Aarrffin' around Appalachia

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Aarrff, May 18, 2012.

  1. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Hey Bearcat! Thanks. I am near San Marcos now but spent the evening visiting with my son and really enjoyed that. Too late to cough up any photos from today but I'll catch up in a day or two. Headed on west in the morning toward Big Bend area.
  2. red bud

    red bud alky w/motorcycle problem

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    cool, i did part of natchez about this time last yr. stopped at dang near everyone of those signs. Hiked some of the trails turned into a long day of not many miles :lol3


    If ya come tru memphis on the way back stop in.
  3. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Hey Red Bud! Would be nice to see you again! Not sure of my route home yet but of course there ain't many places to cross that river. Headed down into Big Bend in the morning for a few days. Guess it will be at least the weekend before I get back east. Thanks fer checking in with me!
  4. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Brief highlights of my shorter ride from Woodville TX to San Marcos. Passed through Livingston, Navasota, Brenhan, and Bastrop. I had planned to go into south Austin but there were so many events going on that I could not find a room unless it cost about $500 :huh I wanted to spend a little time with my son who is living temporarily there so San Marcos was fine and he drove about 40 minutes down there to visit. Great time with him!

    Lots of flags today at half mast. I guess for a number of reasons and here I am just a short distance from the fertilizer explosion disaster.

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    Lake Livingston...big lake as I could barely see the shore line on this side and its a long way to my right from this bridge.

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    Just wanted to know what number I just passed ....... :lol3

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    Good sweepers at about 75

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    I have no idea what this is or how it happened... but I'll keep it

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    I have noticed that often they really screw up the line painting job out here...I guess the paint truck was dodging armadillos

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    Typical east Texas. Grass and big Oaks

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    I wonder if I buy a windmill and mount it on my top case...can I... nah...prolly would not work

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    The instruments on this machine get me confused, for example, here I am traveling half as fast as my distance today so far :huh and...I wonder what that has to do with the temperature??

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    Several areas have been burned out and a lot of homes through here got destroyed too

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    Ok, I am at my expensive room in San Marcos and made this leg a sort one so I have some time fer my young'un.

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    No more time to post today's ride but will get to it asap. Found some really neat back road stuff headed over to Fort Stockton that I will share with you soon.

    :wave
  5. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    still lovin all your rides :)
  6. Mtn Man

    Mtn Man Been here awhile

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    Looks like you are having a blast!
  7. snowbilly

    snowbilly Been here awhile

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    Thanks for posting.

    That field of Canola reminds me of Manitoba ... big crop up there. They used to call it rapeseed when I was growing up ... hmmm, not PC I guess. <cite>en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapeseed .

    We camped at Lake Livingston on our trip out that way in 2012.

    Keep 'em coming.

    rw
    </cite>
  8. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Thanks for looking in again kitesurfer. Behind a little on posting up so maybe have some time tonight to work on it.

    Really fun ride down in the major areas of Big Bend yesterday mtn Man. Awesome place...more later.

    Hey Richard and Suzanne! Lake Livingston is a big place. I am back to Boerne Tx tonight. Had planned to go north from Big Bend toward New Mexico but the weather changed my route. In Amarillo this morning, it was 30 degrees and freezing rain with a high today of 36. Following days not looking good either. I rode all day in the park at 95-102 degrees then when I got up to head out this morning, it was 38 deg F and 35 mile per hour wind. I fought a cross wind and some rain 284 miles to Boerne and I am tired so will get back in here later. I did not bring my heated gear so wore light fleece under my suit and then stopped and put on my rain suit and that held the heat in pretty good. I think I did most of it listing to starboard irradically..:lol3
  9. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

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    Jealouse only thing i ride is straight in florida
  10. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    :lol3 Going to throw up a few sucky roads I found in Texas...there are some that are not straight!! Thanks fer checking by Honkey Cat!
  11. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    My plan today was to reach Fort Stockton. From there, I can go on Monday down into Big Bend and spend a lot of the day exploring. It will be a long day, late riding will be hazardous because of deer. I headed directly west of San Marcos on Wonder World Road....maybe I should keep this route a secret...turned out to be, as I thought it might be, some really sucky stuff!

    Not so much for a while

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    Just tossing up some clues if you want to try this

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    Still a fine straight road at this point

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    More clue

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    Hmmm...could it be?

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    33 miles of this stuff until you find Comfort!!

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    Oh man.....This SUCKS!!! :rofl:wings:poser:ricky:ricky:jump

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    And the speed limit is more than I can do :p3rryThese big sweepers are Aweful!!

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    Rise and fall and sweep...

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    Whew!!! Almost into Comfort...can't stand too much of that..

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    Passing under I-10 at Comfort

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    Ok, jumping on the big slab as I still have over 200 miles to Fort Stockton and I need to rest up for the big day tomorrow

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    A few shots of the terrain and such on the way but did not take too many shots of an interstate...cross winds are wild in these cuts and will slow you or shove you or put you off the side if you are not alert...speed limit is 80! Of course I stayed within that....:lol3

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    Saw about a dozen dead deer along this [SIZE=2]interstate! I would not[SIZE=2] dare ride this late or in the dark![/SIZE][/SIZE]



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    Lots of wind power out here east of Fort Stockton

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    The Delux[SIZE=2]e Inn in Fort Stockton....I [SIZE=2]hate to say much but this looks like a dive on street view. These folks are remodeling and it was a real steal for what I paid. Very nice p[SIZE=2]eople, good mex food across the street, Ihop at the intersta[SIZE=2]te, lots of fuel close by and small grocery stores. Good stop if you are exploring[SIZE=2] but it is a long ride still to the Park of over 100 miles.

    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/P4211803_zpsf72e9e38.jpg[/IMG]





    [SIZE=2]Just so you'll know

    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/P4211805_zpsa6a56fe5.jpg[/IMG]





    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/P4211806_zps0c96f1ec.jpg[/IMG]





    [SIZE=2]About 1/3 the cost of brand names

    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/P4211807_zps2c7d494f.jpg[/IMG]


    [SIZE=2]No free breakfast but most of those are [SIZE=2]just[/SIZE] sugar and junk anyw[SIZE=2]ay.[SIZE=2]

    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/P4211808_zpsdb20e0aa.jpg[/IMG]




    [SIZE=2]336 miles today

    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/P4211804_zpsfd4e4334.jpg[/IMG]





    [SIZE=2]Ok th[SIZE=2]at'[/SIZE]s all I have time for and my internet connection is very slow anyway. Next chance I get to post up more will be the ride into Big Bend and some highlig[SIZE=2]h[SIZE=2]ts from there...here is a couple teasers for you..:lol3

    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/IMG_0754_zps803cd08c.jpg[/IMG]




    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/IMG_0757_zpsa2e01691.jpg[/IMG]




    [IMG]http://i1061.photobucket.com/albums/t470/Aarrff1/Canton%20to%20Big%20Bend%20Texas/IMG_0776_zps18a95fc6.jpg[/IMG]


    :wave
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  12. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Left Fort Stockton and headed south on 385 to Marathon, fueled up again as it is going to be a long day. I did not realize that they did have a small gas station in the park, expensive, but there is fuel. If you go, verify first that this station is open. Whether you go in from Marathon or Alpine, its a long way and exploring the park takes some fuel if that is your plan. I used to have a GS and traded it for this GSA. If I had been on the GS with a 175 mile range ( that is about all I ever got) then I would definitely have needed park fuel. This bike has about a 300 mile range but in strong headwinds out here and running 70+, economy is not so good.

    Ok, a few shots of the trip out there on 385. In this first one, there are areas of these old rough pine poles that still have the glass insulators from the telegraph days.

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    I explored some of the Old Alpine Highway and would have taken it down toward Marathon but it turns to dirt and I just do not have time to do that so back on 385 to maximize my time in Big Bend.

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    Photos do not describe the incredible expanse of what you see. I would watch mountain peaks on the horizon often for 30 miles or more.

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    Topped up at this shell near Marathon. Did some checking around while here and found out there is a neat hotel in Marathon that I will try next time called the Gage Hotel.


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    Back on the road south, you can see Santiago Peak far in the distance.


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    The Santiago Peak is 6,521 feet high which is dramatic from this elevation.

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    Camel Experiment by US Army

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    Entrance to the park. Still about 40 miles I think it was to Grand Junction visitor center.

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    Persimmon Gap entrance but no attendant so I offered to pay later at Grand Junction but it was free due to my Old Geezer National Park Card :lol3

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    The Chisos Basin is way up in them thar hills and the visitor center is at the north base of the mountains.

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    Explored a few dirt tracks but I would have liked to stay here for about a week. They actually have an entire book on the dirt roads that you can travel in the park.

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    Yes its hot as it looks.


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    Lots of deer in here

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    On the road up to Chisos Basin...very fun ride. Restaurant up there was open near the campground but I had food and did not take time for that.

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    Did not see a bear so I took a picture of a picture of a bear :wink:

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    View of the basin campground about 1/2 mile away

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    Wish had some days to stay here and see sunsets and the clear night sky...NO FIRES allowed.

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    Headed back down to the main park road then on to the Ross Maxwell Scenic drive to the river and views of Mexico across the river.

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    See that dark ridge in the distance about 20 miles away. That is my destination today at Castalon Ranger Station on the River and those cliffs are in Mexico and border the river. You can find this on google earth and get a feel for the awesome size of those cliffs. I was near the end of the paved road in some of the following photos at a dirt turn off to the river.

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    Back side or South side of Chisos Basin Mountains

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    A real fun road for about 23 miles

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    Down on the river

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    Learning to use the time lapse on my camera and my "hood ornament pose" showing you how the border lays :lol3 There was a picnic table here and nobody around ( I think) so I stretched out in the shade to rest my back and drink plenty of water....woke up about 30 minutes later...still had all my stuff :lol3

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    Wandering around the area some looking for snakes or whatever :lol3

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    The border patrol guys stopped to say howdy :huh Wanted to know where I was headed and I told them I was thinking about making a loop and taking the od dirt track back up toward Alpine.....They did not seem to think that I should since I was alone and all and so I just back tracked out soz I would not be worrying them. :lol3

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    You can figure out where I was on the river if you study Google earth and look for a river access near the end of the paved road

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    found the ruins of an old farm while I was down on the river...guessthey called the the gran canyon or something but its not the one up in Utah.

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    Wood just never rots here

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    Kitchen window

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    3 room house built with home made bricks then looks like they got tired of fooling with that and just started using rocks

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    My horse is well trained and waited patiently

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    Of course its hot...look at that thermometer...100!!

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    Need to roll as its getting late in the day and the road back to Fort Stockton is heavily populated with deer and I have well over a hundred miles to my room.

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    Ok, back to my room and I am whipped with this heat and a loooong day and 387 miles. I forgot to take this photo of the trip meter when I got is so this is actually at 9:44 the next morning as I was starting up to leave Fort Stockton. It is 38 degrees and the wind is howling! What a difference a day makes in this country!

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    I woke up to find 38 degrees and 30 mile per hour winds out of the north. I had planned to be on the road earlier but I slept late as I was very tired. Also, I did not bring my heated gear so I put on fleece underware, and put my rain suit on over my riding suit to hold in the heat. I had planned to go north from here into New Mexico but the weather north is freezing rain and 30 degrees, strong winds, and will not improve for days so its the end of my journey and I am headed the only direction I can survive in theses conditions...EAST. Even then I am headed toward a big system that I hope outruns me as it is very stormy. Tonight I am in Beaumont Texas and have managed about 600 miles with the north by-pass around San Antonio to avoid traffic congestion this morning and the whole way, the temps were in the lower 40's at best and 30-50mile per hour cross winds. It has actually made me feel rather beaten up so far but now the temps are warm and winds will be less so maybe I wont get too wet headed back to the hills. No photos the past two days as it was just interstate and I did not feel like trying anything with a camera....

    edit: Note that I did not see a lot of people in there. The off season starts April 15 through Nov 15 due to the heat so I was pushing it about as late as is tolerable I guess at least for me. Campground this time of year is first come-first serve.

    :wave
  13. snowbilly

    snowbilly Been here awhile

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    So much for worrying if it would be too hot in the south!! :huh

    ... besides we saw those pictures of you riding in the snow last winter. This is a piece of cake for you. :lol3

    Stay warm!

    rw
  14. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

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  15. snowbilly

    snowbilly Been here awhile

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    Great pics of the park - brings back wonderful memories. We can't wait tot get back there. The whole place seems so amazing because it just appears out of the low rolling hills of west Texas.

    "Persimmon Gap entrance but no attendant so I offered to pay later at Grand Junction but it was free due to my Old Geezer National Park Card :lol3"

    ... the visitor center at BB is where I finally bought my Old Geezer card -- what a bargain!!!

    :clap:clap:clap

    rw

    p.s. Probably going to check for Trillium at Max Patch tomorrow. We'll keep an eye out for mtngal.
  16. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    Howdy! The cold temps and freezing rain and such in the midwest kindla sent me east and south instead of toward New Mexico and etc... Not enough days to sit and wait it out, So I am in Biloxi and headed home. No photos of the interstate stuff...too boring. The wind was tough until I got past San Antonio and it's been easy since then.
  17. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    huh! I did not realize you were that much of an "old Geezer"! Gotta be in your name and not Suzanne's :lol3
  18. Aarrff

    Aarrff Gravel Grinder

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    On Tuesday 4-23-13, after spending the previous day in 100 degree heat in Big Bend, I left Fort Stockton about 9 am at 38 degrees, strong 30+ mph cross winds and the temp never got over about 45 as I recall. Here is the only photo I took which shows the conditions. I had to alter my plans to go north into New Mexico as the temps and conditions were impossible and no change in site for the better part of the week. Heading back east, I kept getting ice warnings from the bike computer. Had to wear my rain suit to try and keep some body heat in my ride suit.



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    I stopped about every 50-75 miles for coffee or just to try and warm up in a gas stations. By mid afternoon, I had managed 278 miles and began to feel a little hypodermic as I realized that I could not relax and ride properly and the muscles in my mid section were quivering so time to give it up. Found a decent and not too expensive room and spent some time in a hot shower! Shot of the trip meter as I stopped in Boerne Texas.

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    The next day on Wednesday 4-24-13, the conditions were a little warmer but light rain in the area. I suited up determined to make the best of it. I knew I needed at least to be home by first of next week so I thought about maybe some exploring in a few areas near Gulfport, Biloxi, and Pensacola. At least it may be warmer there. This day turned out to be even more windy than the previous day and the cross winds just beat me up pretty good. My neck was hurting from the pounding even though I stayed crouched over to tank bag and in behind the wind screen much of the day. The rain suit kept me warm enough and I managed 300 miles by the time I reached Beaumont and gave it up again too tired to continue.

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    On Thursday 4-25-13, the conditions kept improving so I managed 334 miles to Biloxi MS with a stiff neck. I failed to get a photo of the trip meter.

    Looking at the weather report for the weekend at home, it appeared to be considerable rain and I just did not feel that spending a day or so on the gulf coast was worth riding a long way home in the rain so I chickened out and headed home today Friday 4-26-13. Ibuprofen did the trick for my sore neck muscles, I had a great nights sleep in a nice room, a big steak dinner the night before so I hit the road thinking that I could get home from Biloxi and I did so here is the trip meter at 566 miles.



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    I left Biloxi at about 9 am central time and got in here about 7:30 eastern. Today's conditions were ideal for riding. Not sure of the overall mileage for the trip but will download my GPS data an note that maybe tomorrow. I am thinking well over 3,500 miles. Next time I head west like this or even north for a ride of over 3K miles, I am planning to be gone at least 3 or 4 weeks. This trip was fun going out and exploring the Natchez and other back roads but the return was tough mainly because of the weather along with the intense interstate speeds.

    Edit: GPS data shows 3,356 miles but some mileage, maybe a few hundred, was missed south of Marathon TX and in the Park area so I had it shut off part of that ride.
  19. ShimrMoon

    ShimrMoon Been here awhile

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    You should preface your post by warning folks to stay away from this area. The people you'll meet are rude, don't take kindly to strangers, and the roads around these parts are beat to pieces, not worth riding...especially WV...:evil
  20. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

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    Im sick of all your crappy pics and terrible roads.