Journey to the ST.N National Meet
Day 3 – Nashville, TN to Deals Gap, TN
Great Food. Moderate temperatures. World class roads. It would have been a perfect day if not for the Jetta that wanted to play bumper cars.
I started off the morning in style with a visit to the famous Loveless Café off the Natchez Parkway. Guy of always raves about it in his trip reports. As long as I was in the area, I had to check it out. The fresh biscuits and ham were uber-yummy. I highly recommend it to anyone passing through Nashville.
After breakfast I started crossing the Nashville Metro area to get to my planned trans-Tennessee road. In Murfreesburo, about 70 miles into the day’s ride, I was watching oncoming traffic to make a right turn when BAM! I felt something hit the ST and suddenly we were on the ground. I picked myself up and turned to look at my bike. It was lying on it’s right side, still running. I turned the ignition off and looked around for help. The car that had rear-ended me, a silver Jetta, had pulled over in front of me. I walked over to the passenger door and saw the couple inside digging in the glove box. Not wanting to scare them by knocking on the window glass (my first instinct) I waved until they noticed me and rolled down the window.
“Hey, can you help me pick up my bike?”
The driver nodded but didn’t immediately get out of the car. Meanwhile, two BSGs (Big Strong Guys ™) materialized (as BSGs are wont to do when help is needed). They helped me get the bike upright and rolled it into a nearby fast food restaurant parking lot. The Jetta rolled into the lot too, and parked on the other side. Another car pulled in and parked. The guy who got out said he’d seen the whole thing. He gave me his name and phone number and started to look over the ST for damage. I was still shaking with adrenaline and fumbling with my stuff.
The Jetta had hit my left saddlebag. The saddlebag popped off at the impact, but the force knocked the bike over on its right side. The right engine cover, right saddlebag, left saddlebag mount, and a little bit of fairing took damage. The right side of my helmet is also scratched up, but doesn’t appear to have hit the ground very hard. I certainly don’t remember feeling my head hit, and haven’t experienced any headaches or pain to concern me. Strangely, my sole injury is a big bruise forming on my inside left calf. I can’t imagine what it must have hit considering that if anything ended up under the bike, it should have been my right leg.
The first thing the Jetta driver said (you guessed it): “I didn’t see you!”
Anyway, Officer Anthony with the MPD was very helpful. He took a full report from each of us (ncluding the witness) and then stayed with me far longer than he had to. After everyone else had left, he hung out to make sure I’d stopped shaking and was capable of doing a good assessment of the STs damage. He also rides motorcycles and gave me a route suggestion for getting out of the area.
When everyone had left, I walked into the fast food restaurant, ordered an iced sweet tea and fries, and called Mom. I know the drill. When you call your mother in the middle of the day during a tour, the first words out of your mouth better be “I’m ok, but…”
I also called my insurance agent and gave him all the details while they were fresh in my mind. I’ll take the ST in for a crash estimate once I get back to Houston. At the time, however, I had another 200 miles to go, and it was only noon.
I continued out on TN70 to TN30, a moderately twisty road that went through several very small towns. One of those towns had a Walmart (ick) so I went inside to get some instant ice packs, sticky wrap bandage, and ibuprofen for my leg.
After my big breakfast and early afternoon snack, I saw no need to stop for lunch. Thus I found myself in Tellico Plains, TN with plenty of time to fully enjoy the Cherohala Skyway.
Curves, views, and very little traffic. Mmmm… thank you very much. The speed limit was slow, but cars were having trouble holding it. I was going slightly over and having a blast!
At the end of the Cherohala Skyway was a sign directing me towards US129. I was surprised to find that the connector roads were so badly paved. For a while, I thought I was lost. With the dense tree canopy, the GPS was having trouble staying connected and wasn’t much help.
I finally pulled in to the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort around sunset. The only bike in the front parking lot was a very recognizable Suzuki Hayabusa with a big auxiliary fuel tank in back. Dmgsxr from Colorado had done several posts on ST.N detailing the mounting of his tour tank, so I was able to confidently identify the guy gearing down next to the Busa.
The resort office was closed, but I was able to park by the motel and set up my tent in the camping area. The cool thing about the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort is that you must have a motorcycle to stay there. There were a few trucks, but they were all pulling trailers full of bikes.
It made for an interesting evening. After obtaining a spoon and eating my dinner (Jetboil ROCKS! And Mountain House dehydrated Seafood Chowder is yummy), Dmgsxr and I chatted with a couple from New Orleans for several hours.
The woman (60 years old) met her guy last February, after losing everything (home, belongings, job) to the hurricane. On their second date she had her first ride on his Harley. She jokes that now he has to tear her away from it. They’re both retired, so they have plenty of time. Yes…at 60 years old she started a lot of things over…and took up motorcycles.
We all had a great time swapping stories before heading to bed.
An almost perfect day.