Squirrel Brains and River People

So my stay in Kentucky is brief but eventful. The night of the 6 flags caper, Buddykermit invites me to crash at his pad. The place is pretty sketchy – enough so that I decide to bring in my saddlebags off the bike. Then it turns out my host is a gun nut – but hey, I’ve always wanted to meet one, and at least this one is on my side.
He shows me his AK47 from Russia, and his newer model that’s the trophy – “This one shot up a cop car”. And enough ammo (hollowpoint, of course…) to take over a city block.
I can’t blame him for wanting to protect himself though, someone comes knocking on the door around midnight asking for a screwdriver so they can get into the apartment downstairs, apparently someone owes someone something…

Anyway, my bike is still where I left it the next morning so I begin my journey to meet my friend Sam in Ohio. Stay a day, I figure, relax and catch up on the my photos etc.
Well, long story short lets just say I’m getting the feeling whoever programmed my GPS had a very unique sense of humour. The damn thing takes me all over the place, it seems to think the quickest way from A to B involves a stopover at Z. So it’s late by the time I get to Portsmouth; the ride is beautiful though. It doesn’t help that the street his house is supposed to be on ends before reaching his number.

Anyway we get it all sorted out, and my baby turns 20K!

We have a moment together in the dark.

The next morning I really get the feel for this place – I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Mist drifts gracefully over the riverside property, all the leftover hooch from his temporarily closed bar resting temptingly by the pool table, Shagnn wagon, 1200cc seadoo, pontoon party boat…

This guy is set up for a hell of a good time. And so it is – another friend in town owns a brewery and steak house, so my one day stopover turns into a multiple day hiatus from travelling while I indulge in the finest living my self-professed hick friends have to offer. We tread lightly around our radically different political perspectives (until a few beers in, that is). We party in the middle of the river, drink some of the best pilsner I’ve ever had (If you stop by Portsmouth, get yourself a Portsmouth Pilsner from the Portsmouth microbrewery), and I’m treated to more delicious food than I’ve eaten since starting this journey.

I never do get to try the squirrel brains; I don’t doubt Sam for a second about when he tells me they’re a delicacy in the Appalachians. Once again I find myself comfortable, living it up instead of getting out there and tasting life – so I say goodbye to the luxury and comfort and head out on a rainy Sunday morning.

Well I’m all dolled up in my duck suit against the clouds, I stop at an old graveyard that has been almost reclaimed by the forest and meet a fellow who goes by Hound Dog Harrisson, he scrawls his name on a piece of paper for me and tells me he’s a musician – “We’re not all hicks down here!”. Hey, I’ve been partying with hicks for a week, it’s a good time. I continue South and West for a few hundred miles through some gorgeous roads the GPS accidentally sends me through.

It gets dark, and I’m tired, but I’ve been told there is a really cool abandoned structure nearby so I park my bike behind some old warehouses. I’ve also been warned about a tick infestation in the area, so I avoid setting up the hammock in the woods and camp Vietnamese style instead – just lay back on the seat and kick up your feet on the handlebars, thin cloth over my face keeps the mosquitoes at bay. Not quite as comfortable as the plush bed and bath setup I’ve had for the past few days, but there’s something about sleeping outdoors, stealth camping and listening to the sounds of the nearby wetlands. Okay, last that part actually sucks… at some point an animal gets dragged down in the middle of the night and I listen to its cries of agony with wide open eyes. I wake up stiff, tired, but somehow more fulfilled in a way I hadn’t really noticed I craved – finally reliant only on my self again, exploring every corner of this strange and beautiful world.

Now the adventure is back in full swing.


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