Day 49 – The final countdown
Date: 07/20/2016 Wednesday
Starting Location: Charlottesville, VA
Ending Location: Indian Land, SC
Starting Odometer: 14,802
Ending Odometer: 15,160
Mileage Driven (days): 358 Miles
Mileage Total: 8306 miles
Today’s MPG: 42 mpg
Total Average MPG: 41 mpg
States Visited: CA, NV, AZ, UT, NM, CO, UT, WY, ID, WY, MT, WY, SD, MN, WI, MI, WI, IL, IN, OH, PA, NY, CT, MA, VT, NH, MA, CT, NY, PA, WV, VA, NC, SC. (26 States in total)
The morning departure
I got up in the morning, and couldn’t quite get myself motivated to jump out of bed. The bed was so comfortable, I stayed in bed until about 6AM, which is pretty rare for me. That said, I did get up, did a little packing and then headed downstairs for some Hazelnut coffee, from Dunkin Donuts. Exquisite…
Lee made an omelette for me for Breakfast, and then I finished packing and put the panniers on the bike while Lee cleaned the previous day’s bugs off of the windshield. By the time 8:00 AM rolled around, the bike was packed, I was fed, and I was ready to leave the area and head south, to my new home.
Channeling John Denver
I’ve always liked John Denver, but I would not say that I’m a huge fan. That said, as you’re riding through the Blue Ridge Mountains, it certainly seemed appropriate to be listening to John Denver singing about the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River.
As a reminder of how the song (Country Road) goes, I’ve included the lyrics below. Reading the lyrics as I rode through Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina just seemed appropriate.
Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue ridge mountain, Shenandoah river, Life is old there, older than the trees, Younger than the mountains, growing like a breeze Country roads, take me home To the place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain mamma, take me home Country roads All my memories, gather round her Miner's lady, stranger to blue water Dark and dusty, painted on the sky Misty taste of moonshine, teardrops in my eye Country roads, take me home To the place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain mamma, take me home Country roads I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me Radio reminds me of my home far away Driving down the road I get a feeling That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday Country roads, take me home To the place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain mamma, take me home Country roads I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me Radio reminds me of my home far away Driving down the road I get a feeling That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday Country roads, take me home To the place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain mamma, take me home Country roads Take me home, country roads Take me home, country roads
The ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway
My trip along the Blue Ridge parkway was a combination of two separate segments separated by a 5 mile dirt road, and some secondary roads. In total, I think I traveled for more than 110 miles on this road, enjoying every minute.
This road is a seemingly endless sequence of turns, with only the shortest of straightaways in-between. It’s kind of hard to imagine a nicer road to ride a motorcycle on. For all of you West Coasters, imagine what it’s like on Skyline Blvd, only a little bit wider, with views on both sides of the road, for hundreds of miles.
While I only road 110 miles, the road starts in Virginia and seems to go all the way into Tennessee. I guess that’s about 450 miles or so. That’s a whole lot of great riding.
Below, you’ll find 2 maps that show the section of the ride that is across the Blue Ridge Parkway. Notice how continuous the curves are on this road.
In the second map, the windy roads continue, taking me further south, until it is time to exit the BRP, and enter the more civilized roads of North Carolina.
And, to provide context of the entire day’s journey, I’ve inserted a map that shows all 358 miles that I completed on this day. Notice that I don’t enter South Carolina until I’ve got only 10 or so miles to go.
Oops, running out of gas again
OK, OK, if you want to give me a hard time, there’s no denying that I deserve it. But, for a 2nd straight day, I’ve managed to miscalculate the location of gas stations, a and ended up running very log on gas, having to divert to a gas station that was not on my route.
In the end, this little diversion probably added about 25 – 30 miles to my trip in total, but I think I’ve learned a lesson. The lesson is, at the start of every day, fill the tank with gas, and then plan so that you arrive with about 1/2 tank of gas at your destination. This approach will make me stop more frequently, and gas up more often, but given that I ended up losing 30 minutes or more, it just makes sense to do it this new way.
The rest of the ride
After you leave the Blue Ridge Mountains, the scenery starts to change, and the road becomes more open, with a whole lot more sun bearing down on me. The last 3 hours of riding was done in the sun, on secondary roads and Interstates, which are not that picturesque.
The final 90 miles are on Interstate, and the traffic volume also started to build, until the point that there was stop-and-go traffic, and crazy drivers everywhere. By the time I reached the North Side of Charlotte, I had stopped to put on Sun Tan lotion, lip balm, and to get another drink. During this last stint, the temperature rose steadily until it reached 99.5 degrees, as I entered South Carolina, and began my travel on route 521.
Arriving in Indian Land
I approached Indian land as a tired and overheated rider. Looking for some cold water, and a chance to relax and take a shower. And so, at 4:10 PM, on the 20th of July, my trip came to an end. I arrived in Indian Land, and parked the bike. I was now in the land of my new home. There is still a great deal of fun to be had on the Motorcycle once I move into the new home, but for now, I think I’ve spent a good deal of time on the bike, and am ready for a little break.
Below, you’ll see a video of my arrival in Indian Land.
Thanks to all of you for your support, well wishes, and comments. The combination of all of these things made the trip more fun, and made it possible to enjoy writing the blog, which can sometimes take up to 3 or more hours to create a single post.
After enjoying 50 days traveling, I want to wish all of you good fortune, and I hope that someday you also have a chance to enjoy a trip like this. America is a large and wonderful place. it’s full of different opinions, different people, and different cultures. Taking them all in is a great deal of fun, but you really must maintain an extremely open mind if you are to succeed, and if you are to enjoy this kind of trip.
For anyone thinking of doing this kind of trip on a motorcycle, I would say that if you’re thinking of taking a trip like this, you should do it on an Adventure bike. Some of my best and most lasting memories are of the trips that I took on dirt roads and out of the way places, that are only accessible when you’re riding a bike that can thrive in the dirt.
Welcome (to your new) home. Glad you made it without mishap (other than the GPS issues). Thanks for the blogs/blogging(?).
Yes, I only had a few small issues with Technology, but overall, a really wonderful trip. But, to be honest, as I woke and readied myself for travel on that last day, I must have said to myself 10 times; “Be Careful, don’t be complacent, pay attention, don’t drop the bike.
Good job Cliff. Enjoyed following your journey. Enjoy your new home, the South is a great place to live with some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.
All the best
Thanks for all the support. I’m spending each day getting used to the weather and customs of the South. This morning, I visited a Farmer’s Market that can only be described as Epic. It is huge ,and seems to offer lots of fruits and vegetables that I’ve never even heard of. So, I’ve got a lot of new things to try.
As I said in an earlier post, it’s been very enjoyable following your trip on the blog.
Thank you for the time you put into writing the blog.
So glad you made it to your new home safe. Enjoy your new home, it looks like a very nice area!
I’ve enjoyed writing the Blog, but at the same time, will enjoy having some time to myself, writing different things, perhaps anything that comes to mind.
Well done, Cliff! Glad you made t to your new home safe and sound. Enjoy this next chapter. I’m sure it will be full of surprises and delights. Enjoy the journey. ☺️
Glad you made it safely and had fun – the same (prioritized) list of objectives for an HPDE!
Yes, good observation. I tried to treat every day as if I was preparing to go to an HPDE track event. It’s always better to be safe than to have to address an incident that occurs because you compromised some part of the journey, or the equipment. Not gonna happen to me…
Congratulations, Cliff. I knew you could do it!
Judy and I hope you will continue this blog or start a new one to cover your new home and neighborhood.
I’m certainly glad that I made it in one piece. I realize that the families that settled the wild west had it much worse than I did, but given how we live these days, it seems like my adventure was considerably beyond the normal life for a modern day American. So, I don’t know whether I would have been hearty enough to settle the wile west, but I would have given it a hell of a shot.
About using this blog for my new home, I’m undecided on that, but it turns out that South Carolina and the South East have a whole lot of places to ride my bike, so I’ll likely continue with those adventures being chronicled.
What I trip! I enjoyed your blog and videos. Karran and I are glad you made it to your new home safe and sound.
Thanks for the nice comment. I really enjoyed the trip, and I’m already itching for the next one. So, don’t worry, I’ll be up to something pretty soon.
WOW, what an adventure! I’m _pretty_ darn impressed that you made this journey by yourself – no riding partner & no sag wagon! Of course I’m not discounting the many friends you visited along the route, but still – wow.
Please keep the blog going – it is some small consolation for your new GUD status.
I think that I made it to the E Coast successfully because of a little bit of luck, and the fact that I remained hyper-focused on safety throughout the entire trip.
All of that time on the race track has seen to it that I understand how important it is to prepare, and to keep your attention level at 100% at all times. That said, it’s exhausting to ride the bike like that, so I was only really able to manage about 400 miles in any given day.
As far as continuing the blog for information about the house, or other things, I think that the best approach is for me to continue the blog, but to do so as I’m able to put together more adventures here in South Carolina.
I’ve discovered that there are hundreds of miles of dirt roads, seemingly around every corner, so it’s just a matter of me getting the house settled, and then hitting the dirt.