Monday, November 15, 2010
People you meet on a Motorcycle, Part 4
As mentioned in an earlier post, I spent a couple of days based out of Tellico Plains, TN on my recent motorcycle trip south. Its a cute little town that sits at the edge of a plain on the western edge of the Smokie Mountains. It looks like it has been in decline for a while, but recent gains in tourism are starting a rebirth in Tellico Plains.
While there, I met Mike who is an example of the town's rebirth. He and his wife moved up from Florida to start a motorcycle outfitter in downtown Tellico. Since then, they have opened an ice cream store across the street and their grown daughter as moved up from Florida to find work in Tellico. Its nice to see growth in a little place like this, even in the heart of a recession.
One night, I went to strange little place for dinner. Imagine a food court in a mall, except that there is no mall, just a small building in a field at the edge of a small town. There is a common eating area with picnic tables inside and out. There is a vendor selling hamburgers, another beer, another pizza, and outside because of the smoke, a family selling barbecue.
I decide to try the barbecue and, while I am outside waiting for my meal to be prepared, a local pulls up in his old Chevy Suburban, sort of like this one.
Out of the truck steps a guy who looks like he could be playing in ZZ Top, a tall thin man with a long white beard and wearing denim coveralls. Also tumbling out of the truck are his 2 dogs, 4 foot tall Maramduke dogs with spots that look like a cross between a Great Dane and a paint horse.
Of course, everyone knew this guy and the lady gave me my food and then excused herself to go visit the dogs. I went into the building to find a little shade and eat my barbecue. A few minutes later, the local with the beard sidles up beside me, bends down so he can talk quietly and tells me, "I've got something really good here for you to taste." Surprised by this offer, I said no thanks and went back to my meal, but I couldn't help but wonder what I was being offered. If someone wanted to create an image of a moonshiner, they could certainly use this guy for a model.