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Author Topic: Letting Go  (Read 2548 times)

Offline scguy

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Letting Go
« on: May 30, 2014, 11:13:03 PM »

Well, here goes. My first real ride report, fittingly, because this was also my first multi-day ride. Several months ago, I got invited to the graduation of a good friend in the heart of the Ozarks; Harrison, Arkansas. I called a mutual friend (fellow Honda rider, Shadow Sabre 1100) in Ohio, and we made plans to meet in Tennessee, then ride to Arkansas. Before long, it became apparent that his job was going to hold him at home, forcing him to bow out. For me, however, it was too late. The seed   had been planted...


Google Maps were consulted and a rough trip outline began to appear. Just when things were just starting to fall together, a wrench fell in the works. My valve cover gasket sprung a decent leak and then came a sudden drastic downturn in my Grandma's health. I had a Vesrah gasket kit for my project bike, so the leaking gasket was dealt with posthaste. Instead of leaving early morning Tuesday, I attended the funeral of a family friend. Visiting Grandma afterward and having to say goodbye, knowing I was leaving for two weeks, and that this could be my last time seeing her alive was tough. In the end, I knew she wanted me to go on, and enjoy my trip.


Day 1 – Barnwell, SC to Oxford, AL





I left about 3 PM, loaded down. The 84 700S in touring configuration with a Givi SV203 tank bag, Givi T431 saddlebags, and a Firstgear waterproof roll bag. The trip had started! I'm not going to lie, I was nervous at first, but about 10 miles down the road, all that melted away. It was just me, my bike, and the open highway. Open that is, until I-20 through Atlanta. Traffic. Those who have been in rush hour ATL traffic know how crazy it can get. Having made it safely through Atlanta, I was getting hungry, so I took some side roads and ended up at Cinema Tavern in Villa Rica, GA. The place came local recommended, and when I stepped inside, I smelled that I was in for some good eatin!





The menu was cinematically themed, with such classics as “Wizard of Ozerella Sticks” and “Lord of the Onion Rings.” I finally chose the Kevin Bacon Cheeseburger. It was nothing shy of amazing.





The restaurant itself had a great mural on the side of it.
After filling my gut, I hit the (after ATL) open highway again, and made it to Oxford, AL for my first night. I was a bit sore, and ready for a good night's sleep, to be able to hit the road the next day.


Day 2 – Oxford, AL to Greenville, MS






Look out the door in the morning. Saddlebags still attached. Good. Bike still in one piece. Great success. Let's start this day!
First up was Barber Vintage Motorcycle Museum.





My phone said 10:05 AM.     Museum Hours – 10:00AM-5:00PM        Door locked.     Check phone again. 9:06. What? Turned out to be a delayed time zone change on my phone, so I arrived almost an hour before opening. Having had been to Barber before, I decided to cut my losses and get back on the road.
In Tuscaloosa, I finally left I20, and hopped onto US 82W. On these first few days of my trip, I decided to prioritize miles over favoring secondary roads, which is more normal for me.





Rode past Talladega Speedway.
Hungry again, I stopped for lunch at Thai by Thai in Columbus, Mississippi.





I ordered the Basil Ground Chicken at the recommendation of the waitress, and I must say she nailed it! I waddled back to the bike, and proceeded to get on down the road.
I don't really have a certain story with these next photos, just some Mississippi scenery.











Stopped to stretch my legs a bit, and found out that where I parked was the birthplace of Jim Henson, of Muppet fame. There was a free museum there, but they were closed. 0-2 for museums today.





The thing that blew me away (excuse the pun) was the wind across the western Mississippi. Looking at the weather data, I had a 30-40 MPH 90 degree crosswind for about 180 miles. The wind will keep you on your toes, because passing a wind break can drastically alter your (ever so straight) line.
I arrived in Greenville, MS at about 5:00PM. On the agenda – grab a bite to eat, and relax on the Mississippi river bank.
I cruised around a bit before I settled on Hot Tamale Heaven. And, boy were the tamales heavenly!





A meal like that will put you in a mellow mood fast, before I knew it, I was riding the banks of the Mississippi, watching the sun set over the shimmering waters, and listening to Delta Blues.











It's the good life, I tell you. Nothing wrong with responsibilities and deadlines, but sometimes you have to just let go, and live in the moment. The freedom of a motorcycle, nowhere to be, nothing that has to be done but relax and think. Nothing tops that man, nothing.





I rode over the river across the Arkansas line right before dusk then rode slowly back to the motel, soaking in every bit of the lazy summer evening. That and the bugs that managed to fly through my chin vent.

Offline scguy

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 11:13:26 PM »
Day 3 – Greenville, MS to Harrison, AR



Day 3 – Wow, is it the third day already? I rode US82 into Arkansas, then caught US 65 North. Fairly uneventful first part of the day, just enjoying the ride.
 




30,000 miles!!!!!


Enjoying, that is until the Mecca of Road Construction that is Little Rock and I40. In Conway, I pulled over at a very handy metal building that was a rest stop for bikers. I donned the “rain” gear, not liking the clouds looming overhead. My “rain” gear consisted of rain liners inside of my Tourmaster jacket and pants. About two miles down the road, the bottom dumped, and the clouds began dropping rain. Hard. I soon found out why a good rain suit is highly recommended. The rain ran down my jacket liner, into my pants, and down into my boots. I never have ridden in rain much, but I really wanted to get to Harrison that day, and the rain was only going to get worse by the radar, so I pressed on.
It was unreal, the rain was coming down in sheets, the road looked alive from the rain running off. I rode on for 3 hours until I reached Harrison.



I pulled into the shop, soaking wet, shivering, and overall miserable, but glad to be safe.

Days 4-9 – Riding around Harrison, AR

I mostly spent the next six days with friends. It also rained 5 out of those 6 days.
Let's see, highlights....
Hung out with my friend and his new (to him) Nighthawk 750. We rode as much as the rain allowed, which wasn't a whole lot.



Look at that. Sir, would you look at it? Sexy runs in the Nighthawk family!



The Honda Posse

We rode to Razorback Ribs in Yellville, one of my favorite places to eat, bar none.



He had the ribs, while I enjoyed something a little different...



This is the Don Allen's Slop Bucket. Start with shredded pork, then cole slaw, and barbeque sauce. Delicious!



Can't forget the fried pickles!





Somewhere in Yellville, I laid my bike down for the first time moving. I was crossing a low water bridge (basically a paved ditch) with water running over it at about 10 mph, holding steady, light throttle, when the back end slid out on a patch of algae, and threw me off the bridge (not as impressive as it sounds) and into the  10 inches or so of water. I was undamaged, not even sore the next day, just wet. I couldn't find any damage on the bike, so I chalk it up as an cheap lesson to avoid running water and algae at all costs.



I would move to the Ozarks in a heartbeat....



Helmet sees. And Helmet likes what it sees. Does anyone name their helmet? My cousin named his “Mr. Protect My Money Maker”, so that's taken.

Food time!


Molcajete Mexicano, brought out in a stone dish.



I guess you can't tell I like Thai food...   Spoiler Alert – I do. Here's some excellent Ginger Pork

Day 10 – Harrison, AR to Bells, TN



I stayed in Harrison an extra day, waiting out the rain. It worked! I left Thursday under blue, sunny skies.



Since I hadn't actually got to ride much in the Ozarks, I decided to head south first, riding on AR 123 from Bellefonte to 74W to Jasper. These are some great roads with some perfect sweepers! It was here that I had the closest call of the entire trip, putting me within a foot or two of grave danger...



That's right. I was almost savagely and maliciously run down by a turkey.
What better way to celebrate foiling feathered foe than by eating?





And what better place is there for eating in the Ozarks than Ozark Cafe in Jasper? Quick answer – none
This is what is called the Excaliburger. It it a burger between two grilled cheese sandwiches. Interesting concept, but not quite as good as some of their other burgers.
The road was calling, and I was answering by heading up Hwy 7 North. Again, amazing roads. I love the Ozarks. Wow.
Moving on, I rode the rest of the day on US 412.



Towards evening, the sunset, and the clouds came together in a beautiful combination.





I stopped for supper at Cajun Cafe, just inside the Arkansas line. They had fresh crawfish from the Delta.



At the recommendation of the server, I had the Hamburger Steak with Crawfish Etoufee. Etoufee must be Cajun for “slap ya mama good eating.” Maybe not. Okay, in my translation it is.
Bells, TN arrived uneventfully, and I turned in for the night.

Day 11 – Bells, TN to Stecoah, NC



This was my longest day of riding. Just over 420 miles, and at the end, I felt I could go another 100. I was in the groove, despite having ridden I40 most of the day. Literally no pictures from I40 that day, because, well I40. I rode till Knoxville, then dropped down on I75 to Tellico Plains and ran the Cherohala Skyway up (over) to KSL and the Nighthawk Rally.



It had rained earlier in the day, so the road was somewhat wet, but the sun was out and taking care of that problem.



The Cherohala Skyway is amazing. No side roads, reasonable traffic, good elevation change, well maintained road surfaces, pulloffs, etc. Basically a rider's dream. Just beautiful. Don't let the scenery catch you napping though, some of those twisties can catch you unaware!



I arrived at Kickstand Lodge just in time for supper. Met several fellow Nighthawkers and some former Nighthawkers. It was great meeting some of the NHF squad, drdubb, tbante, jspringator, aristo, rcnighthawkcb650, cjbear, and RobbieAG. Sat around the campfire talking till late.

Day 12 – KSL to KSL

Saturday morning was on us, with some rain in the early morning, and a pretty big system moving in.





 The forum members split into small groups, I rode with RobbieAG all day, and some with Larry, a Harley rider that we made an honorary Nighthawkian. Since the rain was coming from the west, we decided to dodge it by running north. We took 28 North to US129. Home of the Dragon.



RobbieAG and his CLEAN Nighthawk 750 at the bottom of the Dragon.



Ready to hit it! I'm not gonna lie, I was sort of nervous, but I tamed the Dragon!





We continued riding up US129 to Maryville. Ate lunch at Zaxby's, while waiting out the rain. Afterward, we rode 115 to 360 to Tellico Plains.



Riding up the Cherohala in the wet was a great experience. I had pushed it a little more the first time through, but this time I was slower, enjoying all the views the ride had to offer.



Back at KSL, we found out that one of the other group had had an off. Rcnighthawkcb650 hit a patch of wet dirt and highsided his yellow Nighthawk 650. He was wearing full gear thankfully, and apart from a sprained? (or jammed ) thumb and a sore elbow he was okay. The bike really did not look bad at all. The footpeg bent back out, and he was able to leave Sunday and ride it back home to Michigan. Had a great time hanging out with the forum members left.

Offline scguy

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 11:13:54 PM »
Day 13 – KSL to Barnwell, SC



Last day of my trip. Can it be almost over already? I left KSL, saying goodbye to Mo and Bobby (great folks) and the remaining Nighthawkers. I could have taken I26, but decided to take 28 South.



It was a great decision, to be sure! I enjoyed 28 much more than I did the Dragon. Not that the Dragon isn't fun, but I like a little break every now and then in the twisties.



Stopped at Dry Falls



Pretty awesome being able to walk behind the falls. Amazing amounts of water flow over the falls.



Bridal Veil Falls! MM, your bike is missing from this picture!

Stopped for lunch at Pete's Drive-In in Walhalla, SC.



The Calabash Chicken was excellent!

Got back on 28 South all the way down to McCormick, SC then home. 13 days, 2355 miles later.
HPPants said that in a trip, a theme appears. I wasn't too sure, but sure enough, a theme did emerge.
The theme of my trip was letting go. I had to let go of my grandma when leaving, let go of comfort to ride in the rain, let go of the rest of the world on that Mississippi evening, let go of my fear in the curves (look, lean and believe became my mantra). You know what I found out? When you let go of something, you don't know what's coming to take it's place. It could be happiness or sadness, an easy life, or one of pain. You just don't know till you let go. But you have to let go all the same, and many times, what awaits for you is much greater than you expected.
Until next time (if you're still reading this), let go and LIVE!!!



RD

Offline parkinsonsd

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2014, 05:02:35 AM »
How's your Grandmother?

Offline InDC

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2014, 06:10:03 AM »
Nice report.

Online Hog Dog

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2014, 06:18:14 AM »
 Great report sc guy.  You truly did let go of the daily grind for 13 days.  Glad you didn't tangle with the turkey.
Lucky Lindy's evil twin

Offline scguy

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 07:34:55 AM »
Parkisonsd, thanks for asking. She's in complete renal failure and has non alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. It's tough seeing an ol farm girl who used to beat all her grandsons at arm wrestling lying in bed, completely helpless. It's just a matter of time, but she's ready to go and it will mean an end to her suffering.

RD

Offline Dan

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2014, 07:51:11 AM »
I am sorry to hear about your Grandmother, sc.

So many of your photos are stunning but the one that really jumps out is from the riders point of view in the misty weather.  Please enter that into the calendar contest.  You have others just as worthy too.

Offline DesignFlaw06

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2014, 08:41:21 AM »
That is a great ride report and good example of a ride report template. And I'll second that there are calendar contest entires in there.

I am also sorry to hear about your grandmother. I'm glad she didn't pass while you were on your trip.

Offline OJ Buyer

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2014, 02:46:34 PM »
Great post, enjoyed reading it.

Offline home4sale2

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2014, 03:58:46 PM »
+1 on excellent report and pics.  What sort of helmet cam do you have?  As I have begun to ride, I feel like the scenery is a lot better than looking through a big windshield and cage pillars.  Would be nice to take a pic or two occasionally, safely.

Sorry to hear about your grandmother.  Take care.

Offline scguy

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2014, 04:01:15 PM »
I have a GoPro Hero 3+ Black. Once I find a decent internet connection and fix my laptop, I'll upload some video

Offline parkinsonsd

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2014, 12:05:02 PM »
I'm sorry to hear about your grandmother.  You got my condolences and best wishes.

bayarearick

Re: Letting Go
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2014, 06:13:00 PM »
+1
Great ride report.  There sure is a lot to see - and great places to eat.  Just a FYI - I've got a Contour cam mounted to my left fork reflector.  It's mainly there to keep track of everything (crazy drivers in Calif.), and less about sightseeing.

Offline umpire

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2014, 04:49:44 AM »
Great RR, stunning pics , glad to see riders still take our 30 year old 700s,s on extended trips .
By the way nice color choice for a bike , Mines the same color too hapdude2

Umpire

Offline Woodguy

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2014, 07:40:56 AM »
Great report- thanks for all the pictures! enjoyed reading..

Offline NightHawkeD

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2014, 09:14:22 PM »
Sorry to read about Grandma, good that you got to see her. Thanks for the report, it sure should have recharged your batteries.
Lookin for Good Macadam

Offline Rev413

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #17 on: June 09, 2014, 03:26:13 AM »
+1 Awesome report  cheers3

Offline Vandal656

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2014, 11:19:17 AM »
Just got around to reading the whole thing, great report! Looks like an awesome ride.

Offline Bajakirch

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2014, 09:45:00 PM »
That was a great ride report; I really like your writing style and your photo choices.

Your bike looked right at home at the Barber Museum.

It's my dream to someday be able to jump on the bike and just go for a couple of weeks. 'Letting Go' is a great theme, and something we should all do every now and then.
Get on your bikes and ride!

Offline Elko450

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2014, 11:07:21 PM »
OUTSTANDING!  Awesome pics of grub along the way, the near miss with the gobbler, and the waterfall were spectacular.  Well done!

Offline CountryG

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Re: Letting Go
« Reply #21 on: July 14, 2014, 06:11:38 AM »
thanks for sharing. 
I like the picture with the field and barn in the background.

 

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