​​​BamaRider

​Day 2
​October 9, 2013
​St Meinrad Seminary​
​Meinrad, Indiana


Packing went quickly this morning and when I finished I sent Chris a text, "ready to go, head down this way."  A few minutes later he was at my door.  "Here, carry this stuff down and I'll load the bike."  Outside it was cool, and clear.  The sun had just cleared the horizon.  I used my rag to wipe the dew off my seat and windshield.  My experience taught me I had a 400 mile ride to Waynesville N.C. about half of it on Indiana and Kentucky backroads, so I was looking at a full day.

Before loading the ST I inspected the tires.  "Not much thread, but still have some rubber.  I can make it to North Carolina, but beyond that I dunno."  I'd be ok once I get to the Blue Ridge where I know the area, and the support of 50 ST riders will be at hand.

"How long will it take ya to get to the Blue Ridge?"  My son asked.

"All day" I replied.

"Better get started then, I gotta be at morning prayer in 45 minutes."

So we hugged and said our goodbyes, the next time I see him will be Thanksgiving.  I toed down into first and eased out of the parking lot, and coasted down the long hill with the clutch in to the highway.  Gas was on 4 bars, so I went to the small village down the road without looking for gas, which was just as well, because I saw none. 

Meinrad consists of a few houses and stores in the middle of farm country, but one thing I did enjoy was the wholesomeness of the school and area.  None of the dorm rooms of the seminarians were locked.  Everyone had full access to each other's room.  Valuables were in full view on desks and beds.  Not that a seminarian owns anything of much value, but if its all you have, its all you have.  "We don't lock our doors, these are my brothers, if they need something they can have it, not possible for them to "steal" anything I have."  "Including your Iphone docking station?"  I said with a chuckle.  "Including my docking station."  Same was true of the access doors and cars in the parking lot, all unlocked, with stuff laying on the seats.  "What about the locals?"  "Dad, the people here are mostly hardworking farmers and shopkeepers, the most honest folks on the planet."
I left Meinrad with a glow, because I was reminded there is still much good to be found in the world.
  
My custom route picked up early this morning on SR 62 East.  My plan is a custom ride to southern Kentucky where I would pick up I-75 south and book to Waynesville the quickest way possible.  I wanted to arrive at the campground before sunset to avoid setting up my tent in the dark.

SR 62 east out of Meinard was a great ride.  Mostly good pavement, some nice curves and great scenery.  The high way altered between farm and timberland as I rode east.  Temp was in the low 50s so it was cool, but the sun was moving up in the sky warming things up quickly.  The rays beamed through the thick forest and lit the road in various spots.

​"The rays beamed through the thick forest  and lit the road in various spots."

I kept a sharp lookout for deer but saw none, and once again I caught sweet smells of fresh cut grass.  The worn out and cupped tires of the ST kept me from any hooligan riding.  I was still struggling to lean the bike and the extra touring load was definitely not helping.

Peak leaf color looked to be about a week off, but I witnessed many in transition phase.  Weather was absouletly pristine- clear blue sky, the temps rose to the 70s and no further.  Humidity was noticeably absent.
Gas was at 3 bars when I arrived at the crossroads of SR 62 and 37, where I found a large Marathon con store (10 pumps at least) and gassed up.  It was a quick stop, I was back on the road in just a few minutes.
Quaint farmhouses appeared when I broke out of the woodlands, they were mostly painted white with a truck or tractor nearby.  

The ride was going according to plan when I came to a barricade stating the road was closed ahead, and 62 was detoured north to I-64.  "Maybe so, but I have a route change east of here, am I gonna ride east, go around the washed out bridge, and then hook back up with 62 and ride west to my route?"  I wasn't sure if my needed route was gonna be east or west of the washed out bridge.  All the sign said the bridge was closed ahead.  "What if I ride the to the bridge only to find my route further east?  Then I'd have to double back, and take the detour around anyway and add about 50 miles to the ride."  I went ahead and took the detour and went to I-64.
From the interstate I could see 62 and it looked like some great riding over there.  I was disappointed being on I-64, when such good riding was at hand.  The detour took me to the Corydon exit and SR 135.  My custom route came back into view, only this time I was riding west on 62 back to the washed out bridge area.

"I hope the road I need is west of the wash out."  The GPS told me to turn left into a state park for some reason after 5 miles.  "Why does it want me to go THIS way?  Must see a short cut to where I need to be," or at least I hoped.

I rode up to the park gate and quizzed a rangertte that was working a blower.

"Look here, where does this road go?"

"nowhere just in the park"

"there is no exit on the other side?"

"No, just a turnaround."

So I went back to 62 and kept riding west.   "I'm gonna keep riding west till I either find the road I need or the washed out bridge."  The bridge came first, so indeed if I had just ignored the barricade and continued east I'd be on the road I needed.  Too late now, "I'm not gonna back track, I'll cross the river on SR 135, get into Kentucky, and lay in another route to I-75."

I rode back east on 62 and turned south on SR 135 in Corydon, and headed for Kentucky.  The entire escapade cost me a hour in ride time with little to show for it.

Crossing the Ohio put me back across the Mason Dixon line and in Brandenberg, Kentucky.  A military town with Fort Knox as the anchor.  Frustrated, I checked into a Mcdonald's for my morning break.  I pulled out my old fashioned atlas to lay out a new plan for my ride to I-75.  I ordered a drink and cookie, and sat a window booth so I could keep a eye on the Honda.

It took 15 minutes to sort out a new route and transfer it to the Garmin.  When I finished I picked up a voice mail from Debbie and called her back.

"All is good, taking a break in Kentucky""

"oh ok, I was wonderin where you were"

"I'm later than normal, I got fouled up on a detour, but have it sorted out now."

My new plan is to ride south to Bardstown, and then take US 150 South.  A long swing route with a easterly tack through the state.  GPS noted my arrival time at I-75 at mid afternoon.  The biggest advantage of the route I would avoid Louisville, and most of I-75.

I didn't bring the Ipad in so used the Iphone to catch the headlines before starting back out.

With all that sorted out I loaded back up and auto routed to Bardstown.  

The Garmin took me CR 1638 to U.S. 31W across the tip of Fort Knox.  In Shepherdsville I went to SR 44 and then I-65 South and took the Bardstown exit 15 miles later.  There was nothing special about any of those roads, and I don't remember much about them.

Bardstown, Kentucky was listed by some publication as the prettiest small city in the country and you wouldn't get a argument from me.  The business district was neat, and tidy, and surrounded by nice homes.

From Bardstown I picked up U.S. 150 South, my last route to I-75.  It was a mostlya good ride past dollop hills, and large swaths of pastures of green grass.

Central Kentucky has a lot of urban areas, but 150 did a pretty good job jetting me around them.  I was north of Danville when I came up behind a lady, talking on cell her phone, that gradually eased off the road and threw up a debris field as her tires hit the grass.  I could hear the the dirt pepper the 1300.  She snatched it back, and for a second I thought over corrected, but the vehicle returned to the roadway and continued on.  If she had been in a SUV, she flips.  A half mile later I passed her, solving any future problems.

By the time I reached Danville I was in my lunch window.  "Man I'm behind schedule," as I looked for a place to eat lunch on the 150 truck around the city.  I found a Mexican place and coasted in, parking out of the way on the side.  Even after all these years I'm careful where I park, not wanting to fall victim to some joker backing over the 13.


The Guadalajara served the typical Mexican fare.  It was no better or worse than any of many back home in Prattville, and like all Mexican or Chinese cafes, service was fast and unwavering.  I had the enchilada and rice, with all the chips and coke I could pack in or down.

I returned a few text messages and called Debbie, and left a 2 dollar tip on the 6 and change tab.

I was at the register cashing out in front of 2 office ladies.  One tapped me on the shoulder,  "You have a nice day for a ride, where are you going?"

"The Blue Ridge."

"Kentucky?"

"NOoooooooo North Carolina."  Every state with a few hills is subject to call a section the "Blue Ridge."

"Oh, we have a Blue Ridge"

"M'am, there's only ONE Blue Ridge, and it's in North Carolina."

"So it is, you have a safe ride"

"Thank you."

I fired the 1300 up and got back on the road, still struggling with the cupped tires, and the touring load made it even more difficult.  "I gotta keep the stand up, if I hope to reach the campground at a decent hour."  Uncle Phil and many of the guys reported in yesterday, and I felt like I was missing stuff.


  "This was the scene on U.S. 150"

Traffic was minimal on 150 after lunch.  I came across several long construction zones that had one lane closed, meaning a pilot car had to escort you.

The Garmin spent most of the ride telling me I was riding in a field.  The highway was new and not on the map.  " I reckon I need to update oneday."  Old 150 was now a farm road connection to my east, I could occasionally see it between the hills.  From the looks, it was a far more interesting road than the new one.
The route eventually connected me to I-75 South near London.  It was now time to turn on the warp drive and get to the campground.  The campground coordinates are saved in the favorites folder so when the custom route ended I tabbed "Moonshine"  the Zumo and ST took it from there.  All I had to do was keep us upright.  I was disappointed after a few miles of interstate I had to exit to check my bed roll.  From the left mirror it looked like it was sliding off.

I took one of the London exits and went to a Vero con store.  I went over my touring load.  "Aww this stuff looks ok, it just shifted."  Since I was stopped I went ahead and got something to drink and sat in the only booth in the store.  I couldn't stay long because the store had the most annoying door chime ever made.  Every time someone walked in it went "ding, doik."  It was horrible.  I don't know how the clerks stood it.  It put me in straight jacket after 10 minutes, can't imagine all day.

I picked up a text message from Peter Menard asking where I was, and sent a response-  "London, Kentucky."  Gas was still good so headed out,   I pointed the 13 down the ramp and went through the gears, a quick head check told me traffic was moving over for me.  The interstate south was busy, but I was ready to knock down a few miles, and twisted back the throttle.  The 1300 has a seamless powerband, it doesn't take much to get to 80 mph.

Riding the fast lane, the miles went quickly, and before I knew it I was in Tennessee, where I went to I-640 to connect to I-40 West.  The ride west to the Asheville area was hectic.  Thick traffic lumbered up the long inclines as the highway goes up and over the Smoky Mountains.  The powerful 1300 with its excellent torque band, gobbled up long lines of semis and sedans.  I raced the downhills  best I could, but the bad tires demanded a lot of attention.  It was difficult to hold the bike on a line.  I had to fight the handlebars in a noticeable counter steer to get the bike to go where I wanted, and to make matters worse, I fought a tough late afternoon sun.

The Waynesville  exit was farther west of Knoxville than I remembered and it felt like a long ride to find it, but I made it with plenty of daylight remaining to set up camp.  The city was nice as ever as I peeled off I-40 to transition over to local roads down to the Moonshine Campground.  Waynesville is one of my favorite places.  A quiet, quaint city with friendly people, clean streets, and very few hooligans.  A nice place to live I'm sure, and as much time as I spent here, I should have voting rights.


The turn for Moonshine is just south where the Blue Ridge Parkway crosses U.S. 74.  You pretty much have to know where it is, too easy to ride past if not paying attention, but I have the GPS coordinates, not to worry.  Using the address of the campground will only get a joker close, being the smart guy, I tabbed the favorite slot my first visit.  "I'm not gonna fumble around next time."

After leaving the highway you have 1.5 ride through the woods, on a road that is not much.  The best I can say about it, kind of paved.  The local trees were just beginning to turn color.  I loved being back in the Blue Ridge after a one year absence.  I really thought when I left last year it would be longer to return.

The campground was already busy, STs were pulling in from all over for the rally.  I reunited with old friends Ron Epperly, Peter Menard, Ken Hendrix and of course Uncle Phil.  All go back to my days on the 1100.  Lots of smiles.

I found what I thought was a nice spot.  "I hope my camping stuff is still good, not used in 2 years."  But everything was in order.  How to set up my tent and sleeping pad and bag all came back quickly.  I had a nice spot on the edge of the creek bank.


Campsite, Moonshine Campground.  Not bad.


 
Still full from lunch, I skipped supper to just mingle around.  I had a lot of catching up to do with friends.  Even though I'm currently retired from long riding, I could still tell war stories with the best.  

The campground office had a WIFI but it was a generous walk from the tent sites, but I needed the exercise anyway, so I strolled up that way to check email.  The campground had a good cell phone connection from anywhere so that would not be a problem.

Night comes on quickly this time of year, and when the sun dips below the hills the temps go with it.  The guys fired up a nice camp fire and it felt good.  We spent the evening chatting and reliving past exploits.  It was great.  I was one of the last to leave the fire. 
 
I grabbed a shower and checked into my tent.  All my camping equipment is 10 years and still working well, though I'd like to upgrade my therm a rest.  The night was cool and I slept well.  Went to sleep looking forward to the "morrow."