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Author Topic: See for Yourself  (Read 206 times)

Offline hppants

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See for Yourself
« on: November 05, 2017, 03:44:14 PM »
I just returned from north Alabama having visited the Southern FJR Owners (SFO) 2017 annual gathering.  Our host Turk and his lovely wife Jana put on one heck of a show at their getaway property in Jemison, Alabama outside of Birmingham.  I wasn’t planning to attend this year, but my circumstances changed and at the last minute, I packed my tent and my bike and made the trip.  It was great to see old friends, and make some new ones as well.

Anyone that thinks southern hospitality is dead has certainly not been anywhere near SFO because I’m hear to tell ya – Turk and Jana are the epitome of that term.  For weeks prior, and for the 4 days we were there, they slaved over us like we were some kind of royalty.  And we might as well have been royalty because we ate like kings and queens.  I’ll get into that more later.

I rode almost 1300 miles in 5 days, and my bike never missed a beat.  The weather was hit and miss.  Thursday and Friday were great, with cool morning temperatures and abundant sunshine.  But things turned rainy on Friday night and Saturday, it was cold and rainy so we didn’t ride much.  By the time I left for home Sunday morning, the temperature was 40 degrees and damp.  I packed everything – 3 pairs of gloves, rain gear, even a set of long handles, and was in good shape all weekend.  My FJR will haul the load just fine.

Our FJR forums are having a healthy discussion and debate over our purpose now.  Some say it’s only a source of technical information about the bike.  Others like myself think that it is much more than that.  The forum is a tool where friendships are formed.  They are long distance friendships, but thanks to our motorcycle and our sense of adventure, the distance is not as great as it seems.

When we are together, there can be no doubt in my mind regarding our purpose.  I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Day 1:  Lafayette to Jemison, approximately 510 miles.

I woke up early with a goal.  Get my ass on the other side of Baton Rouge before 6:30 am.  This is a work day for most, and I’m not going to spend 3 hours in stupid B/R traffic.  So I stuck the clear shield on my helmet, and at 5:15 am, I’m taxiing out of the neighborhood.  Reluctantly, I merged onto Interstate 10 East and set my cruise control at 80 mph.  It was a tad slow going over the Mississippi River bridge at 6:20 am, but I made it and that would be the end of my Interstate riding for the day.

I crossed the Mississippi State line near Liberty and jumped on US 84, which is a terrific road if you are traveling East/West and want to make some decent time without resorting to Interstate 10 or 20.  Then I turned north on Hwy 35, and stopped in Raleigh, MS for a rest.

Raleigh is the Smith County seat and things are pretty quiet this morning, as I imagine they are every morning.  The courthouse is very stately looking there.

There’s a veterans memorial at the courthouse, and I glanced over it paying my respects.

My wife and I were recently in north Georgia and its apple harvesting season, so I bought a big bag of Fujis and boy-o-boy, are they delicious!!

After my snack, I mounted up and continued north into the Bienville National Forest.  Although not well known, the Mississippi State highways are in very good shape and many are curvy enough to keep the rider entertained.

Around lunchtime, I stopped at this little village just outside of Philadelphia, MS., where there was exactly ONE place that served food.

The chicken tender sandwich was decent, but certainly not award winning.

After lunch, I crossed the Alabama State line near Gainsville, and continued generally east toward my destination.  I rode across the Tombigbee River and floodplain, and through a section of the Talladega National Forest.  Alabama State roads are very nice, with good smooth blacktop and a tree line that is set away from the shoulder about 25-35 feet.  The traffic is light and I found the drivers to be very courteous.

And the State troopers there are very nice as well.  At one point, I set my cruise at about 10 over and noticed a Tahoe pacing me for a few miles.  We both stopped at a little store for a cold drink and I learned that this was an Alabama State trooper with no roof top lights.  My radar detector was quiet the whole time.

(Pants)  “Good afternoon, officer.”

(Popo)  “Good afternoon, sir.  Are you having fun today?”

(Pants)  “Yes sir, I am.”
(Popo)  “You have a safe ride, ya hear?”

(Pants)  “Yes sir, officer.  Thank you.”

By 4 pm, give or take, I crossed Interstate 59, and stopped at the exit liquor store for some cold brewskies.  Then it was just 1 mile to Turk and Jana’s oasis.

Craig and Jana were already in party mode, so I joined them.

I pitched my tent and soon, others joined us.  Jena was nice enough to take a group photo.

Not sure what this is about, but Jena’s purple toenails are purdy.

Jena prepared a delicious Chicken and Sausage Gumbo for us, and my first day on this adventure was just fine.

Day 2:  250 mile loop around north central Alabama.

I had a scary experience in the Porta Potty last night, but otherwise slept very well in my tent.  I rose to about 50 degrees and a crystal clear sky.  Turk and Jena made coffee for us and slowly, everyone started stirring and getting ready for a day of riding.

We met the hotellers and others at the Shoney’s for some breakfast and tire kicking.

We decided to split the ride into groups.  KJ and Debbie led my group, and I enjoyed getting to know my Noooh Yawker friends.

The others seem to be having a nice day too.

We had a great time riding through the Alabama countryside.

Mid morning, a planned stop was Lake Martin.  This is nice place to walk around.

Brian (left) has joined us from his native Australia.  Yeah, you read that right.  This guy flew halfway around the world to be with us this weekend.  And he met us on the Internet.

Then it was back on the road for more rollercoaster.  Gary rides this BMW 1000RR and when he lights the candles, it sounds pretty sweet.

It’s a great day to ride.

We stopped at this place to look around.  It’s a nice park built at a location where Andrew Jackson fought the remaining Indians that refused re-location.

I walked through the visitor’s center and looked around.

There were lots of kids there on a field trip.  Come to think about it, the BIG kids are on a field trip too!

We gassed up in Lineville, Alabama about noon and parked the bikes about 2 blocks from the restaurant and walked.

No food porn, but I ate a delicious pork sandwich with sweet cole slaw.

After lunch, we rode a short distance north to another section of the Talladega National Forest, and stopped at the High Falls trailhead, near the Cheaha State Park.

As luck would have it, the other group of riders was just getting there as well!

The way Tyler was walking toward me, I thought I was in trouble.  Turns out she just wanted to give me a hug.

The trail is a short walk with many falls and it was nice to stretch my legs out a bit, even in my riding pants and boots.

Everyone was having fun exploring the forest.

The spring fed falls offer some crystal clear water and it is very beautiful.

This is my favorite picture of the entire trip.  I know it doesn’t look like much, but to me, this picture sums up everything I felt that weekend.

This is what a good man looks like.  Without pride nor prejudice, he offers up his home, his resources, his talents, his family, and his heart for people he hardly knows.  In his soul, he truly wants everyone to have a good time and will stop at nothing to make sure it happens.  He loves his motorcycle and he loves his home State and he is so proud to show us the sights.

This is my very good friend Turk, whom I met on a motorcycle forum.

From the falls, about half of us broke toward the hotel, and the other half (including me) continued north to Hwy 281, also known as the Talladega Scenic Byway.  This is one of the best roads in Alabama.  Very smooth and curvy with many scenic views along the way.

We just didn’t have enough time to run the whole byway.  It was starting to get late, and we’ve got some partying to do tonight.  So we turned south and burned it on Hwy 9 toward home.  And when I say we BURNED it, I mean we were FLYING.  When Turk is ready to go, we go!

The anticipated cold front found us late in the afternoon.  It started raining in Clanton, so I put the Frogg Togg pants on and we made it back to Turks just fine.

Jana moved the party indoors because of the weather, and everyone was having such a nice time.

Tonight, they prepared a shrimp boil for us, complete with corn, potatoes, and smoked sausage.  I thought it was scrumptious, as the seasoning was just right for my taste.

Hey guys, how about posing for a picture?


After dinner, Turks friends who happen to be incredible professional musicians, played 2 hours of great tunes for us to enjoy.  These two guys are amazing. 

I was working pretty hard on one of my shampoo bottles and I had a good time with the music.  During the second set, they started playing some really good Led Zepplin and about the same time, Mark (Poolboy) sat next to me with what looked like a 5-gallon bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey and I started getting loose!!

It was a great party and we all had a wonderful time.

Day 3:  Not much riding, weather was pretty stinky.

About 3 am, it started raining pretty hard, but my Marmott tent kept me dry and I slept in until about 7-ish.  We took a look at the radar and the forecast and it didn’t look like very good riding weather.

Josh had a tire shipped to Turks and his pit crew seems to have mattes well under control.

Hang in there, Coach!  They’ll figure it out.

Meanwhile, Turks buddy has already fired up his smoker for tonight’s feast.  That wood smells very good.

Mark’s got a pretty good game plan going of his own right there.

After lunch, the rain quit and some of us were getting a little stir crazy, so we decided to go take a short ride.

Hud calls his suit the Big Banana and I can kind of see why.

Randall’s pillion is looking a little thin.  I don’t think she had much shrimp last night.

We rode to the Cycle Gear in Birmingham so Josh could exchange some gloves under warranty.

I led us in circles on some county roads back toward the camp, and we arrived as the sun was setting.  Turk’s brother brought his awesome drone and I got to wear the goggles for the show.  That thing is fantastic.

After about 3 hours of happy hour (he he he), dinner was served.  The brisket and pulled pork was very good, but the bark on those short ribs was just perfect.  I ate 4 ribs and I was full like a woods tick.

Nate and Andrew were helping Mark with some kind of trailer lighting problem.  I thought about getting involved, but by that time, I had been drinking and thought discretion would be the better part of valor.

Another highlight of the evening was when Turks friend came home from the weekend motocross with a 1st place trophy!!!  Boy, the look on his face says it all.

It was another great night at the SFO shin dig.

Day 4:  Jemison, AL to Lafayette, LA, approximately 510 miles.

I woke up Sunday to cold, cloudy, and windy.  I packed up my camping gear and bid everyone a goodbye with mucho thanks.  Nate will ride back part of the way with me.  Mid morning, the skies cleared and it warmed up a little.  I just reversed my Thursday route to get home.  Nate and I stopped in Philadelphia for lunch (great Fajitas), and a little thereafter, he broke away for the interstate to get home in time for church.  I arrived safely at home about 6 pm, and as is always the case, my wife was happy to see me and hear about my great adventure.  Uncharacteristically, I took no pictures on Day 4.

So the debate regarding the purpose of a motorcycle forum goes on.  It may never be solved and that’s perfectly fine with me.  Who cares if the chicken came before the egg?  I won’t let myself get suckered into that impossible quandary.  To do so would be missing the forest for the trees.  Regardless of that, I believe that these forums are about much more than a certain kind of motorcycle, and how to fix it.

If you doubt that, come to a rally and see for yourself.

Stay thirsty, my friends…..

Offline DesertDragon

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Re: See for Yourself
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 08:10:21 AM »
Good pics Pants!
Looks like a good time was had by all.
As usual, you included enough "food porn" that I've got to go find SOMETHING to eat!
Keep the Rubber on the Bottom!


Offline Hog Dog

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Re: See for Yourself
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 06:47:16 PM »
I always enjoy the adventures of Pants.  We must ride the great state of Arkansas again.
Lucky Lindy's evil twin


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