The Motorcycle Diaries…by Me.

Tuesday 17 June 2014 – Rough day at work.  Ran some errands then went to the cigar store for a smoke and a root beer and hoping for some much needed relaxation, smoking, talking and laughing with the guys.  Left the cigar store about 8 and took my bike on the interstate heading north on 65 toward downtown Nashville not really sure of where I wanted to go.  Started to get off the highway on Broadway figuring I’d take a quick ride downtown and see what was up.  At the last second I decided against it and picked up on the throttle.  The tailpipes growled as I picked up speed, and, checking over my left shoulder for any cars coming up, I passed a semi, then a car, then an SUV, then two more cars.  Then there was open highway and I had another decision to make.  Left on 40 heading west towards Memphis or right on 65 heading north towards Louisville and to my home state of Indiana?  The split is coming up quickly…make up your mind.  And then I heard Horace Greely in my mind and leaned the bike left toward Memphis.  “Go West, young man…”  That lingered in my mind for a little bit until a few miles up the road I saw the sign for Briley Parkway, Highway 155.  I had been down this road before at night and in my car.  I didn’t remember much because it was a long time ago.  I flipped my blinker, checked over my right shoulder and took the exit with the speed limit marked 45mph at 55mph.  On the little four lane state highway there wasn’t much traffic northeast of Nashville at this time of night.  the sun was going down on my left and there was a coolness in the air that belied the 79 degrees listed on the First Tennessee bank marquee a few miles back.  As I crossed over Eatons Creek Rd., I hit the throttle again.  The tailpipes growled again as if to thank me for letting the Beast stretch its legs.  The rumble broke the stillness of the mist that was beginning to settle in the valleys as parents got their little ones to bed and they themselves settled down for the evening.  I crossed over 24, then a minute later passed 65.  Traffic started to pick up now being so close to the interstates and Opry Mills Mall.  I let the throttle go and was down to the speed limit in a second, the crackling sound of the tailpipes still sounded mean and it was sort of whining to me that it still wanted to go fast.  “Easy there, beast,” I said.  “I’ll let you play again tomorrow.”  I passed up the mall through the twists and turns passing the Bridgestone building and a half-dozen 20+ story office buildings.  I took the exit for 40 east towards Knoxville and the Nashville International Airport and was soon on the familiar road heading home.  I sort of felt bad for the beast and I asked he’d like to stretch a little bit more before we got home.  He said yes, and so when we hit the gradual incline by the Percy Priest Dam, I opened up the throttle for the last time that night.  The Beast narrowed its eyes, dug its tires into the pavement and let out a growl so loud the kid in the tricked out Honda who likes his beats fast and his bass down low had to have heard it. The Beast was satisfied and purred contentedly the rest of the way home and was asleep, the engine crackling as it cooled down, before I could take my helmet off. I wasn’t far behind it.

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