September 11 2009 by Jason Fogelson
Planning the ride is almost as much fun as the actual ride. At least it is for me.
I have never really spent any time in Tennessee. I've passed through on my way to somewhere else, but I've never lingered. And Tennessee deserves better.
My wife Robin is taking a week off from work to ride as my passenger and share the adventure. Robin is the best passenger in the world. Always cheerful, she never complains and she's very entertaining when we're off of the bike. She helps me plan the trip, and studies up on our destinations for fun things to see and do. If I wasn't already married to her, I'd have to court her all over again.
Weeks before the trip, once we decided on Tennessee as our destination, we hit the books. We found three excellent travel books that provided great inspiration and information: Moon Handbooks Tennessee by Jeff Bradley (Avalon Travel Publishing, 2005); Off the Beaten Path Tennessee by Jackie Sheckler Finch (Morris Book Publishing, 2009); and Scenic Driving Tennessee by Russ Manning (Falcon Guide, 2005).
I also spent a good amount of time with the Harley-Davidson Ride Planner , a great resource for riders. It's a web-based interactive mapping program. Not only can you plan routes, you can find Best Western Hotels and Harley-Davidson dealers along your route automatically. You can also explore routes saved by other riders, and scenic routes suggested by the program.
So, we're going to fly in to Knoxville (in Eastern Tennessee) and rent a Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide. Then we'll ride to Nashville, on to Memphis, to Lawrenceburg, to Chattanooga and back to Knoxville again, essentially circumnavigating the state in five days of riding. Along the way, we plan to hit some of the big tourist spots, and we're going to eat some barbeque. Lots of barbeque. Most of all, we'll explore the open roads and discover the scenery of Tennessee in the late summer.
It should be great.
Next: Tennessee: Travel Day