Clunking my CX Cross Country

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by jlevers, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Bewildebeest

    Bewildebeest Adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2017
    Oddometer:
    13
    Location:
    Near Northampton,England
    Jesse,

    I only started reading this because I live near the original Northampton (in England) - now I'm hooked.

    Much earlier you mentioned that your bike needed a name - it would be very appropriate if you adopted the name of mine - owned for the last 34 years - and called 'Ubique' (the Latin for everywhere).
    I think the name applies to yours far more than it ever did to mine.
    no plates.JPG
    I get the feeling that a lot of old(er) gents (me included) are living their dreams and re-living their memories via your journey - and watching over you too. Good Luck

    Andrew
  2. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    442
    Location:
    memphis
    Jesse made it to Hotel ponytl in memphis, had some BBQ at the world famous Rendezvous, did a little fix'n / welding on his bike... I left him in the court yard fixing his tent poles with access to a warehouse full of tools and stuff IF he can find it... my son hooked him up with a wifi password..
    Guess I'll see him in the morning (i don't live there but I introduced him to some of the tenants and told them to watch out for him) [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Jesse and my son Payne working on some ribs
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  3. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Day 9


    We’re skipping Day 8, since I mostly just sat around in Asheville, found a new phone, and ate some awesome food…

    So, I left Asheville bright and early, psyched about getting some distance under my wheels. I stopped in about two miles to check my tire pressure (I should really do that...still haven’t since the day I left :hmmmmm), and was greeted with the sight of...coolant, coolant everywhere! Well, so much for my putting in miles…

    I had the bike apart in a gas station parking lot, trying to find the culprit…At first, I thought it was just the radiator cap being on wrong, but nope! A guy in an old pickup truck pulled up, introduced himself, and said that if I needed tools/mechanical help/etc, his house was just down the road and gave me his number to call. Well, about 10 minutes later, I gave him a call. Meet Nick, the nicest guy ever:

    [​IMG]

    He’s a machinist, and has about 15 old bikes in his garage. It turned out the issue was some pinched/cracked o-rings (4 to be exact), and he helped me figure out the best SAE o-rings to use to replace the metric ones, drove me to the hardware store, lent me his tools, and was all around a super cool guy. Thanks Nick!

    I left his house around 1:30pm, and headed for the Wheels Through Time American motorcycle museum. Damn, that place was coooooool. Here are some of my favorite pics (if you want more, check my Flickr...there’s a ton).

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    If this is a horseless carriage, is my motorcycle a horseless...horse??

    [​IMG]

    I headed out of Wheels Through Time at like 4:30, and really wanted to get to the Dragon. There was some really pretty scenery on the way.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    There was also this really weird/cool thing happening with the river, where there was a thick layer of fog just above the water...the pictures don’t do it justice, but it looked like there was a river made of fog. I’ve never seen anything like it.

    [​IMG]

    Obligatory Deal’s Gap picture:

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    The road was wet, and on the way down I had the nearest thing I’ve ever had to a real crash. My rear tire hit the paint of the center line, and totally slid out. I somehow pushed myself up with my inside foot while going like 25 or 30, and then the front hit the paint and started sliding as well. It somehow regained traction and I didn’t fall...that was scary as hell. I think I would have been fine, but I bet my bike would have been hosed. On the bright side, the overlook was pretty…

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    I ended up camping right on the Little Tennessee River, in a field behind a couple trees. The trend of sketchy campsites continues...I set up after dark, so no night pics. There wasn’t really anywhere to cook except the field, so I tried to clear out a little area to light my stove, but ended up lighting the grass on fire and had to dump a ton of water on my stove :bash time for some more bagels with peanut butter.

    Overall, not my favorite day. I felt kinda crappy all day, from some combination of undereating, undersleeping, and honestly, being kinda homesick. The next day was better...

    ----------------
    Start: Asheville, NC
    End: Maryville, TN
    Mileage: 150 miles
  4. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Day 10


    I woke up in my slightly hidden spot, and saw some pretty gorgeous sunrise clouds…

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    Then I got to re-ride the Dragon in the dry, which was wayyyy more enjoyable.

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    I headed off towards the Cherohala Skyway, taking a “shortcut” on Joyce Kilmer Road. I stopped to eat breakfast at a nice little lake.

    [​IMG]

    Then, I got on the Cherohala. That was a LOT of fun...I tried focusing on being smooth instead of fast, which someone suggested to me in my trip planning thread (I think it was klaviator).

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    I hopped off onto some Forest Service roads, which were even prettier and more fun :ricky

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    A random thought I’ve been having: the suggested speed limits for curves are very different in their accuracy in different places. In some places, they’re pretty close to how fast I can actually take the turn, but in others (like the Skyway) I can take turns at double the suggested speed very easily, and I’m not exactly Valentino Rossi.

    After finishing the Cherohala Skyway at Tellico Plains, I stopped to get some groceries and ended up talking bikes with some local guy for a while. I always enjoy it when that happens :beer shortly after, I passed this…

    [​IMG]

    I don’t know who’s in charge of these things, but that seems like a questionable choice at best. Let’s go swimming!

    I ate lunch in Chattanooga, next to the river (sorry for the crappy pic).

    [​IMG]

    Then, I crossed into Georgia, as shown by the least exciting/vibrant state line sign of all time.

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    Shortly after, I passed into Alabama.

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    It’s about damn time, I’ve had this stuck in my head for days!



    I eventually came to the Tennessee river. It looks like a lake to me…

    [​IMG]

    Alabama honestly didn’t do much for me. I’m guessing that I just experienced some of the less nice parts of Alabama, but it seemed like every road was lined with trash, and all the towns looked very dilapidated yet industrial. I mean no offense to anyone who lives in Alabama, it’s just my experience.

    Side note: I’d never seen an armadillo, and this was the first one I saw, although at this point I’ve seen many of them in similar or less well preserved states.

    [​IMG]

    It was weirdly hard to find a camping spot, but I ended up behind a church, next to a graveyard and a playground (a weird juxtaposition). And after some shaking, the stove lit even though I poured a half gallon of water on it yesterday!

    -------------------
    Start: Maryville, TN
    End: Guntersville, AL
    Mileage: 319 miles
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  5. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Day 11


    I realized I’m in a different time zone now! I woke up behind the church wayyy early...except not.

    [​IMG]

    I broke a tent pole while trying to shake the dirt out of the tent...whoops. Repaired it with Gorilla tape and zip ties.

    The reason I headed as far south as I did is because I wanted to go to the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, AL. It didn’t open until 9am, so I went to a Starbucks to steal some wifi in the meantime.

    When I got to the Grotto, it was totally empty. I didn’t realize that it was actually part of a monastery :doh a friendly monk (!!) with the head fringe thing going on let me leave my bags behind the desk. The Ave Maria Grotto is where Brother Joseph (of the aforementioned monastery) spent like 50 years creating miniature versions of various significant Christian buildings/emblems/other stuff. I’m not at all religious, but it was still cool (there are more pictures on my Flickr).

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    They had a dedicated chipmunk crosswalk! Those rodents have it made.

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    After leaving the Grotto, I started hauling across Alabama on back roads.

    [​IMG]

    Something I noticed yesterday but forgot to mention: holy hell, there are a lot of goddamn ants around here. What’s up with that…?

    I planned to do a shallow dip into more southerly AL and MS, but took a wrong turn and ended up in wayyy northern AL (in Muscle Shoals). So, I decided to just haul down Route 72. Wow, that’s a straight friggin’ road, especially coming from the twistiness of the Smokies.

    [​IMG]

    I basically just motored down that all the way to @ponytl’s in Memphis, with the one notable event being crossing into Mississippi. I stopped at the intersection of the Natchez Parkway and Rt. 72 for lunch, and ended up taking a run on the Parkway. I think maybe part of the reason I haven’t been feeling great is because I’m not getting any exercise, and usually I get quite a bit, so maybe consistently getting some will help my mental state.

    [​IMG]

    I spent the time trying to recall all of the lyrics to various songs. A sampler of the songs I was trying to remember:







    @ponytl treated me to what was undeniably the best barbeque I’ve ever had, at the Rendezvous, and then showed me around the city a bit. He also did some welding on my kickstand for me, because a) my bike has been leaning way too far, and b) the kickstand sags, so if I take a hard left hand turn, it drags on the road. I’m typing this from my own private three bathroom apartment :evil thank you so much @ponytl! I also learned that he has a CX650 Turbo somewhere…:velvt wow I want that bike.

    -------------
    Start: Guntersville, AL
    End: Memphis, TN
    Mileage: ~260 miles
  6. oldtouring B

    oldtouring B Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2009
    Oddometer:
    879
    Location:
    Al Ba Jerky. NM
    Thanks for the good update!nyou are chipping away at the miles.! Did you ride the dragon at night? Damn!

    Ants in Alabama and Florida.. they are everywhere.. the ones to watch out for are the fire ants.. the bites are painful.. do a google search so you know what to lookout for..

    Mosquitos do not like garlic. Try to add some to your diet..

    A suggestion.. develop the habit of patting your cellphone and wallet right before you through a leg over.. two things you always need to know where they are..! And stay off that centerline when it is wet.. no need to add some danger.

    You are adjusting to being solo.. you will be fine.. keep your mind busy with any thoughts.. ride safe..
  7. everready

    everready Stuck in Ohio....Ugh!!!

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2013
    Oddometer:
    3,188
    Location:
    Macedonia, Ohio
    Great report. You went right past the Fame recording studio in Muscle Shoals. It is pretty incredible. All kinds of artist have recorded there. I stopped in there a few years ago. It was an awesome experience.
    Ruud109 and jlevers like this.
  8. Passim

    Passim Still here

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    180
    Great update jlevers, you are meeting some awesome people along the way, stay safe out there... :thumb
    jlevers likes this.
  9. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    442
    Location:
    memphis
    Missed Jesse this morning ( i do not live at the building as with all builders MY unit is the ONE unit that is not finished, but I had advised...he might want to bolt early the rain from the great state of Texas is headed our way... but it looked like he could bolt west towards the Ozarks and "maybe miss it" at one of his last stops a fellow inmate had hooked him up with a windshield ( might have been my first ebay purchase before I attempted his ride) but He was praising it.... so better late than never... pretty cool that he is being forced into learning to wrench... the side stand on his bike... was NOT it's first home... nor did it appear that it's original home was a cx500... but after a minute on my bender and a few welds, (parked at my shop door... BECAUSE @ 60x80 there was not room to pull it in...) his bike no longer wants to topple over and the stand is no longer 30 degrees towards the front of the bike... and the spring now keeps it in it's full upright position,
    Jesse is a big time mountain biker and my son hits the trails about everyday so they got to debate the pros & cons of suspension types.. so it was cool of Jesse to engage Payne... I basically tossed him into a sparse empty Condo and I forgot to even tell him there was a washer and dryer that he could use (don't know if 18yos know how to use ) but I hope he took advantage of a hot shower , air conditioning and the wifi.. Hoping that a little comfort /rest helps him on his journey and keeps him safe
  10. Gham

    Gham What's for lunch? Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,565
    Location:
    Auburn Hills,MI.


    Good job ponytl,I have many friends who endlessly complain about this next generation but I quite enjoy their wanderlust and enthusiasm!
    jlevers and Passim like this.
  11. mrbreeze

    mrbreeze I keep blowing down the road

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    12,807
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Good on you, @ponytl for helping the young man out!

    :clap:clap:clap
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  12. Bikey

    Bikey Jeff in Fairfax

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Fairfax, VA
    This is a super RR.
    jlevers likes this.
  13. Passim

    Passim Still here

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2010
    Oddometer:
    180
    ponytl :thumb
    In my younger years of traveling there were folks like you that helped me out along the way, you never forget those kind gestures, good job.
    jlevers likes this.
  14. Ruud109

    Ruud109 Dutch in Barcelona

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2009
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    Barcelona, Spain
    Great stuff, keep on going buddy! Some history there, in Muscle shoals!
    Back in the 80s when i was a kid I always liked the looks of a CX500 Custom with the lightly raised bars.

    Ruud
    jlevers likes this.
  15. ponytl

    ponytl even my new bike is old

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2017
    Oddometer:
    442
    Location:
    memphis
    exactly... my 13yo works with me all summer and hangs with me a lot... I try to teach him "the road you leave behind you is another road you're going to have to go back down..." I'd like to think someone will help him on whatever adventure he might choose... we talked tonight that there just aren't many guys Jesse age these days that would do what he is doing... he was impressed while I'm impressed with the 70yo young lady that just did 7k miles on a honda 250
    jlevers likes this.
  16. rickj

    rickj Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2007
    Oddometer:
    349
    Location:
    33.496960,-117.195289
    Jesse may not even realize it at this point, but this trip is far more than a young man's trip across the country on a motorcycle. He's learning a lot of wonderful life lessons through this experience and building character. In particular, he's learning that are a bunch of great folks on this forum willing to help him out along the way, which is a testament to our great community.

    Jesse's learning that, in spite of the tumultuous and turbulent world that his generation is inheriting, there's actually inherent goodness in most folks. These lessons will carry with him and he will remain strong in this knowledge. He's also building phenomenal memories that he'll look back on with wonder as his life progresses.

    Most of us older folks on this forum dreamt of doing something like Jesse is actually doing when we were of high school age, which is likely why we are enjoying seeing him live out his dream. His version of Then Came Bronson - 48 years later.
    TCBronson, torch, mrbreeze and 6 others like this.
  17. Bikey

    Bikey Jeff in Fairfax

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Oddometer:
    28
    Location:
    Fairfax, VA
    I bet he would like having some Bronson rocks...
    TCBronson and jlevers like this.
  18. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    I realized yesterday afternoon that it was the 30th, and is not the 29th as I'd thought... So I'm going to have to make some miles to make it to Colorado on time. I'm in Clarksville, Arkansas right now. I don't mind needing to put some miles down though, because I think I'm ready for a change of scenery...been seeing a whole lot of the same thing for 2000 miles. It sure has been pretty though!

    Also, sorry for not individually responding to everyone's posts... I'm finding that I'm surprisingly busy. But I am enjoying reading them all!
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  19. RickS

    RickS Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,494
    Location:
    Altus, OK
    Once you cross I-35 in Oklahoma it will change - the views will be wide open
    jlevers likes this.
  20. jlevers

    jlevers Type 2 fun

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Oddometer:
    454
    Location:
    Western Massachusetts
    Dang, now I have a bent foot peg that didn't respond to some convincing with a hammer. Guess that's staying bent 3