2011 Georgia motorcycle trip

June 19

Too early the alarm clock told me it was time to get up, so I stuffed it in the suitcase. I washed up, and started the final packing. By the footsteps upstairs I could tell everyone else was, too. I had put the vegetable tray under the ice maker in the refrigerator so I had plenty of ice to put in the cooler.

The bike and trailer were covered in rain and dew. The whipoorwill was singing, and the moon was surrounded by clouds. I made sure everything was packed, picked up the trash, turned off the lights, and headed upstairs.

Everyone else was packed and almost ready to go, too. We lounged on the porch and took in the last moments of Georgia.

We see the break of dawn on the first day of our trip and the last. Today is the worst of the two. Locks checked, helmets on, bikes started, radio checks made, sigh. At 5:55am we started down the driveway. Next stop...Indiana.

It was cool and dark for the ride down Gumlog Road and US129. Hopefully all the deer are still sleeping. Everyone else is on this Sunday morning, except us. The sky looked cloudy. We don't want any rain.

By the time we were on 4-lane US64 the sky was lightening and the clouds appeared to be clearing.

There was plenty of fog and in some places we rode through it.

At Ducktown we headed north on TN68. Not a bad road. Pretty rural quality in some spots. There were some patches of fog to contend with, but a nice early morning drive through the country. It occurred to me when we passed the TN123 intersection this was a different route than the one we had taken on the way down. Silly me. I thought we were going back the same way. That's what I get for thinking.

Tellico Plains, TN. 7:28, mileage 51893 - Our first fuel stop. We also got some breakfast food. We're already seeing quite a few bikes out. From here it's a short 24 miles to the interstate.

Along the way I lusted over the eight bays of this fire station.

Thirty minutes later were on I-75 and for the first time in days I raised the Windbender to full speed cruising position.

As we got closer to Knoxville the skies started to thicken up.

We had just turned onto I-640 when the pitter patter of raindrops started. Our hopes for a light, transient rain were doused as the rain got worse. We pulled off at exit 1 with plans to pull over at one of the many gas stations that proliferate at interstate interchanges. We found none. We drove almost a mile and finally pulled in at an abandoned home improvement store. We donned our rain gear and spent 16 minutes standing around. When the rain let up some we headed out.

By the time we were back on the interstate the rain was down to a drizzle. As we approached the I-75 interchange the GPS directed me to the offramp...of what turned out to be the wrong road. It was an exit early. Not a big deal as were just a turn away from getting back on I-75.

I love my Garmin 478 but when it comes to multiple interchanges it can be slow to discern the route and tell you about it. It also doesn't zoom in enough to be able to tell which of multiple roads to take. Sometimes what appears to be the correct road isn't. A few weeks ago a magazine article was comparing it to the newer Zumo GPS and had the same comments. They had an explanation I'd never thought of. Since the 478 is first and foremost a marine GPS it's not designed to calculate faster speeds as well as an automotive GPS. It's designed more for a boat.

Near Lake City I saw the only moving train of the whole trip.

Caryville, TN. 9:53, mileage 51,996 - The radio requested a restroom break so we pulled over for gas and a stretch. We debated on taking off the raingear but decided to keep it on for awhile longer.

Keeping the raingear on was a good call. As we crossed into Kentucky the skies got really dark. As we crested a moutain I just had time to say "Here it comes" on the CB before we were slammed by torrential rain. Visibility was about 50-100 feet most of the time. John radioed about pulling over somewhere and just as he said that I saw a sign for the Williamsburg exit in 1 1/2 miles. I radioed back to him that I was gonna take the Williamsburg exit. I didn't want to pull over at an underpass in such low visibility...someone could easily run you over.

It seemed like it took forever to get to the exit. Actual time was 8 minutes. When I pulled up to the stoplight there was no one behind me. Hmmmmmm. I rode over to the Shell station next door and parked and waited. I tried to use the CB a couple times but got no answer. Hmmmmmm again. Had they pulled off the road somewhere? Had they missed the turnoff and were farther down the road? Were they hiding under the overpass I had turned off on? I was drenched and didn't know where the others were. Sucks. I texted them and told them where I was.

After about 10 minutes the rain died down. I gave them several more minutes in case they were trying to catch up. I rode across the overpass and looked both ways down the interstate. Didn't see anyone. Our next scheduled stop was the big truck stop in London, KY. I texted them and said I would meet them there. I forged on in light and drizzly rain.

London, KY. 11:58, mileage 52,068 - When I got to the London truck stop I checked my text messages. Much to my surprise, they were already there. They were on the opposite side of the building. They hadn't heard me on the CB say I was pulling over in Williamsburg (damn CBs) and they kept on going. Reunited, I gassed up, then we went inside to dry out. We ate at the diner they had.

The food was good. We looked like a bunch of drowned rats and left pools of water wherever we went. While we were there we checked out their selection of LED lights for John's trike and trailer. They didn't have much.

The rain gods must have taken pity on us because the skies cleared off for the most part. Near Richmond John announded via CB there was an ambulance coming. As it whizzed by I thought about those people back home working on the ambulance today...my brother being one of them. Seeing the ambulance also brought back the reality that we were just a couple hundred miles from losing the vacation life we had grown accustomed to the past week.

Richmond is also where I veered off onto US421 last summer on my way to Cherry Point for work. Ahhhhhh...good memories.

Athens, KY. 13:56, mileage 52,134 - Fuel stop and removal of the now unneeded raingear. Family members back home had apparently been checking the radar for our travel route and had texted about the storms we came through. Calls/texts were made to let everyone know we were alright.

We were off sequence of what has come to be our 'normal' fuel stops, so we decided to just go all the way to Sellersburg. The skies were now beautiful as were the temperatures.

Several miles west of Frankfort the clouds started looking heavy and soon we were seeing some sprinkles.

I don't mind underpasses in this kind of weather so we found one at the KY-151 interchange. On went the raingear and we took time for a stretch. The raingear worked its rain repellent magic and all we had to deal with were a few more sprinkles down the road. Traffic was light coming through Louisville and the I-64/71/65 interchange of death we hate was pretty trivial.

Crossing into Indiana brought us welcoming skies and warmer temperatures.

Cruising up I-65 I saw my dream setup. When I hit the lottery this is what I'll have. A truck-based RV and a trailer big enough for my Jeep and motorcycle. There'd be travel reports written every month. The truck had Georgia plates. Could he take us back?

Sellersburg, IN. 16:04, mileage 52,231 - Our last stop of the trip. Everyone is a little quiet. Our normal lives start again tomorrow.

We saw a guy putting fresh flowers on a grave, so there are worse things than ending a vacation.

After a 32 mile highball run up I-65 we turned into the country.

Indiana scenery.

Most people stereotypically think of Indiana being flat. You can see the Southern Indiana hills in the distance. They're not as big or prolific as where we just came from, but they provide some good motorcycle roads.

West of Brownstown we got a few more sprinkles.

Potter residence. 17:47, mileage 52,301 - The trip is over. Mike & Jerri put their luggage in my trailer and I carried it to their house. I guess it rained almost every day we were gone so tall, thick grass welcomed me home. Back to reality.

470 miles.

Click here for thoughts of the trip.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Day 10

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