Tag Archive: Valdosta


Day 3 – 5/19/2014
Start/End Point: Valdosta, GA to Orlando, FL
Distance: 227 miles
Time: 3hr 21min

Unlike the previous night, I slept until my alarm woke me up at 9am.  I really like the Best Western in Valdosta, I was completely comfortable.  I packed my gear and ate a breakfast bar which I purchased last night.  If you remember from Saturday, I lost my BOA debt card, so the first order of business for today was to go to a local Bank of America and get a temporary card.  I found one about 4 miles away, in the direction I wanted to head.  I walked in and was immediately greeted by a teller who directed me to a gentleman in an office.  I summarized my issue and he quick sprang into action to help me out.  Within moments, I had a temporary card, activate and I withdrew a few dollars in my pocket. I was on my way.

The remainder of the ride was really uneventful because I was forced back on the main highway (75) because I wanted to reach my destination at a reasonable time.  I didn’t want to do it at dark.

Florida Sign

Florida Sign

Stop 1: 20 miles after starting, I was in Florida.  Yippie!!!  I actually stopped on the side of the road to take a picture of the Florida sign with my bike in the foreground.  I made a fuel / lunch stop in Clermont or Leesburg at around 12:30pm.  I honestly can’t remember exactly where I stopped.  I was concerned that at this point I would begin to feel sore, but nothing.  My body and the bike were hanging in there.

Stop 2: I arrived in Orlando, made a few calls and texts to get a couple of addresses.  I couldn’t meet up with one friend because he was working the evening shift, but I knew we would work that out later this week.  I hooked up with friends from my bowling league who were down here on a week of golf.  Five days of 18 holes of golf.  That is more exhausting that riding a bike 1200 miles.  I was able to grab a room with my friends because of a bailout late in the schedule, so I am extremely fortunate because without a doubt it is going to be less expensive than sitting at a hotel.  You may ask, you’re not at a hotel, the answer would be no.  These guy travel in style.  They rented a home, and actual rental home for the week.  It is like bringing your home with you to another state.  You can cook your own meals, do your laundry, and chill at the backyard pool.  Oh yes, I said backyard pool.  Cha-ching.

The house I stayed at.

The house I stayed at.

The remainder of the evening was spent talking and laughing…oh and drinking on their part.  Sometimes it is fun to watch, not so much at other times.  This day was another one of those great one, may be a little longer than planned.

I contacted my mechanic about the high RPM slipping I am experiencing on my bike.  It only shows itself in my 5th gear.  He told me that I will need to replace my clutch, but based on my information it isn’t an emergency and can wait until I return at the end of the week.  Which is good, I didn’t want to have these guys messing with my bike.

Day 3 End in Orlando, FL at a rental home at 3:15pm.  Sunny 80 degrees.  Another day of great riding.

BTW, I am going to update with pictures, but just haven’t gone through the motions of pulling them off the camera.

 

Go to Day 4,5,6 ->

Day 2: 5/18/2014

Start / End Point: Townsend, TN to Valdosta, GA
Distance: 432 miles
Time: 7hr 32 min

Last night I was in bed around midnight after planning my elaborate route for today’s trip.  I wasn’t going to take the highways from TN to southern GA, oh no, that would be too easy, and I would miss out on some really nice roads, so I planned back roads until I was south of Atlanta.  Now, because I rode in the cold for so many hours the previous day, I had a bone chill, so I turned on the heat in my room, setting it to about 72 degrees.  Well around 6am, my mind told my body that I need to turn the heat off and throw some cool air on, but my body decided it was too early to move and ignored my mind.  Well, not totally ignoring my mind, I did shuck off the covers. Well not an hour later, I was awake again, and there was no going back to sleep.  The alarm was set for 9am, but I was up at 8am, after tossing and turning for an hour.  Did a check of the weather, and all the bad stuff was sitting south of TN, just over the GA border, and that is something I will deal with later.

Getting ready.

Getting ready.

Out the door and on the road at 9:30am, heading towards Route 129, better known as the Tail of the Dragon.  It was chilly, but not cold, and was overcast, but no prediction for rain.  This is good since the last time I did this road, I ended up in a monsoon. Would like to avoid that mess this go around.  At 10:00am, I was at the base of the “switchback”.  I took off and was completely thrilled.  Some of these “turns” were a turn in the opposite direction.  You would have been proud, I had the footboards scraping on the ground on a couple of the turns, UNTIL I caught up with some slower folks.  Was stuck behind them for a mile or three, and they pulled off at a scenic overlook.  I was off again, posing the best I could for the various cameras on the trail. I caught up with another slower group, and remained behind them until I hit Deal’s Gap.  I conquered the mountain.  I stopped and got me a t-shirt and a pin, and I was off again.  Just a note, don’t befool that this road is the only extremely curvy road in the area.  Seems that most of my way to Atlanta was spent leaning through turns, mind you doing this while it is raining, on the Smoky Mountains.  Adds a new level of difficulty, but I managed and really enjoyed the ride.

At the base of the Tail of the Dragon

At the base of the Tail of the Dragon

Riding the Tail

Riding the Tail

On another curve

On another curve

Tree of Shame - No contribution from me.

Tree of Shame – No contribution from me.

Dragon Sculpture

Dragon Sculpture

Dea's Gap

Deal’s Gap

Stop 1: Murphy, NC – It was a little after noon, and I stopped because reports say that the large front sit 5 minutes over the GA boarder, which is about 10 miles from Murphy.  Ate my Burger King lunch (yuck), chatted with another Harley riders (kewl), and donned my brand new rain suit.  An hour later I was back on the road.

Stop 2: Atlanta, GA – I pulled into Atlanta, and passed the location for the ’96 Olympics as well as the stadium.  I was planning on stopping for a little bit, but once a guy rode up on me with his bike and asked for change, I knew it was time to move on.  I mean, I just pulled to the side of the road and was still taking off my helmet when he asked.  This place is a trip.  I was going to visit my nephew, but it was still raining, and I couldn’t find a “safe” place with cover, so I decide to get out of the weather and down the road.

Stop 3: Forsyth, GA – Not much I can say, my fuel light blinked on, so I pulled off at the next fuel station.  While I was there, I watch a guy jump out his lifted 4×4 truck, shoeless, pump his gas, perform the tobacco spit, jump back in and drive off.  He drove off playing some rap music really loud.  I stood there in utter confusion, but I digress. It was still raining, and I really wanted to get out of the rain.  I’ve been driving it for over 150 miles.

Stop 4: Perry, NC – Mother Nature was throwing up clouds in my path.  Once I got out of the large storm over Atlanta, this bright yellow round thing appeared in the sky.  I was worried, but it was warm.  Unfortunately, it disappeared in a few minutes as another storm sat over the road I was on.  I mean, REALLY??!!  I drove a while longer and when I made it to Perry, the storm was gone and the temperature jumped up 20 degrees.  It was time to eat and remove this rain suit.

Hotel Stop: Because I didn’t stay in Atlanta as originally planned, I decided to get as close to the Florida border as I could before night fall.  I ended up in Valdosta, and stay in the Best Western just off Route 75.  I made a reservation while at Stop 4 and when I got there and walked into my room better known as an apartment, it was huge.  The lady behind the desk said it was the smallest room.  I was like, I hope my room in Florida can compete with this room.

Dinner is done, and I am in for the night.  OH, just a small point.  If you take a ride and carry an extra luggage bag, make sure you tie off any and all loose strap.  If not, you run the risk of them tangling up in your bike.  One of my straps was lodged in my rear brake.  I didn’t notice until I tried to take the bag off.  Thank goodness I packed my tool set, I had to loosen the brake to remove the strap.  Live and learn, at least it was corrected.

Day 2 Ended in Valdosta, GA at the Best Western at 9:30pm. Overcast, to Rain for ¾ of the ride.  Rain ended and warmed up after Macon, GA.  Another great riding day.  Riding 150 miles in the rain really improves your confidence, especially when riding on switchback roads in the rain.  Tomorrow should be arriving in Orlando, FL.

Go to Day 3 ->