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Renzo Giust
I Dainese Me
Nico Cereghini
Italian Legendary Tour
Gary Inman
 
 
 
 
 
 

USA ROAD TRIP, DAY 16 AND 17

31 Oktober 2012 | News

by Gary Inman

Day 16: Amarillo, TX to Fort Smith, AR

Stewart’s Triumph Tiger Explorer signals to pull off the highway. It’s started to rain and Stewart left our Texas hotel in just his jeans and jacket. Now he’s on the hard shoulder of the off-ramp, doing the one-legged tango trying to get his waterproof trousers on without taking his boots off. It takes him five minutes to change and find his waterproof gloves. Rain is spotting my visor and the sky is full of bruised clouds. Just then a Harley riders passes in front of us and waves. He’s wearing a leather waistcoat, open, and a pair of jeans, no helmet. He does have the blubber of a walrus, but nonetheless we all suddenly feel over-dressed and a little bit wimpy.

Today’s ride takes us along the top of Texas, right through Oklahoma and into Arkansas.

There are few distractions to glimpse at the side of the road. The most memorable is Yukon, a town shouting , loudly, about being the birthplace of country star, Garth Brooks. That was a highlight. It is that kind of day.

Other than that the day is one of those where we just have to cover miles on boring roads. It’s impossible to cross a continent twice in three weeks and not have a few days like this.

Our mood lifts when we ride through the town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, our overnight stop. It’s Saturday night and the main street has a couple of good-looking bars. I keep following the Garmin to the hotel and end up at a dump on the wrong side of the tracks. After 700km of boring interstate this hotel, we’re now 13km from the town centre. We book a cab (there’s one company in the whole town, with four or five cars. Our taxi is so filthy Stewart is trying to levitate in the back. The driver’s baseball cap needs an oil change), and head straight back to the town. It turns out to be one the best nights of the trip – hot Cajun food, too many beers, live band, weird locals – great ingredients for a long day’s road tripping.

*******

Day 17: Fort Smith, AR to Jackson, TN

I roll out of bed at 6.15, pull on my trousers, stuff everything back into my bags and start carrying them out to the bike. It’s still dark but, as usual, there are already a bunch of riders all kitted up and ready to leave. Today, there more than usual because the route takes us right past Memphis and most riders want to make a pilgrimage to Gracelands.

I’ve visited Elvis’s mansion in the past, so I head for another Memphis rock and roll landmark I prefer, Sun Studio.

Sun Studios is the birthplace of rock and roll. It’s the place where the song most people agree is the first rock and roll tune – Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats - was recorded. And, though it is a museum and gift shop, Sun is a still a working studio where bands, including U2, have recorded.

What makes Sun so brilliant is the enthusiasm of the tour guides. They give their spiel five or six times a day, but still summon up the love and enthusiasm for the place, the people who recorded here and the music they made. When you read the list of greats who were given a break by Sun Studios boss, Sam Perkins, it’s easy to understand why the tour guides love it here: Howlin’ Wol, BB King, Rufus Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and, of course, Elvis Presley.

When we climb back on the bikes, the heat and humidity of Memphis engulfs us. It’s not helped by one of the riders with us losing his key and spending over an hour searching for it including all over the studio (he’d put it in his girlfriend’s pocket – that a good reason not to wear matching jackets).

We eventually cross another state line into Tennessee. And with it, the finish line comes ever closer.

Gary is riding from New York to California and back to New York with www.nicksanders.com

by Gary Inman

Day 16: Amarillo, TX to Fort Smith, AR

Stewart’s Triumph Tiger Explorer signals to pull off the highway. It’s started to rain and Stewart left our Texas hotel in just his jeans and jacket. Now he’s on the hard shoulder of the off-ramp, doing the one-legged tango trying to get his waterproof trousers on without taking his boots off. It takes him five minutes to change and find his waterproof gloves. Rain is spotting my visor and the sky is full of bruised clouds. Just then a Harley riders passes in front of us and waves. He’s wearing a leather waistcoat, open, and a pair of jeans, no helmet. He does have the blubber of a walrus, but nonetheless we all suddenly feel over-dressed and a little bit wimpy.

Today’s ride takes us along the top of Texas, right through Oklahoma and into Arkansas.

There are few distractions to glimpse at the side of the road. The most memorable is Yukon, a town shouting , loudly, about being the birthplace of country star, Garth Brooks. That was a highlight. It is that kind of day.

Other than that the day is one of those where we just have to cover miles on boring roads. It’s impossible to cross a continent twice in three weeks and not have a few days like this.

Our mood lifts when we ride through the town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, our overnight stop. It’s Saturday night and the main street has a couple of good-looking bars. I keep following the Garmin to the hotel and end up at a dump on the wrong side of the tracks. After 700km of boring interstate this hotel, we’re now 13km from the town centre. We book a cab (there’s one company in the whole town, with four or five cars. Our taxi is so filthy Stewart is trying to levitate in the back. The driver’s baseball cap needs an oil change), and head straight back to the town. It turns out to be one the best nights of the trip – hot Cajun food, too many beers, live band, weird locals – great ingredients for a long day’s road tripping.

*******

Day 17: Fort Smith, AR to Jackson, TN

I roll out of bed at 6.15, pull on my trousers, stuff everything back into my bags and start carrying them out to the bike. It’s still dark but, as usual, there are already a bunch of riders all kitted up and ready to leave. Today, there more than usual because the route takes us right past Memphis and most riders want to make a pilgrimage to Gracelands.

I’ve visited Elvis’s mansion in the past, so I head for another Memphis rock and roll landmark I prefer, Sun Studio.

Sun Studios is the birthplace of rock and roll. It’s the place where the song most people agree is the first rock and roll tune – Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats - was recorded. And, though it is a museum and gift shop, Sun is a still a working studio where bands, including U2, have recorded.

What makes Sun so brilliant is the enthusiasm of the tour guides. They give their spiel five or six times a day, but still summon up the love and enthusiasm for the place, the people who recorded here and the music they made. When you read the list of greats who were given a break by Sun Studios boss, Sam Perkins, it’s easy to understand why the tour guides love it here: Howlin’ Wol, BB King, Rufus Thomas, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and, of course, Elvis Presley.

When we climb back on the bikes, the heat and humidity of Memphis engulfs us. It’s not helped by one of the riders with us losing his key and spending over an hour searching for it including all over the studio (he’d put it in his girlfriend’s pocket – that a good reason not to wear matching jackets).

We eventually cross another state line into Tennessee. And with it, the finish line comes ever closer.

Gary is riding from New York to California and back to New York with www.nicksanders.com

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