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Old November 23rd, 2014   #1
Redfish
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Default Redfish and Pop ride Kentucky

Back in September, at the end of my last RR I mentioned that Pop and I were about to leave on another Ride, but that it was just going to be the two of us. I felt like I should write that RR since it was truly a wonderful time. I always like sharing these things with this forum, I hope you guys enjoy this one as much as I did.

Saturday, Sept. 6th. 429 miles

Pop and I left his house in Port Vincent LA a bit late and headed north to Natchez MS. We stayed on back roads and had a very pleasant morning. We hit the Natchez Trace at its South End in (duh!) Natchez MS and headed north. We immediately had to stop in the road and wait on some deer to make up their minds. There are lots and lots of animals along the Trace. During the course of this one day we saw 6 deer and more turkeys than I can remember.

After 30 miles of this we peeled off and hit Hwy 61 at Lorman MS. It was time for lunch and Lorman is home to The Old Country Store. This is a country style buffet owned and operated by Mr. Arthur Davis, or Mr. D as he calls himself. There are no finer groceries anywhere around and the service is beyond excellent. Mr. D will sing to you, he will visit your table and he will make sure you don't leave hungry.

He says, "My job is to make it hard on the next man that tries to feed you." And he does.

A quick run up Hwy 61 to Port Gibson MS for fuel and we jumped back on the Trace for the rest of the day. Our ride was pleasant, the weather was beautiful, the bikes were running great, it was just Me and Pop...

We hit rain south of Tupelo MS and it was just enough to get the bikes all dirty. We called it a night in Tupelo. We were having a bit of a discussion over what to do about supper. While Pop was in the shower I headed to the closest grocery store and bought ham, cheese, and bread. We ate ham sammiches (sandwiches) in the hotel room and enjoyed them greatly. I did splurge, we had Ruffles tater chips to go with our sammiches.
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Old November 23rd, 2014   #2
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Default Re: Redfish and Pop ride Kentucky

You might take note that I installed a SHAD SH50 top box on Ole Blue. I got a great deal from a forum member and thought that it would do wonderfully on long trips. It does. It is VERY BIG and I don't like the way it looks but man it is useful.

You can't reverse the effects of old age!

That's what Pop told me after our last trip. Well, what exactly is "Old" anyway? Do you really have to fight it, or can you just work with it?

I figured that if he were more comfortable, he would be less grouchy. So, a few changes were made.

1. Shoei Neotec. This replaced his well worn and faithful Nolan N103. Better ventilation, more positive visor positions, more comfortable fit, lighter. The optional 31mm cheek pads cost me an extra $42 but it fits him better. A win.

2. Cee Bailey +2 +2 reverse contour, light gray tint. This replaced the Cee Bailey +4 +4 reverse contour. Looks and functions beautifully. Pop liked the big windshield but HATED the way it looked on his bike. Yes, the "look" was that important to him. He says this shield is what Yamaha should have installed at the factory. A win.

3. Laam Custom Seat. No point debating if the RDL is better, I needed it NOW and Seth Laam once again helped me out. He and I have a very good understanding and he went out of his way to get me going. I owe him big time. Pop LOVES this seat. I am not sold on the color but Pop is and he cannot believe we waited so long for this modification. A Big Win.

4. Tourmaster Transition 3 jacket. I forced this one on him but now he understands. A win.

During the bike maintenance process I found his rear brake was mushy. I bled this down and found lots of air in the system. I am thinking this might have been due to a malfunction with my El Cheapo Harbor Freight pneumatic vacuum bleeder last time. He has been running like this for a while. Why he never said anything...

For once, he washed it himself.


Sunday, Sept 7th. 381 miles

We ate the FCB (Free Continental Breakfast) at the hotel, fueled the bikes and got back on the Trace. It was overcast with a very low cloud ceiling, there was a light fog and the temps were hovering around 71 F. In fact it never got above 75 F until after 1:00 pm.

The Natchez Trace has a 50 mph speed limit and I usually fudge that a little. Even so, it is not an exciting road but it is beautiful and pleasant. It is a perfect "Harley Road" and there are lots of Harleys on it. On this morning we once again had to stop for deer and there were again huge numbers of turkeys.

Not far out of Tupelo is The Crash Site where my cousin nearly lost his life two years ago. I asked Pop if he wanted to stop and look it over, he said no. I was fine with that and was happy to keep riding...

BUT!!! The Shoei Neotec has a wonderful air vent. Bugs get in there. Those bugs will crawl around on my head. Something! was crawling around in what little hair I have left and it felt like a tarantula! I had to Stop Right Now! and so we pulled into the parking area.

After I freed the insect (it was no bigger than an ant), I looked across the road at The Crash Site. You would think that there would be some evidence that a man nearly died there, that a very nice Harley was totaled there. I saw... nothing. Just smooth green grass.

Pop said, "If you are not paying attention to what you are doing on a motorcycle you don't need any special help to die. You cannot blame the ground you hit, you can only blame yourself."

We headed North.
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Old November 23rd, 2014   #3
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Default Re: Redfish and Pop ride Kentucky

I felt this one deserved its own post, it was that important to me.

Merriwether Lewis. The leader of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Second governor of Louisiana. A leader, a FreeMason and a man of many accomplishments. We also share the same last name, more than likely I am a distant relative of his.

Mr. Lewis died at an inn called Grinder's Stand on the Natchez Trace in 1809. He was on his way to Washington DC. As soon as word reached Washington both the President, Thomas Jefferson, and the man who would succeed Mr. Lewis as governor of Louisiana, a Mr. Bates declared the death a suicide. That was a lie.

Mr. Lewis was shot multiple times. He was armed with a single shot, muzzle loading pistol. One shot was to the head, he was missing part of his skull. He lived for several hours after his body was found. It is not possible that he shot himself, he was murdered and robbed and he died fighting. Whatever the truth is died with Mr. Lewis years ago.

Pop read the plaque that summarized all of Mr. Lewis' accomplishments and was amazed. "How could one man accomplish so much and play such a huge role in the history of this country and be dead at just 35 years old? We are both way past that age and what have I accomplished? Raising you? I should be ashamed."

I don't think he meant it as a joke.

I left this place saddened and angry. I have wanted to visit this place for years and while I am glad I did, it sort of put a damper on my otherwise happy day.

The "Broken" pillar represents a life cut short.
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Old November 23rd, 2014   #4
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Default Re: Redfish and Pop ride Kentucky

The Natchez Trace gets more and more beautiful as it rolls up through Alabama and Tennessee. The last few miles are great fun if you are willing to break the speed limit but the deer are still there so caution is necessary. Pop and I had a bit of fun wearing the edges of our tires here.

When the Trace ended we stopped for gas and there was a busy looking restaurant next door. We decided to see what all the fuss was about, so we rode over and parked in the Motorcycles Only! parking space and went in to check. This is the Loveless Café and it is apparently a big deal. There is even a pic of the parking lot and the sign in my current Aerostich Catalog. There were people everywhere. The very attractive young lady informed us that the lunch wait was at least 90 minutes. On a Sunday! We decided to pass.

From there we headed North on McCrory Ln., crossed the Harpeth River and wound our way around back roads until we hit Hwy 49. We stayed on 49 all the way to the South End of The Land Between the Lakes. It was a really, really nice ride.

Somewhere along 49 I passed a nondescript tan metal building with a parking lot full of vehicles. As we blew past the word "Buffet" caught my eye. I told Pop we needed to turn around. My logic? At 1:30 on a Sunday if there are that many vehicles in the parking lot, it has to be good.

Score one for Redfish! This was another country style buffet and it was outstanding. Very friendly service from a very sweet (and cute!) young lady, very good food, very good price. We left there feeling very clever and very full.
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Old November 23rd, 2014   #5
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At The Land Between the Lakes we turned North and rode through a very lovely forest. The road was nice, there were a few good curves, the scenery was nice, it was very pleasant.

We crossed out of Tennessee into Kentucky and continued out the North End of this lovely park. We headed East on Kentucky Hwy 62.

Now my plan was to see most of Kentucky, West to East. I wanted to see the state, not just the tourist parts. I wanted to get a feel for the place. Hwy 62 runs East/West across almost the entire state and it looked to me like a good road. It turned out just fine.

One of the things that bothers me when we are traveling is lodging. Chain hotels are okay, and they are generally reliable and consistent. They just are not any fun. I had done some research (big surprise there) and had decided to try some Kentucky State Parks. The "Resort Parks" have lodges and onsite restaurants and the prices are supposed to be decent. Hmmm...

I charted us a course to Pennyrile Forest State Park. I also punched the address into the Garmin Zumo 660.

All went well until the Garmin instructed me to Turn Here! one road before the one I had chosen on the map. Foolishly, I followed the Garmin.

At first, all went well. The road was narrow, twisty, and bumpy but it seemed to have us headed in the right direction. Then suddenly, we turned right onto a GRAVEL road! Damned Garmin.

It was fairly well packed and did not look too bad, so what the hell. We decided to keep on going. Pop was laughing and joking with me through the Cardo and we were really having a good time with it. I did not share with him that the Garmin showed exactly 2 miles of that crap. Then, the road plummeted downward and the surface went to shit. There was more loose dirt than limestone, deep rain ruts and the rear tire had very little traction. I swear that it was so steep I would not have thought any bike without knobbies would have made it either down or up.

We came upon a group of folks riding horses. The "WTF??" looks on their faces scared me more than anything else had. Pop noticed it too. "Did you see the look on their faces? They know something we don't and it ain't good!" At this point the bushes were slapping the sides of the bike and our legs, the surface was loose and the rear of the bike kept stepping out. We kept the power on and tried to forget that we were riding overloaded sport tourers. I knew that if one of us went down it was going to be bad. Very bad.

Pop was laughing. He laughed the whole time. When I told him it was all part of the adventure he said, "Adventure? I'll show you an adventure if we ever get parked. I am going to adventure you all over the next parking lot we stop in. If we ever get these bikes parked again you better hit the ground running!"

It was awesome. We are still laughing about it and congratulating ourselves for making it through there.

We reached Pennyrile Forest State Park and had a wonderful night. Nice room, nice price, nice restaurant, nice view. Much better than a hotel in town.

The first two pics are the view from our balcony when we got there, the last one is the next morning:
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Old November 23rd, 2014   #6
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Default Re: Redfish and Pop ride Kentucky

Thank you for sharing, very vivid relate, I can almost see myself joining laughs with you guys, keep it going Red, it seems this is not over yet.....

How the ribs are doing?

amigo!
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Old November 24th, 2014   #7
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Default Re: Redfish and Pop ride Kentucky

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redfish View Post
The Natchez Trace has a 50 mph speed limit and I usually fudge that a little. Even so, it is not an exciting road but it is beautiful and pleasant. It is a perfect "Harley Road" and there are lots of Harleys on it. On this morning we once again had to stop for deer and there were again huge numbers of turkeys.

.

I did The Natchez Trace in 2000 as part of my around the country motorcycle tour in 2000 on my ST11. I went 60 indicated the entire time I was on it (Natchez to Tupelo) right by about ten cop cars on the side of the road taking pictures. I saw very little in the way of traffic almost like the time I spent on the AlCan and Cassiar Highways I guess because it was a weekday. It also seems to me a very safe place to ride perfect for people new to motorcycling.

The thing that impressed me about it is...you don't see any houses or stop lights or cross roads. At least the part away from Nashville looks like it must have done hundreds of years ago. Amazing! True theres no place to open it up to 100 mph and theres no curves like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive but taken for what it is its a fascinating place to ride a motorcycle.
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Old November 24th, 2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luiggi ST View Post
How the ribs are doing?

amigo!
Ribs are killing me, they hurt pretty bad. I am still managing to put a few miles on the new bike, but it hurts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by echo View Post

The thing that impressed me about it is...you don't see any houses or stop lights or cross roads. At least the part away from Nashville looks like it must have done hundreds of years ago. Amazing! True theres no place to open it up to 100 mph and theres no curves like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive but taken for what it is its a fascinating place to ride a motorcycle.
Echo, you are exactly right. They went to great lengths to make it seem like you are in an isolated wilderness but the truth is that just a few hundred yards on either side is the modern world.

And I 100% agree with you that the Natchez Trace should be "taken for what it is." Very well said. It is neither a racetrack nor an interstate, it is just a pleasant place to ride a motorcycle.
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Old November 24th, 2014   #9
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Default Re: Redfish and Pop ride Kentucky

Nice ride report.

BTW, did the Trace back in 1999 during the first Butt Lite 5000 Rally. Very pretty when I could see it. I did most of it after 10pm then, we found a hotel and sacked out.
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Old November 24th, 2014   #10
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Day 3 Monday Sept 8th.

7hrs 37 minutes saddle time. 355 miles.

We woke to a splendid morning, 55 degrees. There was a mist over the lake blowing past in the gentle breeze. We were slightly disappointed that the lodge breakfast was only a couple steps above the FCB at a hotel, but we did have scrambled eggs so it was not a total loss.


As we left the lodge I asked Pop if he wanted to take the same gravel road back out. I'd rather not print his reply.

Pop kept flip flopping on whether or not to go visit Mammoth Cave. I finally just decided we were going to do it. I had mapped a route the night before and already had it in the window of the tank bag. This led us to some of the nicest little roads of the trip.

As we got closer to the center of the park I saw a sign that made no sense to me. "Road ends in water". That seems simple but... Why would a road just end in the water? The map did not show that, it made no sense.

Suddenly, it made complete sense. The Green River Ferry.
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