Memphis is our destination. There are rumors of Patriots Pack members who conducted business until after Saturday turned into Sunday. No worries, as we have a planned late start. We expect some drizzle but plan to avoid any heavy rain and weather this day. Papa preformed a visual bike check about 4:30am and all was well. Slowly throughout the early morning the brother/sisterhood (no trousers were on excursion) began to arise. Soon Lone Star was up and performing much more than a visual check on the bikes. Oil checked and topped off, if needed. I may ask for an engine upgrade tomorrow. I am certain he has the necessary parts and accessories.
9:30am came around and most of the Pack and RVers were milling around and preparing to roll. I’ll be darned! If it wasn’t for Rover sleeping in we could have departed early. Our travels today are:
B: Short in distance.
C: Beginning damp (enough to don rain gear)
Lone Star decides to temp the moisture gods and ride without protection.
The Pack rolled just a bit before 10:00am and headed out with RV in tow across the southern end of Little Rock and curled north on I30 to merge with I40 east. This would be for a single exit before departing the Interstate system to head south just a mile to US 70. Our plan is to take US 70 the 150ish miles to West Memphis Arkansas. US 70 is a two lane US highway that has zero commercial traffic as it is just one mile south of I40 and is some places simply a few hundred yards. We truly had no traffic. Most of the ride was spent in 4th gear at 55mph. The beauty of US 70 is that is sits just inches above the water table. The highway shoulder blends directly into the swamp/bayou. Other than a few dead armadillos in our lane we had a smooth ride. The country side is rural. It is truly a surreal experience, like a slow motion montage in an Easy Rider-ish movie. The only sounds are the harmonic convergence of all the exhaust rumbles. No angry traffic. No white SUV’s acting like Whitewalkers. Just a few locals in the small villages we pass through giving us an interested glance and a welcoming wave. About the half-way mark we were about to accelerate out of a small town and rounded a corner with a convenience store on the left and an open straight road ahead with a wide shoulder on the right. Papa gave the slow sign, pulled over allowing the bikes to stop on the side of the road in formation with a parking lot available for the RV. Turns out it was a welcomed bio stop. No need to walk the 50 yards back to the convenience story. There is a farmed field on the right and a treelined swamp on the left. Most walked over to the tree line. If anything moves through the grass, don’t zip, run backward! It never goes unnoticed that as soon as we pull over and put the kickstands down we see snacks and hydration being aggressively offered by the ladies of Make Great American Leasing again, and again. Soon, because he is a bit slower, Judge Goldberg joins in the offering. Our Mars’ Rover Rover and his young protege, Berg, make sure along with the other RVers that we are well cared for. This is a luxury to which I want to be accustomed.
With al the intake and outflows accommodated we begin again our journey east. The country side does not disappoint. It is a magical and thought provoking ride. The speed, lack of traffic, and countryside allows the motorcycle ballet to bloom. Another hour later and we were nearing a fuel stop in West Memphis Arkansas where US 70 is literally adjacent I40. As we approached a 4-way stop, the cars approaching from the north and south honored the Pack with an extended stop so we could roll on through. Our fuel stop was just a mile ahead. We pulled in and have the Milwaukee steeds a drink and some rest. Earlier in the day a plan was hatched to visit a Harley dealership in the southern Memphis metro before getting to our hotel. It is a short jaunt over from Little Rock and we need to kill some time as it is too early to check-in. The Mars’ Rover Rover needed to dump it’s tanks, mostly filled with Rochester New York bodily fluids (Slaw). The Rover’s head has become Slaw’s personal office. The RVers rode off to do it’s business and would meet us at the hotel.
The Pack saddled up and prepared to enter I40 for just a few short miles before heading southwest on I55 to cross the mighty Mississippi into Memphis Tennessee. This crossing may have been the first one the Eisenhower crew manufactured or at least the oldest yet to be redone in 70 years. It is an old crossing. Immediately after crossing the river I55 takes a hard turn south toward Mississippi… the state. A few short miles later we crossed into Mississippi. Our exit is just three miles into the great state of Mississippi and the dealer is just off the interstate. As we roared into the parking lot we immediately noticed this was not your average dealership. The parking lot could hold an entire soccer tournament. Huge! Adjacent the dealership was a BBQ restaurant. The Harley dealership itself was large and open, oddly reminiscent of the new Bob Parsons’ Harley dealership in Scottsdale. Turns out… this one in Northwestern Mississippi is also Parsons owned. Small world.
This was a great stop. Boner received a new set of rain gear from Papa (#handmedown). This allowed Lone Star and Papa to purchase matching rain gear (#howcute). Slaw blew the dust from his wallet and spent literally $2.13 on a poker chip (#huh?). It was a great stop. As we converged on our bikes some were hungry so we visited the adjacent restaurant for a quick lunch. Knowing not to eat too much because we had our Chef Scot Berry and family hosted meal in our near future. One must leave room for the home cooked meal!
Our server was all of 5 feet tall with her healed cowgirl boots. She handled the table well. Also, the staff accommodated these bada$$ biker dudes with smelly leather and unshaven faces with our request to change the tv channels to the golf tournament (#juxtapose).
Our short trip to our hotel was uneventful except for a coupe angry aggressive drivers. It was Sunday so I am sure they were justified in getting to their destination an extra 12 seconds earlier. We pulled into the hotel parking lot and saw the Mars’ Rover Rover… home again for the night!
We would meet again in two hours (6:00pm sharp) to begin our short ride to the Chef Scot Berry and family residence. There was some napping, showering, resting and family check-ins. A good Sunday thus far. At 5:45pm also Pack-ers and RV-ers were ready to go. Papa had to make the unusual call to wait. We were leaving too early! This is ok when the destination is the next bio stop but we cannot rush Chef Scot Berry and family. We had an impromptu rider meeting and soon it was time to roll. This ride is a few miles on city boulevards in southeastern Memphis. We traveled the tree lined lanes with precision. We rolled toward a traffic light rounding a corner and it turned green… we rolled through. Just ahead was a young lady on her bicycle having to wait for the Pack train. On the other side of the road was her male riding partner. The young lady gave an aggressive one fingered salute. To many of the Pack it seemed she was offering this gesture to us. (#what!?). Well, not everyone will be a fan. Turns out it had nothing at all to do with us. Shortly, we turned right into the gated community housing the Chef Scot Berry and family. The gentleman manning the gate waved and smiled as we rolled into a neighborhood that rarely has 13 loud motorcycle and a RV with all adorned in black leather vests!
The Chef Scot Berry family were out in force to greet the extended Pack. Three generations of Berrys. The newest of the generations were excited to see the loud Milwaukee metal. Boner allowed them to rev the engines and cause the loudness! Priceless. We were escorted into the Chef Scot Berry family home and while the newest of the generations ran to the pool the Pack grabbed steaks, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob. We are certainly well fed. It is nothing short of wonderful to watch such a large and welcoming family host this group with such amazing grace.
Food, soft drinks and juice, along with dessert cookies (dangerously good)! The only rival to the food was the conversation and fellowship. Such a great evening.
Our departure fanfare was spectacular. The newest Berry generation all had a Jillian elephant as they waved us out. I was informed later that some of the newest Berry generation took their Jillian elephants to bed with them in order to sleep well… and it worked!!
We had an uneventful ride back to the hotel. Several of the Pack members congregated in a meeting room to break open some adult beverages. We were unable to find GQ and Lone Star. Turns out GQ purchased an apparatus to attach his cell phone to his handlebars. He chose the one that fits all the large bikes…except his. Never worry when Lone Star is the mix. Boner hooked Lone Star and GQ up with hotel maintenance. Lone Star fired up the drills, tool die machines, quantum accelerator, and a fix was hatched. Late to the game, they joined the Pack in the meeting room.
What is said in the circle of trust says in the circle of trust… or at least won’t be attributed to any single person. “… well ya know, everyone poops their pants…”
7:30am Monday, wheels rolling to visit MCC, home of the professional Berrys.