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Thread: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

  1. #1

    Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    “It's time for all dogs to be dead, ain't you glad you's a pup?”


    That's a phrase my grandma used to say. Raised a farm girl, she was a hard worker all her life, up until she passed last year. The saying can be interpreted different ways, but I read it as a reminder to live life to the fullest while you can.


    The Goal:

    • Tour and photograph America for 31 days


    Enabling factors:

    • Single

    • Flexible job – I have 31 days off (trip dates: August 21-September 20)

    • I'm 24, right on the brink of 25 years old. A quarter of a century. I'm sure that doesn't sound very old to a lot of ya'll but it's a decent sized step from my point of view. If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it now.



    The Ride:




    My 1999 Honda VFR800. I bought this bike back last December and have been working on it constantly since then. The previous owner let it sit up nearly 11 years, so my first duty as landlord of Honda Estates was to evict all the freeloading varmints parked up in the airbox. The fuel system was next, then oil, coolant, you get my drift. The bike's ready and raring to go.



    Plans:


    • Camp as much as possible

    • Travel very spontaneously (my favorite parts of the trip are usually a product of chance or a last minute decision)

    • Experience food across the country


    Places I Hope to Hit:


    • North GA, staying at Two Wheels of Suches
    • Ozarks
    • Badlands/Black Hills
    • Glacier NP
    • Banff NP
    • Yosemite NP
    • Zion NP
    • SW Colorado


    It seems that every guy I talk to about my trip gets a wistful look and expresses desire to make a trip similar to this or pines over a missed opportunity to take this sort of journey. Whether it didn't happen because of finances, spousal disapproval, tight work schedules, or a sudden rash of leprosy laden armadillos at their vet clinic, I realize my blessing in being able to pull this trip off.


    RD

  2. #2
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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    Despite It All


    Yesterday, I left work for 30.5 days. Yesterday, I left home for 30.5 days. Yesterday, I left my camp chair because it wouldn't fit. Yesterday, I planned to leave by 3:00 PM. Yesterday, packing took way longer than I expected and I didn't get left till 4:45 PM.

    I'm writing this from Two Wheels of Suches. I finally rolled in last night, sometime around 9:30 PM. That's quite a bit later than I had hoped. If I had managed to leave at 3:00, I wouldn't have had to ride up US 60, US 129, US 19, et al in the dark.

    The Honda VFR800 has a very unique sound, especially the 5th gen with the gear driven cams like mine. Some have compared it to a raging beast, but last night, my girl Vanessa was anything but that.

    Allow me to set the scene. It's after 9:00 PM. The sun's been down for a while. Forest creatures skitter around. Mostly silent minus those drama queen cicadas. The Viffer is running great, dual headlights cutting into the forest. Wait, the forest? Shouldn't they be shining on the road? Turns out my headlights that were slightly high with no weight on the rear become better suited for coon hunting loaded down. The low beams were decent but hardly night riding confidence inspiring. Instead of a raging beast slashing it's way through the forest, she became a lumbering pack animal with glaucoma, man. I'd have to use low beam up to the point when I lean into the corner, then I could switch to high beam mid corner. Kind of like playing one of these with half the screen covered.

    The scenery was beautiful, well at best okay. Oh, who am I kidding, I couldn't see it!

    Despite things not going to plan, here I am! Full Day 1 begins now.


    Pics will have to wait because I forgot a SD card reader.

  3. #3
    just another Saddle Tramp Dusty Boots's Avatar
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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    Ken - 1992 Honda GL1500 Aspencade
    Camping Styles - tent camp off of bike - 2013 HF Cargo trailer - 2011 Aspen Sentry
    "It's never too early to plan and never too late to go!" - Dusty
    http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8518/8390110233_2a7d94ec03_m.jpg

  4. #4
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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    Life's Little Bugs

    After the harrowing ride up GA 60 in which my headlights touched the road less than a pathologist's tongue would be likely to lick a specimen of ebola, I arrived at Two Wheels of Suches. After a good nights sleep and a hearty breakfast of pancakes and bacon, I walked outside to start loading the bike back up.

    I was met with disappointment. As soon as I rounded the corner of the building, I see a blue 5th gen VFR800 with polished wheels pulling out of the parking lot. A guy on the porch remarked: “He'd been trying to figure out who had the red VFR. He was pretty desperate to find someone to ride with.” I missed him by 20 seconds. This may not seem like a big deal, but I've never actually seen another 5th gen VFR from closer than across I-26 let alone having the chance to talk to the owner. VFRs aren't crazy rare bikes, but in my area of the country, a BOLO for a black and chrome bike would result in 95% of local bikers being pulled. Much Harley. Such Chrome.

    When I did finally leave, I took Wolf Pen Gap Rd. What a brilliant road it is! I enjoyed the area in general much more than the Tail of the Dragon, although the Kickstand Lodge is still tops in my book. Much less traffic and wider shoulders make for a more enjoyable riding experience. There's nothing like the feeling of a morning ride in the mountains as the fog lifts, the grass still wet with dew, the air is crisp and invigorating. It makes me question why I live in Flatland, SC.

    I am of the personal belief that when Satan possessed the serpent for a time, but he still resides in every yellow jacket ever. I don't like bees. I really don't like wasps. I hate them in my helmet.

    I was diving into a particularly juicy corner on Wolf Pen Gap Rd (GA 180) when a large bee thunked on my windscreen and managed to flip up into my helmet (visor was fogged, so I had it up) landing directly behind my nose guard and between my mouth. With the business end of a bee pressed against my mouth and still wriggling bee fuzz on my lips, it was hard to stay concentrated on the corner. I managed somehow, and flicked it out when I found a straight section, which takes a while on that road.

    It got me thinking. Like a bee in our helmet, life throws us unpleasant things that we have to face head on. We can flip out at the occurrence and end up in life's ditch, we can postpone action until it's too late and we get stung, or we can choose to remain calm and deal with the situation in a timely manner.

    Back to the road, GA 60 is the best. Move over Cherohala, Tyrone's got a new bae. This road has it all. Sweepers, technical stuff, scenery, good pavement, ample services available. Just marvelous.

    The rest of the ride to Parsons, TN was pretty uneventful, minus 60 miles in the rain on I24 and 840. I made the mistake of taking Blue Ridge Rd to Ocoee, TN. Great scenery, but SO MANY raft buses belching clouds of various colored smoke like a soup du jour of coolant, oil, and fuel. The smell made me think of the assault my nasal passages took in Managua, Nicaragua, and that, my friend, is not a good thing.

    Just remember, if life throws a venomous creature in your face, keep your eyes on the apex and throttle in for the long haul.

  5. #5
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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    Sunday morning, I set out from my cousin's place in Parsons, TN bound for Harrison, AR. The previous days riding had been great, but reality set in when I checked the radar for the route I was taking. I was wondering why they used a different color for Arkansas than the other states on the map, but when the radar went into motion, I realized that they hadn't colored the Natural State red because of the Razorbacks (Woo Pig Sooie!),* but because of the huge storm front starting in Oklahoma, stretching across Arkansas and all the way into Tennessee. I looked outside and it was raining already in Parsons.

    After suiting up in all my rain gear (PVC and insulated gloves make for a free sauna experience) I said goodbye to my gracious hosts and tenderly made my way down their treacherous driveway that was slicker than eel snot. I wasn't looking forward to riding in rain all day, but the trip must go on!

    Thankfully, the rain stopped after about 20 miles, and the roads were dry enough to take off (come to think of it, the term I most often use for putting on the rain suit is “donning it”, so is there an opposite to donning? Undonning?) the rain gear. Things still looked pretty overcast, so I kept an eye on the radar. The storm seemed to be breaking up on the north, a good bit further north than I had planned on heading, but dry was dry.

    I had two choices: I could continue with the route I had planned, which would have me on more fun roads, but further south into the possibility of heavy rain, or I could strike out up north, hugging the Missouri border, which had much straighter, boring roads but less chance of rain. In the end, I chose to head north, and I'm glad I did.

    Like a charm, the rain broke up on the North and I came as close as meeting people with their wipers on, but I ran with no rain for the rest of the day, and I even got the chance to ride some twisties.

    Push Mountain Rd was disappointing at first because of the very poor pavement, but it soon became a Mecca of sweepers and curves. Very fine ride after the pavement cleared up. While coming around one corner, I saw a bit of debris on the centerline. I thought it looked like a dead squirrel, so I decided to see if I could slap it off the road. In hindsight, not the best plan. I don't have the best luck slapping things going down the road. I almost broke my arm once trying to brush my fingers on a traffic barrel and ended up catching it mid-arm at 45 MPH. So, anyways, I leaned into the corner, leaned over and almost grabbed it when the now very much alive squirrel whirled around to face me with a look of terror and a hint of befuddlement. I decided not to grab it, because I wasn't sure what I'd do with it when I had it. So it goes...

    What surprised me was AR 14 to Yellville. That road might just be in my Ozark top 3, behind Hwy 7 and* Hwy 123. The fact that it leads straight to Razorback Ribs is also a huge plus. If you've never been, you've never truly eaten. Well, okay, maybe you have, but at least not on a RR level.

    Harrison was a homecoming of sorts. I lived there for 15 months in 2011 and 2012. Rolling into Harrison was a harsh reminder that time marches on unmercifully, at least to your memories. Things change, places that once were popular hangouts are now boarded up, but new construction everywhere. You can't live in the past, but it sure would be nice if you could every now and then.

    So, anyways, further updates will be slow. I'm writing this at a campground in Badlands National Park in South Dakota, so I have no service to upload.

    You can plan all you want to, but there are no shortages of wrenches that can be thrown into the works. The key is learning when to fold your plans for something new, or to stick to your guns.

    Until next time:

    The best laid routes of mice (or squirrels) and men....

  6. #6
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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    Localized Glaucoma

    Arkansas treated me just fine, like usual. It was hard to leave, I could have stayed another day or even a week. As I headed up Hwy 60, I was greeted with the familiar sights; Branson, Hollister, Ozark, and Lambert's Cafe. On a side note, there's a lady suing the “home of throwed rolls” for throwing a roll at her and hitting her in the face because she didn't catch it. If only they had signage indicating the dangerous possibility of airborne gluten bombs! Oh, wait. It's on the billboard. Carry on.

    Honestly, I don't have a lot to share with you about this day. It was pretty uneventful, mostly just getting from the Ozarks to Nebraska which involved far too much Missouri. Nothing against Missouri, just that coming from the excitement that is the Ozarks, straight, flat roads can get a little boring.

    For this post, I'll let the pictures do the talking. I don't have many pictures during the day, because I got a late start and had a lot of miles to put on.



    I believe this next picture sums up all of Midwest small town America into one photo.



    When I was taking this photo, a guy pulled up on his bike and asked if I was okay. When I told him I was taking pictures of the town, he said “Taking pictures of Union, Nebraska? You must be out your mind, there's nothing pictureworthy here.”

    I beg to differ sir, I beg to differ.


    Wildfires elsewhere have left a haze of smoke in the sky, which isn't great for breathing, but is great for sunsets!



    I finally arrived in Seward, NE at late thirty. I had to trek back about 2.5 miles on a gravel road. I thought riding that far on gravel was bad. But things were about to get much worse...

    Takeaway of the day: Often, others can see beauty in things you cannot, because you are too familiar with said things. Sometimes it takes looking at the trees as a stranger to be able to see the forest.

  7. #7
    Site Supporter moodygne's Avatar
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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    ~~~LIKE~~~~ nice pictures, and write up.
    Gary

    Darkside # 751
    May God keep us all safe, and full of love.
    2016 Road Glide, and 2014 piggy back cargo trailer

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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    ~ ~ ~LIKE~~~ Great write up keep it coming .
    Dewey

  9. #9
    dan1551's Avatar
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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    LIKE!

    2012 Limited Harley Davidson +09 Aspen classic
    ( WIFE MADE ME BUY THEM BOTH)
    The only time you can have too much fuel.............is if your on fire!

  10. #10

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    Re: Time for All Dogs to be Dead

    I am enjoying your trip report. Keep them coming.

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