First on he agenda was the mandatory Elvis/musically related visits around Memphis. Now somehow I don't get quite the 'weak-at-the-knees' thing that most do with Elvis, so I skipped this part.
But both Sean and Char had a great time at Gracelands, and Sun Studio.
Now Beal street was something that we could all groove to. Live music pouring from every venue, drinking beer in the street and some real local characters. We tucked into some great grub and put away a good few beers.
Now time to hit the road..
We were a touch apprehensive, at how Sean would adjust to our established travel ethos. There's quite a difference in how you might go about a short holiday, and how you alter your lifestyle when living on the road for months or years.
But overall we managed to find a middle ground that infuriate everyone, and usually resolved decision making without coming to blows.
The usual pattern of camping for a week then motel for a night or two was pretty tough, as temperatures in this area got so so hot. Routinely over 100° F / 38° C during the day, and night time lows of 80° F / 27 ° C. We all had trouble sleeping.
Drive-through cocktail bars were a delight. (Enjoy responsibly)
Evidence of the terrible Hurricane in 2005 were still apparent, but personally I was surprised at how much of the area had been rebuilt.
We watched England's shocking football performance against the USA, and partied through our shame.
Char and I put a post on the 'Aventure Rider' motorcycle forum, to see if there might be a place in Tennessee for us to store the bikes. Todd got in touch, and we worked out a plan.
But being the chap Todd is, he didn't stop at garage space. We were invited to stay over at his beautiful house outside Memphis, and also to join his group for a deep sea fishing trip down on the Florida coast.
So after our time in New Orleans, we hooked up (errgh, sorry) with Todd and his friends, and spent a great day out on the water.
An early start on the dock, trawling for bait on the way out, and first beers of the day before 7am.
Blazing hot sunshine all day, super-smooth sea, great company, and superb fishing.
We all caught big fish, and really that's the whole point eh? The scheduled days fishing was cut a little short, as we netted the maximum allowable catch by early afternoon. We all took home great bags of fine fish fillets, and the day was a roaring success.
Many thanks Todd, we had a really great time.
Now I don't think that any of us would say this trio travel deal went without some degree of altercation.
But we found the that right measures of Bourbon did tend to improve things dramatically. This particular night, we got from disagreement to hugs and testicle talk in just a couple of hours.
Mini-golf. I'm a bad loser.
We were keen to get down into Florida proper, and soon found ourselves in Orlando. Here, Josh (the friend of a grandson, of a deceased friend of the family) very kindly got us set up with free entry in the Disney Kingdom theme park.
I found the place really very interesting, mostly from the perspective of how much effort had gone into the creation of the place and the achievement of engineering this facade of reality. Now that doesn't really make a lot of sense, but maybe you get the idea.
From Florida, we headed North towards the 'Great Smoky Mountains' and the Nantahala river. This gave some relief from the oppressive heat, and is a truly beautiful part of the country.
We hired a raft and did a self-guided white-water trip. This too featured some difference of opinion, but probably that's enough said on the matter. Big love Sean, we were just connecting on more of a confrontational level hey.
We found all manor of waterfalls, and cliffs from which to jump.
One of the few fixed goals of Sean's holiday was to visit the Jack Daniels factory. Now I approached this with low expectations and a touch of skepticism, and was rewarded with a thoroughly worthwhile experience.
Bettie, our tour guide was just the perfect person for the job. She was funny and knowledgeable, and had been involved with the business all her life. We all had a good time, and I'd recommend it to anyone in that area. It's free too!
Todd had one last treat in store for us.. Another item on Sean's must do list, was to shoot guns. The bigger and meaner the better.
So at the end of our road trip, Todd rounded up some buddies and guns, and we went down to the local indoor shooting range. Sean certainly got his fix; 44 magnum, some kind of assault rifle and various handguns.
The photo above right is Josh's truck. Although it looks relatively un-assuming on the exterior, it's far from run-of-the-mill. Modified to put out 609 BHP, it accelerates from 0-60 in 4 seconds, outrunning just about everything but superbikes. I'd struggle to believe these numbers, but Josh took Sean and I out for a blast in it, and I mean blast.
The bumper sticker thing below was not on the truck. But we found it interesting.
The last supper before Sean's return to the UK.
As well as sorting us out with guns and extreme truck rides, Josh brought us over some Venison from a hunting trip he was on recently. We headed out to a state park day use area, and had the most fantastic last supper together.
Thanks for coming out Sean, it was a pleasure to travel with you. See you back in Wells in a month or so.