Day 3 – Miles for Peace Motorcycle Adventure –
Waking up at the KOA (Campground of America) just East of Nashville, I was met with a great sense of anticipation for what lies just about a half hour away; Music City. I have heard about Nashville since I was a child, being privy to the stories stemming from its unprecedented country music scene. As Sigga and I pack up the tent, I’m filling the air with all these stories of wonder and awe about this city, “It’s going to be amazing,” and “everyone wants to go to Nashville.”
As we pull into view of the city, the thing that immediately visible is the skyline, dotted with a few tall buildings. We pull off at a random exit that says something similar to “downtown”, and after stopping on the side of the road for a few minutes to get our bearings, we decide on the ‘Country Music Hall of Fame’. After a drive of only about 3 minutes, we arrive at this fairly large complex which promises to be all that I’ve ever dreamed of but…the only problem is parking. As we ride around the block a few times, I catch what I believe to be ‘Broadway’ which is where the heartbeat of the Country Music scene apparently lies.
Growing more curious to walk among all the bars and souvenir shops than look at a museum (even if it is a hall of fame), we squeeze the bike between two parked cars and head for the strip. At this point, I have two realizations: First, We probably should have come last night because this ‘happening music scene’ is not at all happening at 12noon with maybe 3-4 live music venues pumping out tunes into the street and second, neither Sigga or I have an interest in Country Music nor do we drink. I take a deep breath, taking in these two facts of our current situation and look around once again; the city begins to feel as if it’s shrinking in around me. I look down the main drag and see that it’s about 3 blocks long and the city itself is also very small, with the downtown area being the size of a 1/50th of the city in which I live, Philadelphia. As I glance down the street, looking for some type of recompense for this encroaching disappointment, I hear Sigga say “Elvis Lives,” as she points to a life-size fiberglass and resin mockup of the King.
*Funny side story – After leaving Nashville and traveling roughly 100 miles, it’s time for us to feed the beast that provides us with transportation for this journey, so we pull into one of the nameless gas station that dot I-40. After removing the straps from the Wolfman Blackhawk Tankbag, I twist he gas cap so Sigga can pump the gas upon her return from paying the attendant cash for the fuel. I stand, with iPhone in hand updating Instagram and within moments my concentration is broken as I hear s yell hear from Sigga. I look up and my attention immediately locks on stream of gasoline exiting upwards from the tank, very much resembling a 18th century fountain with multiple figurines all producing streams of water. In slow motion, the prehistoric liquid comes to rest all over the tank and on the Tankbag. Sigga immediately releases the valve with a yelp and assumes a position that looks interestingly similar to straddling a horse, yet both of of legs are leaving the ground in an alternating fashion as thought each foot is touching hot coals. She looks at me in a panic and says, “where are the napkins.” I point to the trash can a mere 5 feet away, which dispenses paper towels and is shared with a window washer wand. She runs over while saying “I really should not be doing this” (referring to filling up the tank).
Passing through Memphis, we momentarily contemplate the possibility of going to the home of Elvis, (Graceland) but decide against that possibility when we learn that we will only have 15 minutes to wonder around before it closes for the day at 5pm. Instead we decide to got the pyramid of American capitalism, “Bass Pro Shop” (and yes it literally in the shape of a 15 story pyramid). Sigga is not visibly excited as I’m extolling the virtues of hunting, fishing and camping, as the sign advertises. Oh yeah, I should also mention that Sigga is a Vegan so going into Bass Pro shops for her was like a heavy metal guitarist being forced into a straightjacket with Bose sound canceling headphones cranking out Gospel Music. Beyond all the dead animals adorning the walls and 2nd amendment pride, this is place is biggest than the largest Walmart that exists on the face of this earth, it’s mind boggling.
After roughly 400 miles of riding we pull into Conway about 8:30pm and with the closest KOA 20 miles back down the road, we once again decide on finding a motel. Following a few calls which consisted me begging for a $45 room for the both of us, I get a hold of Budget Inn and the man on the other line reluctantly agrees to a $45 room. Upon out arrival, and to my surprise he says, “just give me $3 more,” to which I immediately respond “$2 more” which brought the total to $47. In a final note and after we heard some ruckus outside, I decided to being my bike into our abode for the night.