The Long Way Home. Huntsville to Cleveland on a 250.

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Jun 26, 2012.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    I got up early and was at the first one at the breakfast bat at 6:00 AM. By 7 I was on the road. It was still cool but I didn't expect that to last. I decided to avoid the interstate and avoid Bowling Green and Nashville during morning rush hour. I don't know if those two cities have bad traffic during rush hour but living in the Atlanta area has gotten me in the habit of avoiding rush hour if at all possible.

    My route would be 90 to 31E to 231 to Huntsville. For the most part there wasn't much traffic on these roads and my speed was close to what I'd be doing on the interstate except when going through the numerous towns along the way.

    Some Kentucky countryside:

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    One town I went through in TN had a town square so I stopped for some pics. I don't remember the name of this town but perhaps someone from the area will recognize it>

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    I did remember that there were some inmates who lived in this area and one even did a ride report on the roads around Murfreesboro, TN.

    It soon got hot and I put on my cooling vest. I didn't know it at the time but this was the beginning of an intense heat wave in the south which would see many temperature records broken. It would have been a miserable ride without the vest.

    This next pic was going through a town in TN.

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    The reason I took this pic was to get the price of gas on the sign: $302. Gas was under $3.10 when I started the trip but kept going up as I went North. It was around $3.50 in Ohio. In less than a week I would fill up for $2.91 in Alabama. The difference in gas prices is mostly due to taxes. With higher taxes you would think that the northern states would have more money to maintain their roads but the roads in the south were in much better shape. I think Ohio spends that extra tax money to hire more State troopers to harass motorists on their interstates:huh

    For the most part 231 was a pleasant but not very exciting ride.

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    Then, somewhere south of Shelbyville, it briefly turned into a very nice road through some wooded hills with some nice sweepers.

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    But it didn't last.

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    Back in the Rocket City.

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    I was done just before noon. Total for the day: 192 miles. I'll wrap up the trip in my next post.
    #81
  2. Scootard

    Scootard Scraggle McSquarely

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    Great ride report with interesting pics. Your SportCity seems to have met the challenge with panache, elan and esprit de corps. Small scooter touring is an excellent way to go.

    By the way the picture you posted was Lebanon TN, but I cheated with Google......haha. :rofl:rofl
    #82
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Panache? elan? esprit de corps? My Sport City is Italian, not french:rofl

    OK, how did you figure out it was Lebanon using Google?
    #83
  4. bujas

    bujas Adventurer

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    Nice ride report it really shows that it's not the bike but the biker who really matters and you have the adventure rider spirit.
    #84
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    People do put to much emphasis on having just the right bike. Personally, I place much more importance on where I ride. I'd much rather ride a beat up old Honda 350 on a scenic, twisty road than I would a Ducati Panignale in the middle of Kansas.

    Luckily, on this trip, my Aprilia was a great bike for the ride.

    Now, before I procrastinate any more, I'll try to wrap up this report.

    First, my bike. The Sport City was a great bike for this trip. It is fun to ride on twisty roads. Small and light enough that I'm not afraid to take it off the pavement. It was comfortable even on the highway. A little more power would have been nice but the little 244cc motor was certainly adequate.

    The Route: I didn't check off everything I wanted too. I wanted to check out 421 south of Shady Valley. It's still high on my list. I'll try to hit it on a weekend this year or next year at the latest. I never made it to Willville Cycle Camp. I had also wanted to ride North East West Virginia but ended up staying on 16 all the way. 16 was a great ride but the best part was between Marion, VA and Beckley, WV.

    Camping. This was only the second time I carried my camping gear on the bike. I really enjoyed staying at Blue Ridge Cycle Camp. Motorcycle Campgrounds are great places to stay because they are set up for riders and there are always other riders to meet and talk to. Hungry Mother state park was also nice. North Bend in W VA was just a place to sleep. I never did sleep that well on my 1" thick mattress and I will need to come up with something better if I want to do more of this in the future. A regular Air mattress is comfortable but takes up a lot of room. Any suggestions?

    It was great going back home and spending some time with relatives and old friends.

    I was not really looking forward to the ride back to Huntsville in a day and a half but I even enjoyed that.

    This trip was a good learning experience for me. Some day I hope to go on a really long ride around the country. There's a few things I will need to figure out before then.

    First, what bike to take. I'm undecided between a slightly bigger scooter or a small Adventure bike. I guess I'll take what I happen to have at the time.

    Second, I need to figure out how to camp better as already mentioned.

    Third. I need to get a smart phone or small laptop so I can update my ride report as I go.

    OK, that's about it. For everyone who followed along, I hope you enjoyed my report. To everyone who participated by responding, thanks and I hope to see you all on the road some time in the future.
    #85
  6. LWRider

    LWRider Been here awhile

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    "People do put to much emphasis on having just the right bike. Personally, I place much more importance on where I ride. I'd much rather ride a beat up old Honda 350 on a scenic, twisty road..."

    How true. I wrote a blog entry a long time ago about that. So many have to wait for the perfect bike, and all the perfect gear that the whole thing becomes about the gear and not the ride. I say fine, if I had the money I'd have a Tiger adventure bike, Aerostitch leather suit, boots made to exactly fit my feet, full face Arai helmet, etc. etc. But when I started riding all I could afford was gas and some rudimentary gear (read cheap jacket and a second-hand pair of boots). And yes, I even rode all the was from Florida to Michigan and back in plain old blue jeans!!! :eek1 And that was on a 40 year old CB350!! :eek1:eek1 But the thing is, I went; I didn't wait until I could afford the "right stuff." And I had a blast.

    And this: "A regular Air mattress is comfortable but takes up a lot of room. Any suggestions?" I would love to hear some cheap (yep, I'mm still cheap) and portable solutions. So far I have just slept on the ground, and nowdays state parks have gravel camp sites! :huh

    Sound like you had a great time and didn't get caught up in all the "stuff."

    Cheers,

    Mike
    #86
  7. jeff_connors

    jeff_connors Adventurer

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    I have slept on the ground a lot (former military). That is not the way to go. Even more important-it's a safety issue. You want a good night's rest so you are not falling asleep at the bar's (I have and it scares the wit's out of me---among other things!) They have self-inflating foam mattresses now. They are expensive and I never used one so don't know how well they work or how small they fold up. If you carry a small compressor with you, a regular air mattress can be pumped up quickly and they are extremely comfortable. Sleeping on air is 'more better'...in my opin...than any foam. Foam is hard--better than gravel or the ground but still hard. I have old military air mattresses which are built well and are not heavy or take up much room when deflated and rolled up. My 2 cents.
    #87
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    You are absolutely right and good on you for taking that long trip on an old 350 while wearing blue jeans.

    As for having the right stuff, I actually had some pretty good riding gear although I didn't spend that much on it. Nowadays you can get fairly good riding gear pretty cheap if you look around. My gear:
    Fieldshear mesh jacket and pants. I got them from Comp. ACC. for around $150 on closeout.
    Fulmer modular helmet with internal sunshade: $100 (retail $150)
    Yoshimura Gloves: around $30 on closeout
    LL Bean goretex hiking boots that I bought around 10 years ago
    Motoboss Cooling vest: $10 on closeout

    My camping gear:
    Tent from Wally World: $25
    Field & Stream self inflating ground pad: around $60-70
    Sleeping bag: $25
    Camping pillow: around $10-15



    I have a regular air mattress which I use when camping out of my truck. It is much more comfortable but also takes up much more space. Add in the required air compressor and it takes up a significant amount of space. This is not such a big deal when on a bigger bike with more luggage space but I wanted to be able to fit all my camping gear in the bag on my rear seat. I do have one of the self inflating ground ads but 1" is just not thick enough. It would be nice if there was something thicker that 1" but less bulky than a typical 6"+ air mattress.
    #88
  9. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    My wife and I have the REI Trekker 1.75" sleeping pads. They seemed to be the best compromise on size, but still be comfortable. I'm able to get a fairly good night rest with those. We can fit both sleeping pads and both our sleeping bags in a Dry bag that one of us carries behind us on our seat. The other person carries the tent although we just upgraded to a Kelty Gunnison 3.1 and it packs pretty small compared to our old cheapy tent we had. We also bought a Kelty Gunnison 2.1 for when either of us go solo camping and it really packs light and small. When we do that, one of us can get the tent, sleeping pad, and sleeping bag all in 1 dry bag.

    We recently had some guests from Washington State spend the evening with us and they had a queen size air mattress that I was amazed at how small it folded down to. It even had a rechargeable pump that pumped it up and deflated it and it was pretty small too. I would say it took up less room than our 2 sleeping pads did. He was able to store their tent, air mattress, sheet for the air mattress and 1 sleeping bag that they opened up all in 1 side case on his BMW 1200.
    #89
  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    You guys got me thinking. I got out my air mattress and compared it to my ground pad. It doesn't take up that much room when folded. I took a pic of both and a rechargeable pump. I added a size 12 boot for reference.

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    The air mattress can be folded one more time and end up close to the same size as the ground pad. I may just take it along next time.

    Thanks for the suggestions.
    #90
  11. BlueLghtning

    BlueLghtning Riding is my passion

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    The only thing to be aware of is air mattresses don't work so well when its cold out. They often allow the cold air to come through them. Although in the summer, you might be thankful for that. :D
    #91
  12. Davidc83

    Davidc83 Been here awhile

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    Bowling Green rush hour is busy but not bad (unless there is an accident)-3 lanes on each side of I-65 and Bowling Green isnt really that big. Now Nashville, rush hour sucks. I live in Indiana and my wife lives in Florida (work related) and I travel down a few times each year. I have been stopped in stop-go traffic from 20-30 miles north of Nashville to past Murpheesboro (sp?).
    Back in 07, I took by little gz250 I had at the time on a 2500 mile trip to Florida and came back up 231 thru Alabama, Tennesee and KY, not too bad of a road except going thru towns and cities with a stop light every block.
    Anytime anyone is in southern Indiana (Louisville Ky) area and need a place to pitch a tent let me know. I have 10 acres out in the country surrounded by hundreds of acres of a state forest; no neighbors except for deer, turkey, possums, etc...
    #92
  13. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    A warmer sleeping bag and/or mattress cover can take care of that.


    You live in Indiana and your wife in Florida? And I thought I had it bad being separated from my wife part of each week by a 175 mile drive.
    #93
  14. EdM

    EdM Been here awhile

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    I suspect many who have followed this thread have mixed feelings at this point: pleased you had a safe and enjoyable trip and sad to see your well written and entertaining report coming to an end.

    Hoping you have many more such rides.

    Ned
    #94
  15. jeff_connors

    jeff_connors Adventurer

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    Or you can take your wife along to keep you warm. Or your G/F. Or your wanna-be G/F. Or find a girl on the Net...or find....
    #95
  16. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Thanks for the compliment. I can assure you I was much more sad than you are when my trip ended and I had to go back to work:cry

    I am also hoping for even better rides in the future.



    Great Idea but I can't fit my wife and camping gear on the scooter at the same time.
    #96
  17. dpippin

    dpippin Adventurer

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    Win

    Haven't seen you in ages. I stumbled onto your ride report and followed it.
    When I go up to Parkersburg WV I take 16 from Marion to Beckley.
    From Beckley I take a combination of 19, 16 through Gauley Bridge, pick up 36 at Clay Junction, then 14 at Spencer which brings me out to I77 at Mineral Wells. Then it's just a few miles of interstate into Parkersburg.
    If you use a GPS I can send you the route.
    One word of caution, Gauley Bridge is a speed trap. Be very careful if you ride through there. They will even make up things to give you a ticket.

    Doug
    #97
  18. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

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    Hi Doug, It has been ages. How have you been doing?

    I'm happy to report that I made it over the Gauley Bridge, and the rest of the trip with no "performance awards":D
    On advantage to my scooter is that I generally don't have a problem staying at or near the speed limit on straights or in town. In the curves, on the other hand.....:evil

    As for GPS, I'm one of those technologically handicapped people, no GPS, no smart phone, never been on twitter:lol3

    Hoping to make it up in your direction this fall for some dual sport riding.

    Win
    #98
  19. Riff

    Riff Been here awhile

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    I loved riding along [vicariously] on this thread! Very nice! I worked in Bluefield on the WV side for a little as a ... will save that for another story, and I drove all along that part of the state to just south of Charleston. Loved all those towns and the people! Great ride, pics and report! PLease keep em coming!

    On another subject got me a new ride to go with Kira. I might be able to keep up with you now!
    #99
  20. Scootard

    Scootard Scraggle McSquarely

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    Hey K:
    I've heard "dance with the one what brung ya"" I'm guessing whatever you have that goes when you twist the gas will work. I don't think there is a perfect bike. Enjoy what you have works for me!!

    Camping, stealth or glamping is an acquired activity, you will find what works for you. Practice makes if not perfect at least better.

    A laptop worked well for us, and allowed me to carry on business as required. Another of Scooterchick's great suggestions.

    Oh and by the way. you can grow up without growing old. Never grow old, you're too much fun to hang with the way you are. Thanks again for taking us along, we really enjoyed the trip.....even meeting your relatives....haha




    :thumb:wave:rayof