June 8, 2015

My 10 Favorite Cities - Part 1

As motorcycle riders who have ridden across the country for the last 2 years, weare often asked what has been our favorite place to visit. I find a great amount of difficulty in answering that question, because I can't think on any individual city that is my absolute favorite. I've found that every city has it's own appeal and personality, so I end up rambling on an on listing numerous places for numerous reasons. As a result, I have decided to share a list of my favorite cities.

Memphis, TN:

Dancing on the bar in the Memphis Coyote Ugly
Even though Memphis was terribly hot and humid, I loved the energy and diversity of the city. Beale Street with everything that people told us it would be and more. We were fortunate enough to be able to attend a Bike Night on Beale street, meeting people who had actually read our website Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia. It was actually quite exciting to be recognized as we were standing beside our motorcycles. Bike Night was amazing and packed! I’ve never seen so many motorcycles in one place.

Besides Bike Night, Memphis has a rich history and delightful people. The locals seem happier than most places I've ever been. Walking along Beale Street on a hot evening reminded walking on Fremont street in Las Vegas, but without the dreadful sense of desperation in the air. I don’t enjoy Las Vegas for that very reason, but in Memphis the people seem to be having a great time enjoying the variety of food, music and one another without the gambling, smoking and drinking to excess as is done in Las Vegas.

I would love to visit Memphis again, but I would certainly choose a cooler months of the year to go back. We visited in the early part of June, which is already too late for a couple of Californians like us.

Minneapolis, MN:

The Fair Food was down-home-divine!
Another city with a great energy and fun atmosphere, Minneapolis and is more hospitable than any northern city we visited. In a way, it is much like a southern city in which people are friendly, open and kind, and much more accepting than in the southern city I visited.

I was surprised at the diversity of cultures in Minneapolis, including Somalis, Russians, Norwegians, and a strong and gay and lesbian community. What I usually find in a city with great diversity is not only some delectable food, but interesting conversation with the people we meet.

While in Minneapolis, we attended The Minnesota State Fair. Our friend,fellow moto-blogger, and Minnesota native Chris Cope suggested we go. I had always been interested in seeing a true midwest state fair, but have really wanted to, ever since reading about one when I was a kid. It had everything I could have asked for, including rides, cheese curds, a tunnel of love, and even beauty Queens carved out of huge blocks of butter. You really need to see it to believe it.

Beyond the fair, people, diversity, and excitement of the fear, the landscape is spectacular. Deemed the State of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota is also a humid state in the blazing summer heat. I never realized it could get THAT HOT so far north. Nevertheless, I certainly would go back in a heartbeat, if only for some good cheese curds.

Lancaster, PA:

Riding with my Uncle Reggie was a blast!
I don't know how many people have Lancaster on their list of “Must Ride” places, but as a motorcycle rider, it should be on your list. The sweeping landscapes and farmlands in Pennsylvania are absolutely breathtaking. Pennsylvania is graced with hundreds of meandering roads through open fields, thickets of lush forest, in tiny hamlets filled with historic buildings and quaint shops.

My intrigue with Pennsylvania, especially the Lancaster area, also extended to the Amish. The closer one gets to Lancaster, the more Amish a rider will encounter. This culture seems so foreign to a die-hard-seen-everything Californian native like me. My Uncle Reggie, who lives in the area, hopped on his on his Harley Davidson Police Edition Road King and showed us around the entire county.

In awe with the beauty of the barefoot, Amish, young ladies who smiled shyly from the side of the road, I found myself even more fascinated with these gentle folks than I expected. We spent a long afternoon following the horse drawn buggies of families and wagons carrying courting couples to and fro.

"Watch out for road apples behind that buggies. They are slicker than owl shit!" Reggiey said with his thick Texan drawl and impish grin. (Reggie is a Texan transplanted in Pennsylvania.)

The Pennsylvania weather is cool and crisp, and mildly humid. I don't know if I've loved Pennsylvania so much because I was visiting family or if it really is just a beautiful destination, but I suggest riders visit regardless.

Ocean City, MD:

Ocean City was just what two weary riders needed!

After struggling with riding through the intense humidity throughout Tennessee and Virginia, Steve booked a room for us in the tourist destination Oceans City. Unfortunately, he had to spend a pretty penny on the room smack dab on the boardwalk, but he wanted to treat me to something special.
Steve was absolutely right! Donning my swimsuit, a pair of shorts and a cowboy hat, I gleefully grabbed my sweetheart and headed out only moments after checking into the hotel. A short time later I was relaxed and smiling. While it is certainly not a place I would want to live, it makes sense that easterners would make this a vacation destination.

Primarily for families, Ocean city has the vast selection of food, gift shops, and visitors. The boardwalk is a blast and the perfect place to do some people watching. As the sun sank, the lights glittered as all of the tourists huddled against the buildings in the excitement of the boardwalk.

We decided to break away from the crowds and stroll along the deserted beach. I couldn't understand why anyone would prefer the crowds on the boardwalk over the breeze of the cool shore. Holding hands and sharing kisses I quickly realized that the shore was a place for the lovers. Hiding from the crowds were young couples, kissing a groping, perhaps for their first time, in a dark and hideouts the lifeguard stations provided.

A great break from the tension of riding along the East Coast highways and toll roads, we found Ocean City relaxing, even in spite of the crowds.

Come back here next the week for the Part 2 of My 10 Favorite Cities!

My book Rude Biker Chick: Lessons From My Daddy is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords. Give me your feedback on it once you've read it! I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun. We aren't much for large cities but do want to get to Minneapolis one day to visit with Chris L - Mr. Everyday Riding again. (He's been to Oregon twice)


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