My friend Tiffany and I share a passion for motorcycling, and it’s her goal to ride in all 50 states. I would love to ride them with her, and so far we’ve ridden in four states on our trips from LA to the Grand Canyon and Oregon. Because I’ve moved back to Ohio, we planned a trip from Cleveland to Nashville in order to cross some Midwestern and Southern states off the list.
From Cleveland we headed toward Kentucky riding through Hocking Hills. We took curvy back roads, and as we crested the hills all you could see for miles were beautiful fields and meadows without another vehicle in sight. We stopped for photos, and I had to pull out my favorite tool: the zip-tie, when I discovered one of my strut bolts missing courtesy of strapping my backpack to my fender in true jerry-rigged fashion.
The next day, after a quick trip to Ace Hardware where the employee was a self-proclaimed nudist (no joke) and with the magic of Loctite, the fender was fixed and we were on the road again. After crossing into Kentucky, one of the first things we encountered was a giant cock on a cart. Yes, there really was a statue of a giant male chicken in the gas station parking lot. We then stopped at Blevins Grocery, opened 80 years without closing a single day with the same lady working there for the past 50 years. Its history and character made it one of the true highlights of the trip. Red River Gorge was hands down the best riding of the entire trip. At its entrance, known as the Nada Tunnel, there was a stunning waterfall. We stood there letting the crisp, clean mist fall on our faces only to have it replaced by a bucket of mud as we went through the tunnel, thanks to not having a front fender. We were told by a local of 50 years that not only was this the second highest he had ever seen the river, but his friend actually witnessed a cow going over the falls just the day before.
The first thing that happened when we arrived in Nashville was sparks flying from my inner thighs, and then my bike wouldn’t start. My battery had shorted out on the frame, but after help from a piece of cardboard the bike fired up.
I work at X-Pole US where I sell professional portable fitness and dance poles, and that’s where I met Alethea Austin who just opened The Chrome Bar, a pole dance studio in Nashville. Not only were her husband, Keith, and she nice enough to let us stay at their house and borrow their car during the hailstorm, but they also gave us great advice on where we should go. We took a backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry, saw Ralph Stanley at the Ryman theater, kissed the Elvis statue at RCA Studios in Music Row, went to Jack Black’s recoding studio Third Man Records, ate some killer barbecue at Jack’s, went to a true honky-tonk Roberts, and Tiffany got a tattoo of a fiddle from Amanda Leadman at Black 13 Tattoo.
We stopped in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, which is a historic hamlet on the Ohio River with a population of less than 40 that was founded in 1812, was part of the Underground Railroad, and has a dog named Lucy Lou for a mayor. Then we rode into Indiana.
After almost 1,500 miles through four states in four days, we were 80 miles away from Cleveland when my fender completely broke shredding my rear tire. My cousin Brandon Paschke came to the rescue and we loaded my bike onto his truck. Even though I didn’t make it all the way home on two wheels, it was the best trip Tiffany and I have had so far. God bless America!