2011 Georgia motorcycle trip

Last summer John & Debby took a family trip to Maggie Valley, North Carolina. This sparked an interest for our 2011 motorcycle trip to be in the area. Like any good plan this one morphed into a trip to Blairsville, Georgia. We would invade the Confederacy! Debby found a rental house near Blairsville. We typically do our trips in early June so we decided on June 10-19.

In 2009 John stoked the fires of excitement by sending an email relating that day with something historical related to the trip. John did that again this year by relating our invasion of the Confederacy to dates in the Civil War. Here they are:

June 6
June 7
June 8
June 9

June 10


We were meeting at John & Debby's at 6:00 am. The weather forecast for today has been isolated thunderstorms. The radar shows spotty storms in lower Kentucky but nothing for around here. My alarm had been set for 4:30 but I woke up around 3:30 and there was no going back to sleep when the trip excitement gets ahold of you. Despite getting up an hour early as I packed the final items in the trailer it was already passed 5:30...and I still needed to fuel up. Where did the time go?


Bedford, IN. Initial mileage is 49,948 - I arrived at the Potter's at 5:59. Mike and his girlfriend Jerri had picked up breakfast burritos, so we ate those. This will be Jerri's first motorcycle trip. She, like the rest of us, is excited. This will be the first trip for John's trike and his modified trailer. We made sure we had everything. Mike and John smoked a cigarette. Then it was time to gear up and hit the road.


At Brownstown we veer off onto IN-250 which has become our standard route eastward. The weather is cloudy, a little humid, and 73*. Perfect motorcycle weather to me. Soon we are headed south on I-65.


Sellersburg, IN. 7:19, mileage 50,020 - Our standard first stop on trips southward. The sun was peeking through the clouds as we stretched and enjoyed the 'first stop on the first day of vacation' feeling. After 31 minutes we shoved off to get through Louisville traffic.


Near the bridge we spent less than a minute in a traffic jam. Crossing the I-65 bridge and leaving Indiana seems like confirmation we're on a trip. We'll stay on I-65 so they'll be no interchanges to deal with.

The 'normal' route to the Georgia area would be I-64 then I-75. I plotted a course taking 2-lane roads instead. They are more scenic and enjoyable. The extra travel time is worth it. We'll take interstates when we come home.


Five years ago our trip took us to Bardstown, KY. We will pass through there today and reminisce of past trips. We took KY-245 passed the Jim Beam distillery. There were a few dark clouds and for a moment we were slowly pelted by some huge rains drops. One went right up my nose.


Bardstown, KY. 8:52, mileage 50,072 - We stopped at the same station that Mike and I stopped at on our 2009 Pigeon Forge trip. Because I had been running late I had forgot to put Cokes in the cooler. While we were here I grabbed some cokes and a few bottles of Sunny D to put in the cooler, along with a bag of ice. My hands were too full to get the money out of my pocket so I laid the bag of ice on a table. When I let go of the ice the tie came off and ice spilled out all over the floor. I apologized but the manager said not to worry about it. He said he's had a problem with the bags not being properly tied. He gave me a free bag of ice. What a nice guy!


We headed through Bardstown, then down KY-49 past the Heaven Hill Distillery and Hawk's Place in Loretto. KY-49 wound peacefully through the Kentucky countryside. At Lebanon we picked up KY-55 which we'll stay on for awhile. The temperature is now in the 80's.


US68 shares the right of way with KY-55 so the road quality is good and wide. We passed through Campbellsville on the way to our next stop in Columbia.


Columbia, KY. 10:49, mileage 50,139 - By now the skies were clear and the temperature had broken into the 90's. It was hot. It was around lunch time so we rode down the street to Wendys. The air conditioning was very welcome. It offset the extremely slow service. And, is it just me, or have Wendy's hamburgers became mediocre since they branched out to other food items?

John and Debby's credit card pays them cash back for their purchases. Before the trip I gave them some money, and they paid for my meals on the trip. They get more cash back, and it's convenient for me. When we finished lunch I put on some sunscreen. I hate the way it feels but it was getting hot and my arms were burning.

Our next hop will be our longest...slightly over 100 miles. The road quality continued to be nice and the scenery relaxing. At Sewellton we turned onto US127. The road was normal at first, then it got curvy. Out of nowhere a dam appeared. It was the Cumberland Dam. It was an unexpected and impressive site, and the highway drove across it. After the dam the road became curvy again and wound its way over a mountain before returning to sweepers and straights.


As we passed through the small community of Pall Mall, TN, we found this was the hometown of Alvin York of "Sergeant York" fame. They even had a visitor's center. I like these little surprises. It would have been a nice place to stop but we still had quite a ways to go.


Crossville, TN. 13:57, mileage 50,242 - When we reached Crossville the sky to the south was full of large dark clouds and the temperature had dropped noticeably. My GPS's weather radar showed some rain but it was just outside our path of travel. Hopefully we would miss it.

While we sat here enjoying the breeze a drunk/vagabond type of guy came by. He asked for money. I gave him a dollar and he happily left towards the gas station. A few minutes later a yelling match broke out between him and the cashier and SHE sent him packing. He walked down the road griping. Odd fellow. Several minutes later a guy came by selling Krispy Creme donuts for a church group. $5/dozen. I spent $10.


When we left Crossville the pleasant temperatures made the ride much more enjoyable.


By the time we reached the outskirts of Spring City the clouds had cleared and the hot sun was evaporating a recent rain. The road also skirted some mountains for some scenic valley views.

I've loved trains since I was a kid. The last few decades have been hard on railroads. Our hometown used to have several lines running through it. Now our town is at the end of an abandoned spur. It's sad to see abandoned track...especially track that has been physically cut off. When we turned off US27 south of Spring City there was a cut off spur that ran for several miles next to TN-68. Some parts were visible. Some parts had trees and bushes growing through it, and some parts were so covered in vegetation the tracks weren't visible. The spur ended at the Watts Bar nuclear generating station and dam.


From Watts Bar to Madisonville TN-68 is pretty much a cruising road. Put your feet up, set the cruise control, and enjoy the houses, nice garages, fellow motorcyclists, and the heat.


Madisonville, TN. 16:11, mileage 50,310 - Our last travel stop for the day. From here TN-68 is much more rural and curvy. At 17:29 we crossed into North Carolina and Georgia not long after. From US129 we turned onto Gumlog Road and several miles later turned onto Brannan Nix Road.


Blairsville, GA. 18:18, mileage 50,382 - We reached our cabin. The mountain view. We unpacked our things. John and Debby took the middle floor, Mike and Jerri the top bedroom, and me the basement.


The guys headed 14 miles into Blairsville to pick up supplies at Walmart while the girls cleaned up and got things organized. When we got back we cleaned up, had grilled chicken salad for supper, and spent a relaxing evening on the second-story porch enjoying the mountain view. It's so nice to be on vacation, and it's only just begun...



449 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 Day 9 Day 10
Epilogue





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