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Offline oo7

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(on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« on: October 25, 2016, 08:13:28 am »
After recently relocating from Cape Town, South Africa to Los Angeles, USA, I found myself in the unfortunate state of being cage bound. This was weighing heavily on my mind – not just because I was unable to ride, but more so due to being completely unsure as to what bike I next want to acquire.

I had to (very reluctantly) let go of my trusted ’09 GSA in the Cape as the cost and red tape to import it into the US and specifically California just did not make sense. I am very familiar with the pre-LC GSA’s as I had done more than 100k’s on the two that I had owned up until that time, on both occasions without any major issues, so I knew what I have in these bikes. However, after all those miles I was keen to rather get onto the back of something else, but I just had no real idea what bike that will be.

So I went to test ride a HD FatBoy. And I loved it. Awesome bike, but the floorboards scraped around every corner. The eager salesman then had me pulling the ear of an even better looking machine, a Softail Deluxe. Not so scrapy around the corners, and really beautiful to look at. Mmmm. But buying a Harley will mean I will have to get another DS bike to be able to do some proper riding in addition to all the posing. My circumstances however were such that I only had space for one girlfriend. Yet I still went to ride the new 2016 Bonne T120. Again it was pleasing on the eye and I really enjoyed riding it, and that 1200 machine impressed me more than I could have hoped for. But it wasn’t really talking to me. So I hopped on to the Triumph Scrambler. Probably one of the most beautiful bikes money can buy off the floor today. And also a nice ride, but in a way quite similar to the Bonne, not as powerful though. Next stop was the Honda Dealership. Apparently due to an earthquake in Japan, there is a shortage of new AT models around, and they only had a DCT version. Loved the bike but HATED that gearbox. Feels like a big scooter. I cannot fathom how/why anyone want to go offroad with that box with no clutch? Anyhoo, to cut a long story short, after all these test rides I was inclined to wait for the standard shift AT, as I felt that may just be the bike…or just stop the silliness and buy another GSA. Which was what I did.

While I was busy pulling the trigger on a ’12 in Los Angeles with 11k on the clock, this one popped up in Charleston, South Carolina.


It was also a ’12, but with only just over 4k on the clock, some more accessories than the LA bike and a cool $1,000 lower priced and virtually in showroom condition:




- and with such low mileage on the clock, I knew I had to make a quick call, as it was priced to sell.

The long Haired Chief of Staff happened to be departing on a business trip for a few weeks, and I had some time on my hands, so why not!? Charleston may be on the other side of the continent, but hey, if Google Maps says it can be done in 37 hours, who am I to blow against the wind??



The next thing I know I was on the plane, harbouring exciting thoughts about the next few days




The gentlemen in Charleston that I bought the bike from very quickly became my new BFF. He was the personification of that legendary Southern hospitality that I have heard so much about. In the day and a half that I spent with him in Charleston my culinary, geographical and political boundaries certainly expanded:


Much of this I think should be ascribed to the fact that he is also an ex Saffer – born in Joburg ( I think) but relocated with his folks to North America at a young age. So certainly the right pedigree and genes ;-) !

He fetched me from the airport, put me up in a hotel for the night, fed me, and then I was taken on an interesting tour of Charleston. Unfortunately, it was pissing down for most of my time there, but I still managed to get a proper feel of that beautiful old city’s charm. The Historic Downtown District has been described as a living museum – a place that will see me again at the first opportunity. This is after all the place where the first shot in the Civil war was fired – Fort Sumter to be precise.

So, after completing all the formalities -which basically required me to sign on the back of the title deed while simultaneously parting with quite a few thousand George Washingtons, I took possession of my new girlfriend and then quite sadly also parted ways with my BFF.



I left Charleston on a very wet Thursday afternoon, at that time with only three destinations cast in stone: Atlanta, GA where I had to take care of some business, Fort Collins, CO where I wanted to visit some family, and Los Angeles, California – the place I call home these days. Those small bits on the map in-between these destinations were therefore a blank canvas – how exciting!



Leaving Charleston on the Thursday afternoon, I had a few days to kill as my meeting in Atlanta was only on Monday. I wanted to see a proper Southern Plantation, and also ride through the Smokey Mountains, as I was told of some great roads not too miss in those mountains.

First stop was at Middleton Place – the signboard said it was America’s oldest landscaped gardens:



Beautiful old tree at the entrance with a nice looking manor house:





Some more info on Middleton Place on their website: https://www.middletonplace.org/


After leaving the coast the rain was something of the past, and the hot and VEEERY humid climate was drenching me within my riding suit. I set the GPS towards the general direction of the Smokey Mountains and enjoyed seeing the South and North Carolina countryside for the first time. The people here are just great. Everywhere you stop someone will engage in kind conversation, which usually will include either a polite enquiry about the motorcycle or the accent or both.


I wonder if this ‘Evacuation Route’ was actually used during the last Hurricane that just passed through the US east coast?



I have yet to experience a more patriotic nation than the Americans!



Leaving the wonderfully friendly state of South Carolina



And entering red-neck country:




« Last Edit: October 25, 2016, 10:06:43 am by oo7 »
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2016, 09:04:10 am »
Ek ry lekker saam :thumleft:
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Offline oo7

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 10:15:03 am »
Goeiemore Chris  :thumleft:

 
As part of the culinary experience in Charleston, my kind host also introduced me to this sign from the Devil:



Going to that place one can only but sin:




Apparently, if the evil sign is switched on, it is an indication that they are freshly baking and glazing the donuts inside. Here I did indeed find a conveyor belt churning out the friggen donuts:



I can however truthfully disclose that this visit to that Krispy Kreme in Lenoir, NC was to date my last one. I have yet to sin again. (Well, in the donut eating department, that is).

Waffle House – another fine establishment not found on the West Coast. Not my favourite. But then again what do I know…



Riding through South Carolina, one can understand why they call it the Bible Belt. Every little town has numerous churches – I constantly wondered whether (and where!) they all managed to find enough members…

Throughout this trip the Church signs were always interesting and sometimes funny to read, like this one:



The price of petrol is also substantially cheaper in SC than in California. Here I spotted a gallon for just over $1,85, although the cheapest price that I saw was just $1,65. Which compares well with the prices of around $3/gallon here in California. 




I slept the first night just outside Charlotte, NC and found my way the following day to the town of Blowing Rock, NC.




Unfortunately the fog and rain did not make for beautiful photo opportunities, and nor was there any wind blowing, so I was unable to see the “light objects cast over the chasm” ;-)



The actual Blowing Rock:



This was my view:


And I believe this is what it is supposed to look like on a sunny day:





 

Offline silvrav

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2016, 10:43:41 am »
 :ricky:
 

Offline lpj

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2016, 11:38:58 am »
 :sip:
 

Offline Rooikoos

Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2016, 11:40:44 am »
 :sip:
 

Offline Kaboef

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2016, 11:57:02 am »
Well howdy doo!

Gooi nog Double Oh.


Bly om te sien jy pas mooi aan in die US of A.

And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."
 

Offline Steekvlieg

Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2016, 12:51:00 pm »
Sub
 

Offline superfoxi

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2016, 01:37:12 pm »
Enjoying it a lot, thanks! :thumleft: :thumleft:
 

Offline oo7

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2016, 08:45:35 am »
At Blowing Rock I hopped onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, a section of road described by Wikipedia as
‘a National Parkway and All-American Road in the United States noted for its scenic beauty. It is America's longest linear park running mostly along the Blue Ridge, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains. The parkway, while not a National Park, has been the most visited unit of the National Park System every year since 1946.’



It sure runs through a beautiful piece of this earth. Again however, the fog was not allowing me to see a great deal, but where it lifted it certainly was beautiful. And a very pleasant and relaxing ride through these ‘blue’ mountains.



 











Crossing the Eastern Continental divide, I had to consult Wikipedia what it meant - the Eastern Continental Divide demarcates two watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean: the Gulf of Mexico watershed and the Atlantic Seaboard watershed. Interestingly, prior to 1760, the divide represented the boundary between British and French colonial possessions in North America.



This map provides a good idea of the various watersheds of the USA, with the Eastern Continental Divide demarcated in yellow in the lower right:

 

Mount Mitchell State Park has the highest point in the US. East of the Missisipi that is.




At last - some sun above the clouds.







Leaving Mt Mitchell behind, I aimed further south down the Parkway towards Deals Gap, where the popular US Route 129 contains a section known as the ‘Tail of the Dragon’.
On the way to Deals Gap, the natural beauty continued to be covered in fog, but here and there I could enjoy some of the views.





The Parkway meanders through some pretty neat towns as well, such as Linville Falls, Little Switzerland and the city of Asheville.

 






I had lunch at famous Louise’s in Linville Falls – the menu had a cute story on the restaurant being located right on the spot where three county lines meet:
 


Welcome sign found outside the Oconaluftee Vistor’s Center:



Crossing the Cheoha river below the Cheoha Dam Wall. I am always a bit skittish being on the business end of an old dam wall like this – checking for cracks instead of enjoying the view . . .



Arriving at Deals Gap it was full of friendly HOG’s and a few sportbikes. As with most popular destinations these days, it is completely commercialised, with souvenir shops littered on both sides of the road, and statutes of ugly dragons. Or ugly statues of dragons?.













Here is a good site that describes the hype about this piece of road - http://www.dangerousroads.org/north-america/usa/94-tail-of-the-dragon-usa.html

In short, it is called the Tail of the Dragon because of the curves in the road resembling it as such. I enjoyed the 11 miles with its supposedly 318 curves and took it easy. Here’s a few shots taken by the commercial photogs along the way, which one can then order online a few days later, by matching your approximate date and time:






At the end of the section on the Tennessee side, again some more dragons on display and Harley paraphernalia for sale.





I bought a can of Red Bull (just a little one) and look what happened!




Another well-known stretch of road in this beautiful part of the world is the Cherohala Skyway, linking Tellico Plains in Tennessee with Robbinsville in North Carolina. It was beautiful, but after being on the Blue Ridge Parkway, a case of more of the same.



To this day I couldn’t figure out the relevance of indicating the altitude in this warning sign – anyone? Perhaps an indication of icy roads in winter?



I found this forest road leading off the highway – first piece of dirt for me on the ‘new’ bike! Although my tires were waaay to hard, the pig handled himself like I expected. One can probably spend months riding these forest trails in the Smokey Mountains. I passed quite a few guys on proper DS bikes on these gravel roads.











From the Smokeys I pointed the pig in a southerly direction towards Atlanta. Apparently the movie ‘Deliverance’ was filmed on location in the north eastern corner of Georgia and the northwestern corner of South Carolina. Which was basically where I happened to found myself.



Lunch in this fine establishment was actually good, despite being checked out by the proprietor in a funny way while a banjo duel blared somewhere in the background . . .

 

I certainly hope none of these canoeists had to squeal like a piggy . . .



The rain caught up with me again and while I was hoping to enjoy a few cold ones in the town of Helen, GA, who was in the midst of their annual Octoberfest, I just snapped a few shots of this cute Alpine lookalike town and made good time to Atlanta.









« Last Edit: October 27, 2016, 08:56:46 am by oo7 »
 

Offline oo7

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2016, 08:52:54 am »
Well howdy doo!

Gooi nog Double Oh.


Bly om te sien jy pas mooi aan in die US of A.

My liefste Feobak - hoe gaanit ou???  :biggrin:
 

Offline ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2016, 09:04:39 am »
Nee wat jy lyk nie reg aan die verkeerde kant van die pad op n lefthand drive bike nie. Kom terug :deal:
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Offline Brakenjan

Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2016, 11:52:04 am »
So, my cellphone beeps this morning. It is a whatsapp message from my ex-BFF Double O who tells us that he has started to post a few fodies of his recent trip on WDs and that we should not expect too much....

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Mr Double O is squeeling like a piggy and churning out his magnum opus! You go girl! Keep'em coming! Lovin it!
 

Offline woody1

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2016, 12:16:42 pm »
Lekker lekker.  Dankie vir die deel  :ricky:

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Offline Kaboef

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2016, 07:48:16 am »
Well howdy doo!

Gooi nog Double Oh.


Bly om te sien jy pas mooi aan in die US of A.

My liefste Feobak - hoe gaanit ou???  :biggrin:

Klopdisselboom.   :thumleft:

Gooi nog asb.

Daai Alpine town is pragtig. Ek sal daar kan woon.
And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy."
 

Offline Maverick

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2016, 04:46:58 pm »
Okay 007 ek het nou gelees tot hier.....awesome stuff. Waar is die res?
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Offline Amsterdam

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2016, 05:43:43 pm »
But buying a Harley will mean I will have to get another DS bike to be able to do some proper riding in addition to all the posing.

Nice report.  You are right of course about the HD limitations but with good weather and a bit of care, and a few wrong turns, you can take it places.  These were taken in 2008 on a ride from Denver to LA.

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Offline Brakenjan

Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2016, 07:37:59 pm »
Why are we waiting? X 100
 

Offline BMWPE

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Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2016, 07:55:18 pm »
Keep it coming    oo7
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Offline dirtyXT

Re: (on) An adventure from Charleston to Los Angeles
« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2016, 08:08:23 pm »
lucky man! great detail and story telling. keep it coming bud. why did you relocate? work?

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