Sit tight and grab a beverage, this may end up being a long post and we’ve got some great video. It’s hard to believe how much has happened in the first two days!
A lot of people knock (or even skip) TN because of too much pavement and not enough off-road riding. The state has definitely paved some of the original gravel and dirt roads, however I still wanted to ride it since it’s technically part of the trail. That said, there still was a fair amount of off-road riding that made for a fun day.
Alright, to the footage – let’s do this!
Chased by Dogs
In the morning we got chased by a golden retriever, and I was kicking myself for not having setup the helmet camera yet. But a few hours later when I had the camera on, we ran into a few little guys that were determined to get in our way. I was actually surprised how freakin’ fast the one guy was, you can see he stays up with me for a little while. Check it out:
Dad Gets Stuck
So I’m sure Dad can’t wait to tell you how many wrong turns I made today (only about five, but the GPS was setup wrong and I was zoomed out too far, okay Dad?). But the only real “mishap” of the day was when Dad went off the road and got stuck in a small ditch. The best part is, it was one of my wrong turns, so we shouldn’t have even been on that road in the first place. It’s also hilarious watching now because the obvious solution to the problem is clear, but in the heat of the moment (literally, I was sweating buckets) we didn’t think it through at first. Watch and laugh:
Smooth Riding to the Hotel
The rest of the day on the bikes went very smooth. Some great roads through a national park, and a logging road where we passed a family hanging out on some logs. Not sure what they were doing way out there. Here are a few highlights from the rest of the day:
Major Bummers at the Motel
After a filling meal at the local grill, we headed back to our motel. The first bummer was when I stepped on my radio headset cord and busted the connector. Welp, no more radio chatter with Dad. Looks like he can’t remind me to drink water every five minutes anymore (just kidding, I appreciate that Dad. But maybe every 10 minutes would have been better :))
Next bummer, I flipped open my computer, anxious to check out the day’s footage. I pressed the power button on my Mac, the screen turned white, and then shut off. Pressed it again, and same thing. What?? A Mac, not working? Impossible! Honestly this is the first time I’ve had such a major issue with a Mac (I’ve had three now) and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Even after calling some of my nerdiest friends, we couldn’t get the thing to boot up. It was definitely a big downer, as I can’t empty the video camera memory card without a computer, and I do have a little bit of real world responsibility to tend to while on this trip.
I went through several emotions, one of which was “screw it, it’s just me and the trail, I’m disconnecting from the digital world no matter what the repercussions” to “I’ll order a new one and next day it to this motel”. I decided to calm down and take a hot shower – they say you get your best ideas in the shower, and I definitely did that day. I realized we should be pretty close to Nashville – was there an Apple store there? Turns out there was, and it was only about an hour and a half north of us. Bingo.
Day 3 – The Big Detour
We woke up early and mapped out a diner on the way to Nashville. I really wish we could’ve taken a picture of the place, but we got enough cold stares that I wasn’t about to do anything out of the ordinary. That and, well you know you’re in the Bible belt when the cover of the diner menu is a crucifix. But if they have wheat toast and sausage omelets, any place is good by me.
Next we passed by a Wal-Mart on the way and decided to look for a radio headset replacement. After the guy behind the gun counter told me they don’t sell any CB radios, I went and found them myself. But no headsets, of course.
Caught in a Thunderstorm
After that we calculated the route into Nashville. Dad was pretty set on not taking interstates, and I agreed. I set the GPS to avoid interstates and highways, so naturally the thing routed us onto an interstate via a highway. Great. Cruising along on a 250 dirt bike at 60mph in a 70 mph zone is not fun. To make matters even better, we saw lightning ahead and heard thunder. I thought I was being smart and pulled under an overpass, shut off my bike, starting getting out the rain gear, and Dad yells “what the heck are you doing!? Get off the highway and get to cover!”. So I hopped back on and took the next exit – we found shelter literally in the nick of time – it really started coming down, lightning all around us.
After waiting out the heavier part of the storm, we decided to get our rain gear on and ride to Nashville in the rain. This time I made sure the GPS routed us off-highway, and we found a sweet back road that would get us there in about 45 mins. We took off, found the road, and – it was closed. Luckily we had put Rain-X on our helmet shields and I could see enough to get an alternate route on the GPS. We got on the new route, went about 10 miles and – police blocking the bridge. WTF!!! Pulled a U-turn and calculated another new route. Luckily this time we were able to get to within view of the Nashville skyline and I knew we were close. Unfortunately the GPS routed us directly through downtown on Broadway street. It was neat, but the problem was, the sun was now out and beating down on us with rain gear on in 90 degree weather. I was sweating profusely in stop and go traffic. Not fun. I look over at Dad, he says “we should have taken the Interstate”. Bad time for jokes Dad.
Tax Free Weekend = Insanely Crowded Apple Store
So TN has this awesome weekend once a year where everything is tax free. Lucky for us, it’s this weekend. And who wouldn’t want a tax free Apple product? Apparently, everyone in Nashville. We got to the Apple store and there was a line out the door, down some stairs, and looped around like an amusement park ride. You’ve got to be kidding me. Thank goodness I wore my camelbak!
It took about an hour until I got to the door, and when they asked what I was there to purchase, I told them I needed a repair. “Ok, what time was your appointment?”. Appointment? What? Luckily the guys at this Apple store were AWESOME, to say the least. They bumped me to the first slot 3 minutes away, and started working on the computer immediately. They couldn’t figure out what was wrong at first, and when I told them I had just done 8 hours of off road riding with it strapped on the back, they immediately thought it was the hard drive connection cable. While they were trying to fix it, I stared aimlessly at the big display. Some “features” of the MacBook Air came on screen, and one was “Solid state hard drive is resistant to drops and physical shock”. Hmmm. sounds like a good computer for the TAT!
The “genius” dude came back shaking his head. Couldn’t fix it. I said screw it, get me an Air. I’ll fix this thing and put in on Craigslist after the trip. He says “sorry, I don’t sell the products, you’re going to have to go back to the end of the line.” Haha, funny. Wait, you’re serious?
Luckily I had been chatting it up earlier with an employee in a black t-shirt, which I have to assume means that he’s important since every employee in the store is wearing a blue shirt but him. Turns out this guy rides dirt bikes, knew exactly what bikes we had, and was totally into the TAT trip. He overheard me wanting an Air, and hooked me up BIG time. Tax free? Check. Student discount? Check. 50% off Apple Care warranty? Check. Free $100 gift card to the App store? Check. Skip to top of the list for checkout? Check. Only one thing he couldn’t do for me – throw away the box and packaging in store. Weird.
Sweet Pad, Great Meal, Bed Time
We drove an hour south of Nashville to get back near the trail, and are now stationed at the “Richland Inn”. The hotel clerk says it’s been three weeks since anyone came through on the trail. We stuffed our faces with steak and fried pork next door and are now more ready than ever for another day in the dirt. Stay tuned for more, and if you read this far – thanks for joining us! Feel free to comment below, and follow me on Twitter or Facebook for the most “live” updates on the trail. Seeya in a few days!