Day 16: Nashville to Maryville – Meeting in the Middle

In 16 days, I’ve ridden it over 3000 miles through 11 states. I took 4 layover days to rest, relax, take it all in and see friends, family and sights. Each day of riding was between 250 and 350 miles. Most miles were off highways on country roads and smaller highways. I was on the road for 5 to 8 hours each day. In just two days, my husband rode 1050 miles on highways starting in substandard weather to meet me in Maryville on this day.

If you’ve been reading along since July 23, you know I conceived of this crazy journey because things in my life were going so well – my mother died, my career change wasn’t on track and my marriage was having problems. When I took off to California, I needed some distance, perspective and to think. And in an epic fuck it all fashion, I planned this motorcycle trip heading back to my last permanent address, but not knowing what was in store at the end of this journey.

No, I didn’t find Javier Bardem (a cultural reference I only know enough about to Google it and put it in here). I met my husband in the middle in Maryville on a motorcycle. Motorcycling did what several counselors couldn’t; broke the silence and let go of the comfort zone.

Of course, it didn’t hurt that Maryville was also the gateway to the Tail of the Dragon. For those of you unaware of what that is, it is a legendary 11-mile motorcycle ride from Blount County, Tennessee to Deals Gap, North Carolina. There are 318 curves in just 11 miles. There are motorcycles everywhere.

Let’s face it, he didn’t ride to the plains of Kansas, but he did put in 1050 miles in two days to meet me in the middle near one of the greatest motorcycle riding regions in the country. Yes, “meeting is the middle” is no accidentally chosen phrase. The metaphor is intended, please imply because I don’t plan to elaborate.

It’s a good thing. Returning to Massachusetts no longer feels like a long march toward a dark and uncertain abyss. And that is about all I am going to reveal about that.

As for the riding, it was epic. So epic, we rode the Tail twice in each direction. I may have put over 3000 miles on me in 16 days and another 3000 before that, but nothing prepared me for the Tail more than that one 8 hour class I took in California with 2WheelSafety training.

I wasn’t fast. I definitely got passed by some zooming race bikes and a little Grom and some dirt bikes and some dual sports, but no cruisers, to my recollection. I held my own at my own pace and made it out with the rubber side down, which is epic. Remember, I only got licensed in May, folks.

That’s pretty epic.

As they say, I slayed the Dragon. I am sure there’s some other psychological metaphor you can imply here. Have at it.

Happy cooking and slaying.

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