Archive for July, 2013

Tennessee to Kansas

Posted in Uncategorized on July 29, 2013 by Pat Regan

When I left off I was deep in the Tennessee mountains. The roads out here are a lot of fun to ride on. Twisty rolling highways zig zag across the country slowly bringing me west. Many of the roads are carved through the limestone mountains. In the photo below a giant overhang creates a nice cool shelter.

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For my girlfriend Jillian. There was another rock that said Jesus in front, but I moved it for the photo. Sorry Jesus.

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I saw what looked like a cave. I went in to investigate.

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I assume it’s a limestone quarry dug into the mountain.

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There seemed to be a labrynth of tunnels within. I didn’t have my flashlight with me so I could only explore the parts where the daylight shined through.

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As usual on these old highways there are a lot of places long out of business.

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This old house was beautiful set back of the highway.

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I got a little lost after breakfast, but found my way to a town called Red Boiling Springs. There I came across an great little motorcycle museum.

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It’s called the Cyclemos Motorcycle Museum. Let’s go inside and have a look.

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The guys running the place were super friendly. They invited me into the shop where they were working on this magnificent 1941 Harley Davidson Knucklehead. Like many of the bikes in the museum this bike belongs to Mike Wolf from American Pickers.

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Mike (the mechanic) was taking this baby apart and keeping all the dirt and grease in some coffee cans because Mike Wolf like the dirt put back on when it is running again.

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There is a yet unsolved mystery with this bike. There are these little lights on the solid front wheel. It is still an unsolved mystery as to how these little lights are powered. Mike told me to keep in touch through facebook to find out the mystery of the lights..

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This town also has some really old hotels from days gone by.

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I was in need of a new rear tire. I called the guys at the Triumph dealer in Madison, TN and they said they would squeeze me in the next day. Madison is just north of Nashville. So I booked a room for the night in Nashville. My hotel had a guitar shaped swimming pool.

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In Nashville they have a recreation of the Parthenon from Athens, Greece. When I arrived they were filming some kind of country video for a girl named Julliete.

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The main strip in Nashville reminded me a bit of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

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The street is lined with bars pumping out live music and people partying.

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The next morning I was off the Castle Powersports where they hooked me up promptly with a new rear tire. The folks here were friendly and courteous. If you need help in the area give these guys a call.

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It’s always strange to see someone else riding my Bonnie.

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I was going to go north through the Land Between the Lakes and into Kentucky, but first I had a look at old Fort Donelson. Here you see old canons set up to take on the old ironclad vessels of the river during the Civil War.

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An old furnace in the Land Between the Lakes.

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Rain came down so I wasn’t able to take any photos of my Mississippi River crossing. Too bad, it was a beautiful bridge. I thought it would rain into the night, but much to my amazement the storm split and cleared right before me.

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I camped out in this swampy wilderness.

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I always like those old one movie theaters you find in small towns. Many have been converted for other uses but keep the facade intact.

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I was on old Route 66 for a minute in Missouri.

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I asked a local where I could camp in the area. I was lost for over an hour on dirt and gravel roads before finding my way.

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I finally found the campsite and chose a spot on the lake. That night it stormed. I was scared. I was in Kansas now and read on the weather app that north of me were 50 mile an hour winds and hail. They were warned to prepare to seek shelter. Fortunately by the time the storm got to me it had died down a bit. But still, everything got soaked.

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A couple years ago I passed by the home of Laura Ingels who wrote “Little House on the Prarie”. Here in Kansas I came upon that Prarie where they had built a replica of the Ingel’s home.

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Replicas are always a little disappointing, but it is the actual location of the old home. I was equally interested in the surroundings like this cicada and the softball sized walnuts.

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Sometimes on the road you meet some real friendly people. Sometime you meet an ass.

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I also like the old service stations. Like the old theaters many now serve other purposes.

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After many a twisty road, Kansas offers a straight shot west.

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I stopped by Meade, KS to see the Dalton Gang hideout. It was closed when I got there. As it was getting late and there was a storm ahead I figured I would stay in Meade.

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I stopped by a fleabag motel to ask how much a room was. While there I see a guy pull up on a Bonneville. When I stepped outside to say hi. He said we had met before. Really?? He said last year we talked for a while in Greensburg KS. Wow! This guy Danny lived in Meade. How strange to bump into him. Danny told me of a place I could camp for free in Meade and said he would be happy to show me. I grabbed a bite to eat and headed to his place. Below is his 2003 Bonnie.

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In Danny’s garage was a beautiful 1966 Chevelle he is working on and a 1978 Yamaha with only 5000 miles on it.

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Danny rode me out to the location of free camping near a lake about 15 mile outside of town.

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Thank you Danny. I had a great night’s sleep and now it’s time to head west.

To the Mountains!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2013 by Pat Regan

It was good spending that extra evening with my brother. We don’t get to hang too often. There is a fire station near my brother’s house that has artifacts from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon from 9/11. Coming from a rip in this giant Trade Center “I”  beam is the decaying head of a bird. It looks like it may have actually lodged itself there, but I did not investigate further to see if the rest of the bird is dangling within.

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I like that my brother keeps an American flag hanging from the tree in his front yard.

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My bro put the trash and recyclables out to the curb for the morning pick up. I went out to toss an empty bottle out and noticed a spider had already created this masterful cob web. Incredible!

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In the morning I was headed to Skyline Drive. 2 hawks flying overhead assured me it was going to be a good day. I had seen this old mill from the road on the way to the mountains once before. This time I figured out how to get there. Beverley Mill is a massive stone structure (believed to be the biggest stone build building in the states) and was built in 1742. The Confederate Army burned it during the Civil War but it was soon restored and remained a functional mill until the 1950’s. It then stood proudly intact until 1998 when it was gutted by fire. I parked Bonnie and walked down some railroad tracks to get to the mill.

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I believe all the floors were still standing and the windows intact before the fire. Now just a shell remains being held together by a metal framework.

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On the other side of the tracks a bit deeper in the woods I found the remains of some other structure which I assume dates back to the same time period as the mill.

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Front Royal, Virginia is the last town before getting onto Skyline drive. Next to the gas station where I was fueling up was an old diner turned car dealer turned abandoned diner. A fresh rain had just dropped. This leads me to mention a new piece of equipment. Gaiters!  Not the kind one finds in the Everglades. Gaiters are a clothing item that cover the space from the boot to just below the knee. They are perfect for times like this when it has just rained. Keeps those pant legs bone dry and no water can drip down into the boot.

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At some points you are above the cloud line or sometimes actually in a cloud.

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I camped out on Loft Mountain. I stayed here last year as well. I nearly stepped on this guy later in the evening.

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A full moon set the ambiance for my first night out under the night skies.

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The next day I continued down the drive. It eventually changes from Skyline Drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway without interruption.

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I came upon this bizarre orgy of butterflies. They seemed attracted to some charcoal someone had dumped by Otter Creek.

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I pulled of at Meadows of Dan and stayed the night at Willville. Willville is a great biker only campground. I highly recommend staying here if you are riding the Parkway.

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Will (of Willville) recommended I take Route 58 West. It did not disappoint. Not only did it present some of the Americana decay that I like, it had some real twisty bits as well.

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On to Tennessee. This giant guitar was just across the highway from the visitor center as you enter the state.

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There isn’t really a straight shot across the northern part of Tennessee. It may be because of that water you see down below. That and the mountainous terrain cause roads to zig zag across the state as you head west.

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Tonight I headed deep into the mountains for another night of camping.

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This was bear country. I saw a fox run across the road, but the only critter to visit me this night was a toad. Ribbit.

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On the Road? Could it Be? Yes!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2013 by Pat Regan

Well hello! It has been a while. I know, What can I say?…I’ve been busy.

As you may have seen in my last couple of posts (and you may suppose from my absence), I have been spending a lot of time with Jillian. An extended trip seemed unlikely for a variety of reasons. But in the end, both Jillian and I knew I had to ride. So I parted ways with my lovely rock n roll lady and hit the road.

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Maybe Jill can join us somewhere down the road apiece.

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In my last post I shared Jesse’s blog with you and now I share another. A guy named Trevor from Scotland shipped his bike over to the states for a three month adventure! He is well on his way, attempting to traverse the crusty remains of Route 66. Have a look and wish him well, http://ridingamericana.wordpress.com.

And so today began my trip. My trip to “who knows where?” I’ll hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway and see where that takes me.

I packed my bags, but hadn’t ridden in weeks. It’s likely the longest break from riding I’ve taken since I started riding. Once all the gear was fully packed, I went to pay my garage and check on the bike. Paid the bill and figured I’d start Bonnie up just to make sure she was ready. Turned the key and VROOOOOOM! It was time.

I ran a couple errands then back to the bike. I rode her to my apartment and parked her outside. Then I ran upstairs eager to get my gear. I loaded it all from the apartment to the elevator and into the lobby. Not an easy task. Then I went to put Bonnie directly in front of my building. I turned the key and CLICK. Noooooooooooo! Again. CLICK.

Ater some initial freaking out I went back to my garage where they had a portable machine made for just such emergencies. With the cables connected to the battery Bonnie started right up. I loaded the bike with my gear, dropped off the charger and got the hell out of a nasty urban heatwave that repulsed all senses. You can see the battery charger strapped on for it’s return to the garage in the photo below.

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I had to move fast. The doppler showed a major storm headed east. If I didn’t get ahead of it I was going to get slammed. I headed down to Maryland on a no nonsense I95 ride to visit my brother. I used to live in Maryland too. When my parents split I moved down here with my dad and finished my last 2 1/2 years of high school at High Point High. I could ramble on about this place and the many adventures with local inhabitants, but lets keep rolling.

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Finally as stormy weather approached I reached my brother’s house.

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My bro was still at work, but I received a warm welcome from his dog Yellow.

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Yellow anxiously awaits my brother’s return.

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My brother got home and we stayed up late. My original plan was to get up and go the next day. A late start and rain in the mountains today has delayed my start and besides Bonnie needed a good washing.

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So folks the adventure continues. I hope to share some good stories and photos along the way with my fresh, shiny ride.