2013 Georgia motorcycle trip
Day 1

Last summer we took a two week motorcycle trip to South Dakota so this year we decided to do a shorter trip. We had initially planned to go to Charleston, South Carolina, in 2012 and we discussed going there. However, it takes two days to get there. By the time you travel, stay there a week, then travel back you pretty much have to dedicate two weeks to it so we decided against that. The same reasoning ruled out a trip to New England.

We had had a great time in Georgia in 2011 so we decided to head to Georgia again. This time we will go to the Northwest Georgia/Chattanooga area. We normally go on our trips in mid-June but this trip will be in mid-May. We will come back on Memorial Day weekend which will give us a couple extra days to wind down.

We were also excited about the house we had rented...Viewtopia. According to the description and Google maps it appears to be nicely isolated and have great views of the Georgia mountains.

In other news, my girlfriend Donna is now my fiance' and she lives with me. We've been doing some house remodeling. Partially due to wants & needs, and partially due to a water leak that caused some damage. This has been an added stress in addition to everyday life so the thought of getting away for a week is just what we need. Also, Debby just completed her bachelor's degree in nursing so she is ready for some rest and relaxation.

It's great having Donna with me. She loves riding. It's nice to have someone to talk to on the intercom to break up the monotonous times and to have an extra set of eyes when we're looking for something.

May 18


We were meeting at John & Debby's at 6:00 am. The weather forecast for today is scattered thunderstorms. The radar shows little spots of rain here and there but for the most part everything looks good. I prefer cloudy skies as long as there is no rain. Donna likes the sunshine.

Donna had most things packed the night before so this morning there wasn't much to do. Clean up, pack the bike, shut down the house, and we were off. It felt good to head off into the cool darkness for a week with no worries. Because I've been so busy I haven't been able to ride the bike as much as I normally would. I'll get plenty of bike time this week.


Bedford, IN. Initial mileage is 65,178 - We got to John & Debby's about 5:45. Mike & Jerri were already there. Jerri is now Mrs. Kurdziolek. We sat around basking in the pre-vacation glow. As we got ready to leave a couple rain drops fell but not enough to worry about donning rain gear.

Over the winter John and I have both installed Yaesu FT-1900 radios hooked up through our FRSets. We've only had one occasion to ride to try them out and so far the results are marginal. They sound good sitting side by side, but there seems to be some issues with range and voice quality. They are still a work in progress and hopefully this trip will be a good testing session. While John was putting some things in his trunk he hit one of the buttons on the radio and put the radio is a different mode. We messed with it for a few minutes. It read like my display but his also said "INT". We'll see how it works.


At Brownstown we veer off onto IN-250 and I am saddened to see this road has fallen victim to Indiana's new cheapskate policy of chip & sealing roads. It's bad enough in a car but on a bike it really sucks. The ride is rough and the center of the lane is marginally loose gravel. I can only imagine how this type of pavement would eat you up if you went down. Indiana taxes you for everything and it would be nice to have something to show for it. Grrrrrrrr. But I take a deep breath and remember I am on vacation.


Sellersburg, IN. 7:17, mileage 65,246 - Our standard first stop on trips southward and we enjoyed the 'first stop on the first day of vacation' feeling. Some people eat a little breakfast. Not me. Not much of a breakfast person unless I'm really hungry.

Since Donna got her smartphone she is johnny-on-the-spot with the weather radar forecasts. I call her the weather girl. The clouds are getting thicker and darker and radar shows more rain south of here. Because of that and the few sprinkles we've already experienced we decided to don raingear.

As we geared up we found that Donna's faceshield was nowhere to be found. It had been on her helmet in the garage. Did it pop off when I moving stuff around to get the bike ready? If we see a motorcycle shop we'll have to get her a shield.


There was little traffic on this Saturday morning and we were quickly through Louisville.


A few times on this leg we got into some misty weather. No rain to speak of. It would be cloudy then patches of sunny skies. The temperature felt about right with the raingear on.

I had hastily mounted my GoPro camera the day before the trip. I never took any video with it and actually took it off the first night and didn't put it back on. It vibrated too much attached to the windshield. Hopefully John will get some video this trip. Before our next trip I need to find a better mounting setup.

The green LED light above the righthand turn signal indicator was another winter project. I have MicMutes and in the past Donna had a habit of talking when the microphones were turned off because she didn't know if they were on or not. Over the winter I modified the MicMutes and added the green LED so Donna can tell if the microphones are on. It works well. The project turned out to be more involved than I thought it would be. I had to upgrade a transistor in the MicMutes control box to put out more current.


Cave City, KY. 9:24, mileage 65,343 - This is the end of interstate riding for the day. Our 2-lane leg starts here. In the background is Guntown Mountain. We've been buying Powerball tickets at every stop in hopes of winning the projected $600 million prize.

When we took off from here John got stuck at a stoplight. I was about 1/4 mile away when he radioed me. He sounded loud and clear. Later when riding in formation he was cutting in and out and sounded over modulated. It was also beeping and cutting out. Hmmmmmmmmmm.


The two-lane ride from Cave City to Livingston, TN, was peaceful. Relaxing roads. Rural scenery. Small towns. Volunteer fire stations. Cloudy skies. No rain.


This past week John & Debby had had another life event. They had married off Ashton! Yes, Ashton who had ridden with me to Colorado, North Carolina, Kentucky, etc., is now Ashton Aragon...wife and mother.

Debby had packed some of the leftovers from the reception for us to have a picnic lunch. That lunch came at Livingston, TN. We pulled over in a gas station parking lot and enjoyed some good ham salad and chips. It was a nice change over fast food.

We also took the opportunity to look at John's radio settings. I dug out the FT-1900 manual I had brought and we determined the "INT" on his display meant his radio was in "internet" mode. It was a simple fix once we looked in the manual. Maybe this will solve some radio problems?


Livingston, TN. 12:21, mileage 65,419 - The gas station across the road had gas 25 cents/gallon cheaper so we fueled up there. I use 92 or 93 octane when pulling the trailer. Sometimes as I am putting the nozzle back Donna will put the gas cap on, close the gas lid, and have the key back in the ignition. My one-person pit crew! She's so precious.

Something I've started doing on this trip is hanging my helmet on the mirror. I saw my brother do this. I usually set it on my GPS or on my seat. Either of these places is in the way when it comes time to move the bike to the side after getting gas. Hanging it on the mirror doesn't cause this issue. Also, if it rains the rain just runs off the helmet and not into it.


From Livington TN-111 is 4-lane all the way to Chattanooga. The hills/mountains make for nice scenery. A couple times we ran into sprinkles and wet roads but no rain to speak of. That was good since the other couples had taken off their rain gear.


We saw a police car do a traffic stop by almost forcing the other car off the road. The other driver must not have been paying attention or something.


Walden Ridge, TN. 14:32, mileage 65,525 - Even though TN-111 goes to Chattanooga we made a deviation and took US127 over Signal Mountain. It is a shorter and curvier route. This was our last gas stop before the house.

Gas prices here are 70 cents/gallon cheaper than back home!

The ride down the south side of Signal Mountain was nice and curvy and the views of Chattanooga and the river was cool. I relied completely on my GPS to get us through the city. A couple parts were familiar from our day trip here in 2011.

The route took us south through Chickamauga and to Rock Spring. From there you zag right, then another right across some railroad tracks. Here my GPS told me to go on the wrong road because its maps didn't match the real world. I could tell by looking at the display where we needed to be so we looped back around on other roads. Back on track we took Straight Gut Road to Worthington Gap Road. We were on the lookout for Taylor Smith Road which leads to our cabin. Just as we passed a gravel road Donna saw it, so we turned around down the road. Mike & Jerri waited for us while John & Debby headed up the road on the trike.

Map to house

And 'headed up' they did. We knew the road was going to be gravel but we didn't realize what a climb it would be. Climb and level off...climb and level off...climb and level off...you get the picture. There was a little mud crossing where the water ran across the road. There were a couple small washout ruts to watch out for. Six tenths of a mile later we reached the top. Then you have to make a bumpy switchback turn into the paved driveway to the house.


Our house for the week with the garage-mounted observation deck.

The hill climb was worth it. The house and the views were fantastic. The downstairs has its own kitchen. Each bedroom has their own bathroom. There are lots of decks and common areas. There is a pool table downstairs with a cool ball return system. Debby and Jerri don't like stairs so Donna & I took the downstairs room.


The view from the observation deck.

We arrived at Viewtopia at 15:50. We spent an hour unpacking, exploring, and cleaning up. I get tickled at Donna because she has us unpacked and everything put in its place in the blink of an eye. John & Debby had seen a barbeque place back in Chickamauga so we rode back there for supper. The ride down the mountain wasn't as bad since we knew what to expect.

On the ride into town Mike had an issue with his radio setup. Whenever he would talk his radio would continue to transmit until it timed out. One of the connectors had backed out a little on his portable.


At a stoplight in Chickamauga Mike pulled alongside and said John & Debby had pulled over in a parking lot. We thought they might have had a mechanical problem. Nope. They had seen our place for supper...the Choo Choo Bar-B-Q. The food was good and the waitress was very friendly. They also had good sweet tea.


After supper we did another vacation tradition...we rode to the Walmart in Lafayette for supplies. Each couple bought supplies and we combined them at checkout. That cut down on the time spent roaming the store. Since John's trike is better at pulling a trailer up/down the mountain Mike and I had left our trailers at the house.

When we got back we cleaned up and spent a relaxing evening on the second-story porch enjoying the mountain views. The cabin has wifi so we checked emails and did some Facebook posting. It's so nice to be on vacation, and it's only just begun.

Changing John's radio from its "internet" setting got rid of the beep and cutting out, but the range is still limited and the audio needs some work. We'll continue to look for solutions. Mike's radio is fairly clear but he has that same 'fighter pilot' hum he had last year.



370 miles.

Click here for our next day's adventure.




Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8
Epilogue





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