Edgar Evins State Park, Tennessee Shamrock Tour®

Text: Steve Mauk • Photography: Steve Mauk, Sharon Mauk

Life’s a beach, but not after a hurricane. Our Atlantic beach trip quickly turned into a Tennessee camping tour after Irene scrubbed our plans along with most of the East Coast. It’s just as well, I suppose, since my memories of Tennessee involve blue highway “Trading Posts” stocked with rock candy, slingshots, and rubber tomahawks adorned with brightly dyed feathers. The memory banks are clearly past due for an update!

Home base for our Shamrock is Edgar Evins State Park, located on the shores of Center Hill Lake in central Tennessee. Although this is a budget tour, I haven’t made any formal projections for the cost. We’ll just do our best to keep costs down without resorting to foraging, and go over the numbers when we’re done. Our chariot is first-class all the way: a 2012 Honda Gold Wing on loan to RoadRUNNER, and I’m both excited and nervous at the prospect of piloting the large bike down an unknown mix of roads. I also wonder how my own bikes can ever compete after seeing my wife, Sharon, react to the Wing’s plush accommodations.

When we awaken on Tuesday, the splat of rain dripping onto our tent is quickly drowned out by raucous crows in the nearby trees. I peer out at the foggy campground. It’s nearly deserted now that the weekend is over. The Jetboil stove makes short work of heating water, and we’re soon enjoying both coffee and the warmth of our sleeping bags. Our second cups are joined by protein bars that serve as our “pre-breakfast.” We’ll stop for the real thing once on the road.

Knuckleheads And Rattlesnake Cake

We’re soon en route to Red Boiling Springs under leaden skies, with our heated grips and “bun warmers” cranked up to chase off the damp chill. Mileage is only around 150 for the day, but we plan on spending considerable time at our stops. Hopefully the skies will clear as predicted. A wrong but quickly realized right-hand turn onto Route 53 takes us past a sign advertising “Hair, Food, and Fun” at Clippers. I usually nix any combination of hair and food, but choices are limited so we give it a shot. A combination hair salon and restaurant seems strange, but I ask you, how many times have you been eating and thought, “Dang, I need a haircut!” Eureka! Joking aside, the food was good and the prices better. Just another case of “whatever works” in rural America.

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For the complete touring article, including facts & information, map(s), and GPS files, please purchase the July/August 2012 back issue.