Sunshine state to the highest peak of Alabama.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Josh Leyburn, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. Josh Leyburn

    Josh Leyburn Shepherd of Cats

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    With the flock
    A Poor Choices Production
    This is a fictional account of real events, some of which actually happened.


    Several years ago I rode the SEAT and really enjoyed the section running along the Alabama/Georgia border. Especially the Talladega National Forest with its twisty and curving limestone gravel fire roads that allowed the rear tire to skate with ease. Since then I have been wanting to return.
    Spring of 2020 I had a bad itch and started to work on a route, by the time it was complete I had a full schedule with work and could not get away for the rest of the year.
    The roll-charts sat in a drawer of my desk just waiting for the day...

    Day one,
    I left my home in Ocala before dawn with my well-worn KLR perched upon the bed of my pickup. A cold front had just arrived following a line of showers and storms and the temp was in the mid 30's as I drove north and west toward the state's capital city.
    By the time I had unloaded on the outskirts of Tallahassee and all luggage was secure the sun was shining and the temperatures had climbed into the 40's.
    After a 20 mile jaunt of pavement I was on small secondary roads that quickly transitioned into un-paved as I worked my into Georgia.
    Red clay and hills passed by at first as I dropped into and climbed out of the many creek bottoms and deltas of the waterways. Temperatures climbed into the low 70's with not a cloud in the sky.
    In the afternoon the landscape flattened out and transitioned to mostly sand as I neared the chattahoochee river. I would stay the night near the banks of the river/lake in Eufaula Alabama.



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    Day One - 214 miles​
    #1
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  2. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,686
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    :lurk:drink
    #2
  3. Josh Leyburn

    Josh Leyburn Shepherd of Cats

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    With the flock
    A Poor Choices Production
    Fictional accounting of real events, some of which actually happened.​


    The morning brought temps in the high 30's, which is cold for a Florida resident. I made coffee and started slowly breaking camp. Not in a hurry to get on the road before the sun had a chance to rise and warm the air a bit.
    Heavy rain and storms had passed through a couple days before and I started seeing the damage. Roads transitioned from sand to red clay to pavement and back. There were lots of washouts to lookout for. Several roads were closed, as well as a bridge, and I came to a gate closing what shows to be a county maintained road on every map that I looked at.
    As the day progressed the hills became larger and sand was replaced by a mixture of clay, rock, and limestone gravel.
    The last 50 miles to my intended campsite included 30 miles of rocky fire service road that required a much slower pace to prevent bent rims and pinch flats. One 9 mile stretch was especially rough with large holes and rocks protruding from the roadbed tall enough to shear off footpegs.
    Arriving at the campground a few minutes after the sun dipped below the horizon I opted to route to a Hotel in Talladega rather than enjoy another night of temps in the 30's. I showered and slept fitfully that night.

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    Day Two 294 miles​
    #3
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  4. Josh Leyburn

    Josh Leyburn Shepherd of Cats

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    With the flock
    A Poor Choices Production
    Fictional accounting of real events, some of which actually happened.


    The rising sun was bright and harsh as I ventured east out of Talladega. Farther south the trees had a good covering of leaves but here most were in the process of budding out and did not provide obstruction to the bright rays coming from the horizon.
    I followed a plethora of tristy gravel roads, just the type I had remembered with marbley corners that are so much fun. Sliding and spinning, I worked my way north to Mount Cheaha, the highest point in Alabama, It was so engaging that I did not stop to take pictures until over 100 miles had elapsed and I was once again heading south.
    I jumped on the SEAT/TETS route heading southbound. It makes good time and includes some choice asphalt with scenic overviews. Temps had climbed into the 70s, and with clear blue sky's it was perfect riding weather.
    All too soon the mountains turned into hills and I rode mile after mile of graded logging roads, occasionally passing through the remnants of small towns with abandoned buildings covered in vines as the property was reclaimed by nature. The roads slowly became more sandy, as the heavy red clay and rock began to subside. Wildlife was abundant and several small birds narrowly escaped collision. At one point in a swampy area I came upon a group of deer and one of the yearlings ran beside me down the graded road as it tried to avoid swimming the wide and flooded ditches on each side of the road.
    I slept near the Chattahoochee river, with overnight temps only dropping to the 50s for a welcome change.

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    Day 3 - 299 miles
    #4
  5. ZigzagguzzI

    ZigzagguzzI Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1,116
    Location:
    N E Ohio.
    Great!
    #5
  6. Josh Leyburn

    Josh Leyburn Shepherd of Cats

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    With the flock
    A Poor Choices Production
    Fictional accounting of real events, some of which actually happened.

    I broke camp early and was underway before sunrise. I had over 200 miles of chart left and another 3 hour drive home after reaching my truck.
    The morning flew by, and all too soon I had stopped to load the last roll chart of the trip.
    The roads became lighter in color as I neared the border, and the few vehicles that I did encounter left plumes of dust in their wake.
    Jackson-Line road runs along the border of Alabama and Florida, and I followed it for several miles.
    Just like that I was back in Florida, the unpaved roads were 40' wide beds of graded sand, soft and powdery until you run into a heavy grove of oaks where the shade and sediment make the earth darker and firmer.
    I moved to Florida for a job and the state has been good to me, it's where I started riding off-road. I learned in sugar sand and black mud among the palm trees and palmettos of South Florida under the watchful eyes of hawks and iguanas.
    I don't care for the persistent humidity and heat, lack of topography, year-round mosquitoes or the large banana spiders that ride leaders collect on their helmet and handlebars. But, sometimes the live oaks, pines, palmettos and white sand does feel like home.
    These are the thoughts flowing through my mind as I stand leaning back against the handlebars to lighten the front tire as I proceed through the white sugar sand. The loaded bike wags and twitches at every rut. Just a few years ago I would have been wide eyed and white knuckled as ruts threw the bike around and the handlebars jerked. But now counterbalance is muscle memory.
    Thoughts move to good friends who have long since passed, and I absently attempt to find 6th on my 5 speed gearbox. Eyes are alert and sharp, scanning the path ahead and treelines for threats, everything else is automatic.
    I consider the last trip to my home state to see my dying mother, grief that is still fresh and raw, not yet fully processed and stowed away like the others. Dogwood trees were in full bloom as I returned south through the hills of Kentucky, on a cool day that was just as sharp and clear as this one. The bike wags and bumps through the ruts to the steady thrum of a big bore single.
    Motorcycles are my centering point, the abstract and deep thoughts observed inside a helmet are usually drown out by the constant onslaught of information and problems of work and everyday life. There are times when riding off road with my buddies the pace requires strict attention and adrenalin courses through the body purging all other thoughts. This is both exhilarating and relaxing.
    I roll the throttle forward approaching an intersection and come to a stop at the edge of a highway.
    The Sun is bright and high overhead. A dump truck rumbles past with the smell of diesel in its wake. I look across the highway to a straight sandy road disappearing across flat fields into the horizon. I cross the asphalt and plow into the powdery surface with a heavy throttle, and silly grin.
    I'm nearly home.

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    Day Four - 262 miles


    Dedicated to my Mother, who loved to read about travels and always encouraged such reporting.
    #6
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  7. SwampyDeadHead

    SwampyDeadHead Ride, Rage, Rinse, Repeat Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2020
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Tampa, FL
    Hell ya.
    #7
  8. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    17,928
    Location:
    Huntsville , Al
    Glad you enjoyed riding in Alabama, I know I certainly do. Great job on the ride report:thumb:thumb
    #8
    Josh Leyburn likes this.