Day 2: 600 Miles Detour

How nuts must one be to make a 600 miles detour for a pilgrimage to Nutbush City’s limits, which it doesn’t even have as it is unincorporated? Very nuts and I advise you to not shield away from such inclinations when on a Triple.
Nutbush City, birthplace of Tina Turner who got her ass out to St. Louis as soon as she knew where that was. A small road, Tennessee 19, leads toward it; no idea where it goes thereafter, there isn’t anything back there. I wonder how anyone ever got or gets born here, at Tina time zero people must have been living here. The small road has pathetically been renamed ‘Tina Turner Highway’. Nutbush City is about 500 yards long, Unincorporated is indeed the warning to those who expect anything. Well, there isn’t. Google will get you to a website where years ago travelers posted a picture of themselves in front of the one standing building, the Tina Turner Museum. Looks pretty decrepit on that photo. Well, forget it, that one remaining building will keel over in the next storm. Nothing that reminds of Tina. People dump stuff in it, now. It is hot. There I am. Not a soul in sight. The Tabernacle of Truth is here, if I care. Tina isn’t, nor is her spirit, not even her ghost. When she left the non-existing city limits, she must have sung her past and origin away. Cry or laugh? And I will be 63 this year.
The road from the Land Between The Lakes to Nutbush is a straight line 79. Smells in the air. Skunk, what in Holland we call May Thorn (a bush / tree with a sweet smell, abundant here, no idea what the name in English is), the freshness of rain. I harvest a few drops as I am riding on the edge of a system without actually moving into it. The road is almost empty. But danger there is. Suddenly, a huge big wooden beam is in my lane, fallen of a truck? Ride around it. Lesson: never follow anything, ensure you have a free view on what is coming your way. Couple of hours later: a truck, long pieces of wood hanging out of it; only kept in place by a spare tire thrown over them as counterweight. Driver eyes back occasionally to check it all stays there. I keep my distance. Biggest scare, big deer. Big jumps from the right full speed (it is way into the morning), crosses the 4 lines of 79 just missing me and a few oncoming cars. Takes just a few seconds. I would have had no chance at 55 mph.
Lots of HD’s are out today. Must be Sunday. One isn’t so lucky. Big machine, trailer and all. Banged up against a car coming out of a gas station. Bike smashed between car and trailer. Must also have happened in a second. I make it a point to work my beam any time I see cross-traffic on potential collision course. BTW I hope the rider was better armed than almost all of them. No protective clothing, a helmet occasionally. Brainless riding, in my opinion. I hope his are still intact. But nice fellows they are, they just want to look monstrous. ‘Are you OK?’ shouts one when I am parked to check my maps. Thumps up makes him throttle up. The lone rider never rides alone.
The South. I have no clue what the young big black mama in the Marathon station is trying to explain to me when I fail to get my premium from one of the few pumps that is not marked ‘out or order’. Sorry about that. Afro-American, I should have written. Like Native American. How come the rest of you is not Euro-American? Just because there are more of you? People here sing their language in a slow melodious way. It doesn’t necessarily help understanding what it is all about. ‘Rahwdung’ refers to ‘riding’ somebody translates for me when I am supposed to answer a question. Sunday in the South. The Church parking lots are full of cars, those of shops and food places empty.

Good gracious. The contrast with Graceland, one hour down the road. Entering Memphis is a wasteland of blocks that should be razed tomorrow as not suitable for habitation for humans; they move around, though. Here and there something that looks like a structure, Bill’s that, Joe’s this etc. Barred up and out of business. An up-and-down street car on Main Street brings a bit of tradition, an enormous glass pyramid is dumped next to the Mississippi, looks ridiculously out-of-place. A huge poster: ‘Graceland, only 10 minutes from downtown.’ Actually I have no idea where it is. Ask a downtown safety officer of sorts. Well he sends me right back to out of town as the shortest possible way – the 10 minutes – is blocked by an annual barbeque contest. Well, I don’t mind a few extra miles, I came to ride.
Graceland? Want a one-liner characterization? It is a timed-to-the second money-making machine that processes people with slaughterhouse technology. I love it. The colonel must have a son. The works you do in no time. The mansion, the planes. the cars, the bikes. All are separate tickets in a Platinum combi. Separate entry, separate exit -the latter always through one more gift shop, of course. The line I draw when a picture of me against a Hollywood Graceland mural goes at $22. Most impressing are the miles of gold records, the lines and lines of stage suits. The Barbie doll gravesite is surrealistic.
Refuge I find in the Heartbreak Hotel next door. With computer, swimming pool and nonstop Elvis classics in the air wherever you go. The lounge runs nonstop concert DVD’s, 1973 Aloha in Hawaii and the likes from his good times. Full of people there, drinking beer, eating Heartbreak Burgers and stomping feet, fingers. It is enchanting to sit there for a while, people forget the guy is dead, it is like being live audience, people applaud to the songs’ beginning and end. Most of them in their sixties, I wonder how their shapes of today would compare to when they were one time – Elvis’ age. Extremely overweight, blubber useful only in the heart-shaped swimming pool where they couldn’t sink if they wanted to.
Elvis is not the only one on stage n the hotel. So is a couple from Houston Texas – and what I first think is their daughter. The mother behaves as if she is Marilyn Monroe – her body actually looks like it, frankly the best-looking of all females in sight. She is wasted drunk on Heineken and gin. He is taking care of a week of Heineken production himself. Fight over cigarettes, if she comes into the lounge, he goes out; and reverse. They talk with the daughter over the phone standing 15 feet apart in the same lounge. Making up embarrassingly in full view. The daughter I speak to when she is sitting next to me on the computer fleeing into her MySpace network. Must be no more than 14. She escapes by talking on the phone to her real mother, talking to her brother who tells her step-mother (who grabbed the phone from step-daughter) that she is an alcoholic and should back off. It is way past midnight BTW. Security comes in and tells the daughter to stay down with me at the computer, to not go up to their room. Father down and out in Memphis. Step-mother not capable of swayingly saying anything else than mf-words. A soap? No real.
I finish my last beer of the day. Tomorrow Jack Daniel’s country with triple friends from around there.

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