Hittin’ the Road: Georgia and Tennessee

I was already off to a late start: not good, but there was no point in getting my panties bunched up. I pedaled to the metal out of Tampa Bay and straight through to Georgia, enjoying the sunset on the way…

I shot right past Atlanta to meet my old school buddy Boaty and his daughter, Rowan (yep you heard me right) at a fun center kinda thing in Marietta. This was probably the most people I had been around in months during the pandemic, so I was pretty uncomfortable. At the same time, I was stoked to visit a guy I’d known since elementary school and hadn’t seen for several years. I couldn’t believe how much Rowan had grown. We ran around and played a few games (the Star Wars one was dope!) and watched her jam while we caught up over a beer or two.

We closed that place down and headed over to his new house. He left us alone while he went to pick up his TV. There was no guest bed yet even, so my quarters were the living room couch (which I was totally cool with). I moved my perishable grub from the cooler to the fridge. Rowan was playing Minecraft or something with a bunch of Spanish speaking folks on the other end of the game. I was happy to translate for her.

Boaty showed back up with the TV and some other random household items. We had some Canadian whiskey and beers and bullshat outside. One of the most memorable parts of that conversation was that he, as a tattoo artist (specializing in cover-ups), mentioned how he sees the world as art, looking at things as if they were drawn by nature. The horizon could be drawn out with a ruler. How could that tree be painted in brush strokes? I’m not doing his perception/explanation justice, but it impressed me that he thought like that. We both had a long day, so we called it after a few dranks. I slept like a brick.

I woke up later than I wanted to. They were both crashed out still, so I made some cold fusion brekky and got my shit together. I woke them up to say bye before I split.

Adios, amigos!

Still somewhat behind schedule (the general goal each day was to get to where I was staying before dark), I hustled on to Tennessee. There was a brutal rainstorm outside of either Chattanooga or Knoxville; I can’t remember which at this point.

I got to the Bylers’ just in time for dinner. It was taco time! It had been a few years since I had seen my old friend and his now growing family. I added my own flare to the dinner w/ some homemade mango salsa, courtesy of my bassist and great friend Leah. We had some local Tennessee beers, after the grand tour of the kiddos’ bedrooms. They were quite proud of their setup 🙂

Shawn and Missy and I sat on the back porch and caught up. The political climate was tense there. Just that day, BLM folks had shown up at a local pawn shop not exactly known for its sympathy with the group. By nighttime, news crews and heavy police presence were all over that place. We discussed everything: past, present, and future amongst the numerous fireflies, until we were all tuckered.

The guest room was this cool hidden one in the basement of the house. I had to move a bookshelf to get in. Shawn had signed set lists and posters from different bands that he had procured over time, my favorite being the Flogging Molly one. I caught up on some things and crashed.

I woke up later than we planned on, so I skipped breakfast, as there were more pressing matters: I had to get some Tennessee fireworks before I split the state. Shawn and his daughter Nora and I found a local stand and stocked up, after letting their particularly mischievous escape doggo out for a wild roam…

Nora trying to look innocent whilst holding a basket of incendiaries.

I found some boomers worthy of the debauchery that was to come in a few days. I wished I had longer, but I had to hit the road. My dumb ass forgot my shades, so I had to turn around, losing about an hour in the process. Derp!

To West Virgina…