Friends and Museums – Spring Road Trip 2017

It wasn’t far from Appomattox to my friend’s house in Northeast Georgia, and I spent a few days catching up. It had been a few years since we’d been together in real life, so that was good. Her family has an art gallery, with a craft shop and framing store attached. I spent a lot of time there because there was good wifi, and it was a place we could chat.

Yarn bear - I'll keep Blue thanks

As a reminder for people just joining us, I was using a 35mm film camera for this trip, Minolta X370 with Fuji Superia (either 200 or 400iso).

After a few days it was time to get moving again, and my goal was Barber. But, a chance conversation in a diner in Georgia added a stop. There’s a place called Stone Mountain, near Atlanta. Some of the locals there were complaining that liberals wanted to dynamite the mountain, which had been carved by Gutzon Borglum – the same guy who carved Mount Rushmore. By the way, the comment about liberals wanting to dynamite the mountain wasn’t true. One democrats wanted to add material to the existing monument to explain why the north was fighting, and make it less of a “Glorious Defeat.” Having gone there, I kind of see the point (though I am a northerner). Walking around and reading all the signs, there isn’t a mention of slavery or any of the political maneuvering that happened before shots were fired. I know that winners wrote the history that I read, so I guess it was interesting to see a different view.

Okay, that's a carving

Then I was threw Atlanta and to Birmingham. I found a tentspace on ADVrider which was really close to the museum and really awesome. I mean – look at this view.


I’d been to Barber before, but it’s still somewhere to stop whenever you get the chance. Oddly enough, when I posted that I was going there (maybe I was there already, I don’t remember), my lovely wife got a little up. Going to Barber had been something we’d been planning to do together for a while. She was sad that I’d gotten there without her.

If you haven’t been to Barber’s museum, and you like motorcycles or motorsports, then you need to go. It’s really that simple. It remains my favorite motorcycle museum in North America.

I had two nights at my campsite, so I didn’t have to pack up and move on after the museum and could spend the whole day there. I was glad I did that, actually. The morning I did get back on the road was cool and rainy. I had a lot of small roads to ride on to get onto US highway 82, which I was going to take most of the way west. Going up a hill, Curiosity died.

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It’s Like a Triangle – Spring Road Trip 2017

So, the snow was mostly melted and it was time to get to a couple events. I like riding motorcycles, though I dont like the pressure of deadlines. Having to be at events on time was like a deadline (which I haven’t always made), but I going and they are a reason to get out on a nice long ride.

This year, Horizons Unlimited’s Virginia Event was two weeks before Overland Expo West. If I went from one to the other, I would have about 10 days to cover the distance. It seemed like a better idea than going home between the two, which would add 400 miles to the ride. Also, going straight across would give me some time to do other things, rather than just trying to cover some distance. I always like that.

So, that was my plan. Milwaukee to Appomattox to Flagstaff to Milwaukee. There were some interesting possiblities along the way too, if it all worked out.

The next thing I decided was to bring Curiosity – my 1981 Yamaha SR250. I like riding that bike, mostly because the seat is really comfortable and I have a lot (I mean a lot) of miles on it. Things I didn’t really think about when I made that choice was the new, low mileage engine I’d just installed and not ridden much, and that I’d said I was putting Curiosity into semi-retirement after getting my RX3 (White Rabbit) all set up last year. All choices have consequences I guess.

I also decided, rather than using my phone to take pictures (as I have been doing lately) I would bring a ‘real’ camera. That camera would be a Minolta X370 35mm Film camera, which I used to take the pictures in this post (and other RR seen online places).

So, I got on the road a Tuesday morning, planning on 2 nights to get to Appomattox. I went to ADVRider’s tent space for places to sleep, and got a really nice location that first night. I even had neighbors –

Not Breakfast

Mom and Dad goose kept their distance, and I guess last year they had a nest in the same spot and a racoon came and got all their eggs. I wonder if they are going to try again in 2018?

In the morning I was back on the road, heading south and east. I didn’t know how far I was really going to ride that day, and didn’t have a firm sleeping spot. There are quite a few national forests in the Appomattox area (at least coming from the west), and since I knew there were going to be showers there I wasn’t worried about roughing it, then trying to be presentable.

I found an improved campground in Pine Forest, which was supposed to have water but didn’t. I was a little light on water, but it worked out okay and I had the place to myself. In fact, there weren’t even any cars on the road. There were signs here and there for jeep trails, so I guess that would be the area’s claim to fame. I didn’t try any of them on Curiosity, though. There was a time I went out of my way to try dumb things, now I just let them happen naturally.

After a good night’s sleep I stopped for breakfast – no picture, sorry –  and then arrived at Appomattox. The actual HU event is in a state forest, which doesn’t have cell signal but does have a nice view of the lake.


Virginia is a fin event. It’s the first event after winter, so it’s a good chance for people who haven’t seen each other over the winter to catch up. There are always cool ride reports, and some good technical talks. Chris Scott was there, and he was nice enough to shoot an image of me.


I gave a couple of talks, including one on packing. Blue came out, and I mentioned, when situations were tense, sometimes pulling out a teddy bear and a camera was a good way to get smiles. One of the attendees stated,, quite firmly, that it wouldn’t work on him. Naturally, this meant he got his picture taken with Blue.

Blue does his thing

After HU Virginia, I was back on the road – but not to Milwaukee. In about 10 days, I had another event in Flagstaff, Arizona (Overland Expo East). So, rather than going home and leaving again, I decided to head east from Virginia, visit an old friend in Georgia, see some sights, and otherwise just be on the road. It felt like a lot of my recent travel has been to get somewhere for an event and not just to wander around. I missed wandering – even if there was a bit of a deadline.

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Whiskey Country – Horizons Unlimited North Carolina Part One

I know I said I was going to focus on motorcycle trips, and this is going to have Cliff the RV carrying all of us to an HU Event – but Horizons is very much about motorcycles and so is the Iron Horse Resort, not far from Deals Gap. So, it’s definitely motorcycle land.

We all went to the North Carolina event last year, since it was the week after Overland Expo East. This year (well, in 2016) both events were the same weekend, so we had to choose. We’d ended up at HU mostly because we could take Cliff there. OX East had moved to a new venue, but technically vehicles like Cliff we never allowed there. The hurricane last year hadn’t really helped. The girls weren’t up for that long of a motorcycle ride, and we (still) haven’t motorcycle camped. HU NC was a simpler event for us to attend, so that’s where we ended up. It was going to be the first time we talked about our summer trip, so it was important to Sue that we were all there.

All of us going meant school would be missed, something which worried Sue, but there wasn’t much we could do about it. We decided to leave on Tuesday. It functionally cost us three travel days (with the weekend), but meant the girls would only miss five days of school.

Every little bit counts.

We packed up and left in the morning, avoiding the worst of Chicago Traffic. Everything was gaining smoothly until we noticed Cliff was starting to overheat. We’d had overheating problems before, and thought it was all sorted out. Cutting our first day short, we found a campground near a small town (where we could get parts), and set up camp. As it turned out, we were in Whiskey Country, Kentucky.

Of course, the county we camped in was dry, nothing for sale anywhere. It would have been a short walk to the distillery, so the people living there had to work for Jim Bean, at least some of them. Weird.

We found a pinhole in a radiator hose and replaced it, getting back on the road. we kept overheating, though, and in Louisville had to stop for real repairs.

Stan, with his mobile repair truck/garage sorted us out in a couple of hours, but we’d wanted to be at Iron Horse at the end of the second day – and there was no way we would make it now.

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Where I press the fast forward button

So, Sue and I got back from Ontario and, a few weeks later, hit the road with her two girls, two motorcycles, and an RV named Cliff. For while, I was going to be posting that trip here, but I changed my mind. While we did have motorcycles and road a lot, it wasn’t really a motorcycle trip. So, it’s going to be in it’s own blog over here.

I also have a new hub-type site, which links to all the other little, and not so little, stuff I have going on, online. Of particular interest to any motorcyclists, check out The Minimal Motorcyclist, which get all the how-to stuff, reviews, and the other nuts and bolts parts of small, inexpensive motorcycle travel. 

So what is the plan for Traveling250? Just travel reports – especially reports where I get to ride motorcycles. Of course, I am technically at home now in the Midwest, which isn’t known for it’s fine winter motorcycling, but I have other trips to cover in the mean time, and if you get impatient waiting for a post here go and check out the other sites. Also, there is the Facebook page Going Small, so you can ask questions or learn where and what I am planning next.


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