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Big Ride 2022. Day One. Savannah to Nashville

So, I know I was supposed to be in Louisville, Kentucky at the end of today, but last night, after work, I just didn’t have the steam to get on the bike and make the four-hour ride to Atlanta. So, I opted to have a good dinner and an early bedtime instead. This morning I was on the road from Savannah by 0800 headed north.

I skipped breakfast, so by lunchtime I decided that since I had made it to Stockbridge, just south of Atlanta, I would duck into one of my favorite little eating joints – Truett’s. Truett is named for Truett Cathy, the founder of Chik-fil-a. Mr. Cathy started his empire in a little house that he called the “Dwarf Grill” right in my home town of Hapeville, Georgia. In fact, all us old Hapeville Hornets still refer to the Chik-fil-a as “The Dwarf.” Mr. Cathy sold a heck of a lot of chicken sandwiches in his life (a heck of a lot to me, personally, as a matter of fact), and donated millions and millions to help others.

This morning I had been craving an old stand-by that I order every chance I get. Imagine the best baked mac and cheese in the world. It has that rich, milk and egg and cheese sauce. Now imagine that instead of noodles, a chopped up chik-fil-a chicken breast is baked in that same sauce. Then imagine that four little toast corners are added, and then imagine that the whole little casserole is topped with a couple of strips of – what could be better? – Bacon! What you have imagined exists in the delicious, artery-clogging delight known as the “hot brown.” This is not for those who are experiencing cholesterol issues. It comes with a salad to sort of soften the blow, but I always swap the rabbit food for waffle fries. I have always felt that salads are for folks who are afraid of dying, but as for me, since I am redeemed, I approach the hot brown fearlessly.

My server was the always-sweet Miss Tracey, who has worked in that same restaurant for TWENTY FOUR years! She doesn’t look old enough to have been doing anything that long, but she assures me that she has. I always look for her when I come in there because she is the absolute best. She was interested in what I was doing and promised to pray for me, and to look me up on the blog. Miss Tracey, if you read this, thanks for the prayers!

As I was leaving a guy and his wife were admiring my bike. He was wearing a very cool Atlanta Braves World Series Champions jacket. He loved my bike and offered to trade both his car and his wife for it. I told him that I didn’t need another car, or another wife, but that I might consider a trade for the jacket. That was apparently the deal-breaker, because at that point the negotiations abruptly stopped (I would never have really traded Yamacraw for a jacket).

Then it was straight through metro Atlanta on the I-75/I-85 connector. I have driven that as long as I have been driving, but on a bike, it approaches being unnerving. Once I got up close to the Tennessee line I noticed that my hands were sore, from squeezing the grips.

It had threatened rain all morning and I finally got it just north of Chattanooga, as I was passing the beautiful Nickajack Lake, which, I believe is an artificial lake created by the Tennessee Valley Authority decades ago. The agency built dams and created several lakes for water management. As I passed through the beautiful mountain country of the area north

and west of Chattanooga, I found myself not under rain clouds, but in them. So, it wasn’t so much rain that got me wet, but the dampness from being inside the thick fog of the low clouds that shrouded the mountaintops.

After a pretty long day in the saddle, I made it to Music City USA – Nashville. I got checked in, cleaned up, and headed downtown to Broadway for a bite to eat. Broadway is full of restaurants and clubs and shops and bands are playing everywhere. I ducked into a barbeque place and I had some great ribs, just enough to make me sleepy. It’s raining now, so it’s perfect sleeping weather.

Tomorrow, it’s another longish run as I head north to Chicago, the start-point for Route 66.

God bless all y’all.

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