Final Entry

So here’s the map of the full trip.

I should have checked the odometer before I left, but I didn’t. It was more than 2000 miles on the way up. The way down was probably longer.

My butt is sore, the bike needs fluid changed and a serious wash.

 

Clarksdale MS (Home of the Blues)

I had wanted to go to Clarksdale on the way up to Brooklyn, but we went a little more southerly so that we could ride the Naches Trace National Parkway.  I would like to say something better but there is no denying that the town is poor. Clarksdale has tried to parlay the blues history into a tourist attraction.  The museums are small but nice, a few music venues that mostly just had music on Friday and Saturday.

Main street had many collapsing buildings and a few buildings being remodeled.  There are some funky ‘hotels’ that are repurposed buildings.  I didn’t stay in any of them as they were more expensive than I wanted to spend.

Woodstock GA to Clarksdale MS

Oooh, it was a long ride.   I wandered off the track some to see the parts of Alabama and Mississippi that you don’t always see.   Most was pretty much what I see in all small towns.   Walmart (or maybe Amazon) has killed the downtown in most small cities.  On this trip my first stop was in Gadston Alabama.  At least two 10+ story buildings that seem almost unused. The downtown is trying to remake itself with gift shops and resale stores.

One caught my eye. A quilt and yarn store, “The Taming of the Ewe” Yarn an Tea Boutique, I should have gone, as where I did go was un-remarkable.  The rest of the places on main street were just folks making use of space with a cheap rent.

On to the back roads of Alabama and Mississippi gave me a time to see the miles and miles of agriculture that exists.  Most of what I saw was corn.  But the item that stuck in my mind, well maybe stuck in my nostrils was trucks hauling chickens.  Jeez, they smelled bad, the chickens did not look good and even empty it was all I could do to not be behind them. The little towns look the same

as they do in Texas.  I did run across a house that had a rock exterior.  I looked closely at it to see if it was a facade on a frame house, but it looked like it was not added on after the house was built.  I wasn’t brave enough to knock on the door.

In the small towns, the only store left are ones that sell items you need right away or are big ticket items (cars, machinery, tires, auto repair, fast food) The only ‘general merchandise’ stores left were Walmart and Family Dollar, and I expect that they impacted by internet sales.

With the horizon looking ‘wet’ I suited up for rain, and a good thing I did as I spent too much time with rain. It’s not uncomfortable but it does make you want a hotel/motel at the end of the day.  I would not want to try to camp after being in a washing machine for a coupla hundred miles.

I did make it to Clarksdale, ‘The home of the Blues’ A funky little town that seems to be trying its best to make some tourist $s off of its reputation as the Home of the Blues.

The Blues Museum ( $10 ) is well worth it.  The stories, pictures and artifacts are wonderful.  Seeing posters from Antone’s in Austin makes me realize how really special Austin is with regard to music.

 

Trenton to Woodstock…

Trenton to Woodstock?  Am I back in NY NJ ?  Nah, just the North West part of Georgia. I contacted a friend of mine who  lives in Woodstock GA and he graciously offered a room, that was the good news, but he was in the midst of finals and would not be home till sometime after 4 PM, so I had to kill some time. Looking for a good road in North

Georgia I came across Hwy 2 through the Chattahoochee National Forest.  Looked good *AND* its fun to say Chattahoochee!

Hannah and I have seen a number of wild turkeys but on highway 2 I saw a turkey with 8 or 10 chicks…

My friend in Woodstock was a gracious host and a beautiful house with porch facing some piney woods of Georgia.  It’s been a *LOT* of years and it was fun talking of all the different paths we took getting where we are now….

 

You leave the Pennsylvania Station at a quarter to four…

I was going to stop in Chattanooga but went on to this little town Trenton in the NW corner of Georgia,  I *DID* see two horses, so it’s not that small of a town…

Well the last post was foreboding and kinda of a cliffhanger ( OK that’s redundant).   But I woke up at 6:30 went over to “Early’s Cycle Center”  They weren’t open but I checked them out. Went to a Starbucks for coffee and breakfast, then back to the Motel to shower.  And when I did go over to “Early’s” about 30 minutes before they were supposed to open and they were already open and ready to help.  Got the tire changed, and got on the road at 11AM.

OK this was Virginia but as I was leaving I was listening to a local radio station and they had a short drama that the two disk-jockeys read.  I don’t remember the title exactly but I think it was “Pedro and Billy”.  It was the *most* offensive thing I have ever heard.  The script was too involved to just be ad lib radio banter, but the jokes were all at the expense of illegal immigrants and at best junior high level. I thought I might be able to find an mp3 of it, but it was so bad, I think it’s better just left alone.

Most of the day was on interstates and about noon I was starting to get rained on. I sorta needed gas so I stopped, gassed up and put on my rainsuit.  The Harley riders were huddled under an underpass, and I zoomed off like some giant yellow marshmallow peep.  Another lone rider passed me on an Africa Twin, and we traded places for a hundred miles or so, but he pulled off into a rest stop, and I was alone.  Rain gear worked well, I was dry.

I realize I need to have more pictures…

 

 

 

Traffic :( Rain, …

I got an early start from Brooklyn on my trek back to the heat and humidity of Austin TX.
I learned of an accident that shut down all lanes of a highway that I was heading down. I took a detour that turned out longer than I wanted (but I still might have made the right choice) . *THEN* a flat, patched that but felt I should get a new tire. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Tolls!?

OK, I expected a few tolls, but really.

Hannah and I were riding m’cycles from Baltimore to Brooklyn.   I didn’t add them all up, but I think we payed almost $100 for the two of us.

$$30 !!   Staten Island/Verizano

$8           Delaware Turnpike

$16          JFK Turnpike.

And that’s what I can remember!!

Ugh!

 

 

 

From a parkway to the concrete jungle

From the bucolic Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway we descended (in more ways than one) to Baltimore.  Hot, traffic, concrete, and interstates.  A rude reminder of how nice it was on the parkway.  We jokingly said, ‘remember this morning when it was a winding road over tree covered hills?’  Yeah, and it ain’t no mo’.

We hunkered down at Lesley’s for the night as there were tornado warnings for NYC.

Ooooh, and the home cooked meal of lentil soup was great!  I tried to get a pic of the kitchen party but sorry about the blurry pic 🙁

We locked up the bikes at a ‘tool library’ where neighbors can borrow almost any manner of tools.  The shop seemed to have any tool that you might need to fix a car or house along with a well equipped wood-working tools.

 

Carthage to Peaks of Otter

Well, we’ve has some highs and lows in the last two days.

So it was I-40 / I-81 which is fast and boring.  Followed by a very circuitous route in North Carolina to my friends Vicky and Stephen’s wonderful farm.

It was a long day and I missed the driveway and had to turn around, Hannah dropped Pegs while turning around , and it went down an embankment towards a creek.  Hannah was embarrassed. The bike was fine, pride was hurt. Stephen had a tractor and was happy to help pull it up the embankment, we cuddha pulled it up ourselves, but the tractor made it a cinch.

 

Supper was a wonderful shrimp as an appetizer followed by pork chops  ( Did I mention this was North Carolina? ), corn on the cob, green beans, and 1 asparagus stalk split between the 4 of us.  The asparagus stalk was the first from their garden and it was huge,

Vicky and Stephen have a rescue Labrador that was quick  friends with Hannah.  A sweet dog Alaric Ok, maybe his name doesn’t invoke images of a sweet, calm and gentle soul but he got the name when he was a puppy.. Alaric only barked at the heron that down at the pond.  Hannah tossed a tennis ball, Alaric would bring it back but not give ’em up.  But that was part of the game.

Vicky was kind enough to do some laundry.  Minor maintenance on the bikes (looks like Pegs needs a new chain and sprocket set (ordered from Amazon and it will be waiting for us in Brooklyn…  Aaaaand we were off like a herd of turtles by 12:30 in the afternoon.

From Vicky and Stephens we rode up the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at the  Peaks of Otter lodge.  We probably could have gone farther, but with such a late start we decided to stop early to make up for it.