Houston & Alexander June July2 017



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“If you had ever been on a motorcycle, with just two wheels between you and the pavement, you’d know what all the fuss was about.”

As the seasons change, so do opportunities for activity. Summer brings welcome relief from winter’s chill and allows us to spend more time in the great outdoors. That’s always appealed to me. I’ve lived on my own property most of my life. There’s nothing like spending time working on the property when the weather allows. That’s another thing I love about Chattanooga. If I told someone in Atlanta or Baltimore or even Nashville, that I live on 20 acres of land only 20 minutes from downtown, they wouldn’t believe me. That’s just another reason why Chattanooga has that perfect mix of easy access to everything but still has the “feel” of a small town. One thing I’ve always enjoyed doing in the summer — you may already know this about me — is hitting the road on a motorcycle. People joke about it sometimes. I’m a straight-laced lawyer and judge who also rides a motorcycle. If you’ve ever been on a motorcycle, with just two wheels and hopefully some leather separating you from the pavement, you know what all the fuss is about. When you’re on a bike, you see things you’d never notice in the car. It feels like real freedom. The sights and smells are authentic, and when you travel across the country, you feel like you’ve really experienced it. A car ride is about the destination. On a motorcycle, like life, it’s all about the journey. My favorite bike I’ve owned is an FJR 1300 Yamaha. An FJR looks like a crotch rocket with bags ... and that is pretty much accurate. I have rode it all over the country, Nova Scotia, The Florida Keys, Myrtle Beach, Colorado, and other places- I rode it everywhere. A couple of years ago, a buddy and I flew to California, rented two motorcycles from Eagle Rider and rode up the West Coast. Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San

Francisco — we got to see it all up close. Shout out to Eagle Rider here, if you need to rent a bike, I have found them easy to deal with and genuinely happy to help. They also don’t seem to mind if you return the bike with just a few scratches than it started out with. They are really motorcycles riders and they expect you to RIDE their bikes and not baby them. California is great because it’s so diverse. Southern California is the warm, green paradise you read about, except for the patches of desert. Northern California has a completely different feel. San Francisco in June was colder than we expected, but we had a great time there. It was like the old saying, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” We especially enjoyed visiting Alcatraz and learning the history of the prison. Alcatraz housed quite a few well-known inmates, including Al Capone, George “Machine-Gun” Kelly and Alvin Karpis, the first “Public Enemy #1”. (I understand that Al Capone didn’t give those Alcatraz guards any trouble.) We left San Francisco and rode to wine country and then to Yosemite. I still think about the size and age of the redwoods and sequoias. If you want to feel insignificant, stand beside a 2,000 year-old Sequoia that is 250 feet tall. Other than almost getting hit head- on near Pebble Beach, it was a great trip and I would love to do it again. I have a Jeep now. It has a lot of the same perks as a motorcycle, like the open air. But I don’t have to wear a helmet, and I can take my dogs. The jeep has a cargo-type straps over the roof, and my two giant schnauzers love to force

their giant heads through and growl at passing cars. I hope the warmer weather enables YOU to do more of whatever you love, whether it’s gardening, hiking, or traveling.


– Johnny Houston

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