Highway 6 2021

Day 01

June 21

  Today I start a ride that I have been thinking about since 2017 when I encountered the Highway 6 ending sign on my Highway 50 ride. Funny how some things just get in your head and sort of hang around like a song you can't forget. I was hoping to ride to Alaska this year, but a little thing you cannot see but can kill you closed all the borders. As I often tell people, you better travel while you can and not wait until you can do your 'bucket list' - cause your bucket may get a hole in it. Who could have foreseen the closing of international borders (which this point are still semi-closed to sightseers at this point) due to a virus? It's out at sunrise since I've got a pretty good ways to go to get up to Pennsylvania.  
  As I leave Nashville behind and come into Cookville, I see the Cross which reminds me of the real 'Sun' and what a different He can make in a person's life. I am far from perfect but I am forgiven and one day I will be perfect when I am with the One who paid the price for me.  
  I want to beat the Nashville morning traffic, so I figure I'll catch breakfast somewhere down the line. Sometimes that works and sometimes that don't. But this morning I remember a Cracker Barrel - one of my favorite places to partake of eggs and various pork products - is right off I40 at Crossville. I have a bit of family connection here as my grandfather and his brother (on my father's side) ran a chair manufacturing plant here that has long since turned to dust. I still have several of their well made rockers and chairs that I cherish.  
SweetTreat sit patiently outside as I gave her breakfast before I came in.  
  I am a creature of habit who usually orders the same thing at a particular restaurant. For breakfast here, it's always the Sunrise Sampler - which has a nice sampler of pig meat and hen eggs plus some grits, taters, gravy and apples and a few biscuits to smear a little jelly and butter on. Some folks stay away from grits, but they just don't know how to fix them. Grits by themselves are tasteless - they are simply a 'filler' that takes on the flavor of whatever you mix with them. You want sweet? Mix in some sweetener or jelly or jam. You want cheesy? Mix in some cheese. I prefer 'sweet' so I add butter and some sweetener to mine.  
  But the highway waits for no one, so I finish up my vittles and get back to the slab. The sky don't look too promising but I'll take my chances and press on without suiting up in my rain suit, or as I describe it - 'baking in a bag'.  
  I40 is my companion heading out and it will be a long time companion heading back as I will be starting at the western end of it in Barstow.  
  After I clear Knoxville a good piece, I head north on I81 - or 'trucker's alley' as I call it. It is one of the major routes from the southeast to the northeast and there are always plenty of trucks along the way.  
  Somewhere in Virginia, SweetTreat reminds me that she needs some more fuel. Pushing a ST1100 any distance at all is not a task that I want to repeat. From the gas pumps I get an interesting 'view'. The sign says 'Wrong way - Do not enter' in front of the Cross boldly positioned there. That pretty well expresses the common attitude today where the world welcomes all sorts of ism and schisms. But anything that reflects true Christianity is not. But as usual the world has it backwards and pushes men away from what will do them more good than they can ever imagine.  
  This view along I81 reminds me that somewhere up on those far away ridges runs the Blue Ridge Parkway.  
  But my pleasant reverie is rudely interrupted by the first of many crazy backups on the highway - with a not so promising sky up ahead ...  
  and not so 'encouraging signage' -  
  Fortunately as sometimes the case, the 'news and weather' is wrong and I make it to my motel without having to bake in a bag.  
  I get SweetTreat put to bed for the evening and head for ...  
  the diner across the street. It's not that this particular Super 8 is that great, but this diner is the real deal and I try to work out this stop when I can.  

They've got shepherd's pie as their special and that suits me fine. I've not had anything at this place that wasn't good.

  And what would a good meal be without a little bit of sweetening of the chocolate kind?  
  I waddle back across the highway, tend to some of 'knitting' and it's lights out as tomorrow will be off the land of tolls and frost heaves.