Captain’s log: Bike date January 12 , 2017 (with apologies to James Kirk).
What better way to spend the day than to head to Memphis for lunch. But need to get in a bike ride.
I had posted on a couple of my groups that I wanted to take a ride. One person said they were in, another said they thought Friday would be a better day than Thursday. Hey, if Friday is that good, then why not go both days? I think that is great logic. Ended up with just Byron meeting me at the shop.
We both got there right at KSU (time for Kick Stands Up). He thought someone else might join, we chatted with the people at the shop for a bit, then decided it was just us. I explained a route I had been developing. I wanted to give it a ride before sharing it with the group. He was ok with that plan.
We left the shop, turned onto the Trace, and enjoyed an overcast but rain-free ride. Turned onto MS-30 and headed west. We traveled through a few small communities, no major twisties, but no traffic either. Turned onto MS-4 (West). Other than missing a turn in Ripley, route was pretty easy to follow. Got in a few twisties as we went through the Holly Springs National Forest, but mostly a very leisurely ride. Nothing too challenging for even a new(er) rider.
Not having the route programmed into the GPS, I was just trying to ride from memory. We got to Holly Springs and jumped onto US78/I22. This was not my plan, but I knew it would get us where we needed to be. Exited at MS 309 in Byhalia and headed north toward Collierville.
Our goal was lunch at Cajun Catfish on North Byhalia Road in Collierville. I have eaten there with family before and the $10.99 All-You-Can Eat is the best deal around. Sure, you can get a platter of catfish, but it costs about the same (or more). Byron and I both got the All-You-Can Eat meal, which comes with a piece of chicken (I would call it a HUGE chicken finger), two pieces of catfish fillet, a big batch of calabash (popcorn) shrimp, Cajun fries, a couple of hush puppies, and slaw. Waitress kept asking if we needed more of anything. We did our best to finish what we had to start. I know that if we had wanted more, we could get more of anything that was on the plate. Everything was fresh from the fryers. Notice, I said FRYERS (with the “S”). The chicken tasted like chicken, no fish taste. The catfish didn’t have any other tastes contaminating it. And the shrimp didn’t have any of the coating or batter from either the chicken or catfish on it. So, I can only assume that there was at least three fryers in the back. Again, I did not have room for dessert.
For bikers, this place even has designated biker parking. This caters not just to the bikers, but also benefits the other patrons with bikes not taking up larger parking spots. A win-win all around. I double-checked that, if a bunch from the local HOG chapter were to show up, they would be OK with it: they said to call ahead to let them know if we wanted to all sit together so they could have a larger table ready. Knowing that the ride will take about 3 hours using the route I am developing, we can then call as we leave to give them plenty of time to prepare.
After lunch, our goal was to head out TN-57 to Counce, TN, then head south through Iuka, MS, to US72. A left onto US72 would lead us back to the shop. However, once we got to the intersection with US45, sun was starting to go down. After a quick discussion, we agreed that twisty two-lane roads in the dark were not the preferred route when deer are moving: we agreed that US45 then US72 back to the shop would be the plan.
We got back to the shop a few minutes before they closed. Visited with the staff, who called us names since we “forgot” to bring anything back for them, and then I talked with the parts counter about a “bike-to-bike” add-on for the radio (OK, the CB add-on). I think that will be a good option before longer and larger group rides.
Back to the discussion on the route. As I mentioned, US78/I22 was not my desired route. Though 70mph isn’t a problem for any of the bikes in the group, my opinion is that this isn’t about getting there as fast as we can. If that were the goal, then we would leave the shop, stay on US72, turn onto TN-385, exit onto South Byhalia Road and we could be there in about 2 hours. My goal is usually to stay off interstate unless required because it is the only road from Point A to Point B.
My mistake/planned update to this route is to turn right in Holly Spring onto MS-178. Once in Byhalia, turn right onto MS-309, this becomes South Byhalia once it crosses into Tennessee, then North Byhalia once crossing Poplar Ave in Collierville. Cajun Catfish is about a quarter mile on the right after crossing Poplar. I’ll update this plan and send to the HOG Director and HOG Dealer Liaison so we can have it available for the rest of the group. (Note: I have made a few other changes to the route. This new version doesn’t head south on the Natchez Trace, but rather heads south to Red Bay, AL then over into Mississippi. About 4 hours from NTHD, but worth the change.)
Pulled back into the driveway after dark. The LED lights on the bike are BRIGHT! No problem with people seeing us during the day, and there were lots of light for me to see the way when the sun went down. My bride heard the bike coming and was opening the garage door as I pulled into the driveway.
So, how did the day go? Got in a nice walk (rather quick pace too!) to start the day, bike ride with a new friend, wonderful lunch, relaxing ride back, Bible reading and prayer to end the day. Yep, God is good. No, He is GREAT!