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Old 10-10-2013, 05:19 AM   #1
No False Enthusiasm OP
a quiet adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Small Town, Texas
Oddometer: 4,979
Barney Fife is alive and well, living in St Francisville, IL.

This is the story of two old army buddies riding from Small Town, TX to Bloomington, IN. This wasn't our first ride to Bloomington. That happened in the beautiful Fall of 1975. We were soldiers once and young, to paraphrase the book title. The Vietnam war was over... we were almost carefree.

This trip was to celebrate our first ride, and to visit my daughter and son-in-law. Little did we know that we would encounter Barny, make his day, and that he would make ours...

On the third day of our trip, we had cruised up the Ohio River bottom and were headed to cross the Wabash. Our route avoided all slabs. We focused on finding the best moto roads... meaning two lane, twisting rural routes through small towns.

As we approached St. Francisville, IL, I noticed a banner proclaiming "Chestnut Festival, First Weekend in October!" Upon entering the pretty, little town it seemed as quiet and calm as my small hometown. Turning a corner, I noticed a couple of saw horses in the street... no orange cones, no "Road Closed", no detour signs... and no milling crowd of festival goers.

I eased my Bonny SE between the saw horses, thinking some teenager was pranking the locals. My wingman followed me as we dinked along in first gear. Only one block later, I encountered another couple of saw horses. These were closer together so I was careful not to catch a soft saddle bag as I passed between them.

Just as I cleared the horses, I heard a siren and saw the flashing lights as Barney raced up.


I slipped the gearbox into neutral and reached over to turn the key... but it wasn't fast enough for Barney.


I killed it, put the kickstand down promptly, and got off. My wingman did the same. The mark of a good wingman is one who will follow the lead even when the lead is wrong.

I took off my Qwest and started taking my ass-chewing. Barney was nuclear. I apologized for traveling through the "barriers". As he continued to chew my ass. I tried to explain that I did not see a "Road Closed" sign or a detour route.

Barney asked for our drivers licenses as he continued chewing butt. He may have never seen a drivers license from Texas as he seemed to falter a bit.


My wingman replied, "I'm retired."


"I worked in the oil patch."

"WHAT DO YOU DO?", he asked me.

"I"m retired, too. We were soldiers together, then..."

Barney interrupted me to say in a more normal tone of voice, "I respect soldiers, but you shouldn't have crossed my barricades. In my job, I do two things. I write tickets, and I chew ass."

As he handed back our licenses, he said, "You've just had your asses chewed. Have a nice day."

I couldn't resist. "Sir, I have had my ass chewed by some of the finest men in American. I'll now add your name to the list."

Barney finally laughed.

"Have you seen my bridge?", asked Barn.

"No sir."

"Well, you're in for an experience... have a nice day."

Barn returned to his patrol car while we put on our helmets and gloves.

I cranked up the Bonny SE and rode off, looking for Barney's Bridge across the Wabash. A mile or so later, I found myself riding across a narrow railroad trestle converted to a one-lane bridge. In lieu of rails, two rows of 2x6 planks were nailed to the crossties, each row being about 24 inches wide.

I carefully crossed the Wabash on Barney's Bridge with my wingman in close formation.

My trip included some of the best moto roads in OK, MO, IL, IN, KY, TN, MS, LA and TX. But the highlight was my run-in with ol' Barn. I only wish I could have had piece of Aunt Bea's apple pie.

But, I'm thankful that I didn't share a cell for the evening with Otis.

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Old 10-10-2013, 05:43 AM   #2
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Location: Backwoods of Kentucky
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Great story, any pictures ?

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
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Old 10-10-2013, 03:43 PM   #3
" Bitter Clinger "
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Location: NW Alabama
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That is awesome! God bless and thank you for your service, and Welcome home!
08 BLUE KLR 650


Sprinkles are for winners
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Old 10-10-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
No False Enthusiasm OP
a quiet adventurer
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Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Small Town, Texas
Oddometer: 4,979
As opposed to some of the great photojournalist that post incredible shots on this site, I don't take photos... I also don't use GPS so I have no string of waypoints.

My rides are just a bit more than stream of conscious traveling... just a basic outline with plenty of opportunity to freelance.

Originally, I had planned the trip on Google Map by entering the starting point as Small Town, Texas and the end point as Bloomington, IN. I hit the "Avoid Highway" option which resulted in a trip of just over 1,000 miles.

I broke that route into three legs with the first at just over 400 miles and the second two at about 350 miles each.

On Tuesday, October 1st, I checked the weather along the route and realized that I would probably get wetter than I wanted to... the Army gave me plenty of opportunity to be cold and wet... I needed no more.

The weather gave me the chance to revise the route to include a run through the hills of eastern Oklahoma, cut through the northwestern corner of Arkansas then traverse Missouri along 160. Inmates have previously recommended parts of that route. All of Mizzou was in play except for Branson... just too goofy a place for me. I would later find out just how goofy Branson can be.

I planned to cross the Big Muddy at Cairo... might as well cross the Ohio there as well, even if just for an over and back side-trip.

The plan was then to ride through the Ohio River valley through rural Illinois crossing the Wabash at what would become Barney's Bridge. The best twisty route of the trip was in Indiana on 450. An inmate had mentioned this route, and I agree that this road is not to be missed.

My bike is a 2009 Triumph Bonneville SE with a starting milage of 24.5k. I bought it from an inmate a couple of years ago with only 500 miles. The bike came with a fly screen, luggage rack, side racks, centerstand and gel seat. I fitted Ikon springs and shocks, Orlieb saddlebags, Motofizz tank bag and mirror extenders. Motor, exhaust and gearing are stock. I'm running Conti RoadAttack on front and TrailAttack on back due to the non-reg wheel size.

My gear included the previously mentioned Qwest, Darien highviz jacket with black pants, Sidi boots and plenty of layers to adjust warmth as required. All worked well with no failures along the way.

Day One's adventure will be the next installment....

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