Ride to the Rockies, Day Nineteen
I woke at 7 am and started gathering all my bags, which I had repacked the night before and brought them down to the bike. Many passing by commented on the load as I was re-securing all the RokStraps. I had brought the Bonnie to the now mostly empty circle in front of the inn to make loading easier, but it also put the whole operation in front of an audience.
I was about to leave, about 8:30, when my hotel room mate, Rob, told me Peter, the Events Coordinator and Vice-President of the club, had said to come back in and have breakfast with him and some others. I wasn't in a big rush, so I had more oatmeal and a couple more coffees, in addition to the two I had outside while packing the bike. Peter grabbed the bill before I could and told me it was the least he could do for the help which I had provided and was about to provide again, as he needed my help to load his Valkyrie onto a trailer. I went out to the parking garage and fired up Peter's bike and rode it up onto the trailer so Rob could secure it. That task done, I said goodbye to everyone and rolled out of the park and headed east on IN 60.
I planned to go east and cross over the Ohio River at Madison, far from the busy city of Louisville. 60 took me to Salem, where I switched to IN 56 for the rest of the run to the river crossing. Once across in the Blue Grass State, I took US 421 to Franklin, then followed US 127 all the rest of the way across the state, across the rolling Kentucky hills and into the Volunteer State.
Across the Ohio River at Madison, IN
In Tennessee 127 continued its southern trend, crossing I-40 and the Cumberland Plateau, and rolled toward Chattanooga. There was talk of thunderstorms in the forecast but the first half of the day was dry and partly sunny and hot, but I could see the gathering storm out ahead of me. I hoped it would move out before I caught up with it, but ended up getting soaked. The worst was north and west of Chattanooga.
Before 127 dove into the city I turned off it and took TN 28, connecting to US 72 at I-24, where the rains dissipated and I had a dry run into northeastern Alabama. I sliced across the corner of the state turning onto on AL 117 and continued into the northwestern corner of Georgia on the same route renamed GA 48, southwest of Cloudland Canyon State Park, a gem and little known beauty of a park hidden away not far from the big city of Chattanooga. I had thought about stopping there for the night but there were finally dry skies and more daylight left, so I decided to continue south at least as far as Rome, where I had stopped years ago on the first Motorcycle Kickstart Classic ride that had run from Maggie Valley to the Barber Vintage Festival that year. 48 rejoined US 27 and I followed it into Rome and out the other side and started looking for a place to stop for the night. I decided I would take the first campground that presented itself, thinking that along 27, being an old pre-Interstate main route between the North and Florida, it would have some Mom-and-Pop campgrounds. As I rode on and it started to get dark, I had my eyes peeled for deer, as my luck was fading like the dusk around me. I spotted a gas station ahead, and although my reserve light had not come on yet, I tought I would fill up and ask inside if they knew of any place to camp nearby.
The clerk said no, but told me to ask a couple who were in the store that lived close by. They couldn't think of anything except what they called “Seabreeze” wondering out loud if they allowed camping out there. It was close by and left at the next light just east of Buchanan so I figured it was worth a shot.
I pulled back out and headed toward Seabreeze. What I found on GA 120 was VFW Post 7402 and a lake with a beautiful park and boat ramp. I pulled in and a fellow walked out from a permanently parked camper near the office and in answer to my query told me camping was $10. While we talked he mentioned he rode and we talked bikes and Triumphs for s bit. He had traveled a lot by motorcycle too so was sympathetic to my situation and we shared some road stories, before I moved down to the lakeside area where he indicated I could set up. He let me set up first then walk back to pay him, so I would not have to pitch my tent in complete darkness.
The tent site was nice, on soft grass and near the lake. I also had a cell signal so called Andrea for the first time since I had left South Bend and I also let Julie know I would be at her place the next day,which would be a ride of around three hundred miles. By the time I had camp set up and my calls made I crawled into the tent, stripped down, and fell fast asleep.
Miles so far 6,550.0