Riding through Virginia, I had the creeping sensation we overestimated how many miles we could put down in a day. On the ride to Tennessee, I was sure of it.
By our math, we’d be on the road for 9 hours before arriving in Nashville. At best we would have an hour and a half for breaks, gas, and food. Getting to our location on time was going to be a challenge.
I’ve spent 9 hours in a car before. It can get uncomfortable, but you’re generally seated in a plush chair with all the amenities nearby: aircon, snacks, banter to pass the time, maybe even an audiobook. 9 hours on a stock motorcycle (that was not designed with this kind of trip in mind) is another story altogether. Legs cramp, hands turn into claws, and backs and shoulders scream.
It was at this point that Jeremy and I began to develop increasingly elaborate ways to stretch out while riding. We crouched low, hugging our tanks, or sat tall to stretch weary backs. We rode one-handed, speeding up enough to coast on the clutch and give our throttle hands a break. I slid back on my seat, and back again, and back again to shift pressure points. Somewhere along the way, I developed a stretch I dubbed the “chicken leg.” I’ll spare a description of it, but I’m told it looked equal parts ridiculous and rude, though Jesse Boom sure got a kick out of it.
The longer we rode, the less effective these stretches became until we finally gave in and stopped for the occasional break. This bit of road was also the first time actual tension began to build on the production. Jeremy and I typically savored our stops, dragging them out as long as we could. The crew, on the other hand, usually wanted to push on to stay on schedule.
Ultimately, it was a failure of pre-production and planning; a failure I take partial credit for. Distances were overestimated, rest stops underestimated, and the order of locations less than ideal. If there is one regret I have, it’s failing in this regard. We may not have had any more days to film, but a bit more efficiency and realism could have gone a long way.
Our intentions were noble: see as much of the country as possible with as many interviews and locations as possible. In doing so, we would be able to share as much of this country as possible with our audience. Sadly, it gave us less time to dwell in a town, city, or state. And for me, it meant less time to experience those random encounters that made this trip so meaningful for me. As with all things in life; however, we live and learn from our mistakes. It was a valuable lesson, and one I won’t soon forget.
In the end, we made it to our shoot on time, and even got a shower and a place to stay thrown in (thank you Lacey and friends!). I’ve run out of space tonight to talk about how wild, weird, and amazing Nashville is, but depending on what our producer Lauren lets me discuss pre-release, I may turn this into a two parter for next week.