2012 Pigeon Forge motorcycle trip

Day 1

For the past few years Mike Padgett and I have went on a fall motorcycle trip. Last year we took our girlfriends and Monty & Stephanie also went. It was a good time...aside from getting crashed by a drunk. This summer Stephanie and Donna started talking of another trip. Given everyone's committments we planned to go over the Columbus Day weekend.

Monty and Mike didn't like climbing the steep cabin roads on motorcycles so this year I looked for something at a lower elevation. Normally I rent cabins from American Patriot Getaways or Fireside Chalets. They usually offer good deals. As I started looking I found out this is one of the busiest weekends of the year in the Pigeon Forge area so they don't offer many discounts, and a lot of the cabins were already rented.

When the East 50 Phelons go on trips Debby looks at VRBO to find places to stay at. I looked there, too. VRBO allows you to search by the dates you need. Patriot Getaways shows a calendar of availability. You have to call Fireside Chalets to find out. After doing some research I found a list of cabins that met our specs (bedroom and bathroom for each couple and available when we needed) and submitted the list to Stephanie and Donna. They decided on the Catch a Star cabin since there was a jacuzzi in each bedroom. A deposit was made and we had lodging.

We always come back via the interstate so I like to do something different on the way down. After looking at the maps for awhile I decided on a fairly direct route taking two-lane highways. I also decided to stop at Cumberland Falls for a break during the trip. I was there several years ago. With the route decided the trip was a go.

I had did some suspension upgrades to Monty's bike a couple months ago and added a CB at the same time. The trip would be a good time to test it out. I still haven't gotten my Yeasu VHF radio setup fully operational. No new upgrades to report since this summer so I just did normal maintenance on the bike to get ready. I did finally wash it!

The trailer attached and ready to go in the morning.

October 5

I didn't sleep very good (normal for me) so the alarm at 5-something was not welcome but the butterflies of vacation made up for it. With her normal magic Donna had everything ready to take to the bike in no time. It still eludes me how she does it. We packed the bike, got our jackets on, tested the intercoms, and headed out. Oh shoot...I need gas. Good thing we have plenty of time before our 7am meeting time.

Bedford, IN. 6:44, initial mileage 64,134 - Fueled and ready to go.

Mike & Penny were already there when we arrived at our normal meeting spot at the former Jim Day gas station. Soon a Bedford PD cruiser pulled in. Busted? No...it was Captain Rocky. She is good friends with Monty & Stephanie and Stephanie was bringing her a coconut pie. Stephanie has been baking pies to raise money for breast cancer awareness. As usual Monty arrived fashionably late. He said some fair food had come back to haunt him this morning.

This is the best time of day to start a bike trip.

It was foggy and in the low 50's. I don't know if it was the temperature or the excitement that made me tingle. I think it dropped into the upper 40's in a couple places.

My Sweetie and Goldwings. An unbeatable combination.

Galena, IN. 8:24, mileage 64,191 - This seems to be our traditional first fuel stop for our fall trips south. We stood around trying to shake off the chill. Last year we waited here while some rain moved away from our path. No rain today!

Traffic was fairly light this morning on I-64 and through Louisville. We missed rush hour. The sun is rising and so is the temperature. It's now in the low 60's.

It took about 20 minutes to get through the metropolis. We zigged onto I-265 then zagged onto KY-155. We are now taking the scenic country route.

I love the old iron bridges. South of Taylorsville, KY.

Bloomfield, KY.

Lebanon, KY.

I had planned to stop in Lebanon. As we came into town there was a BP station on a service road to the left. By the time I saw it we were passed the service road. No mind...there will be more. Hmmmmm. Soon we were out of town on KY-49. We'll stop in Bradfordsville. Nope. Liberty. Nope.

Rupert Ford, KY. 11:19, mileage 64,312 - South of Liberty we came upon a Marathon station. We were all ready for a stretch break. The roads have been good so far. Curvy in spots and good cruising roads. We got behind a couple people going slow but they pulled over and let us by. Courtesy abounds in Kentucky!

We were now on US127 and I had it in my mind we took this until we hit the parkway. As we cruised through the above intersection I looked down and my GPS was telling me I was wrong. I should have turned left here. It wouldn't be my first mistake of the day. Ha!

KY-910 took us to KY-80 which took us to the Cumberland Parkway. Time to crank the throttle.

Donna saw a deer standing in the river but I missed it.

This container was HUGE. I'm guessing every bit of 100 feet.

We had decided to look for lunch in Somerset. Donna spotted an Arbys so we went there. I like their turkey sandwiches. It was now in the upper 70's so we put some jackets in the trunk.

When we left we headed south down US27. As I pulled out onto the road I saw there was a concrete divider between the lanes. I had committed myself to either driving over the divider or driving the wrong way. I chose the divider. It wasn't that bad but I think the others were questioning my leadership.

A cool looking trestle south of Somerset.

The clouds started looking a little threatening for awhile but there was no rain.

Our next destination was Cumberland Falls. As we passed the turnoff that I remembered in my mind the GPS said to turn 0.4 miles down the road. Where the GPS said to turn there were only rock walls. Dogged by the GPS! We turned around in a garage parking lot with a bloated dead dog lying nearby. Nice.

Cumberland Falls. The stats say it is 75 feet tall and 125 feet wide. It doesn't look that big in person, but it made for a nice break in the trip. KY-90 to the falls is nice and curvy. I've been wanting to ride that road since I was here in 2006.

From the falls we continued on KY-90 to I-75. I've passed this sign many times and today I finally got a picture.

Careyville, TN. 15:03, mileage 64,429 - Our last fuel stop of the day. Our next stop will be Pigeon Forge.

Monty got spunky and took the lead for awhile.

Watch out for the cops.

We were making great time until a few miles from the Pigeon Forge turnoff we came to a traffic jam. This is why. The driver was talking to the cops and seemed okay. When I was putting the suspension on Monty's bike I sprained my left thumb. It has pretty much healed but the constant clutching in the slow traffic made it hurt again.

Traffic was heavy in spots on TN-66. We took Veterans Blvd around the main drag and arrived at the cabin rental place at 17:09. I finalized the check in and we were off.

Our home for the next four days.

The cabin is located at the end of Peggy Lane. Donna said according to the map it was two more roads away. About that time we passed it. So much for the map they gave us. The road to the cabin was steeper than we thought it would be.

We unpacked and checked out the cabin. It felt good to be here. Mike and I unhooked our trailers and chained them to a lamp post. Stephanie and I checked our laptops for wifi. None at the cabin, but we were able to occasionally get some from a nearby hotel.

The girls looked through some brochures and we decided to eat at Mama's Farmhouse Restaurant. They bring out food from a predetermined menu and everyone gets what they want. All you can eat. The food was great. It wasn't that far from our cabin so we didn't have to mess with traffic.

After supper we rode to Walmart and picked up some supplies. Traffic was busy on the way there so on the way back we took Collier Avenune over to Veterans Blvd to the cabin. There is a Marathon station at our turnoff. Very convenient. We stopped and picked up some cold drinks. The rest of the night was spent relaxing.

After our Kentucky trip I picked up a smaller laptop on Ebay. The 18" Toshiba is just too big to pack around. The new (to me) laptop is much nicer for travelling. The bad thing is I haven't had time to install Mapsource or maps on it so I could download my GPS data every night. I was concerned there wasn't enough memory in the GPS to hold all the tracks for the entire trip. While messing around with it I noticed it would save the day's tracks in its memory. Cool! However, when I got back home I was disappointed to find out it doesn't save all the fields I would normally get by downloading the data to a computer. There were no timestamps, and they are very useful to me in tracking our whereabouts for the day. That sucked. Lesson learned.

379 miles.

Click here for our next day's adventure.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5

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