Day 3 of our adventure started with raindrops on the window of the hotel in Murray Kentucky. The skies were gray, the forecast was grim, but we had no place to be and all day to get there. The first thought was, let’s find an off-road adventure somewhere out of the storm system that was moving through. After Googling away for about an hour and checking the maps we didn’t arrive at any destination that was guaranteed to be open, worth riding, and not flooded. This may have disappointed most people with dirt bikes in a van looking to ride, not us! We were content as could be with the fact yesterday was full of fun and excitement and today would be a new adventure full of something different and each other.
I mentioned that my favorite waterfall was in Eastern TN and I’d love to make it back there. Travis said he’d like to see it, I looked it up and it was a full 6 hours from where we were. Hmmmmm?! 6 hour drive in the rain to see a waterfall…keep searching for off-road riding…say fuck it and just drive until we find sunshine?! Whatever would we do…
We wandered down to get some breakfast and continued mulling over our options. Somewhere between hard-boiled eggs, sour kraut, and beets, (yeah we have an odd diet) Travis piped up and said, “We can go to your waterfall.”
I grinned ear to ear like a teenager with the keys to dads car and said, “Seriously?! You are going to drive me 6 hours to see a waterfall?!”
“Yeah why not?”
Well all right then let’s get this dog and pony show on the road!
We were piled into the van around 8ish, Eastbound and down! Dirty bikes and gear all scattered throughout the back, hey it’s vacation and it’s not like we brought the maid or our mothers with to lecture us about cleaning our “room”! The rain would come and go there wasn’t much for traffic and scenery in that part of the country is always great. Despite the weather we had nothing but sunshine in the van, good music, great company, and a couple of dirty bikes in the rearview!
A few hours up the road we made a pit stop and once again were reminded that I might just be a true blonde after all. The van doors open with a key, a few of you just went, “well no shit Jessie” while the rest of you (possibly that group we keep calling millennials) may not understand this fact that all vehicles do not open or start by pushing a button or using an app on your phone, crazy right?!
Travis unlocked my door, with said key, I hopped in and did not even think to unlock his door. Again. For the 15th time this trip. I looked over and there he stood smiling sarcastically through the window, in the rain like, “Are you fucking kidding me? It’s ok I’ll just get a shower out here while I unlock my own damn door.” I busted out laughing uncontrollably at the look on his face and we exchanged the “yep this is our life” grin before firing up the van and rolling away. Typical Jessie lives in her own little bubble situation.
We were nearing Cookeville TN and decided we should find some lunch. It took all of 2 minutes to settle on sushi since last nights was fantastic in KY might as well try our luck in TN!
I found Fuji Sushi on the Google machine and we GPS’d our way there. The place was rather busy so we figured that was a good sign. The staff was not as entertaining as Shogun but the food looked to be equally as tasty! I told Travis whatever he was ordering I was eating and he went with a huge combination platter that was served on a giant boat. 2 for 2, another great sushi in the south experience! I think we were somewhere around deciding who was eating the last few pieces when I turned to say something to Travis and noticed he was grinning at me. Before I could get any words out he says to me, “God I wish you were beautiful.” To which I laughed loudly and replied, “Well…fuck you very much.” From there I think he said, “I hate you.” and I came back with,”Ditto!” The next several minutes were filled with laughs and smiles and the entire restaurant probably began to question our sanity.
Since we got our “true” feelings out of the way over lunch we decided it was probably time to hop back in the van and roll on. It was starting to look as if it would clear off and we toyed with the idea of stopping somewhere to ride instead of finding Blue Hole Falls but the thought went just as fast as it had came when the clouds blew back over and began to piss on us yet again.
It was getting late in the day and we were still over an hour from Elizabethton. We both wondered if we were going to make it in time to see anything or if it would be too dark due to the weather and we would maybe get a room and see things in the morning. I said I’d like to make it tonight because we had a 13 hour drive home on Sunday and the falls only take a few minutes to see. We wouldn’t be exploring too far up or down them off the beaten path since Travis had only brought MX riding boots and Jesus sandals along for the week! Somewhere around 7ish and sunset we found Pan Handle Rd. and as we turned up the hill towards Blue Hole the rain stopped! Timing could not have been any better!
We found the little pullout and ventured off down the path into the woods. It was wet and muddy with a touch of slick and possibly dangerous in spots. There are giant steps leading down the hill as the falls drop one into the other along the way you can take the little side paths over to the edge to look down on them or climb right down to each one. From top to bottom with in a few hundred yards beginning to end there are 4 beautiful waterfalls tucked into the hillside each with its own character and feel. No two are the same and if you care to take a stroll down stream, when wearing something other than socks and sandals on a rainy day, you can find a 5th fall that I’m sure not many know exist.
I was first at Blue Hole 10 years ago and right way felt like it had a magical pull over me. Have you ever been somewhere that just instantly made you feel happy, well, or just content? I’ve been to a few and each time I find one I return as often as I can. This was my 3rd or 4th trip to Blue Hole and I’m sure I’ll go back again!
Several pictures and minutes later we walked back to the van just as it was officially becoming dark and aside from some wet socks not a thing was wrong in our world.
I have a list a mile long of places I’ve been that I love but a few that have this energy are, The Black Hills,The Redwood Forest, Colorado especially around Silverton, The Black River Byway in the UP of Michigan,The Grand Canyon, A few areas in southern Utah, The Columbia River Gorge and Western coast of Oregon, A little dead-end gravel/dirt road by Council Hill Illinois, and I have gotten side tracked already …Squirrel!
We found a hotel in Bristol for the night, it was down pouring rain when we rolled in and we contemplated just staying in the van with our music and maybe just opening a bottle of wine then eating whatever we might have left in the cooler for dinner. After several minutes of tossing this idea around we decided the warm hotel and hot shower won the contest and we would get out and go in dodging rain drops along the way.
Italian delivery and a bottle of wine later it was lights out and next thing we knew morning had arrived! It was looking gloomy but we were going to be in the van headed north into snow and cold country so the rain was actually a welcome alternative. We pulled out of the hotel early-ish like around 6:00 AM Wisconsin time and into Virginia we went! The sun came out before long and it was a warm gorgeous day for a drive through the mountains. I was still terrible at unlocking van doors and Travis had accepted that and moved on, we never even touched the radio all day and it didn’t occur to either of us until hours into the drive. We discussed how nice it would be to unload the bikes and find out where some of these gravel back-roads lead to and bow lovely it would be to have a tiny cabin overlooking the valley there somewhere, no sooner did we say that and one appeared as if we had painted it there on top of the hill with the grandest view we had seen yet! travis had pointed out a cabin the day before that sat on a hill-side in TN above a train bridge and a river in the middle of nowhere that closely resembled a picture I had painted in high school…our travels are full of the oddest coincidences!
Our route took us in and out of Virginia and Tennessee a few times and somewhere around Cumberland gap we passed through a tunnel and were in 3 states in a matter of 5 minutes. The day was heating up and moving along smoothly we cruised all the way to Indianapolis before stopping for anything. It was definitely lunch time in Indy and we decided on Indian food at the Mumbai Grille.
When you walk in and the patrons are of the same ethnicity as the food, there’s a damn fine chance you are in for some good eats! We received a bit of a, “You aren’t from around here are you?” glance from a few tables as we made our way to the back to the only empty seats. The servers were beyond helpful and pleasant. We looked at the menus asked what the waiter recommended and within 2 minutes had decided on exactly the same things to order. Weird … but not for us that is just situation normal. We sat discussing the trip and planning others and it could not have been 10 minutes later our table was full of THE best Indian food either of us had ever tasted! Just wow! If you ever pass through Indy the Mumbai Grille should be at the top of your list for local cuisine! Their “special” rice and the curry chicken with the chefs daily special was too good to not finish so the two of us ate until we almost burst! The restaurant is going to be remodeled soon but for now it is in a strip mall and 1 big box of a room filled with tables. Travis got up and toured the large rectangular room, which I thought was odd. I realized on the last leg of his lap that he was actually looking for the bathroom that had been behind his chair to the left and I had been facing the entire time. On his way back by our table he was a bit red in the cheeks and said, “You could have told me I was going the wrong way.” I was innocent of all charges in this matter though because I had no idea why he had stood up and walked off, hell he could have been making hot laps to have room for dessert for all I knew. Truth be told even if I knew where he had stood up to go I probably would have let him take a stroll around the room for my own entertainment purposes.
It was mid afternoon maybe 3ish by the time we finished lunch and we headed towards home. Not much happening between Indy and Wisconsin as per usual. Illinois came and went and soon we arrived home to the lake where I discovered a country radio station via Travis on the internet that is now my new obsession! Hank on am 1550 … Highly suggest finding it if you happen to be a country music fan….before country went pop!
More adventures coming soon! Ta Ta for now!