Full Throttle Touring - 150 through the Rocket City

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by klaviator, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Dave, I appreciate your response, as well as the others that have responded. This ride today reminded me of something that you have so eloquently brought out in you ride reports: That is to appreciate what we have and enjoy every day while we can. We can never be sure which day will be our last. For some of the residents in the comunity in the above pics, last wednesday was their last day.
    Phipsd likes this.
  2. cbolling

    cbolling Here...Hold my Beer.

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    Wow!! :eek1
  3. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I just wanted to add this to my last post. It's a song that I think fits in with what I just posted. I hope you enjoy it, but more importantly, listen to the words.
  4. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Exactly. But keep in mind that my pictures do not really show what it was like. I had seen lots of footage on TV and on the internet. I still wasn't prepared for the emotion of seeing it in person.
  5. 13lky2

    13lky2 Adventurer

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    My folks still live in Huntsville, well actually Harvest where you rode through. Fortunately they only lost their mailbox and a tree went through the back fence my dad had just repaired. My cousin, whom also lives in Harvest lost her house, she and her baby were home when it hit. Fortunately they are both ok. I was out of town when it hit, I was seriously alarmed when I got to the hotel lobby and saw Tuscaloosa and then, to my horror, Birmingham! I tried to call and text my wife, nothing.... I rang a friend from work who lives around the corner and got no one there either. A tense 30 minutes later, he texts me back that everything is ok in our community. I was just about to jump in the car and drive 6hrs to find out what was going on. The wife calls a while later and said cell service and text was scarce but that she and the kids were ok. I have a friend at work who told me that parts of Arab still have no power...
  6. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Nice thread klaviator!
  7. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    It's been quite a while since I updated this thread. I've been doing a lot of riding but it was mostly in the mountains of N. GA, NC, and TN so I did separate ride reports for each of those trips.

    This past week end I did some full throttle touring starting and finishing in Huntsville. I wanted to go to Southhaven, Ms (just south of Memphis) where my wife was visiting her parents. I have made this trip several times before but always driving a cage. It's 200 miles taking the most direct route. I figured if I changed the route some to make it more interesting it would make for a nice ride on my scooter.

    I knew that Northwestern Alabama and Mississippi would never be able to compete with the mountain riding I really love to do but it would still be better than sitting in a cage and I'm always up to go explore new roads and see some new sights.

    Since the forecast was for hot and humid, I decided to get an early start to beat the worst of the heat.

    This was the scene less than 2 miles from my apartment, just before turning left and heading West.

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    The fog burned off quickly. I jumped on I-565 and headed west toward Decatur. This is crossing the Tennessee river just before Decatur.

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    Then it was Alt 72 to Florence and 72 after that.

    It's been well over a month since the deadly tornadoes but it's impossible to drive far in Alabama without seeing the damage that was done. Not much left of these houses except the foundations.

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    The storm took out many of the trees in the area.

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  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    One of the roads that has been on my list of roads to ride is the Natchez Trace Parkway. I didn't have time to ride all 444 miles but I did include about 35 miles in my route.

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    If you're wondering what happened to my Super 8, I still have it. Less than 2 months ago, after selling my old R1100GS and Dr250, I picked up this new 09 Aprilia Sport City 250 for a really great price. As much as I love my Super 8, it doesn't go fast enough, even at full throttle, to be practical on a trip like this. I know that some people go cross country on 50cc scooters but I like to be able to keep up with traffic.

    The Natchez Trace Parkway was nice, but doesn't compare to the BRP, at least the section I rode doesn't.

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    Last time I was in Mississippi on 2 wheels was 1994 on another bike to small to go touring on; a Kawasaki EX500.

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    The curves are very gentle, the Speed limit 50 MPH, and it is not elevated like the BRP so the scenic overlooks are quite different. Here is a view of an old indian mound.

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    And a peaceful river.

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  9. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    The next leg of my ride was taking Ms route 4 from the parkway to Holly Springs. Just off the parkway I stopped at a Army Corps of Engineers/Tombigbee waterway visitor center. It was a good place to take a break, eat a Pb&J and check out the sights.

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    There is a pretty good size lake here with a beach and some marinas & boat ramps.

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    And also a lock for boats moving along the waterway.

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  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Route 4 turned out to be the best part of the ride, I liked it better than the Natchez Trace Parkway. It's not that it was a great road but it was a pleasant ride.
    It even had some of my favorite signs:clap

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    Despite the sign, this road will never be mistaken for Deal's Gap. The curves were pretty mild.

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    The landscape was rolling hills and farmland.

    There was even this small lake and waterfall.

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    I wouldn't go ride MS 4 just to go ride it but as a way to get somewhere, it's a good road.

    After that I got on 78 and about 25 miles of 70 MPH interstate. Then some back roads to my destination. Total trip was 242 miles. Because of my early start it didn't get hot until the last hour of the trip.
  11. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    On Monday I rode back to Huntsville. It would be much hotter than the trip here so I left even earlier.

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    I went back on MS 4 to the Natchez Trace.

    There are a number of small towns along 4. I believe this is Ripley.

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    I like old town squares.

    More of route 4.

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    Crossing the Tn - Tombigbee waterway again.

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    After getting to the Natchez Trace I went a different route. I took 24 to Decatur. I wanted to see something new but it was not as good of a ride as 72/Alt72. It seemed more industrial and a high percentage of the traffic was trucks.

    I got back to Huntsville well before noon and it temps were well into the 90s.

    I'm glad I rode the scooter instead of driving. I wanted to see how the scooter, as well as me, would perform on a medium length trip. We both did just fine. With milder temperatures I wouldn't hesitate to jump on the scooter and head for the west coast. Now I just need to find the time and money to do it.
  12. Mr Head

    Mr Head Adventure Hippie Supporter

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    Nice ride. That sunrise shot was great.
  13. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    Time to use the scooter for another commute. Most weekends i commute from Huntsville to Marietta. It's normally a 175-180 mile commute depending on my route. I decided to ride it on my Aprilia this weekend and vary the route a little to try to make the ride a little more interesting. I prefer to ride the less traveled 2 lane roads instead of 4 lanes. I also wanted to see some different scenery and of course there is my never ending quest to find roads with lots of curves:ricky.

    I got up early Saturday Morning so I could beat some of the heat. Besides, who can sleep when there is riding to do. I started off on my normal route: I 565 to 431 to Guntersville. It's a reasonable scenic ride although mostly foggy on this day. I still took a few pics:

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    In Guntersville I turned off my normal route and headed east on 227 which has some nice curves. Then Hustleville rd to 68 to Collinsville. In Collinsville I detoured onto a small road that looked interesting on the map. This had some of the tightest curves I have ridden in Alabama.

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    It was short but steep with a bunch of tight switchbacks.

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    It was worth the detour which was a good thing since I ended up taking a wrong turn at the end of this road and going the wrong way.
  14. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I eventually figured out I was on the wrong road. I was on 176 headed to Little River canyon when I wanted to be on 68. I didn't want to backtrack so I took a small county road heading south. It was a pretty nice road and I did see a house with an interesting Rock in the yard.

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    I got to a tiny town and decided to take another county road heading East rather than continue to 68. This turned out to be one of my best decisions as this was probably the best road of the trip.

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    .

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    Eventually I ended up in Georgia. Here's some nice Georgia countryside.

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    A little later I turned on to a main road and found myself at the tail end of a large herd of "real bikes":D

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    Total mileage for the day was 205 and I probably burned about 2 1/2 gallons of gas. I turned a routine and boring commute into a nice ride and saved a bunch of money on gas.

    Then I finished the day by going to a movie featuring a Scooter gang. OK Larry Crowne wasn't just a movie about scooters but it did have Tom hanks and Julia Roberts riding on one.

    I'll be riding back to Huntsville tomorrow. I'll try to get some more pics.
  15. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    The return ride was uneventfull. I took a slightly more direct route but still managed to ride some new roads. I didn't get any exciting pics. Rural Alabama does have some crappy little towns but this one is proud of it.

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    :lol3

    By the time I got back to Huntsville it was getting pretty hot with the heat index well over 100 degrees. I stopped a Cycle gear and found a cooling vest on sale for $9.95. I'll have to give it a try. It doesn't look like the heat is going to let up soon with heat indexes of around 115 for the next several days.
  16. brunstei

    brunstei Been here awhile

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    Let us know how the cooling vest works out... $10??
  17. Yankee Dog

    Yankee Dog Long timer

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  18. brunstei

    brunstei Been here awhile

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    Cancel that request - drove over there at lunch today and got the last of the $10 old stock ones. I'll give it a try in the next few days. :jkam
  19. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I finally tried out the vest. I soaked it in the sink for about 5 minutes. Then I ran into my first issue. Water was running off it when I pulled it out of the sink. I didn't want to get water all over my floor and carpet so I put it in a plastic bag and carried it out to the garage. Once I was ready to go I put it on. It felt wet and clammy, but also cool when I put it on. Then I went riding. The temperature was around 90 when I left and I checked again when I returned; 93 with a heat index of 102. I rode for about 40 minutes, then stopped at the local scooter shop, then rode about 20 more minutes. Overall the vest worked pretty well. It was not nearly as effective as a wet T-shirt, but the T-shirt would have been dry in about 10 minutes. I was wearing the vest under a mesh jacket. After an hour of riding it was still wet and was providing some cooling but was not as effective as it had been the first half hour of the ride. It was especially effective when stopped at a light. No baking until I was moving again. On a down side, I didn't get that instant, but short lived relief when taking off after sweating at a light.

    I'm not sure how long it would have continued to be effective but there is always the option of wetting it down again. Normally when going on a long ride in hot weather I try to get an early start when it's still cool. Next time I'll soak the vest, put it in a plastic bag, then put it on after it starts to get hot.

    Bottom line, it was definitely worth the $10 I paid for it.

    If I was going to design on of these vests, I'd put some pockets on them so ice could be put in the pockets. I may try to add some pockets to the one I have.
  20. Yankee Dog

    Yankee Dog Long timer

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    This about mirrors the experience I have with mine. Rather than ice which I dont think will last long enough to make a difference, I am going to try carrying a squeezable water bottle in a tank bag. When the vest starts to lose effectiveness I will recharge it with a squirt from the bottle. Should go right through the mesh jacket.