S/V Hello World's Travel Log

Cross country - week 1

I forgot just how much I loved riding and traveling on our motorcycle. We shipped the bike out to Charlotte, NC this winter in part to ride some areas in North and South Carolina but mostly, my hidden agenda was to setup a cross-country ride back to Seattle at the end of our time in Charlotte, NC.

One of my immediate targets for this ride was the Tail of the Dragon. The Dragon is short section of U.S. 129 running through the Smokey Mountains of eastern Tennessee that packs 318 curves into a spectacular 11 miles of riding. At one point half-way through I found myself laughing hysterically in my helmet at just how much fun this road was to ride.

Packing up the bike in Charlotte, NC.

The Tree of Shame. When you eat shit on the Dragon, pieces of your bike get hung on the tree of shame. I was determined to not decorate the Tree of Shame.

I spent a day riding through eastern Tennessee and wished I had more time. It's a beautiful area full of rolling hills and some really nice back roads. Unfortunately, I was on a schedule to meet up with good friends in Arkansas so I had to cut my time short.

Falls Creek Falls State Park in TN.

After a few days with friends in Little Rock, I was looking straight down the barrel of Oklahoma and north Texas. The weather forecast was scattered thunderstorms. I was riding through eastern Oklahoma when the sky started to darken and I started to get nervous. I found a gas station and pulled in under their awning right around the time the sky opened up. Thunder, lightening and torrential rain kept me cowering under the gas station roof for an hour before it let up. Another 30 miles down the road and the Oklahoma weather repeated the performance. This time it never let up. I wasn't relishing the idea of sleeping at a Shell station so I decided to make a run for Oklahoma City. This was probably a mistake. While riding through the lovely hamlet of Donkey Crotch, OK one particularly lightening bolt touched down close enough to convince me that being on a motorcycle in this weather was not a great idea. I pulled into the nearest pay-by-the-hour motel, paid for a full night, locked the door, and tried to decide which of three channels on the TV I was going to watch.

Turns out that same weather system that chased me indoors in Oklahoma was spinning off tornadoes in north Texas. After getting up the next morning, I decided I'd had enough of the heartland. I packed up the bike, got out on to the freeway and dropped the bike into GTFO gear and didn't stop until I got to northern New Mexico.

Here's a photo of the only beautiful thing I could find in the Texas Panhandle.

Christy, being the smarter of the two us was not terribly keen on riding through Oklahoma and Texas, decided she would work an extra week and fly out to Albuquerque, NM to meet me. Since I blew through Oklahoma and Texas faster than I thought I would I had an extra day to kill. So I headed up to Durango, CO and spent a couple days in the San Juan mountain range in southern Colorado.

On Hwy 550 to Silverton, CO.

After a couple days of hooligan riding up the San Juan Skyway and drinking really good beer in Durango, I ran down to Albequerque to pick up Christy and start on the two-up portion of the ride.

35.228554°N 80.832329°W


Traveller said...

I drop by Durango whenever I am in the area.

Glad you had a good trip. I've heard of the Dragon from some folks I know who ride.

Sabrina and Tom said...

Looks like a good trip. Love the TX panhandle shot! Can't wait for the next installment with your better half included.