The Couch's BBQ Ride To Eat
Chattanooga, TN
October 22, 2005

After a planned early morning departure fell through, we got out of town about 1:30 Friday afternoon. Riding two-up this trip, we encountered some misting rain, but no real downpours all day Friday. Temperatures were dropping from mid 50's to the low 50's, so having the electric vests on was a good move. This is only Becky's second time to use her's, and she "said" she was toasty warm.

Just like always, riding through Nashville was in a rain storm. I've never ridden a bike through Nashville in anything other than mild to extremely heavy rain. Some day...

We pulled into Murfreesboro for the night. Picked a Motel 6 (cheapest motel room we've had in a long time), and settled in for the night. A leisurely meal at Crackerbarrel next door, and couple of walks to the quick shop took care of the night's excursions. We settled down, and were prepared to hit the road at 8:00 Saturday morning. Since we were crossing the zone into Eastern Time, the 11:30 lunch was more like 10:30 to us. Neither of us slept very well, but sleep we did after riding about 412 miles in about 6.5 hours.

Up and on the road at 8:00, we skipped breakfast, planning on that early lunch. It was a quick ride over to Chattanooga and the GPS found Couch's BBQ easily. WOW! There was a huge crowd of bikes already parked in the lot, but always room for one more. We pulled in and made name tags as people came over to greet us.

That's our bike on the far right end of the first picture.

We settled at a table earlier than many, and were joined by Jim and Donna Phillips. Really enjoyed their stories about the IBR, and swapping tales about our misfortunes when attempting to rally.

Their stories from the 2003 and 2005 IBR were quite interesting as well as informative. We rode against them at this year's Palmetto Ramble, and hope to see them at more rallys next year. Off and on, different friends stopped by, but we didn't have near enough time to meet enough people. Seemed that every time I had a mouth full of food, and more on the fork moving that direction... there was Jason snapping my picture.

Near the end of the meal, Jason Arnold (from Springfield, IL) introduced himself, and we joined him with his wife, Agnes, and another Champaign rider, Jerry Pagels for some discussion after the meal. Jason had invited me to ride along with them Saturday afternoon, and I took them up on it. They had scouted out some very nice scenic twisties, and we took off after them.

Saturday afternoon's riding was another treat. The roads varied between a little interstate (to get there), some high speed sweepers and lots of really fun loop-te-doos and tight twisties. Although I was unable to keep up with them, they were patient enough to wait for me at the end of all routes. Really fun riding with some peg scrapping curves. Becky was probably scared to death, but I was a relatively tame rider. Other than a couple of pit stops, it was full time riding fun.

We stopped for dinner at a Smashburger (the onlything special about the "smashburger" is the sauce they use, and a little more conversation. Since they were camping Saturday night, we decided to split up on US 27 a bit north into Kentucky. A bit after dark, they turned off to their campground, and we continued looking for a motel.

At the next town, we tried for the only motel on US27. They were FULL! The clerk said we would not find any vacancy on US-27 because of a car show going on up and down the highway. We didn't. But, we did see lots of people sitting in lawn chairs or on blankets next to the highway. By now it's dark, about 9:00 at night, and they are still out there. We stopped for fuel, and I asked the clerk what all the people were doing. She said they were along the road for the car show. When I asked when it started, she said it was over…. It was during the daylight. These people are still sitting there watching the traffic go by (and maybe drinking?) . She said they'd stay there until time to go home for bed.

We jumped on the parkway and found a room at the Best Western in Columbia, KY. Had a very good night's sleep and got up early Sunday morning. After their "continental" breakfast ( all-starch meal), we hit the road in a little drizzling rain. After a few more miles of the parkway, we hit the back roads to ride through Mammoth Cave National Park. Rode through some beautiful fall foliage in the park area… and a few nice twisty roads, then it was north on the two-lane US highway towards Indiana. Stopped for lunch at a Captain D's restaurant in some little Kentucky town. We were impressed by the locals… friendly considerate fast food employees, polite, happy children along with solid church-going parents. Nice change from the brats we see around Champaign and the restaurant help with bad attitudes.

The temperature was dropping all day, and hit a minimum of about 41 degrees. Becky and I both were toasty warm in our electrics, but she could use some better arm chaps. The rain mostly cleared up around mid-Indiana, and we had clear sailing the rest of the way. We took the back roads in the rain until we got to Terre Haute, then it was Interstate-like roads all the way home. Arrived home around 9:00 PM safe and sound.

Over all, a very nice trip. We met up with some old acquaintances, met some new ones. Had good BBQ, saw pretty ldead eaves, rode very twisty roads, and over-all had a nice relaxing weekend. Ready to do it again. Not an IBA trip, but decent daily mileage and fun roads.

Day 1: 416 Smiles
Day 2: 403 Smiles
Day 3: 412 Smiels