I had planned on riding Old Faithful, my '68 CB350, up to the Smokies on the 6th of May, but unexpected financial demands at the time put a screeching halt to that ride for the time being. I was to meet up with Badinfluence, my forum pal who is responsible for my moniker "Road Dog," in Pigeon Forge, but Bad and I will have to meet up somewhere else one of these days.
Now that my financial situation has improved, I am planning the trip again; this time to see my brother, Tim, and do some camping. Over the last year I have acquired some new-fangled electronic equipment for the business that I hope will allow me to handle business from the road and blog about the trip daily, or at least when I happen upon the occasional passing Wi-Fi hot spot. The bike is ready to roll, with new gaskets from the head up, new points, and timing and valve adjustment—no more oil on my pants leg and a smooth running 325ccs below me.
Here's the plan, which is completely subject to change without notice:
I am not an Interstate cruising kind of guy, so I will be heading up all on US or state highways and back roads. My route avoids large cities all the way up. Google Maps says it is 581 miles via my route from Lake Wales, FL, to just east of Greenville, SC, where Tim lives.
I plan to do that run in one day and expect it to take me about 14 hours. That will be the longest one day run I have done on the CB, but I have run from Lake Wales to Athens before in one day—a run of over 500 miles on an saddle that was worn out in 1975, but which now has been reupholstered—so feel confident I am not biting off more than I can chew. I am not going to beat myself up just to say I made it in one day, so if I find myself really pooped by SC I will stop for the night and make the ride into Greenville an easy Saturday morning ride.
I will start out before light on the 3rd of June, probably 4 am or so. I plan to meander my way up through the Ocala National Forest and into Georgia east of the Okeefenokee Swamp and on up via US 1 and US 221 into SC.
Once with Tim, we will ride together north into the Blue Ridge and Smokies, with plans to hit Maggie Valley and the Wheels through Time Museum. I called the National Forest Service at Nantahala National Forest (The Nantahala extends south of Smokie Mountains National Park to the western end of NC.) and found that you are allowed to primitive camp anywhere in the forest as long as it is not posted as prohibited and that you camp at least 100 feet form running water or roads—a cheap way to camp of which we plan to take advantage. I want to at least run across the Smokies to the switchback and Appalachian Trail halfway through on US 441 wile in the area. (I have promised a picture of the trail to someone in Lake Wales who has dreams of walking it one day.)
I will post more when I start the job of loading the little bike for this ride and the departure time approaches. As that time gets closer I will be watching the weather in case any adjustments need to be made about timing. Hopefully, each day while riding I will be able to add a little bit about the good, bad, and ugly of riding a little antique bike across Georgia and into the mountains.
"Ride Your Own Ride"