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 Post subject: Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia




I've been wanting to do this for a few days now; I've had a really hard time finding the opportunity. Even now, I'm more pressed than I care to be...

But hey--

even an abridged version is better than no version, and I need to get something down before I lose _all_ the details! :lol:

As a few of you are aware, there is a small group of us long-timers here who are actually old friends. The biggest draw for many of the Rebel Rallies is not so much the riding, as it is the chance to see each other again.

Well, we don't always get to go-- sometimes I can't go; sometimes Jack can't go-- the list goes on.

But there's one guy who we've both been missing for a good long while now-- me especially, as I don't get to travel like I used to. Jack's-- and many others-- kids are grown and gone. I've got two brand new late-life babies that I wouldn't trade Paradise for. But they do keep my busy! :lol:

At any rate, the last couple that I _have_ been able to attend, Howard hasn't been able, and vice-versa. Don't think I'm exaggerating when I tell you that he's one of those guys that just makes an immediate impression on you. When I grow up, I might, if I live right, just possibly get to be something like good ol' Uneasy Rider :lol:

A few of us were discussing 'missing soldiers' at the various rallies of late, and before we knew it, a plan was hatched!

Jack, GaReb, Horse, and I were going to stage a raid on Uneasy Rider's homestead in Magnolia Springs, Alabama.

Over the next few weeks, we planned and reconnoitered, carried on covert surveillance, and gathered resources. The load was divided up, the plans were laid, and before we knew it, D-Day had arrived.

I was leaving from here:


Vidalia, Georgia


Jack was leaving from here:


Sanford, Florida

so we opted to meet up here:


Valdosta, Georgia

Saturday came, and bright and early, we loaded up and rolled out.

well, Jack did, anyway. I was going to-- I had planned to! But I had worked seventy four hours that week, and my wife decided that I needed sleep. She didn't turn the alarm off-- she'd done that before, and knew I'd check for it.

What she _did_ do was set the clock itself back three hours! I only over slept about two hours (ye olde bladder alarm, dontcha know ;) ), and I saw a bit of paper in front of the clock: "You're friends will wait. If you don't get some sleep, you're going to kill yourself."

Bah!

I scrambled around (Fortunately I had packed the night before), kissed the kids, and hit the road. I made great time once I got below Douglass. I fell in behind a couple of Kanji Kids with their be-stickered Civics and fart can exhaust pressurizers, determined to make the entire run from Douglass to Valdosta above one hundred miles and hour. So I kept them on the horizon to pick off speed traps and followed along.

I got to Valdosta first-- in the spirit of a pick-up ride, Jack had picked up some friends, and they rode in together. We tanked up (I had found time to get a biscuit and three cups of coffee and a glass of tea in me, and was ready to roll! :lol:

First thing Jack says to me? "Man, Duke; you made good time!" (Boy howdy, did I ever ;) )

So we had made the first leg:




Meanwhile, GaRebel (sadly, Horse had to cancel-- he had been called to give a sermon that weekend) was headed out from here:


Franklin, Georgia.

Originally, they were going to meet us here:


Dothan, Alabama.


The plan was simple enough:

We would all run our first legs, Jack would lead the Rough Looking Bunch of Two from Valdosta to Jerry, and Jerry would lead the rest of the way. Each planned his route, and really and truly, it worked out great. Jerry and Horse would run something like this:



with Horse canceling, and all of us wanting to hit the back roads-- get the most of our three day tour, he opted to to Donnalsonville instead. No biggie; it actually set us up for some much nicer countryside.


So Jack and I wound our way down our route while Jerry wound down his:



We stopped for fuel, and discussed possibly taking on some calories, but the closest restaurant sort of put us off our feed:



Even the drive-through seemed unappetizing:




I appreciate foreigners coming in, setting up shop, and trying to do things the American way. I appreciate that they willingly plunge into the concept of truth in advertising.

But I think someone should explain to them that the key is that you don't have to tell the _whole_ truth ;)

We caught up to Jerry in Donnalsonville and had a light bite there, hit the road to Magnolia Springs, and Uneasy Rider.




Please note that these are just maps I snagged off the net, and not our actual routes. We did parallel some routes, cross others, etc. But these maps are mostly just to show the areas we road through.


Anyway, I didn't do it all justice, and I hope to edit in some stuff I left out, and add more when I've got more time ;)

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:58 am 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Rebel: 450
Country: USA
State/Province: AL
City: Magnolia Springs
Thank you for the kind words Duke, I really was very happy and honered to see you guys.
Here is a link with some pictures of my little corner of the world for the other inmates to see some of what they missed. Can't wait to see the pictures you took.
http://www.townofmagnoliasprings.org/

Howard

_________________
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, proclaiming WOW--What A Ride!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 11:39 am 
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Country: USA
State/Province: SC
City: Mid South Of
I do believe, Duke, that you just managed to pull out a

"We're so jealous" from both of us.

It's been a while since we've seen those two super people.

_________________
1992 Sportster, pink - traded
1999 Rebel 250, red - loved
1987 Rebel 450, red - added


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 Post subject: : Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:32 pm 
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Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Franklin
I do believe theres a story about this ride and how hard we all laughed all weekend. Smewhere ? Maybe? lol

Jerry

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Patience Hell,I'm going out and kill something !


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 Post subject: Re: : Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Rebel: 450
Country: USA
State/Province: AL
City: Magnolia Springs
gareb85 wrote:
I do believe theres a story about this ride and how hard we all laughed all weekend. Smewhere ? Maybe? lol

Jerry


I know you laughed pretty good when you saw the panties and bras at the Flora-Bama. :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Howard

_________________
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, proclaiming WOW--What A Ride!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:53 pm 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
I promise guys, I'll find time somewhere to finish this. It's just that this is the busy season at job 1, and I expect to log 60 plus hours a week there till probably November or so...

And job 2 still eats 20-ish hours a week, so...

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 7:58 pm 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
Okay, I reckon I'm going to have to eat this elephant in really tiny bites. :mrgreen:

So here goes:

I think I mentioned the start I got: my wife setting the clock back to trick me into getting some sleep, etc--


I hit the road, grateful that I had tied everything down the night(s) before. I grabbed two cups of coffee for the road, and set off. The sky was ugly--- No; that's not really right. I love what most folks call "bad" weather-- dark skies are easy on the eyes, and chill breezes cut the sweating, and intermittent gusts just make for refreshing, on-your-toes, giggle-inducing riding.

And that is just what the sky promised. It was heavy with thick, dark clouds, low to the ground--- just gorgeous morning riding weather! :D I crammed one coffee into my saddlebag's front pocket (makes a dandy drink holder) and one into my shop coat's breast pocket (also makes a dandy drink holder) and headed off, gulping drinks here and there between shifts and at stops in traffic.

I was out of town in half a cup, and began rolling down 15 toward Uvalda. I can't run 15 without cutting in to my brother-in-law's neighborhood and giving it a good sluicing. :mrgreen: It's one of those McMansion golf communities, and it has hands-down the best tight twists in town. So I shot in to the end and raced back out, 'tootling the horn melodiously at the playful dog' as I streaked back out past his house. Nine minutes of diversion, and back on the trail.

Got to Uvalda, hooked left and the dead end and right at the stop sign and stuck out toward Alston. At the four-way stop in Alston, the church separated me from ten of my dollars (Trials of Israel) and I kept on ahead. That's one interesting thing about the South and our density of churches: On the weekend, every road is a toll road ;) I watched in amusement as the kids tried to figure out how to put their little flyer on my 'dashboard,' then offered to stick it in my pocket for me. I let them, and they oowed and awwed over the 'it's a real motorcycle! Wow!' and then rolled on.

I remembered my wife's uncle as I passed to road that used to carry me to his place on the river. I wished as I passed that it was just my late start that kept me from turning up the road to see the cantankerous old hermit, but he's been gone for two years now. Probably the single person most like me I've ever known, and I didn't know him nearly long enough.

A few minutes past Alston and I was chugging through Hazelhurst, mindful of the traffic citation industry that has been so successful in this town the last few years. ;) After Hazelhurst, I sprinted to Douglas, only to discover that it was _not_ the town I remembered.

At least, the outskirts weren't. In the years since I was last that way, it seems that Douglas has grown a bypass. I don't know who thinks these things work, but they just don't. Sure, on paper they look great, but in reality, they build a nice wide stretch of road to allow traffic to shoot around a congested city, not having to slow or to contribute to congestion. And this would work really well, except that the very first thing they do after competing the bypass is to start selling permits for driveways all along the length of it.

So now you have all the stores moving out of town to escape congestion ("our easy-to-find location is now on the Parkway!"), which means all the congestion is now on the bypass! Idiots. Traffic crawls, because there's a driveway to a storefront every twenty feet, and someone is using it.

Best of all is the waste of land: you get the city, and this ring of city around it, and a nice fat 'dead zone' in between where no one builds because it's not in the city or on the bypass.

Idiots.

Let it run long enough, and it gets even worse. Eventually, it gets as bad as Statesboro, and they build a WHOLE NEW BYPASS around the _old_ bypass! :rofl:

And of course, the first thing the county starts doing is approving driveways left and right... :roll:



Anyway, I crawled around the bypass until I finally got around town and headed south. A few little townlets and townships and eventually I was on that last stretch to Valdosta.

Except for the 'bypass' at Douglas and through Hazelhurst itself, I had managed to hold a really good clip the entire trip, and fortune smiled on my some more. Well, Fortune hadn't really been 'smiling;' Fortune had been working some kind of weird trade-off.

I had gotten a bee sting the night before-- first time in well over thirty years! :shock:. And going through Alston, I had gotten stung again! Just after that, it had started to drizzle. I had been riding in a warm grimy drizzle most of the way since. It got a little heavier just after Douglass, and I had to put my face mask on to keep the sting out of the drops.

The last stretch, the rain stopped, but the sun was merciful and didn't peek through. I got behind a couple of teenage tuners (you know; the guys that think economy cars are really fast! :mrgreen: ) determined to prove that they could both attain and maintain speeds of one-hundred or better. The big cushion I gave them put them on the horizon; the speeds I followed at kept them there ;) In no time at all I was nice and dry, and nearly on-schedule.

Then Fortune decided I owed her another one, and I caught a bee in the chest running somewhere north of ninety miles an hour. And thus, the balance of the universe was maintained! :lol:

I got to Valdosta, nice and dry and noticing that the venom pulse of the sting was almost subsided. The odometer and the ominous echoing in the tank said it was time for a refill, so I pulled in to the first station I saw, pumped and called Jack.

He had tried to call me earlier to arrange a different meet-up, but between the wind, the rain, and my haste to make up for lost time, I hadn't heard the phone at all. So we made arrangements that I was to back-track 84 a bit and meet him at the next township back.

Fueled, I opted to skip coffee till after I was somewhere he'd find me and pulled a hard left. I just putted, letting the big six pant off some of the exercise, and in no time at all I had found a nice big filling station with a breakfast stop.

No; I didn't eat breakfast ;). The cardinal rule of a pick-up ride is 'be ready when we meet or figure out how to catch up when you are' ;). But I did get a glass of water and a couple of cups of coffee while I waited. None of them lasted long enough, so I got a 'bottomless' sweet tea and relaxed a bit. Just as I had finished the second refill, Jack pulled up, and had brought a small flock with him.

Seems they were old friends of his, and he had stopped on his way up to visit. They opted to ride along, and the five of them pulled in and those who needed fuel took it on. We chatted a bit, and I spied a 500 Vulcan, which I drooled over for a good long time :D. Those who had fueled had paid, and those who had visited the restroom had returned just as those who did neither were done smoking ;), and we hit the road.

The led us through the nicer sections of downtown Valdosta-- shady, a few little curves here and there, and some really nice architecture. I found myself wishing that my education on that subject had been more extensive, so that I might better appreciate it. It didn't last long enough, and soon we were out of town, rolling down the road, and the sun was out in full blaze. Jack's friends led us on a while longer, then the pulled a U-turn and broke off. We tooted and waved, and I settled in to follow the soft burbling of the narrow pipes on the Triumph ahead. I noticed for the first time that Jack had packed ridiculously light for a camping trip, but thought- hey! He's a degreed man; he might not have camped before ;) Good thing I brought extra goodies! :mrgreen: A few more miles of listening to the whir of his chain and the burble of his pipes, along with the soft mellow purr of my own, and I was in the zone.


[more later]

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:40 pm 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
In no time at all, the sun was blistering down upon us, and we were putting our way through the remains of farm county. No; nothing happened to the county. :lol:

The people are changing. They're getting away from farming, preferring instead to rely on cheap groceries from South and Central America and turn the farm country here into endless suburbs and McMansions. Fast cash till the bubble bursts (by the way: the bubble burst ;) ).

Plenty of shade trees, none of them anywhere near the road. :lol: We soldiered on, passing an occasional cottonfield, and a rare soybean field, and a couple of equipment outlets.

I wish I could remember the names, now, of some of the little towns we skated through, but most of them escape me. Quitman was nice: the old architecture and clay bricks still dominated the downtown area and pleasant people waved as we rolled by.

Most all the little towns we went through were like that, though: a few curves, a few hills, trees close enough to the road to do us some good--

and lots of the original buildings, still in use. We passed a Library at some point whose stairs led right to the curb. Two elderly women were changing a sign outside, and grinned and waved as if were were filming a movie. :lol:

About halfway to the meet-up with Jerry, we stopped for fuel and discussed getting some eats. The closest eatery billed itself point-blank as "yuki Japanese food," so we passed and hit the road ;) Hey, if the people that cook it think it's yucky, I don't want it, either!

We did have a small chance to eat:
Seems "Mike" was running for office, and this was the day he was feeding his constituents at a grill rally in a large parking lot. At the redlight, we debated about swearing allegiance to Mike long enough to scarf a couple dogs, and get one to go for when we hooked up with Jerry. Jack's Florida tag decided us that it likely wouldn't work, but you can get if Jack'd been local, he'd have voted for Mike. :mrgreen:

We passed a beautifully appointed barbecue joint, but it was one of those wierd things: absolutely no aroma from this building... Hmmm... If there's one thing a proper southern boy knows, it's that you don't eat barbecue from _anywhere_ you can't smell it before you find the kitchen! We figured Jerry'd be hungry anyway, so we pushed along again till we caught up to him.

Shortly after, I saw a truck on the side the road very much like the sort of truck I've been looking for, so I swung out to nose print it up a bit. In the true spirit of a pick-up ride, Jack kept right on going. It was a great feeling, really-- knowing I could do whatever I wanted, and I wasn't worried about holding someone up, or dragging them down, or even vice-versa.

Turns out this truck was an 87, just like one I had owned in 87. Turns out also that he wanted the same price I had paid in 87, so after laughing my eyes out I spun around in the ditch and ripped out after Jack. Didn't take long to catch back up, and soon we were passing through another little hilly community, enjoying a few swoops and twists, but not so much the drastic drop in the local speed limit. :lol:

One more pull-off to look at a truck later, and then we in Donalsonville. There was a Rebel at a Dollar General-- a gorgeous dark red one. I peeled out from behind Jack to leave a card on the seat. It was at that point that I realized I had forgotten not only my cards, but the cards I was supposed to give to Howard and Jack! (I mailed Howard's shortly after; I'll mail Jack's as soon as I can remember where I put them :oops: )

Jack had pulled into a Three Squares right next to the Dollar General, so I eased through the parking lot, hopped the dividing curb, a short stint of 'yard' and then dropped over the next curb to join him. Just as he pulled in, he spotted Jerry relaxing in the shade on the lot adjacent, and we all rolled over to greet him and catch up.

I took some time to grab a couple snaps of Jerry's new bike (I know; I forgot to snap Jacks, and I was so upset about holding him up that I didn't want to dig the camera out and slow us down some more :( )



Jerry's new Shadow. Nice, comfy, shaft drive to maximize touring by eliminating one bit of routine maintenance. Keeping with tradition, it's just as white as the Rebel he stepped up from.





And he's absolutely right. That Valkyrie pillion _does_ look like it belongs there! Brings back memories of the old King-and-Queen seats that once dominated the touring scene. Wanda didn't come, so I couldn't ask her for her impressions, but Jerry said she loves it as much as my own wife does, and I'm inclined to believe it! :lol:



It was getting on meal time for real, and I hadn't had a cup of coffee in a couple of hours, so we opted to hit the Three Squares for a light bite.

I don't know how many of you have ever been in a Three Squares, but it's the most unusual thing I can fathom for a restraunt. No; the food is good, and it's not a theme joint. Here's the thing: Apparently, they find places where Huddle House couldn't make a go of it. They buy the old Huddle House building, with the kitchen, and open up a Three Squares. They serve the exact same fare, the exact same way, at the exact same prices.

But they make a go of it.

And that's the weird part to me. Seems like the first joint should have lasted, no?

A couple BLTs and some drinks later, we scooted across the street to fuel, and hit the road, this time following Jerry's route through the Florida Panhandle.

Hot. My God it was hot. And that's saying something, considering where Jerry and I spend our days in the summertime! :lol: It was the sort of 'dog days' sun that really wasn't due for another month, but had opted to put in an early practice run. This wasn't tanning sun. This wasn't even burning sun. You could feel it each time you broke out the shade. This sun traveled ninety-three billion miles in seventeen minutes just to blister it's way through the atmosphere and touch your skin, where it turned right straight into instant cancer. Bone cancer, from the feel of it. I was really happy that I had opted to not wear a T-shirt, but instead one of my long-sleeved fishing shirts. I love those things: light-- so insanely light that they are actually cooler than a T-shirt. Vented, too, with a huge mesh rear panel under a cape.

Best part? A chemical mixed into the cotton that provides SPF 50, just for wearing it. My sleeves were rolled and buttoned just below my elbow; I was banking on my Georgia tan to keep at least that much of me safe.

Ever been wrong? I was _wrong_. :lol:

How wrong?

Well, if I can skip ahead to after we settled in for the night:

I took stock of my sunburn. Now really, we only had a couple of hours of hard sun the whole trip, yet my field tan wasn't enough. Everything that wasn't under my glasses or my shirt was scarlet, including my knuckles! :lol:

But back to the story:


[more to come]

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject: Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 8:52 am 
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Joined: Oct 29, 2006
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Franklin
All I can say is "Somebody should make a movie of Typhon Tour 08'" It would be the GREATEST comedy ever filmed ! I'll be riding down the road and just bust out laughing about some of the things that happened on this tour. Y'all stay tuned, it only gets better. LOL

Jerry

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Patience Hell,I'm going out and kill something !


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:58 pm 
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Rebel: 450
Country: USA
State/Province: AL
City: Magnolia Springs
:happydance: :happydance: :happydance: Lets do again.

Howard

_________________
Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, proclaiming WOW--What A Ride!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:12 pm 
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Joined: Jul 25, 2003
Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
Now let's see...
where was I...

oh yes---

we were enjoying that special treat of Martian Death Ray that Floridians call "sunshine" and digesting a small bit of food. Jerry didn't seem too disappointed that we hadn't gotten a hotdog and stashed in a hot saddlebag for a couple hours just for him, so all was looking great.

Then we got a break in the heat--

a nice cool breeze. Well, cool_er_, anyway.
Then it got even cooler, and it felt _great_! Oh man it was fantastic!

One minute, it was like sitting face-first in a commerical hair dryer, and the next, a refreshing breeze! Immediately, I noticed just how much I was sweating while going down the road at sixty and no windshield! Hot, I tell you! Southern Style hot! :lol:

And then there was this cool breeze racing through my shirt and across my face... I was pretty sure I'd died and gone to Heaven, then I realized that the odds were if I'd died, I'd be getting something more in line with the Florida we'd been riding through already :oops:

It was like a glass of sweet tea-- a _bucket_ of sweet tea, poured lovingly over our heads and faces. So wonderful...

Then, in seconds, it had the bite of late autumn noon.

Then we got a break from the sun, too-- a quick drizzle. Nothing too worrisome. In fact, it felt right nice-- soft warm rain steaming on our cooked hides, putting a hint of grimy moisture back into our cooked carcasses. (carcii?) It was over too soon, but at least the light cloud covering stayed with us. Sure-- it's even more insidious as it doesn't stop the radiation, yadda yadda, but _Son_, did it feel so much better! :lol:

I had just gotten cool enough to wonder if the sun we had endured was tanning my bones or bleaching them in their own juices when Jerry swung off. We had come to what was probably the only ugly town on the whole ride. I mean it was ugly. It was small, but that wasn't why it was ugly. It was dying out, but it lacked that 'fadded glory of the past' charm, too. It was just beaver-butt ugly, and apparently a great deal of planning had gone into making sure it had been built that way from Day One. We pulled off to the right into a closed garage and filling station, directly opposite a pile of rubble that had once been a garage, but it had apparently imploded in the shame of its surroundings.

Jack and Jerry had already lit on the ground and were rummaging through their gear. I pulled between them. "What's up, guys?" I had been wondering about the exact coverage of my cancer policy, and had missed some subtle cue. "Potty break?"

"Naw," said Jerry, in that laid back affable manner that makes you instant friends. "Just figured to be a good time for some rain gear, Duke."

"Rain gear? It quit about six miles back. I'm already dry."

"Don't reckon it'll last." he replied while pulling nylon out of his bags. My perplexion must have shown through my sunburn. He just 'chinned' toward Jack, and I turned to look.

"Straight ahead, Duke" Jack said as he pointed-- well, dead ahead.

Oh boy! We were going to get another break from the sun! Only probably not as pleasant as the last one :lol:

The sky ahead-- I made it to be the outskirts of this little hamlet-- was _black_. Not dark, not really, really grey, and not that litterary "black" that implies foreboding and evil but probably several intertwining chunks of rolling shades of dark grey---

It was _black_. It was "two-dollar Krylon rattle-can gas tank paint job black. It was Stealth Bomber black. It was galactic void black. It was suck the light right back out of your eyeballs black. It hurt to look at it, so pure was the black. The blue sky had a perfectly straight delineation against it that ran left to right to either horizon. It was like the event horizon of a black hole where photons themselves are compressed out of existence...

So yeah, I agreed that it was kinda dark...

I dragged my crippled butt of the bike and wrapped up in my wax coat-- not so much to keep dry: I've done this too many times to believe it's possible anymore :lol: but to keep warm while I was soaked! I looked at my companions in that "last chance to back out and remain in good standing" sort of way: "Rain or shine?"

"Rain or shine!" echoed around me through grinning lips and thumbs-up were passed all around. I grinned back, wrapped my face hugger around my mug to keep the sting in the cheeks down to a minimum, and mounted back up.

The first gust hit us just after we crossed the intersection that seemed to comprise the business district of this town. It had a little bite to it. There was no second gust. There was a _blast_ of atmosphere that dropped us ten miles an hour in an instant, though, and it had pure-dee _ice_ in it! Oh, man... This was going to get a lot worse than it looked...

And just as I thought that, I wasn't really sure how it could. I mean, it looked bad enough to sound air raid klaxons.

Then the hail started.

Okay, fine.

It was just rain, okay? It was rain, but only because it wasn't crammed between two banks of earth, otherwise it was one of those air-borne rivers you hear so much about from the old guys (that would be the 'older than us' guys, okay? ;) ).

I enjoy riding a motorcycle in the rain. I'm nuts. Ask Delbert; he'll vouch for at least one of those. :lol: I enjoy riding a motorcycle in the rain. I enjoy swimming in a lake. I do not enjoy riding my motorcycle in a lake, though. Though to be fair, this was about as far from swimming as making breakfast is from fixing breakfast. That is, same thing, different point of view ;) One is a job; one is something you want to do.

It was astounding just how much rain there was. There was more water than there was air, or so it seemed. Even in the worst of storms, you can see the drops, no matter how big and fat and fast they are. Not this time-- just waves of water, one cresting on the other.

Like I said-- I have sort of given up on staying dry. It's been so long since I gave up that I actually have a little game I play when the rain starts. I see how long it takes for the cuff of my jeans to wick water up to my thighs. Then I see how long it takes my socks to wick water from my jeans into my boots. In the meantime, I watch the water trickling down the tank, collecting on the front of the seat, and wait for that first minute change in speed that signals "Charge" and sends it straight into my crotch. From there, I wait for it to wick into my shirt. Once that happens, I spend the rest of the trip seeing just how full my boots get before the rain stops.

I didn't play that this time. The rain was so bad, and the gusts driving it so hard that I was busy just keeping my field of vision, which was shrinking by the second. I couldn't wipe my glasses clear fast enough; before my hand got back on the bar, they were covered in water and fogging. I pulled them away from my face and let the rain burn the corners of my eyes, but it did slow the fogging. Turning my head sideways and adding a touch of speed allowed the water to blow off, but there was so much of it that it was never clear, just thin sheets instead of drops and bubbles on top of each other distorting everything.

I was too busy to play. Besides, my boots were overflowing by the time I'd made the second swipe at my glasses. I was really, really busy, but a part of me wished I'd had the attention to spare to tell if they were full of icy rain, or warm liquid fear. :lol: Since I couldn't feel anything below my thighs (or very much above them), I opted to believe it was rain. It had to be rain; I didn't want to have to throw these boots away ;)

I could tell by the feel of the beast that I wasn't touching pavement. I slowed as much as I could, but even then, I could feel the cycles of hydroplaning as I hit deeper spots of water standing on the road.

It was amazing. Outside of a hurricane, and one monsoon in Japan, I'd never seen anything like it. My visibility dropped to just short of my speedometer. I had resorted to hoping anyone else in traffic had headlights on (yeah; right. Cause everyone's smart enough to do that, right? :lol: ) and leaning over the right side of the bike and eyeballing the right line. I hadn't seen Jerry since the rain began, and I had lost sight of Jack-- who I knew was just barely ahead of me-- in no time. I kept an eye on the line, and one dead-ahead for a tail light. It was astounding.


I couldn't hear the engine noise, or the wheels-- or even the splash of the water I traveled through!-- over the intense beating of the rain on my helmet. I _did_ notice I had picked up a slapping noise, and feared that something in my luggage or maybe my bedroll had come loose. I slowed a bit, and risked a quick glance behind me. Turns out there were two fish on my back seat, fighting over a life jacket...

But at least it was just rain. Sure; it was icy, it was cold, and it was dark and filled with intermittent gusts and side-bursts of varying strength. But at least it was just rain.

We had to go around the curve and almost six miles through this stuff before the hail started...


[more to come]

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 22, 2008 10:54 pm 
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Motorcycle: 98 Valkyrie
Rebel: 250
Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Vidalia
It actually took some time to register the hail. The pummeling from the staggering volume of rain was so over-the-top brutal that the hail didn't really make to much difference. At first, I assumed the occasional smack in the face was just me running into an errant fish or two, and the odd crack on the knuckles was probably a crab out for an ocean stroll...

I was still leaning off to the right, navigating by what I could see of the white line passing under my toes. Instantly, a concrete wall appeared just a few inches to the right of it. We were crossing a narrow bridge. Luck ran with us; the rain didn't stop, but lightened up several categories almost instantly, restoring visibility, if not dryness and warmth :lol:

In the improved light, it was easy to make out the litter of hail stones-- dime sized and smaller, thankfully-- that were thinly scattered about. We'd been lucky twice-- the hail was both small, and there hadn't been a lot of it. I wondered briefly if it has actually frozen into hail, or if it had started out as a dozen or more raindrops that had been pressed into a solid because there wasn't room enough in the air for all of them at once!

A quick glance ahead confirmed that Jack and Jerry had both come through unscathed (the rain was so heavy I could have ridden right past them in the same lane and not seen them). I also noticed we'd all had some visibility issues: I saw two other heads off the side, looking at the white line ;)

We picked up a little lost speed-- not all of it; it was still raining hard enough to warrant caution-- and rode on. It was a few minutes before I noticed that we were the only things moving on the road. Even the cars had pulled off to wait it out! :lol: Hey, I only get so much vacation, and they don't refund it because I didn't like the weather ;)

The rain showed signs of letting up soon, so we pressed on.

About an hour later, we decided that the rain was a cussed liar. It had lightened and intensified at random. At one point, it briefly got up to very near the intensity of the front clash-- not quite, but close. We had resigned to press on, right up till the first bolt of lightning. At that point, Jerry found us a hidey-hole and we bolted.

The rain had reached it's lightest so far, and we could all use a little snack: shivering burns calories alarmingly fast ;) We took refuge (from the lightning; there was no power on earth that could get us any wetter than we already were) at a little country store.

[short entry. I've been up too long. More later]

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject: Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 2:01 pm 
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City: Franklin
Every little bit feeds my undying hunger to hear more. Thanks for making time to write it Duke

Jerry

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:16 pm 
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Come now, Amigo!

You were right there in it! :lol:

You _sure_ you want to remember this trip? :rofl: :rofl:

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 5:21 pm 
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Motorcycle: Suzuki V-Strom DL650K9
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City: Louisville
There is something to be said about endurance.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 9:26 pm 
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It was a tight fit under the shelter, but we managed. Seems the highway claimed most all the normal parking area, so we all crammed in close to the building. Difficult, considering the number of cars that had apparently done the same since long before we got there. I ended up blocking the door :oops: , and spent the next thirty minutes or so apologizing to people who wanted to get in or out of the store. None of them were upset, and most had a comment or two about our choice of riding weather. Everyone laughed when we gave them the rundown of 'the story so far' and all wished us luck for the rest of the trip. I love country people. None of that ridiculous "hey, you can't park here! I have to get my Snickers NOW!" nonsense. It wasn't like I blocked the door entirely; just the spot next to the sidewalk to the door.

Jerry and I took a minute to have what's proudly known as the redneck lunch break in these parts: a six-pack of flavored crackers and a soda. Something about peanut butter and cheese and cold Coca Cola that nothing else can duplicate. Good stuff ;) Seems like Jack had a little something, but I don't recall what it was. We stayed there a while, watching what was turning into a really spectacular lightning show, and I took a minute to pull a piece of driftwood from out under the fuel tank.

Watching back, I'm really, really glad that Jerry opted to come with us. See, I have a problem with lightning: I don't have enough respect for it. I get all mathy and such, and figure that the odds are pretty low of getting hit. For some reason, I tend to forget that I travel with a lightning rod strapped to my back! :lol: Jerry kept me from killing myself: having been hit by lightning before, he's a bit lightning shy. It's a good quality to have (my wife and over half my family are the same way). Think about this:

While the odds of getting hit _are_ low, amazingly low, when you think about the number of people who _have_ been hit, you have to realize that none of them were lightning shy. It stands to reason that anyone who _was_ lightning shy would have gotten his butt out of it, right? So if you're lighting shy, the odds are astronomically against you getting hit! Hey, follow the guy with better sense that you have; that's the key to staying alive! :shock: Without my wife, I needed Jerry to keep me from doing something stupid(er) ;)


Jack's bike was really drawing the compliments. Seems everyone who saw it had something to say, and everyone our age and up wanted to talk about the old Triumph he had 'way back when.' It was kind of amusing when the old-timers would complement him on the 'perfect restoration.' Seems most folks aren't aware you can buy a brand-new Triumph. Well, it wasn't my place to say anything, and Jack wasn't going to, ---

Okay, let me sideline here for a minute:

We all know people who _can't_ not talk. People who _can't_ not correct someone. What's wrong with these people? Seriously; what's wrong with them? People who have to complain about every little thing that they are dissatisfied with, or even things that-- while perfectly acceptable-- don't meet their expectations: they're everywhere!

"Oh, this could have been done better." or "that was the worst free food I've ever been served" or "who organized this thing?" or "that color is just awful; you should have gone with something lighter" or "well I thought it would be more like what I wanted" or any of an endless list of things that just don't matter.

The food was free. You took the time to complain about it, but did you take the time to appreciate the effort that went into bringing it to you, at no charge or effort from you? Why compare it something you'd prefer? Why not remember the part you did like?

The thing was done from start to finish by other people. Did you help organize it? Did you throw in your time and money and effort? More importantly, did you enjoy something about it? Why would you focus on something you didn't like, instead of the part you did?

Is it for you? Are you going to wear it? Then why drag someone else down-- why tell them you don't like the color that they went out of their way to get?

If it's not what you had in mind, is it still possible to enjoy any part of it? Will it still do what you want it to do? Why not focus on that?


That's the kind of guy Jack is, people. For all the people that would have said "you moron, that's a nearly-new Triumph; they still make them, Stupid!" I'd take one Jack in place of all of them. All of them. The biggest problem is that the ratio is roughly that: all the complainers in the world per Jack. Likely there's probably three or four Jacks on all the earth, but you have to weed through one-third or one-fourth of all the jackasses to find a Jack.

Jack never corrected anyone. The most he ever said to any of them was "Hey, thanks, Man. I've really been enjoying this thing." He never lied to them. Why would he? He would sit there (well, we all did-- it's bike talk, after all! :lol:) and listen to story after story as they poured out, each man telling about the old Bonnie or the old chopper or flat tracker he had in his prime...

And that's Jack. Rather than let that guy-- that complete total stranger-- walk away feeling like he'd made a fool of himself, Jack gave him the chance to relive some long-put-away part of his life; let him tell his story, admire that bike, and remember the fun he used to have. And when that guy left our lives and went back to his, he had another story to tell his friends, about the beautiful bike he saw that looked just like the one way back when...

And the love flows out like ripples on a lake.


That's the kind of guy Jack is. Given the choice between doing good by doing nothing, and doing harm by doing something, most people will go out of their way to open their noise-flaps and humiliate someone. Not Jack. He can't do it. He just can't. Jack will keep schtum and let the goodwill just flow on through the moment. Not many people have that ability these days...


But to get back on topic...

The lightning finally abated, and with it, a great deal of the rain. It hadn't dried up completely, but the lightning was gone, and even the cars had started to appear on the road again. We hadn't bothered to unsuit-- we were all wet enough to need the layers against chill anyway. We all squishy-booted our way back to our mounts, thumbed them to life, and chugged back onto the road.

Thirty minutes later, the rain stopped. I kept my face hugger on for warmth until the temperature came back up. Within twenty minutes, I had peeled it off, stuffed it into a compartment on my bags, and enjoyed the dry wind on my face.

Then the rain started again...

[more to come]

_________________

Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject: : Al, Magnolia Springs: Typhoon Tour
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 11:28 am 
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Country: USA
State/Province: GA
City: Franklin
Yes Duke you are 100 percent,I was there in person , and if I hear the story 10 thousand times ,I'll still enjoy it just as much as the first time I hear it.It was such a pleasure to ride with you and Jack. Yeah we got Hot,Drownded,could barely see at times,had to dodge lightning bolts the size of tractor trailer trucks,but not one time did any of us complain or biotch about it. Gas stops were coriagraphed to a tee,we all dressed to the best we could,and I reckcon we rode in perfect formation except for the times it was raining so hard we couldn't see each other.LOL Every one of us just accepted everything that was thrown at us and made do with it as best we could. Even the times when we had to stop the people we met all wished us well although they probably thought we were complete idiots .I wouldn't trade the experience we had for anything. O.K. time for the next installment !LOL

Jerry

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:58 pm 
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Well, I know of at least one time one of us broke formation ;)

Couldn't help it...

it was just so tempting...

:D

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 1:07 am 
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State/Province: GA
City: Thomasville
Thomasville is, like, smack dab in between Valdosta and Donalsonville. Seriously, look. Just sayin'.

Apparently, I do not check this section often enough. I would have at least waved as you passed through.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2008 10:37 pm 
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City: Vidalia
And that was to be the way of it, really. The rain came back, and I fiddle around in my luggage, wrapped my face again, and settled in. It was a shame, really-- the water already in my clothes had started to warm up a bit, and now it was being replaced by fresh cold water. Ah, well-- such is life ;)

There would be one other period when the rain would stop, but it was still a way off ;)

The rain picked up its cadence, and soon it was a middling shower. At least it wasn't the torrent we'd encountered earlier. Sure, you can only get so wet, but being able to see is a major plus ;) An hour or so later, it slacked off and even stopped. The clouds parted-- they didn't leave; they just opened over us for a while, and blue sky showed through. Dark blue, indicating that it was getting later than it should have been, but with my late start, and then the reduced pace of rain riding, well---

we were getting behind.

The rain started falling again, out of a clear blue sky, because-- apparently-- nature had just run out of clouds. Still had plenty of ocean, though, and she started doing her best to present it all to us. :lol: I stretched my legs for a second (which resulted in about a gallon of water pouring out of my boots and leaving my feet with an odd chill), put them back on the pegs, and hunkered down. It was pretty light, and I hoped, what with the blue sky, that it would pass in a few seconds.

And so it did! After about ten minutes, the blue sky had passed completely, and there was nothing to be seen save the bulbous steel grey expanse of renewed thunderheads. The rain got heavier, and I grinned like a maniac as I wrapped back up in my face hugger.

We had a bit of gusting this time. Nothing like the tornadic fits earlier, but enough to realize that we'd been pretty luck with wind so far. It didn't last long; really, it only lasted long enough to ice over the water in our clothes, but hey-- you pays your money, etc. ;)

We rode without event for the rest of the night, and pulled our final fuel stop one town over from Magnolia Springs. Brightly lit parking area, and a big wide cover to stand under and take stock of our situation. Mostly, it was a place to get some much-needed coffee! :mrgreen:

There was another bike there when we pulled in; an HD something-or-other, all bagged and trunked and faired for touring. The orange-plastic-wrapped rider was inside draining the fresh pot (sucker! The best coffee's in the other one ;) ) and generally dripping all over everything. Jerry and I proceeded to do the same and Jack stayed outside to call Howard.

The four of us milled about outside, discussing the weather, our trips, and generally having a good time. Turns out we weren't too terribly off schedule-- not much over an hour behind what we'd discussed in the planning stages, but still-- dark, rain, and strange cities is never a pleasant combination.

The guy on the Bagger complained about the weather and the number of pull-overs he'd been making, but was over-all pretty happy with his progress. He complimented the 'fine resto' on Jack's Triumph (and again, Jack just affably thanked him and let it go), and headed out. The rain had slacked up a bit while we sat around drinking and snacking, and we wished him luck.

Warmed, chatted, fueled, reinvigorated, and armed with fresh directions, we mounted up on the bikes and headed off in the wrong direction.

Twice.

Well, really, we only mounted up and headed off in the wrong direction once, but once we figured it out, we corrected by heading off in an entirely different wrong direction.

Finally we just started sort of turning around at random, and ran across the right course.


Warmed, chatted, fueled, reinvigorated, already mounted, and laughing like the senile, we headed off in the right direction.

We were to meet Howard in the parking lot at a Hardee's not too terribly far from where he lived. We talked it over-- wondering if she should find the campground and pitch camp before going to meet Howard, but finally decided we'd do better, given the hour, to meet up with Howard, who could give us better directions to the campground, etc. Besides, the temptation of a meal was pretty strong right then, and even Hardee's began to seem like five-star veal to the wet rats heading out after it. :D

And of course, this close to our final destination-- twenty minutes from meeting Howard,


it stopped raining.

Gotta love it. ;)

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Duke
"Skills must be Learned"
------ Herb Christian


"Ask your doctor if medical advice from a television commercial is right for _you_."


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