Rain, rain, go away: Georgia, South Carolina and north

Day 5, August 9

The day started out as a beautiful ride from Augusta, Georgia, and it didn’t take long to complete my mission: fill in all the states of the Southeast. South Carolina was the last one. I actually had been in North Carolina last year when I attended the Horizons Unlimited event.

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About 11 a.m., I stopped for a break and a snack, and to check weather. It did not look good. There was an awful lot of green and yellow and red on the radar over the Smokey Mountains. I made a decision to head for home via the west side by scooting over to I-75 and then riding north.

It was a good plan but I still got caught in the rain. In and out of the rain and mostly in for about four hours. There was a couple of spots where it just poured hard. By 4 p.m., my feet were wet because my old waterproof boots had failed. I could feel the water under my rain pants—they failed. My gloves were soaked. My upper torso was pretty much dry.

So, I’m wet and tired. I decided to reserve a place to stop a little north of Knoxville where I could get dried out and rest for the final leg home. After all what more could happen?

You know that old cliché’, how can you tell if the biker is happy? By the bugs on his teeth. HA. Okay, the reality is that riding with a visor up means there will be occasional bug strikes. Once in a great while, they have stingers.

I was on I-75 doing 70 mph in traffic when something bounced off the edge of my helmet and went up under my glasses. I could see its outline as big and black. Then the burn came. I tried to remove it from under my glasses, and it took a couple of tries. Later, I would learn I was stung twice immediately under the eye and just above the cheek bone. It still burns as I write this, and I have some hydrocortisone on it.

Motorcycling lets you get up close and personal with nature whether you like it or not.

There is one more day of riding—the ride home. I have done a lot of soul searching on this ride, and there are changes in the wind. I’ll speak more about that after I get home.

Here is the new map. I have visited all these states on a motorcycle. That’s a lot of miles.

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Thanks for following along.

See you on the highway.

Brent

A scary beginning and end: Georgia

Day 4, August 8

I’m covering lots of ground. In fact, I’m covering so much ground my friends are asking about it.

Ara Gureghian, Oasis of My Soul, says, “I hope you are enjoying yourself. It sounds more like you are on a mission covering the States versus looking around you. I use to do that… “ and then Rachel, author of Fuzzygalore.com, Tweets, “@dbrentmiller hope you’re enjoying your travels. Are you taking the scenic route or making tracks?”

Yes, I’m making tracks. I’m on a mission to ride my motorcycle through every state in the lower 48, and this trip covers a pretty large corner of the country. But it also has me thinking … “Just what am I doing out here?”

About 30 minutes after starting out this morning, I crossed into Georgia … twice. The first time, I was on US 27, which was not the road I wanted, but here is the sign. So, I stopped and took a picture just in case the other road was not marked.

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I turned around, rode back into Florida and then took this little spur of a highway that headed northeast, SR 111. But then, sure enough, another Welcome to Georgia sign in front of a house set back from the road about 150 feet. So I pull over to take a pic with my phone. I get off the bike, snap a picture and then another and then one more.

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As I turn around and start back to the motorcycle, I hear fierce barking and growling. Two dogs are charging towards me through the yard. One is a black mutt who breaks off his charge about half way. The other is a white pit bull who keeps coming. It looked mean. I stepped next to the motorcycle placing it between me and the dog, and put my helmet on all the while thinking where am I going if that dog comes around the motorcycle. I’m standing there. Getting ready. Then, about thirty feet from me, he stops. barks, turns around and goes back to the house! I put my gloves on and got the hell out of there.

Welcome to Georgia, Brent.

As I rode away thinking about this, I was there for a couple of minutes taking pictures before these dogs came at me. Frankly, I am wondering if someone let them out of the house. And, why did the dog stoop its charge when I was behind the motorcycle with my helmet on?

I think that Blytheville, Arkansas, farmer’s prayer for my safe travels was still working!

A ways down the road, I spotted a jewel of a building. I love it when communities restore or preserve pieces of their history, and the old passenger train station in Homerville, Georgia, is one of those. I chatted with two ladies at the building as I was taking pictures. The building was bought and restored and is now used for parties and receptions. What a jewel.

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Finally reaching my destination for the evening, Augusta, Georgia, I was ready to get off the motorcycle. Tired and hungry and hot, I certainly did not want the excitement that unfolded in front of me as I am getting ready to exit I-520. About five or six cars were involved in a high speed fender bender. Car parts were flying all over the place. There were maybe four or five cars behind the accident that slammed on their brakes to come to a screeching halt. The car in front of me took to the ditch. I locked up my rear wheel and was looking in the rear view mirror to see how close traffic was behind me, and there was a very good amount of space for safety. It was close. Very close. Car parts all over the road.

The damaged cars pulled to the side, and a few cars in front of me wound through the road debris to move along. I did not actually see the accident. I only heard it and reacted. I rode through, took my exit and pulled off at the Holiday Inn.

I need a beer.

Stay tuned for the Carolinas.

See you on the highway.

Brent

 

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