were completed, Brent and I went to roust young Zachary. We had a bit of a campus tour to attend to and Zach was just waking.

    Shots of Sewanee:

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    Sewanee Dog...

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    Sewanee, The University of the South is it's official title, is owned by the Episcopal Diocese of the states of the American South. My Diocese, Dallas, is an owning Diocese.

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    My Fraternity House:

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    Departure from the Sewanee Inn:

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    We saddled up and made our way towards Chattanooga...

    Zach had wanted to swing through "Thunder on the Rock" or some such Harley rally that was being held in Tracy City. I explained to Zach that we weren't really cut out for the Harley crowd, especially in Tracy City. I had tutored at the Grundy County High School during college and all I can say is that I feel very blessed to have grown up where I did, with parents who cared for me. Tracy is about as crooked of a place as you can find. Chop shops, any drug you can think of, moonshining...the place has it all. I've known many good people to come out of the area in spite of it's problems, but I wasn't about to get mixed up in a Harley Rally there...

    On our way down the mountain, storm clouds were gathering in the distance towards Chattanooga...
    #12
  13. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    66,814
    Great ride! Thanks for taking us along :thumb

    :lurk
    #13
  14. Thorne

    Thorne Sherpa-ing around

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,206
    Location:
    Lone Pine, ON, Canada
    :thumb
    #14
  15. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    No Problemo...

    The riding gets quite a bit more interesting in Days 4-6. But before we get there, the story gets quite weird in Part 2 of Day 3...

    #15
  16. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    More to come...
    #16
  17. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    ...and it rained...

    Coming down I-24 in the direction of Chattanooga, we almost made it to the "World Famous" Tennessee-Alabama Fireworks stand...

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    The interstate actually splits and goes around the fireworks stand...but I'm digressing...

    We pulled over in Kimball, TN for wet gear to be put on.

    1) Zach had NEVER ridden in rain.

    2) Brent had an open face helmet with NO SHIELD.

    This was going to be interesting.

    As prepared as we could be at the moment, we proceeded onwards. The rain was coming down in BUCKETS! No real wind to speak of, the thunder and lightning had passed, but it was probably the largest soaker I've ever ridden through. Serious amounts of rain.

    It was short-lived...maybe 14 miles worth of rain. No big deal.

    We rolled on...then up...Lookout Mountain toward Point Park and the Battle Above the Clouds.'

    We made a stop at Ruby Falls to try to grab lunch on the veranda.

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    No dice! You have to pay for admission to Ruby Falls to eat on their patio...total :topes...

    So we rode up and around Lookout and made tracks for Tony's in the Bluff View District for some Italian Sandwiches...

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    While we were sitting at Tony's...The Fear started to sink in...the radar was looking rather...well...:arg...bad.

    From just before Cleveland, TN all the way to Gatlinburg, it was RED on the radar...definitely, no bueno.

    At the very least B-Tex needed to grab a shield for his helmet.

    We made tracks to the local "friendly" hog shop and were sorely disappointed by the lack of shield...

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    We decided Cherohala was going to have to wait, as would the open parts of the Dragon. We just wanted to get to the Cabin near Gatlinburg and take a load off.

    ONWARD!!!

    We stop near Charleston, TN to make sure everyone is comfortable...B-Tex was ducking behind his touring screen. Z-Tex was unfazed and I was rearing to go.

    B-Tex is READY!
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    Z-Tex Prepares...

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    G-Tex is pumped!


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    We got back on I-75 and it is wet and windy and a bit cool. All in all, decent wet weather riding, except for the insane drivers. Lots of people cutting each other off, many chances being taken by cagers, and general mayhem on the road.

    All of a sudden, something breaks loose with Brent and he zooms by me doing at least 85. After about 30 more minutes of wet and woolly weather, we arrive in Lenoir City and make a quick stop.

    Brent just voted in a middle eastern election...:evil

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    We head towards Maryville.

    We make a stop at Smokey Mountain Harley Davidson for B-Tex to check for a shield and maybe some new...boots.

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    This stealership was gearing up for a big 'ol time over Memorial Day Weekend...a band was warming up, vendors tents were everywhere, and the beer troughs were being filled. I grabbed a (single) beer to fit in with the Hoggers and enjoyed it while walking around as a 'Stich-Clad stranger in a strange land...

    The 990ADV drew quite a bit of attention from the denizens of the party barn behind the dealership. Over the course of the trip, this was the only place where the 990ADV drew any attention from folks outside the group.

    Every hotel we pulled into, the bell-men, civie passer's by, or other riders always commented on Zach's bike. BMW's certainly have a reputation for their caché and the comment count squared nicely with the reputation. Brent's bike received much praise as well, but the Roundel held serve.

    Anyway, it was very interesting to have 3 or 4 Harley guys coming up, wanting to talk about my bike. I could say that it was the big KTM's V-Twin that awakened their HOG sensibilities, but that would be an overstatement. These guys knew something about my bike and the discussion went quite in depth towards capabilities, reliability, and tour-worthiness. Like I said, it was kinda cool...:deal

    We proceeded onward through Maryville towards Townsend. Kept straight ahead and rolled onto Little River Road...FANTASTIC!!!

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    After finishing up on the Little River road, we coasted into Good 'ol Gatlinburg with some daylight to burn.

    The Gents...

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    And we rolled toward the Cabin!

    More to come...
    #17
  18. B-Tex

    B-Tex n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    3
    I don't suggest riding in the rain without the proper gear, especially a face shield. Yes, there is a tall windshield on my Harley, but it does very little to keep the whipping rain out of your face while zipping down the interstate.

    When Grant stopped to check on his followers, I told him that I was good at about 50 to 60 mph if I tucked down behind the windshield, but no faster than that. I also told G and Z that they could take off without me and I would just meet them at the first gas station at our scheduled exit.

    For me, the second rain storm that we drove through on Day 3 from Chattanooga to Lenoir City was worse than the first. The second storm was not as heavy as the first, but it was hard, steady rain for 90 miles. The first storm slowed traffic down to a crawl and trucks were driving with their hazard lights on. During the second storm, traffic was moving 50 to 70 mph. With traffic moving this fast, the water that was being kicked up from the road made it where I was practically riding blind. All I could do is watch for brake lights, keep it straight with the line on the shoulder, and hope there would be no road debris.

    After about 75 miles of the worst motorcycle riding conditions that I have experienced, I was mentally drained and felt like I was about to snap. I could no longer take the beating that I was receiving from every 18-wheeler that would pass me and then get in front of me and slow down. Gatlinburg was our destination for the day and there was no way around the storms. I figured the sooner I could get it over with, the better off I would be, so I rolled on the throttle and crossed my fingers.
    #18
  19. G-Tex

    G-Tex Sneaky Bastard

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Oddometer:
    377
    Location:
    A Heavily Fortified Compound in North Oak Cliff
    ...we pulled through Gatlinburg and headed up the hill to our Cabin...

    We were met with the most anal-retentive, verbose, and utterly ridiculous "DON'T" list I have ever seen. The owner of the cabin that we rented must be a real piece of work. A full two pages worth of "do nots" were staring at us. We explored the cabin and found even more notes scattered about; some that made no sense at all.

    Nice place though...


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    After getting everything squared away, Zach and I headed into town for some grub and perhaps a bit of the local flavor.

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    It was night when we pulled into the Bear Creek Grill. It was the closest place to our cabin, so we thought...why not?

    It would turn out, there are many reasons why not...

    1) Empty Restaurants in tourist towns generally suck
    2) The White Slave Trade was definitely at work in this establishment
    3) The money saved on employees was definitely not reinvested in food quality...

    Zach and I walked in and were greeted by a somewhat comely blonde-haired Euro. We make the normal inquiries...name, serial number, country of origin...The responses were less than forthcoming, for reasons not immediately clear....As we got closer to the bar, another patron says...

    "She's from Moldova...Moldova"

    Hmmm....

    We are there late into the shift and most of the staff was lounging around in the bar area. We were seated amongst the staff.

    The banter continued with our waitress and a story developed wherein Natalia worked here in Gatlinburg, lived an hour away, and went to "school" an hour away "in the other direction"...

    OK, so she's trying to blow us off...so what?

    Except she wasn't trying to blow us off. She kept coming back, sitting down, chatting about different subjects and then leaving. Basically, a normal conversation other than references to her origin, her current situation, or future.

    Zach and I finish eating and pay. Zach observes the "tip out" for all the waiters and waitresses (many of whom are also Moldovan) before they leave for the night. Zach saw Natalia receive $2 FOR THE NIGHT...Well, our tip alone was $12 for our shitty meal....SO....We started figuring out what was going on...make your own conclusions, but the look in her eye throughout our dealings was tired, beaten, and a bit naive...

    ANYWAY...throughout the meal we were asking where to go in town. Apparently, all directions are given by which streetlight number the locale is nearest to...We were told to go to some place near "Stoplight Six"...

    We putted on down to "Puckers" and into another world...

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    RED NECK Karaoke!

    All the women looked like each other and all the guys were toothless. This place was unreal!!!

    A couple beers down and we were looking for alternative entertainment...

    We crossed the street and hit up the World Famous "Crawdaddy's" just in front of the "space needle"...

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    At Crawdaddy's we were exposed to EVEN MORE F'ING REDNECK KARAOKE!!! Unreal! We were really diving into the shallow end of the gene pool! One particularly terrible specimen took the stage and sang a haunting rendition of Harper Valley PTA!!!<object width="480" height="385">

    We had a couple more rounds, there are PLENTY of Stories from our short time in Gatlinburg, but I will leave it here for the moment...

    Enjoy this tantalizing tidbit from the Sick Geniuses Tom T. Hall and Jeannie C. Riley...


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    #19
  20. Z-Tex

    Z-Tex n00b

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    5
    Being my first trip on a bike, day 1-3 made me question what I had gotten myself into. I am usually one for adventure, but day 2 really beat me down! Can't wait for day 4 to be posted though, because I will say it was a life changing experience for Z-Tex. I am now completely addicted!
    #20