Winter Ride 2016

 

Winter Ride 2016

Georgia or Bust

Or

The Ride Goes On Forever

Like most years, 2016 had ups and downs but overall, it was a pretty good year for riding. The year started off well riding around Cambodia with Jessica. Then it was a bit of a rest until May when Bobbe and I took the Goldwing out to Utah to see what was going on in Bryce Canyon. Next there was a slight pause to bring Jessica home, mow grass and all the other normal stuff and then it was on the GSA to revisit Crater Lake and other places out in the great NW. And, guess what, it was great. However, so are a bunch of other places so in August I was on the K100 and Arizona to do a little dirt biking on the Apache Trail with Mick. Of course, this was on top of all the normal travels visiting everyone and in general having a good time. Also, there was a bit of that pesky work, which I try to keep to a minimum. And of course, there was the usual amount of sawdust making. In April I was driving to Texas when a new bike jumped in the truck, a 1996 Yamaha Virago. That sort of thing happens to me every now and then. That brought the number of operating bikes to 4. I spent the usual amount of time and money (way too much) getting it the way I wanted. With the end of the year upon us it was time to hit the road to see if everything worked. It was Dec. 15th by the time everything was worked out and ready. It was 23 degrees and I was in full electrics when I hit the road east. I stopped off at Dave’s Café in Earlsboro for a California omelet and headed east on Hwy 9. It was a pleasant but cool ride through Oklahoma and then at the Arkansas line I hopped up on I-40 for a bit and called it a day in Beebe. It was there that I discovered the mounting brackets for the auxiliary fuel tank were not quite finalized. That design was plan B, so I needed to think a bit for plan C. The next morning I removed the tank, strapped it on with the cap off (UPS does not like shipping gas) and dropped it off in Searcy. I then proceeded east to again visit Twist which all Blues fans should know is where Lucille got its name. Even though the day was cool and overcast it was a pleasant ride: even the traffic in Memphis not too bad. At Memphis I picked up Hwy 64 and headed east just rolling along. Darkness closed in and I finally called it good in Lawerenceburg Tn. The next morning the weather had not improved and according to the weather folks it was not going to for at least a couple of days. With not much in the way of choices I climbed into the gear and headed east. It was not raining steady, just a little spitting every now and then. But, again, with the good gear I was warm and dry. In case some of you did not know, Hwy 64 in Tennessee is the Buford Pusser Memorial Highway. That is right; the Walking Tall movie was based on an actual person. I would imagine Hollywood took a few liberties with the story but it was still a good movie. Along about Chattanoga the weather was rapidly going downhill and the rain getting serious about the whole thing and the temperature was rapidly going downhill. Not being a fan of suicide I decide to call it an early day. The weather really sucked and ice is not my thing so it came to pass I stayed for another day in the fair city of Chattanoga. After a couple of boring days in the motel the weather finally cleared up enough for me to move on. It was not warm or sunny but there was no icy stuff. I only got a little lost around Cleveland but finally picked up Hwy 64 and headed east. I have been down this section of Hwy several times and it is really a nice ride. However, it is a very pretty area and a lot of people use it and especially in the summer the traffic can be heavy. Interestingly, for the 96(?) Atlanta Summer Games this is the area they used for the canoes and kayaks. The river upstream from Ocoee Lake seldom carries enough water for the activities so they pumped water from the lake to a holding lake above river and when they wanted to run events they dumped water into the river. And there folks is just another example of how our tax money is being used by the people who know what is good for us. Heading on east I stopped for gas in the great City of Ducktown, and picked up Hwy 68 and headed south. In just a few miles I crossed into Georgia and the highway became the Blue Ridge Drive, and a very nice drive it was. After a bit I turned left on Hwy 2 and it became even better. Fortunately the road is dry here. What you are looking at goes by a variety of names. Essentially it is frozen fog or hoar frost. If the sun had been shining this would not have hung around for any appreciable time. As it was there were several enjoyable miles of this: complete with all sorts of curves, ups and downs, and all in all an enjoyable ride. Of course, without the electrics it would have been a different story. God bless Gerbing. I had never been in this part of Georgia and was surprised and impressed by the scenery and the roads. This is in the Cherokee National Forest and as such they keep the roads to a minimum. By this time I was running just behind the weather front. At one point as I was coming down a hill into a town I passed through the front and the temperature immediately went up at least 10 degrees and everything, glasses, face shield, windshield and mirrors fogged over. Thankfully traffic was not heavy; I pulled over and cleared the view. At the top of the hill on the other end of town I went back though the front and repeated the process. The weather never did clear up but thankfully got no worse. I will need to come back to this area some other time of the year. It is for sure worth further exploration. At one point I was running beside a little creek and stopped for some photos. As you can see, it is scenic to say the least. Eventually I ran out of mountains and it became more like I thought Georgia would be with rolling hills. A little north of Athens the speedometer decided it did not want to work any longer: a problem but nothing serious. I knew how far I could go on a tank so all I would have to do is keep track of the mileage between towns. After a cool but pleasant days ride I called it good in Thomson. I sort of like speedometers and I was near Atlanta where there would be lots of bike shops. I thought the problem was the drive cable and that should not be all that hard to find. I was heading to Birmingham so Atlanta was not far out of the way. I got on the phone, found a shop that had the part and found out that Atlanta carries a bunch of traffic and that the shop I had found was on t he other side of the city. Bummer: I found the shop and they had the part. However, before I bought the cable I pulled the front wheel and discovered it was not the cable but the drive And not only did they not have that, it would be in excess of $100. Double bummer, but I would just live with it. That time wasted I headed down I-20 and finally called it good just short of the Alabama line. As the photo indicates it was a little cool the next morning. Scraping frost off of the seat is not something I look forward to. However, it is after all, winter. I was not going far this morning. Birmingham is home to the Barber Motorcycle Museum and I was looking forward to a visit. It did not open until 10 and it was only about 100 miles so I didn’t hurry. The museum is on the east side of Birmingham just a bit south of I-20 so finding it was no problem. I pulled up just after it opened. They had motorcycle parking right at the front door, and as it was more than a little cool I was not surprised to see I was the only motorcycle there. The entry fee was not bad and they even had lockers where you could store your jackets and helmets. And they had tons of bikes from all years. The photo is of a coal powered bike. I took tons of photos but can’t get them all in here. I spent a good portion of the day there but finally I was all looked out and it was time to hit the road. As I was leaving, there was another bike in the parking area, a Triumph with English tags. He probably thought it was warm. I headed west on I-20 a short distance to clear Birmingham then cut south and finally called it good in Meridian Ms. From here I was heading to Temple and Christmas with the grandkids but I still didn’t want it to all be interstate. From Meridian I cut south to Laurel just because I had never been there then again west to Natchez. By now it was quite a bit warmer but still not so much sun. After a stop for the night in Leesville La I pulled into Temple and enjoyed Christmas Eve and part of Christmas with the grandkids and then it was back to the house. Two thousand seventeen ended on a good note. The ride covered approximately 2600 miles. Approximate as the speedometer broke in Georgia. That was the only mechanical problem. There were some weather related problems, but nothing serious. It is, after all winter. I have good riding gear so no suffering was involve. I am not at all into suffering. So, as with all of these year end rides, the next big question is, where to next. I have not firmed anything up yet, but I am working on it. Any ideas let me know.   The object in life is not to end up with a perfect body. Rather it is to slide in, totally worn out With a smile from ear to ear saying Holy Crap, what a ride.