After an evening of real­ly great con­ver­sa­tion yes­ter­day, I popped back in to my room and start­ed to orga­nize the some of the tools and equip­ment that my dear friend Ash­ley was kind enough to ship to me. I’ve been enjoy­ing the small leather projects I’ve been doing, but I’m look­ing for­ward to build­ing some big­ger and more com­plex cre­ations.

I’ve been hav­ing trou­ble locat­ing my sewing nee­dles in the tool bag though, so I made this nee­dle pouch with a cou­ple of pieces of scrap leather.   I’ve spaced and punched all of these holes by hand, and I’m real­ly hap­py with how con­sis­tent the stitch­ing turned out.  (ignore the extra holes on the left side, that was just left­over from some­thing else and I wasn’t con­cerned about includ­ing it in some­thing so util­i­tar­i­an!) Rather than hav­ing to stitch more ver­ti­cal lines to tight­en up the pock­et, I applied a light coat of rub­ber cement inside the pouch and then pushed the nee­dles and awl tips in and cre­ates a secure stor­age spot to keep them togeth­er.

I also built that D-Ring strap which will be used in a lat­er project to secure the ring.  The sim­i­lar­ly shaped piece of leather in the back­ground was, err, prac­tice. :)

hand stitched needle pouch made from scrap leather

hand stitched nee­dle pouch made from scrap leather

Also, a lit­tle bonus for you.  I man­aged to mis­place the cam­era for a few days, but here are a few shots of my dri­ve in from Ottawa through the real­ly love­ly Que­bec coun­try­side.  The day was a bit grey, but the road along the St. Lawrence riv­er was real­ly enjoy­able.  The scale of the infra­struc­ture projects out here is only matched by the scale of the nat­ur­al fea­tures they’re har­ness­ing.  this riv­er is huge, and the dam that plugs it demands a lock to allow boat­ing traf­fic access to both sides.

A lock and hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence River

A lock and hydro­elec­tric dam on the St. Lawrence Riv­er

A lock and hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence River

A lock and hydro­elec­tric dam on the St. Lawrence Riv­er

The area is filled with beau­ti­ful old church­es too

Church in Southern Quebec

Church in South­ern Que­bec

Out of curios­i­ty, I stopped at a ceme­tery along the way. Not sure what I was expect­ing, I was sur­prised by the large num­ber of Eng­lish, Scot­tish, and even Ger­man names fea­tured on the stones.

Mary Graham - Headstone at a cemetery in Southern Quebec

Mary Gra­ham — Head­stone at a ceme­tery in South­ern Que­bec

Ross, McPhee, and Nichols - Headstone at a cemetery in Southern Quebec

Ross, McPhee, and Nichols — Head­stone at a ceme­tery in South­ern Que­bec

John McPhaden - Headstone at a cemetery in Southern Quebec

John McPhaden — Head­stone at a ceme­tery in South­ern Que­bec

Samuel Webster - Headstone at a cemetery in Southern Quebec

Samuel Web­ster — Head­stone at a ceme­tery in South­ern Que­bec

 

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Thirsty­Girl and I took a break and head­ed for the coast. I had to see the ocean for at least a lit­tle bit… Our prox­im­i­ty to the oft-dis­cussed-in-motor­cy­cle-cir­cles “Tail of the Drag­on” ride on US 129 made it a log­i­cal start to the trip. The drag­on is well known around these parts, and is pop­u­lar with both auto and motor­cy­cling enthu­si­asts. There is much lore sur­round­ing the (report­ed) 318 curves on this 11 mile stretch of road, most of it sur­round­ing the num­ber of deaths this year (appar­ent­ly 8 already in 2012, but I don’t believe this to be accu­rate..).

See­ing this, I knew we were in for an incred­i­ble ride..

Road sign: Truck Advisory. US 129 South. Switchback curves ahead. Consider alternate routeRoad sign: Truck Advisory. Switchback curves ahead. Consider alternate route (US 129 South)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post Edit:

I man­aged to get some video uploaded.. This is a fair­ly high-speed ver­sion of the footage I shot from the front of the bike.  It’s pret­ty shaky due to some vibra­tion prob­lems I hadn’t antic­i­pat­ed and the real­ly twisty-turny stuff starts about 2:40..  Don’t feel bad about fast-for­ward­ing.. Hope you enjoy..

[tube]jV-TLMZmNCo[/tube]

If you can’t watch, or per­haps can’t wait ’till the end, this is what I found at the end of my ride up the hill:  Ooops.

Busted!

Around the cor­ner from my impromp­tu stop was the Deal’s Gap store which is real­ly the tail of the tail of the drag­on, they’ve got a motel, gas sta­tion and a whole pile of sou­venirs and tchotchkes to prove  you’ve been there!

Beyond Deal’s gap, I took a break from US 129 and head­ed down High­way 82 along the spec­tac­u­lar­ly beau­ti­ful shores of Cheoah Lake. I can say with­out a doubt that this stretch of high­way was even more enjoy­able than the first sec­tion of the day. The curves were equal­ly hair-pinned and bendy, but the dri­ve was just a bit more relaxed with­out the onslaught of oncom­ing traf­fic wan­der­ing across into my lane..

At some point along its length, 28 joins up with High­way 107 and con­tin­ued to inspire awe (at least on my part)..   I shot this pho­to around 5:30 PM,  just over the South Car­oli­na bor­der.

Highway 28 and 107 in South Carolina: Road, motorcycle mirror and open road

High­way 28 and 107 in South Car­oli­na

It was get­ting near­ly time to shut down for the night, but I had a few more hours of road to get behind me to keep mov­ing east..   For some rea­son every turn I made to head in the right direc­tion head­ed me back toward Atlanta..   The most detailed Rand McNal­ly maps I could find failed to list the pletho­ra of actu­al high­ways that line this coun­try­side, sig­nif­i­cant­ly adding to the con­fus­ing nav­i­ga­tion sce­nario..  Oh, iPhone maps, yeah, they’re much more con­fus­ing. I digress, but it’s pos­si­ble you’ll hear a rant about them lat­er.

Fun­ny thing with North­ern Geor­gia, in stark con­trast to the beau­ti­ful lit­tle farms that line East Ten­nessee roads, the coun­try­side here was real­ly bar­ren.  Devoid of hous­es, farms, cities and real­ly any pop­u­la­tion at all.. I final­ly found my way to the small town of Lavo­nia GA and bed­ded down for the night.

The next day of trav­el took me through more of north­ern Geor­gia and South­west­ern South Car­oli­na.  (I know this gets con­fus­ing, have a look at the map and stick with me!). I took the oppor­tu­ni­ty to stop and take a walk through a Civ­il-War era Con­fed­er­ate ceme­tery in McCormick SC.  For those of you who haven’t had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to wan­der through old-coun­try grave­yards, I’d high­ly rec­om­mend the expe­ri­ence.   His­to­ry comes alive when you start see­ing cru­cial his­tor­i­cal dates etched in stone. The thing that struck me was how long peo­ple were liv­ing back in the late 17 and ear­ly 1800’s.. Sev­er­al of the stones I read were peo­ple that lived well into their 80’s and 90’s, and that’s through the US Civ­il War!  Who­ev­er says we’re liv­ing longer today might want to recheck their stats. ;)

Robert Bayless Dean, PVT CO E 13 BATT, SC Infantry, Confederate States Army, Apr 3, 1837, Feb 18, 1905

Robert Bay­less Dean, PVT CO E 13 BATT, SC Infantry, Con­fed­er­ate States Army, Apr 3, 1837, Feb 18, 1905

Lewis Bozeman, Died May 2, 1859, about 88 years old

Lewis Boze­man, Died May 2, 1859, about 88 years old

Elizabeth T. Dean, consort of, Thomas Dean, Born April 8th 1795, Died, October 10th, 1865, Aged 70 years, six months, and 2 days

Eliz­a­beth T. Dean, con­sort of, Thomas Dean, Born April 8th 1795, Died, Octo­ber 10th, 1865, Aged 70 years, six months, and 2 days

Confederate Cross

The whole after­noon took me through some pret­ty eco­nom­i­cal­ly depressed areas..  I saw very lit­tle in the way of indus­try, com­merce, or any oth­er viable form of income save a bit of farm­ing..

Building for Rent: Bracknell's - This BUILDING may FALL but the QUALITY of our MERCHANDISE - WILL NEVER -

Build­ing for Rent: Bracknell’s — This BUILDING may FALL but the QUALITY of our MERCHANDISEWILL NEVER -

Often, I’d come across vir­tu­al ghost towns that looked recent­ly-pros­per­ous. It was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly sur­re­al and sad­den­ing. Cross­ing the state line between South Car­oli­na and Augus­ta GA was per­haps the most stark con­trast between have and have-not..  After a half day of pass­ing run-down farms and desert­ed towns, the sub­urbs of Augus­ta were incred­i­bly posh and well devel­oped..

Augus­ta itself has seen bet­ter days..   Both of my cam­eras had giv­en up the ghost by the time I got there, but I man­aged to catch a few shots of the Augus­ta Pow­der Works build­ings where much of the Con­fed­er­ate gun­pow­der and muni­tions were made dur­ing the Civ­il War.  Much of the area around the pow­der works was incred­i­bly depressed and as I rode around I couldn’t help but think that it deserved much more explo­ration and time with a cam­era and an open ear.

ThirstyGirl at the Augusta Powder Works

Thirsty­Girl at the Augus­ta Pow­der Works (Now a cot­ton com­pa­ny)

Push­ing on, and after one more speed­ing tick­et (a lit­tle more than a hand-slap this time) I final­ly made it in to Savan­nah and got set­tled for a few days of wan­der­ing..  That, in the next post. This one is already get­ting toooo long. Read Part 2 here if you’d like to con­tin­ue!

 

– If you haven’t read it yet, you can click this link for part 1 of this post! –

Savan­nah Geor­gia turned out to be an incred­i­bly beau­ti­ful city to just walk around for  a few days (the old His­toric Dis­trict was at least!)..  Savan­nah res­i­dents seem to take great pride in the many treed squares and beau­ti­ful archi­tec­ture that fills the old dis­trict and they’re well worth an after­noon to wan­der through, or just to sit down and watch oth­ers do the same.  Those inter­est­ed in high-end antiques will delight in the pletho­ra of shops cater­ing to those with a pen­chant for ancient his­to­ry and/or mon­ey to burn.  Sad­ly, most of the books I found in the stores I vis­it­ed were writ­ten in Swedish or Ger­man lan­guage, nei­ther of which were par­tic­u­lar­ly use­ful to me.

Savannah Harbour Diptych

Scat­tered about the same dis­trict are numer­ous build­ings belong­ing to the Savan­nah Col­lege of Art and Design (SCAD) an art school with a pret­ty great sto­ry. If you spend any amount of time in the area, you’ll undoubt­ed­ly come across the pletho­ra of art stu­dents going about their dai­ly lives.  Owing to the sheer num­ber of of art­sy-types, I couldn’t help the con­tin­u­ous loop of Lydia the Tat­tooed Lady play­ing in my head as I wan­dered about town. :)

The night-life in Savan­nah is plen­ti­ful and full of choice.  One of my favourites by far is the Bay Street Blues, a good, hon­est bar with freakin-fan­tas­tic music!

[tube]O1pYyaaU0Lw[/tube]

I’m told there was a lot of real­ly great food to eat in town, and I did man­age to have a few good meals but with the way my tim­ing worked out a few snacks seemed to do me well for most of my two days here..  Paula Dean’s restau­rant did come rec­om­mend­ed, and indeed it’s pop­u­lar (so pop­u­lar in fact that it spans three floors and sports a wait­ing list).  Ms. Dean is well known for her south­ern cook­ing, and indeed the buf­fet sup­per her estab­lish­ment served was pret­ty tasty, the ser­vice and din­ing expe­ri­ence left a lot to be desired.

I try to be as pos­i­tive as pos­si­ble on this site, but my next stop at Hilton Head Island was, well, fright­en­ing (in a chil­dren of the corn sor­ta way).  I will say, that on my way out to Hilton Head, I man­aged to find a farmer’s mar­ket and food-fair in the small town of Bluffton SC.  Also found here was the posh­est choco­late chip cook­ie I’ve ever eat­en.  I mean, seri­ous­ly, who puts whipped cream on a cook­ie? Idun­no, but every­body should!

Posh Cookie in Bluffton, SC

So, yeah, Hilton Head Island. One of the odd­est (and odd­ly uncom­fort­able) places I’ve vis­it­ed in a long time.  As I drove the long park­way out to the island, I passed per­fect­ly man­i­cured medi­ans that led me to believe I’d head­ed into sub­ur­ban hell.   This was only the begin­ning.  Hilton Head, it turns out, is FULL of time-share con­dos and plan­ta­tion resorts..  I stopped in to a “tourist infor­ma­tion” cen­ter look­ing for a bed and break­fast or hos­tel with no luck.  Turns out that it was actu­al­ly a time­share sales office. Ergh.. I have to be fair though, the gal there was nice enough to send me to one place that did have hotel rooms too, and gave me some rec­om­men­da­tions for food and drink that night. I was still pret­ty exhaust­ed from an epic night out in Savan­nah, and called it quits after search­ing in vain for a place to eat some­thing healthy.  In the process, I learned that the plan­ta­tions (there are many) on Hilton Head have all banned motor­cy­cles from the prop­er­ty.  All motor­cy­cles. Huh?  Must be that only bad peo­ple ride motor­cy­cles.. Or some­thing..

Look­ing for that meal, I only man­aged to find a bar that sold food.  As I wait­ed for my burg­er (the health­i­est thing I could find), I came to the hor­ri­ble real­iza­tion that I was in some real­ly awful ’80’s sum­mer-par­ty-movie..  Real­ly. Awful.   Though my hotel was peace­ful, I was hap­py to get out of there in the morn­ing..

Head­ing north again, toward North Car­oli­na, I hap­pened across Cry­ba­bies Tav­ern (as I was search­ing for food again) in Beau­fort, SC. (not to be con­fused with Beau­fort, NC… One is pro­nounced Be-U-fort, the oth­er BO-fort to mit­i­gate any chance of mis­tak­en iden­ti­ty.. )

Cry­ba­bies is pos­si­bly the BEST lit­tle dive-bar I’ve ever had the plea­sure of drink­ing in. The bar­tender was awe­some, and the patrons were just good, hon­est, unpre­ten­tious, and hos­pitable. This place is well worth stop­ping in if you ever hap­pen to find your­self in Beau­fort (SC). High­light? The base­ball bat behind the bar.  Win!

Crybabies Tavern, Beaufort SCThreat deterrence: Crybabies Tavern, Beaufort SC

Interior photo: Crybabies Tavern, Beaufort SC

I made my way up to Charleston North Car­oli­na, the site of the first shot in the US Civ­il War and home to the high­est den­si­ty of beau­ti­ful and fit peo­ple I’ve seen in the Unit­ed States of Amer­i­ca.  Yowza!   Take your ten, add about twelve and you’ve got your­self a good aver­age for Charleston.  In all seri­ous­ness, I did see an incred­i­bly high pro­por­tion of healthy-weight peo­ple here, in com­par­isoon to many of the oth­er places I’ve down in the US.  I’m not sure how the demo­graph­ics play in to this but suf­fice it to say, if you’re look­ing to find an active and fit pop­u­la­tion, this’d be a good place to start look­ing!

In Charleston, I stayed in a dorm room at the Not­so Hos­tel which turned out to be a refresh­ing change from the hotels I’d been stay­ing in.  I got a chance to min­gle with prop­er trav­el­ers and even some rel­a­tive locals dur­ing my two day stay.. The bagels and Nutel­la for break­fast were an unex­pect­ed bonus too!  All in all, def­i­nite­ly a worth­while place to stay.

With the onset of mug­gy, rainy weath­er a few days before, I’d been on the move to try and find nice weath­er. The prospects looked kin­da dim for find­ing sun any­where in North Car­oli­na, so I made the best of it and head­ed down to Fort Sumpter, the site of the events that real­ly kicked off the Civ­il War. It may not look like much now, but in its day, Sumpter’s walls were three sto­ries tall, and it boast­ed an officer’s quar­ters that were fit for a gen­tle­man, com­plete with mar­ble fire­places, canopy beds and par­quet floors.. Unfor­tu­nate­ly for the occu­pants, it was designed to with­stand attack from the ocean with 50′ mason­ry walls and posi­tions for some 130 guns most of which weren’t actu­al­ly installed yet. Oh, and the Con­fed­er­ate attack just hap­pened to come from the land-side.  It fell, and the war was on..

Fort Sumpter NC

Fort Sumpter NC

Undaunt­ed, but grow­ing weary of the poor, driz­zly weath­er envelop­ing the east coast, I made the deci­sion to head inland and get away from the rain.  I start­ed the five hour dri­ve in a down­pour and end­ed up in Asheville NC in near freez­ing tem­per­a­tures..  As I dragged my weary and weath­er-numb body into a restau­rant for a cup of cof­fee and a minute to regroup, a local cop men­tioned to me that it was sup­posed to snow that evening.   Crrrap!   I’m down here to avoid the snow, not find it!

Luck­i­ly, that pre­dic­tion turned out to be false, and I’d found one of my favourite hos­tels of all time, Sweet Peas.  If you’ve ever won­dered how to run a hos­tel right, this is the place to see. Upon check-in, you’re pro­vid­ed with a tow­el, face cloth, and a Sweet Peas stick­er.. Noth­ing like a lit­tle free adver­tis­ing!   The build­ing is super-clean, beau­ti­ful­ly designed, and well equipped.  I opt­ed for a pri­vate room because I had a whole pile of gear to sort out, but there are open four bed dorms and semi-pri­vate “pods” avail­able as well.  The beds were rea­son­ably com­fort­able and linens were pro­vid­ed on all beds–Nice!

Asheville itself is an incred­i­ble town (city?) full of ran­dom art at every turn and this alone puts me in a hap­py place.    Top that off with a daz­zling selec­tion of phe­nom­e­nal food, and a laid-back but super­cool nightlife, Uni­ver­si­ty of North Car­oli­na and a con­cert hall that fea­tures the likes of (Cal­gary native) Leslie Feist  and you’ve got a hel­luf­va hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, and I can imag­ine, a pret­ty great place to go to school!

Chicken Lane artwork, Asheville, SC

Ashville, NC Back Alley

Creative Addressing: Asheville, NC

Piano Garden: Asheville, NC

And even a lit­tle left­over from our afraid-of-the-Rus­sians days..

Cold War Remenants: Asheville, NC

The trip back to Ten­nessee to meet Chris­tianne is next on my update list, and was rel­a­tive­ly unevent­ful except that one time I stood Thirsty­Girl on her back tyre try­ing to merge back onto the inter­state..

Ooops.

Your map for this side-trip:

View Larg­er Map

A friend of mine post­ed on her face­book page yes­ter­day:
Vot­ed, Tax­es in, Mom picked up at air­port … I play ‘Adult’ well.

Upon read­ing that, my first thought was.. “Oh, crap!  I’ve been gal­li­vant­i­ng long enough that I didn’t vote in the elec­tion, the accoun­tant had to remind me that my tax­es were due, and I’ve got a very impor­tant pas­sen­ger to pick up at the air­port today..   I real­ly hope I’m enough of an adult to get one out of three right.”

I’m unbe­liev­ably excit­ed (to say the least) about this trip to the air­port though, so we should be all good! I’ll be pick­ing up one incred­i­bly cool chi­ca who has tak­en a pret­ty big leap of faith and head­ed down here on a whim so we can see the Rolex Ken­tucky togeth­er..  You’ll see more of Chris­tianne over the next week as we explore Ken­tucky and the Smoky Moun­tains!

With that all said, she’ll be here in less than 12 hours and I still have much to do..  More updat­ing lat­er..

:)

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So some­where in the mid­dle of my last post, I actu­al­ly manged to sneak a trip in to see my bud­dy Abi in Lex­ing­ton KY which, as it turns out is only about three hours away from Knoxville..  I hopped on to Thirsty­Girl and head­ed across the state line to catch Abi for sup­per..  As it turns out, there’s a bit of a hilly/mountain range between the two cities and that’s always good for a lit­tle excite­ment when it comes to weath­er.   About half-way through the trip, and with the approach of some real­ly omi­nous look­ing clouds, I fig­ured it’d be time to suit up and get kin­da water­proofed, and it was good that I did..

[tube]TRiscxtcI4U[/tube]

I also took the lib­er­ty of affix­ing the go-pro to the front of the bike and attempt­ing to film what a ride in the rain looks like from a motorcyclist’s per­spec­tive.. And it’s mis­er­able. Par­tic­u­lar­ly when the four wheel­ers all get scared and decide to pull off the road. Any part of the road, the shoul­der, the ditch, the left lane..  Imag­ine being pelt­ed with rain and hail whilst those same four-wheel­ers tried to decide whether they want­ed to pull over or just dri­ve slow for twen­ty miles.. (The Nerve! Right?) Need­less to say, I had a few choice words for the bulk of those dri­vers ahead of me..

With hands black­ened from the dye in my sat­u­rat­ed rid­ing gloves, I arrived in to Lex­ing­ton just in time to get show­ered (warmed up) and head out for a bite to eat.. Abi and I met her bud­dy Chase at one of their local favourite restau­rants where I learned about a Ken­tucky favourite dish: The Hot Brown..   My first thought was that this thing was ‘heart attack on a plate.’  And it is, but I had to try it any­way..  Sev­er­al lay­ers of sliced meat lay atop a cou­ple of pieces of white bread, and are then smoth­ered in cheese, and melt­ed in the oven.  There is a veg­e­tar­i­an option, but real­ly, why would you try that? (Well, Abi did, but she lives there..)

Kentucky Hot Brown

After a good feed, a slice of pie, and a dri­ve out to Ver­sailles (Pro­nounced Ver-Sails by the locals) to see the cas­tle I turned in for the night..  The next day after a quick lunch and vis­it, I head­ed back for Knoxville and a good night’s sleep.  This was just a quick trip, so most­ly inter­state free­ways, but it was incred­i­bly pret­ty ter­ri­to­ry nonethe­less; unfor­tu­nate­ly, I was pret­ty tired from the pre­vi­ous day in the rain and had to pull over to take a quick nap.

Remind me some time to tell you about the fire engine and the ambu­lance show­ing up…

Knoxville to Lex­ing­ton Map:

View Larg­er Map

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So, a lit­tle re-cap-over-lap:   Upon Smoky Joe’s rec­om­men­da­tion, I’d trav­eled down in to the Shawnee Nation­al For­est to head up to High Knob to watch the sun­set.   As I cruised through the wind­ing for­est road, I was struck by the sheer beau­ty of the tree lined tar­mac. After hav­ing trav­eled through thou­sands of Kilo­me­ters of flat and rolling prairie, I’d arrived some­where famil­iar, serene and very at-home.

Pulling in to High Knob, which I’d thought was just a view­point, I real­ized it was actu­al­ly a camp­ground cater­ing to horse­back rid­ers, and sit­u­at­ed with prime access to some of the best horse­back rid­ing trails in all of Shawnee.  As I rolled through the grounds, I was imme­di­ate­ly impressed with the numer­ous themed out­build­ings that dot­ted the prop­er­ty and most­ly with the seren­i­ty of the whole place.  Save the inter­mit­tent whin­ny of the sta­bled hors­es, the camp­ground was silent..

It was an easy deci­sion to camp there for the night (after all, I’d hauled a tent down this far) but as I spoke with JoJo, the own­er of the camp, she offered a cou­ple of even bet­ter options.  At High Knob, in addi­tion to camp­ing, it is pos­si­ble to sleep in a com­mu­nal bunk house or even in a pri­vate cab­in.  I chose the bunk house (as it hap­pened I was the only occupant–it’s usu­al­ly used by hunters, and, well, this isn’t hunt­ing sea­son). The accom­mo­da­tion is rus­tic, but per­fect for my night’s stay and after mov­ing in I head­ed to the top of the hill to catch sun­set.

[tube]9Mso3iaraY8[/tube]

After a good night of sleep, and a rather late ten o’clock start, I wan­dered in to the gen­er­al store where I found JoJo mind­ing the shop..   Rather than just nip­ping in for a quick cof­fee and hit­ting the road, we end­ed up chat­ting for the bet­ter part of a cou­ple of hours..   After talk­ing busi­ness, mules vs. hors­es, cus­tomer ser­vice, trav­el and cul­ture among oth­er things, JoJo shared a bit more about the area, and the his­to­ry of High Knob camp­ground. I was thor­ough­ly impressed with her gen­uine con­cern for ‘her campers’  their hors­es, and the areas around High Knob.  Were I able to get here more read­i­ly, I’d seri­ous­ly con­sid­er get­ting myself on the wait­ing list for one of the few per­ma­nent camp spots that come avail­able each year.  Well, that and I don’t have hors­es..

Inci­den­tal­ly, accord­ing to JoJo, there are mule peo­ple and there are horse peo­ple (much like dog and cat peo­ple).  And, as it turns out, mules are actu­al­ly incred­i­bly intel­li­gent and have a high self preser­va­tion instinct (which is help­ful if you’re try­ing to ush­er the beast through ter­ri­to­ry that may not be best for the health of either of ya’s)..  The things you learn on the road! :)

Any­way, it’s tak­en ages to get this post up so I’ll fire a few pho­tos up and a quick video for your perusal! :)

High Knob Cemetery

Telegraph Office

High Knob Saloon

Fort Knob

High Knob Gun Shop

Used fairing-saver
Jay, you’re one of the few peo­ple that’ll appre­ci­ate the irony of this..  I man­aged to dump the bike while I was load­ing it..  Soft ground, the fair­ing-saver just dug in.. :)  Rook­ie mis­take.

JoJo sent me on my way with a can of her favourite Soda Pop (Red Fay­go), and a pack­age of mini-dough­nuts, and a direct order to vis­it the Rocks of the Gods a few miles away from the camp­ground. Which I did, and I’m pleased to have done.. It was real­ly spec­tac­u­lar scenery and I felt it fit­ting to drink my Fay­go right there with a toast to JoJo!  Thanks Lady! :)

Red Faygo

The ride to Nashville was pret­ty unevent­ful after all of this, but enjoy­able nonethe­less!

[PostE­d­it] Actu­al­ly one thing about the ride strikes me as note­wor­thy.. Some­how, the south­west­ern cor­ner of Ken­tucky smelled exact­ly like Grape Soda. I don’t know what it was that caused the deli­cious aro­ma, but I shall for­ev­er more asso­ciate Grape pop with Ken­tucky..

Your map Sirs and Madams:

View Larg­er Map

If you’ve already read yesterday’s post, you may want to go back and read it again, I’ve added a few pho­tos from the ride down.

Today I spent the day in St. Louis with John and Kate to go take a ride up inside the arch.…

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You read that right: INSIDE!!! How cool is that? For all my life I’d thought the arch was made of sol­id con­crete. Turns out it’s made of stain­less steel (at least on the out­side).

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Inside the arch is actu­al­ly quite hol­low. Enough so that a sin­gle (very cramped) tram/elevator trav­els up and down inside each of the north and south legs.

The four minute ride puts groups of 40 peo­ple (split up into pods of five) at the apex where small rec­tan­gu­lar por­tals pro­vide a view of down­town St. Louis and the Mis­sis­sip­pi riv­er.

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We had talked a about doing sushi for sup­per but end­ed up opt­ing instead to head direct­ly for a hon­est to good­ness fish fry-up being held at the church where John and Kate were mar­ried. Until now, I’d nev­er eat­en cat­fish I’d enjoyed; this stuff though was heav­en­ly!

Tomor­row, John­ny has promised that they’ll take me to Jim­my Johns for a sang­which that’ll change my life.

So look­ing for­ward to that!

Hey all,
I’ve only got Inter­net on my phone tonight so this is just a quick update to let you know I’ve arrived at my des­ti­na­tion in Mis­souri and will be stick­ing around here for a few days. Will do some updat­ing and the rest of my email­ing when I get the Inter­net sort­ed out. :)

Adden­dum: there was a lot of pret­ty coun­try up in north­ern Mis­souri. Cou­pled with some of the recur­ring Amer­i­can road­side odd­i­ties that one encoun­ters down here.

The one that gets me most is gas sta­tions. Most of which you can buy beer and hard alco­hol at, but some even car­ry fire­works too. I can’t think of a bet­ter com­bi­na­tion that booze, explo­sives and gaso­line.

Like this one (note also, antiques and the real­ly beau­ti­ful coun­try­side)

I liked this ad in the win­dow for Cono­co gaso­line:

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And I par­tic­u­lar­ly liked the two toi­let bath­room set­up. Pre­sum­ably ‘his’ and ‘hers’??

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And your map for the day!


View USA — Day 5 on a larg­er map

Today,
Anoth­er late start.. Could. Not. Wake. UP! Dun­no why, but I had a heck of a time get­ting out of bed despite a real­ly rea­son­able sleep. I think the wind just beat me that bad­ly the day before..

Not much in the way of news to report, more cool weath­er today in the morn­ing, but by the time I got to Oma­ha NB, it was shorts and teeshirt weath­er! Fan-freakin’-tastic! The last cou­ple of states I’ve been through have no appar­ent hel­met laws and every­where I go, there are motor­cy­clists sans-lids and I’m astound­ed they can even man­age giv­en the thick coat­ing of smashed bugs on my own visor and wind­shield. As much as I love to ride with­out a hel­met, I’ve no desire to do it here for sure!

A cou­ple of shots from Sioux City Iowa, where I stopped for a peek on my way through. They’ve got a his­toric dis­trict full of beau­ti­ful old build­ings that beg anoth­er vis­it. It was pret­ty qui­et peo­ple-wise though so I decid­ed to con­tin­ue on to Oma­ha..
Self Portrait - Sioux City Iowa

A neat ol' battery shop in Sioux City Iowa

Just watch­ing the weath­er chan­nel right now as I lis­ten to deep dis­tant rolling thun­der.. It appears that I’m head­ed direct­ly into high like­li­hood of tor­na­does and thun­der­show­ers tomor­row.. Though Kansas City is gonna be close to 80 degrees F! (Bring on the heat!)

Again, it’s super-late and I’m behind on my email.. I’ll answer that tomor­row and per­haps tell a few more sto­ries about the Oma­ha-Coun­cil Bluffs rival­ry and grass between my toes.. G’nite!

Your map:

View USA Trip — Day 4 in a larg­er map

Well, it didn’t feel like a trip through Scot­land, but it seems that there may have been more than one bek­ilt­ed set­tler around these parts at some point in the past. Regard­less, there def­i­nite­ly is some pret­ty coun­try­side between the towns of Glas­gow MT and Aberdeen South Dako­ta.

Best burger EVER!The morn­ing, as is my cus­tom, start­ed off pret­ty slow. I woke up late, and took my time get­ting ready. On my way out, the hotel staff rec­om­mend­ed I stop at Bergie’s in Nashua MT for a bite to eat.. I’m so pleased that did, this was quite pos­si­bly one of the best burg­ers I’ve eat­en in ages. FRESH bun, incred­i­ble hand­made pat­ty, tasty but uniden­ti­fi­able spices and a sauce to beat all sauces..: I could wax poet­ic about it for ages, but I shan’t. Instead, please be sure to stop by there if you’re in this neck of the woods!

Room for more.. Small Town Bar

Fertalizer Plant

Con­tin­u­ing on, (with bel­ly full) I made my way south through some pret­ty incred­i­ble ter­ri­to­ry. Sim­i­lar to the Bad­lands in Alber­ta, the Mon­tana Bad­lands include the req­ui­site dinosaur muse­ums and tourist traps com­mon to these areas..

Montana Badlands
Along with some spec­tac­u­lar coulees and wide open fields, there came one of the most ridicu­lous wind­storms I’ve expe­ri­enced on the bike. Since it was com­ing direct­ly out of the west (I was actu­al­ly rid­ing across the weath­er front) it was either at my back or direct­ly at my side. For those of you who don’t ride, a cross-wind push­es the tires of a bike out from under the rid­er in a lean that’s sim­i­lar to high-speed cor­ner­ing. A big bike like this FJR presents a pret­ty big tar­get for the wind (think barn door) and some of the gusts I caught were awful­ly aggres­sive. The bike han­dled them with ease, but it was exhaust­ing as a rid­er to con­tin­u­al­ly fight the wind over this 400+ Km leg..

I had an inter­est­ing encounter with an old Indi­an man who called him­self Low Bear, on the Stand­ing Rock Indi­an Reser­va­tion.. He and anoth­er man approached me to chat whilst I fueled Thirsty­Girl and had a quick snack of chick­en wings..

We spoke of his trav­els to vis­it fam­i­ly up in Cana­da, and his love of the Rocky Moun­tains (and fear of bears of all things!). Toward the end of our con­ver­sa­tion, he shook my hand and with­out let­ting go, sang me a tra­di­tion­al song for trav­el­ers.. It was one of the most touch­ing expe­ri­ences I’ve had in my trav­els to date.

I stopped here short­ly after that encounter to col­lect my thoughts and look over the val­ley below.
My first sunset stop

And, as promised, the movie (I’m dis­gust­ed with the video qual­i­ty) of what my sun­set sound­ed like.. If you squint, it might just look nor­mal.. :)

And Today’s map

View USA — Day 3 in a larg­er map