Despite the fact that motorcycling is the cornerstone of the Honda Hoot, each day brings new activities, both motorized and non. And after six solid hours of saddle time on Wednesday, we were looking to get out from behind the windscreen of our shiny Honda’s. So we mixed it up a bit and ventured out to Smokie’s Park, just outside of Knoxville with the HRCA (Honda Riders Club of America) crew. We took in the game and then went on a quick blast through some of the local back roads. Later in the evening we capped off our day with a stroll through downtown Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park to look at some tricked-out H-rides.
If you’ve never been to Knoxville, Tennessee, it doesn’t take long before its local charm starts to rub off on you. It seems everywhere you go, every person you meet greets you with that same warm smile. You can’t beat genuine Southern hospitality. The pleasantries began as soon as we dropped our kickstands down. Once inside the open air stadium, Tennessee’s own minor league baseball team, the Tennessee Smokies, were going up against their neighbor to the south – the Mobile BayBears. With Big Red riding club members in tote, we enjoyed a few hours of laughs, some tasty southern cooking and relaxed outside watching dudes whack some baseballs. The Smokies eventually edged out the BayBears by a score of 4 to 3, much to the delight of the HRCA crew.
One of the great things about motorcycling near Knoxville is that you don’t have to ride all that far to experience some great roads. After the game was over we geared up and hit some tight and smooth county highways that ran right through northwest suburbs of the main city. One second it felt like you were in the middle of nowhere and then in a mile or two we’d come across the type of old-fashioned country store you’d see in a movie. In another few miles, you’d be back in the thick of it with some of the typical big store chains that you might find in many other American cities. Without a doubt, though, getting to some cool roads is way too easy.
After a full-day in perfect 80-degree weather, we parked our rides and found our way over to this giant gold ball that extends over 266-feet high in the sky called the Sunsphere. Once inside, we zipped up to the top floor and were treated to a fantastic view of the entire city and the adjacent World’s Fair Park which was the location of Thursday’s night bike show.
Later that evening, we walked through the park and saw all kinds of Honda motorcycles in an equally diverse state of customization. Everything from NOS-fueled VTX sleepers to fully decked, custom painted Gold Wing’s. There were a lot of neat Hondas that you would never normally see at other motorcycle rallies, so it was cool to see them all in one place. As the sun went down, we were all treated to a spectacular fireworks show in the warm night air. That’s it for our second day. Tomorrow we’re planning on riding the legendary Deals Gap, so stay tuned for our report on that adventure.
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