We took a short vacation on the motorcycle that took us through three states and through one of the states three times. We left Georgia for our first destination in South Carolina where we stayed for two days. Then we left South Carolina going through Georgia to head for our next destination in Florida for a few days. Then we finally left Florida to head back into Georgia. This time the Magic Carpet was our transportation to our destinations. Once we arrived there were no plans to ride anywhere. The bike got us from to each point on the leg. At least it’s more fun than a car!
On the first day we left home in Georgia for our first stop in Beaufort, SC in the Low Country. About half our ride was along Interstate 20 East heading from the Atlanta, GA area to the Augusta, GA area. The forecast called for a distinct chance of rain showers for that part of the route but we were very lucky to get just a few drops of rain on the windshield a couple of times. It did look ominous for a while when the sky ahead turned dark and cars approaching on the other side of the highway all had their headlights on but somehow we dodged the rain. The temperature stayed in the mid 50′s° (F) the entire day, forcing us to keep the liners in our jackets. After lunch in Augusta it was just a short hop over the border into South Carolina to get off the highway in North Augusta, South Carolina. We were now ready to head south-east on SC HWY 125 which is also known as Atomic RD. You see, SC125 goes through part of the Savannah River Plant. The Savannah River Plant is a nuclear plant but it’s purpose is not power generation but making things that go BOOM. The stretch of SC 125 that meanders through part of the plant is a two lane stretch of about 25-30 miles through forest and has no intersections. There are a few plant entrances but no intersections. While we didn’t see any 8 foot tall grasshoppers we did see a few streams with warning signs that said “Caution: Stream Temperature May Change Rapidly”. The fence lining the highway had the nice government “No Trespassing” signs. There were plenty of signs telling us not to stop except for an emergency. I found it amusing to see a sign about a historical marker a half mile ahead and sign under it commanding “No Stopping”. After the plant it was time to head for US HWY 278 and some of the small rural towns of South Carolina. It wasn’t long before Interstate 95 came into view but we were going to go under it and keep going. As we got deeper in the Low Country we could notice small fields of water and marshes along the road. Even while still a good distance inland, these marshes were controlled by the tides. It was also starting to get very windy while the sky was clearing. Live oaks with Spanish Moss began to form a canopy over the road. It wasn’t long before we were in Beaufort and checking in at the Best Western Sea Island Inn on Bay ST. Beaufort is a low country town very near the coast and is situated nearly equally from Charleston, SC as it is from Savannah, GA. It is also the county seat for Beaufort County. The town is loaded with ante-bellum homes built in the mid 1800′s. If you want to buy one, a small one could start at $750,000. We’ve learned that Beaufort was also an area were freed slaves were allowed to settle before the Civil War. The freed slaves could own businesses, buy property and had their own bank and churches. If you consider that this was South Carolina before the Civil War it was actually pretty amazing. The Magic Carpet stayed parked and resting during our two-day stay. Everything we wanted to do or see was right along Bay ST and a short walking distance. The hotel has 5 of its rooms overlooking Bay ST. Our door opened to a view through the trees of the Beaufort River and the downtown city marina.
After two days in Beaufort it was time to pack the motorcycle and head for our next destination in Port Orange, FL near Daytona Beach where we’d be visiting my Dad. I had planned a route that would take us in a south-west direction on state highways before we reached Interstate 95 which we would be using this time. Although we did get some nice scenery on the two lane highway in the low country and crossed the Broad River. It was still quite windy too. There were quite a few times that our heads got tossed around by wind and even began activating the VOX on the intercom. We stopped for gas just north of Brunswick, GA and were also able to take the liners out of our jackets. From there is was all interstate on I-95 into Florida, through Jacksonville and on into Daytona Beach and Port Orange. On both our ride to Beaufort and to Florida it was nice that we could get a late start in the morning and be at our destinations in the mid afternoon. It’s a good thing we didn’t plan on any sight-seeing or riding or riding while in Florida as one day was high winds and rain. But we spent time with my Dad and helped him out with a few things.
After a few days in Florida it was time to head back north and in the direction of home. Donna had once again decided that since we would be on the boring highway that she wanted to stop for the night somewhere in south Georgia and then finish the journey home the next day. It also gave me the chance to take her on different route home that she hadn’t ridden on before. I took us up to Ormond Beach where we then used FL HWY 40 to head west to the middle of the state and got on Interstate 75 near Ocala, FL. FL HWY 40 is nice mostly 2 lane highway going through the Osceola National Forest. Our normal trip home would be I-95 to I-295 to I-10 and then I-75 into Georgia and all the way home. The trip on FL HWY 40 takes us up I-95 a very short distance and FL 40 to Ocala and then I-75 all the way home. The mileage of the two routes are nearly identical and the route on FL 40 is about 15 minutes longer but worth every minute of it. Somewhere north of Ocala the odometer on the Magic Carpet rolled over to 80,000 miles too! Again we were dealing with wind strong enough to toss our heads and loud enough to activate the VOX on the intercom. We headed up to our stop in Tifton, Georgia for the night. Although we picked the hotel for its close proximity to being able to walk to any number of restaurants we decided to stay in the room and order pizza to be delivered!
Tifton is nearly the half way point for us. So we could once again get a late start in the morning. It also gave us a chance to let the sun warm the day up. Another advantage of Donna’s idea is that it guarantees that we should miss rush hour traffic while going through or around Atlanta. Her way also got us home at just after 1:30 in the afternoon.
The Magic Carpet now sits in the garage with more than 80,000 miles on her odometer and she’s ready to go out again!
View of the marsh from a dead end street in Beaufort, SC.
Lady’s Island bridge seen from the residential end of Bay ST in Beaufort, SC.
Restaurant sign in Port Orange, FL. Unfortunately is was in the back corner near the dumpster.
Beaufort River bridge to Lady’s Island from the downtown battery park.
Lady’s Island bridge seen from battery park.
Marsh view preserved by…….
View from our hotel room door overlooking the downtown marina and river.
You can look right through to the Beaufort River.
Downtown Beaufort, SC on Bay ST.
Sign at Boondock’s in Wilbur By The Sea, FL.
I rode back home from Florida today. Not long after I got on Interstate 95 I was presented with two examples of “biker or motorcyclist”. A biker can ride any kind of motorcycle and so can a motorcyclist so this has nothing to do with what kind of motorcycles they ride. In fact, today both the biker and the motorcyclist were on the same make of motorcycle.
Biker: I was in the center lane and could see a motorcycle slowly coming up in the left lane. As he pulled alongside I noticed right away it was one of the Harley Davidson Hard Candy Customs and had the bobbed rear end, forward controls and mini ape bars. It was actually a gorgeous motorcycle. The rider had on a “pudding bowl” helmet and his feet splayed out. He just had a look that made me think I’d smell his cologne as he passed by. I gave him a wave and he looked over, didn’t wave or acknowledge in any other way than looking. Then he opened up his throttle and pulled away, apparently wanting to let me know that he was a member of the Volusia County Loud Pipes Riding Club. Oh the bars or poker runs that bike has been too!
Motorcyclist: It was less than 10 minutes later another motorcycle slowly came up in the left lane. The rider of this motorcycle had on one of those “Captain America” helmets and a worn leather jacket. The bike was an older Harley Davidson Electra Glide. This motorcycle had been ridden hard and put up wet many times. You could tell this motorcycle had some miles on it. It looked worn but not abused. It had what looked like a sleeping bag and other luggage lashed to the back seat between its rider and a king tour pack that looked like it was on crooked. Then it happened. As we rode along side by side for just a few seconds, we both waved at each other at the same time and he nodded his head at me. He slowly kept pulling away, maintaining his speed. Oh the stories from the road and travels that Electra Glide could likely tell.
Yesterday I left for a solo trip to the Daytona Beach area of Florida to visit my Dad and help him out with a few house projects. It was a brisk 27 degrees (F) when I left home in Acworth, Georgia and headed for Florida. The heated seat and the heated grips got a real workout on this trip. It never warmed any higher than the mid 30′s until I stopped for breakfast in Forsyth, Georgia. After breakfast though it was a balmy 45 degrees as I continued south. When I stopped for gas in Tifton, Georgia I shed a layer of clothing and even switched to unlined leather gloves (but still enjoyed the heated hand grips). I pulled in at the Florida Welcome Center and even removed the insulated liner of my jacket then. It was Florida after all! It had also warmed into the mid 60′s. But I did leave my long johns on. Once I left the Welcome Center, the winds picked up and got gusty too. Between St. Augustine and Daytona Beach I found a rain shower or two. Not enough to wet the road, but enough to wet the windshield. By the time I had reached Daytona Beach it had warmed to 72 degrees! I’ll be here for a few days before heading back home to Donna.
It wasn’t so much the cold that was the problem because I had dressed for it. It was the traffic getting Atlanta! I thought I had left early enough to get ahead of most of the traffic, especially since to Atlanta I was taking a route I had commuted on for many years. Boy was I wrong. A few minor interstate highway “incidents” made it difficult. It took me an hour and half to get to the exit where I used to get off at to go to work. In rush hour, it used to take an hour or less to get all the way to the office. In fact if there is no traffic, my planned breakfast stop in Forsyth, Georgia is just over an hour and half from the house. I’m glad I no longer have to make that drive everyday!
It was a chilly ride to Florida!
I took another solo trip down to Florida again over this past weekend to visit my Dad and help him out with a few things. He’s actually getting along quite well on his own.
I rode down on Saturday morning and through some torrential rain in middle Georgia beginning north of Macon and then finally ending around Tifton, Georgia. Even with rain gear and rain liners I eventually got wet. Since it was heavy rain and not a mist, the Plexus helped the rain roll right off the windshield. I raised the Magic Carpet’s windshield and had good visibility down the road. I turned on the red LED light on the back of my helmet to slow blink just to make me more visible. The rain liner in my mesh jacket finally gave up and I was beginning to get wet. I tried putting on a rain jacket but the high collar with the hood rolled up in it would not let me turn my head with the helmet on so I abandoned that idea. My gloves soaked through pretty quick. Then I got that uncomfortable feeling when my pants began to leak. The pants are Tourmaster Quest pants and have a RainGuard liner in them that has held up well so far as being waterproof. Until Saturday when I felt the water leaking in on my seat! The temperatures were in the mid 60′s and I turned the heated grips and the heated seat both on to the low setting and it really helped alleviate the wet feeling. My Vega waterproof boots never did leak and that would’ve really sucked if they had. The weather radio on the motorcycle said that ahead in Valdosta, GA it was cloudy and 76 degrees and even further down the road in Jacksonville, FL it was cloudy and 86 degrees! There were flash flood watches (not warnings) for the central and southern Georgia areas I was riding through. I even saw 3 different single vehicle accidents were people had driven off the road in the rain, probably going a bit too fast for the weather conditions.
With about a mile left in Georgia before I crossed into Florida, the odometer on the Magic Carpet changed over to 75,000 miles. Since it was no longer raining at that time I pulled over and took a quick picture. I pulled in at the Florida Welcome Center and took out the rain liner from my mesh jacket and continued along the way. My gloves were already starting to dry. It took no time for the jacket to dry and by the time I had reached Jacksonville, I was totally dry again (yes even my “seat”).
With about a mile to go before reaching Florida, the odometer reached 75,000 miles.
The return trip home was pretty uneventful. My hi-vis mesh jacket is fairly new I noticed something that is probably attributed to the full fairing on the K1200LT and not the jacket. At the 70 mph interstate speeds the torso of the jacket could still get a bit warm. But when I would slow down getting off the interstate to get food, get gas or a rest area I could feel the cooler air circulating through the jacket as I slowed down. I think it’s just that the fairing protects and redirects so much of the wind, that there was none to move through the jacket at the higher interstate speeds. But let me tell you this, the BMW K1200LT can eat up some highway miles in comfort!
Until next time, Ride Safe!
I’m back home from the earlier solo ride down to Florida this week. We’ll both be going back down again next week, this time for Mom’s memorial service. But, we’ll probably take the car as “nice” clothes travel better in a car.
In the post earlier this week I said that I took a different route this time. I used I-75 from metro Atlanta to I-475 (to go around Macon, GA) and then I-75 again all the way down to Ocala, Florida. Once in Ocala, I took Florida HWY 40 across to Ormond Beach and then took I-95 for a few miles to my destination. The GPS said that this route was 477 miles, took 7 hours and 35 minutes of time in motion and a total of 8 hours and 13 minutes that the GPS was on. The GPS comes on with the motorcycle and turns off 30 seconds after the motorcycle is turned off. This route took me through the Ocala National Forest. I saw bear crossing signs and in a whole section of the forest, the trees all leaned to west from the prevailing winds blowing in from the east coast of Florida. It was definitely more leisurely than the normal interstate highway route. I didn’t hear any banjo music while cutting across Florida. I’ll be adding this ride to the GPS Files page this weekend.
Normally when we go down to Florida, we’ll take I-75 from metro Atlanta to I-475 (to go around Macon, GA) and then back on I-75 until we get to I-10 East where we head for I-295 (to go around Jacksonville, FL) and then take I-95 South to our destination. The trip home merely reverses the route. Yes, this route is all interstate highway but gets us there in a day. According to the GPS the return trip home was 478 miles, took 7 hours and 38 minutes of time in motion and 7 hours and 59 minutes that the GPS was on.
What did I learn about the routes? The route cutting across on FL HWY 40 was actually a mile shorter but sure didn’t look that way on a map. The normal, all interstate highway route took a total of 3 minutes longer as I had run into slow traffic when I got to Atlanta. The route using Ocala FL HWY 40 was 1 hour and 14 minutes longer, probably because of the traffic lights and a few stops in traffic on the morning I left.
I also noticed a few things on this trip or had a few things happen:
- I got hit on the left knee by a chunk of tire when someone in front of me ran over a piece of tire retread in the road. The chunk that hit me was about the size of a golf ball and hit me while I travelling just over 70 mph. While it hit the knee armor , I surely felt it. I cringe at how it would’ve felt if I was wearing riding pants with armor, or even worse, shorts.
- At gas stop at a “Travel Plaza” (they attract all motorists by not using the term Truck Stop) 2 tour busses pulled up one behind the other to unload the high school kids from Iowa on them. But they wanted to be right at the door and blocked about 15 cars of customers from leaving until they were finished. Someone from the Travel Plaza came out and told them they needed to move to the area posted for “Truck, RV and Bus Parking”. So much for professional drivers.
- At 2 gas stops and the Florida Welcome Center I had strangers walk up and start talking about motorcycling and asking questions about The Magic Carpet. You don’t have that happen when travelling by car in your Ford Taurus or Chevy Impala.
- While in southern Georgia near the state line I passed a car that had a laptop propped up on the dashboard and angled so the driver could see it! I had hoped she wasn’t watching a movie. She pulled into the Florida Welcome Center shortly after I did and parked just one space away. Guess what? She was watching a movie while driving at 70 mph.
- On the way home today I was passed by a Harley Davidson Road Glide Ultra in Florida whose rider was wearing a full face helmet, armored riding pants and an hi-vis orange Harley Davidson mesh jacket. He was definitely dressed more like an armadillo than a pirate!
Until next time, Ride Safe.
Last Wednesday I took my first long solo trip on the Magic Carpet. By solo I mean just me on the motorcycle and not just one motorcycle. I’ve grown very accustomed to having Donna sitting behind me and having her to talk with. I just enjoy having her back there and it’s not just for the neck and shoulder rubs on long trips (although those are a big plus). Our young beagle had very recently had spinal surgery and Donna needed to stay at home with her as she can’t be put in a kennel yet, even though she is healing ahead of schedule. I headed down from metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia to the Daytona Beach, Florida area. My Mom is a breast cancer survivor and has now acquired another malady that puts her in yet another fight. Mom & Dad needed some help with a few things. Mom’s just not up to getting out and doing things like cleaning gutters and patio furniture with Dad right now. This is a 480 mile door to door trip and would be all interstate this time.
I had planned to leave at about 6:00 am so that I could be well ahead of rush hour traffic on the interstate. Well plans don’t always work out and I wasn’t rolling until just before 7:00 am. Yes, I got up on time. I kissed Donna goodbye and was rolling. I wasn’t on Interstate 75 very long before I was greeted with brake lights in front of me. The traffic was brutal. It made me happy that I’m retired and no longer have to make that trip everyday at that time. The traffic added at least another hour to my trip. My travel time was over 10 hours to get to Florida! The weather wasn’t bad either, being cloudy or overcast most of the way.
Coming home the following Tuesday was just the opposite. It was the same route but I got on the road at 6:00 am this time after saying goodbye to Mom & Dad. The sun began to rise from the Atlantic Ocean over my right shoulder as I rode north. Temperatures were even the same as the trip down. Both times I started out with temperatures in the low 60′s (F) and they rose to the mid 70′s (F) for my destination. Only for the return trip I had blue, cloudless skies. This time I made the trip in 7 hours and 16 minutes of driving (moving time) according to the GPS. I arrived home 9 hours and 10 minutes after I left. That time included two meal stops and 3 gas stops. I was pretty impressed that I made it from Daytona Beach to Valdosta, GA on a tank of gas and still had just over 50 miles left according the K1200LT’s trip computer.
This was my first long trip using my earplugs which made a world of difference. The earplugs had a lot to do with the lack of fatigue from the sound. A quite noticeable difference. Wearing the ear plugs for that long (other than meal stops) caused me no physical discomfort. I also paired the Scala Rider Teamset Pro with my Windows Phone instead of the GPS this time. As I approached my parent’s home while I was traveling on I-95 I was able to call them with an updated ETA. They had no idea that I was actually calling from the motorcycle and said it just sounded like I was outside. I know the nemesis of motorcyclists is text messaging drivers. But on the way home, a friend and Donna both sent me a few, that the phone read to me and I replied by voice commands and speaking he message coincidentally while either pumping gas or preparing to leave from lunch (so I guess I wasn’t texting and riding after all). I really wasn’t too happy with the volume of the messages and the few phone calls until I remembered that I had to raise the volume on the phone and not on the intercom! Would I leave the phone paired to the Scala? No. I’d just assume leave it paired to the GPS. But this was a special trip and I didn’t need the GPS for directions and just used it for arrival time purposes. My new Windows Phone doesn’t have all the features my last Windows Phone did. In testing it, the old phone would voice announce the caller by name and use the phone’s ringer or the caller’s unique ring if they had one. It would also announce who the text message was from so you could “listen or ignore”. The new phone just uses a generic phone ringer with no voice announce and merely informs you of “new text message” and asks if you want to listen now or later. I liked the features on the old phone better. But since I don’t plan on using except for an interstate trip like this one, it doesn’t really bug me. I’d rather have the GPS directions sent to the Scala. The Scala Rider Teamset Pro allow only one additional Bluetooth connection to each headset in addition to the one already taken by the intercom.
When leaving Florida in the dark, a motorist pulled up next to me and told me “You know the back of your helmet is flashing?” I told him it was to make me more visible, especially in low light conditions. He laughed and said “Well I guess it works then!” Our helmets have a red LED light in the rear that can be set to off, steady on, slow flash or fast flash. He was right, I guess it works. My Dad had also run down the driveway calling at me to tell me my helmet was “blinking”.
Florida Welcome Center. The clouds behind me look like mountains.
The traditional stop at the Florida Welcome Center
We just got back from a trip to Florida and the Daytona Beach area. We left on Tuesday morning in the dark and got back today on Sunday afternoon. We combine our trips to be a vacation and visit my parents who live there. For us, Daytona Beach is less than 8 hours away if we take the highway. Donna was a bit anxious to try out the flashing red LED light on the back of her helmet since we were leaving before sunrise. After our customary breakfast stop at Waffle House in Forsyth, Georgia we ran into just a few spots of misting rain. It wasn’t much, just enough to wet the windshield and then stop. But Donna was again ready and turned on the LED on the back of her helmet for that extra bit of conspicuity.
Once there we visit with my parents and of course ride up and down the beach or see some sites. We are tourists there after all! This trip was a bit more special because it was also my parent’s 53rd wedding anniversary while we were there. We’re accustomed to riding on twisting mountain roads but there is something to be said for riding down the road with the ocean literally just feet away at times. Florida does not require that you wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle (an are 21 or older) if you carry a certain amount of insurance. It doesn’t matter to use because so far we always wear helmets. One parking lot speed incident almost 25 years re-enforced helmet use to me. One thing we did notice is that it seemed everyone who was not wearing a helmet was riding a v-twin motorcycle and nearly everyone who was on a sport bike had on a helmet. And of course we have our own little Rides To Eat (RTE) while we’re there. One of our favorites while there is Boondocks in Wilbur By The Sea (yes that is the town’s name) where we rode on down to the Marine Science Center after lunch.
VAC Warbird Museum. Yes those are the tails from a B-25 Mitchell and a MIG-15 on the left.
This year my Dad added a new twist to us. We went to Titusville for a tour of the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum. The museum has aircraft from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and later on display in the hangars. Many of the aircraft still fly. Good find Dad! There’s only one propeller aircraft they have that doesn’t fly and it’s a recovered WWII Grumman F4F Wildcat in the main atrium. Every other propeller airplane they have flies, including the C-47 that flew 3 missions on D-Day. Even a good many of the jets fly. This is a museum where you can touch history and sometimes see it come alive.
And of course since we’re motorcyclists and were on our motorcycle, we stopped in BMW Motorcycles of Daytona Beach to look around. While looking around, a nice salesman tried to sell us a new BMW K1600GTL with a lot of option for a mere $27,000.00. The only things it didn’t have was the GPS and the brake light in the top case which are dealer installed accessories and not factory installed options. We figured it was less expensive to ride out 2002 BMW K1200LT on to lunch at Racing’s North Turn on the beach. The restaurant gets its name that it was the north turn for the original Daytona Beach races and was the north turn where the cars turned from the sand on the beach to the road on A1A.
The Magic Carpet and crew lunch at Racing’s North Turn.
This time our trip home was even different. We rode the trip down to Florida in a day pretty easy. But we wanted to take our time coming home. We left Florida about lunch time on Saturday and headed for a stopover in Tifton, Georgia. The only issue was the coastal winds in Florida from the the distant tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean. From Daytona Beach to Jacksonville we were batting 20-25 mph cross winds and it felt like I was crabbing into the wind. On Sunday morning we took our time getting ready. While “pre-flighting” the motorcycle I had 3 different stop by and talk with me about the bike and ask questions. Once we got on the road, half our journey was over and we were home in time for a late lunch before heading off to the kennel to pick up our dogs during the afternoon pick up.
We took a few pictures at the warbird museum and you can look at them for a sampling of what they have by clicking here.
Fall is officially here and October is going to be a motorcycling month for us.
We’ll start off with a Blue Knights Chapter Meeting followed up by a trip to Florida to visit family in the Daytona Beach area. We’ll be getting out of there before the Biketoberfest crowd starts showing up. We’ll end the month with a weekend trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in North Carolina. I bet we’ll add some weekend riding in throughout the month too. The leaves are starting to change and we’re lucky to live so close to the foothills of the Appalachians with so many great roads that seem to be made for motorcycling.
Ride often and ride safe!
We came back home from Florida today. We took the “standard” route of I-95, I-295, I-10 and I-75. Personally I like the route we took on the way down and it really didn’t add any significant amount of time. Our route home was 478 miles and it took us 7 hours and 17 minutes to drive it.
We enjoyed the time with my parents while there along with time riding around. One day we ate at Crabby Joe’s on the Sun Glo Pier in Daytona Beach Shores and got to see rays playing below us in the shallow surf. It was a great time to be in Florida; between Spring Break and Summer Vacation. We’re thinking about heading down for Biktoberfest this year. Mom says the weather is perfect then!
When we were coming up I-95 we were passed by 3 Outcast MC members on their Harley Davidsons. The first two were wearing their “cut” or “colors”. The third, bringing up the rear just simply had a large white “P” on the back of his vest. I think we all know who the prospect is!
Donna at the Florida Welcome Center on the way down.
Categories: General, Trips
Categories: General, Trips