Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday Launch - Savannah RR Day2

cont'd from Savannah RR - Nov 23, 2009

The weekend rained as expected. But it didn't put a damper on our activities.  We caught up on our requisite "Midnight" education in the evenings and enjoyed our roasted garlic hummus.  So I had to give a little thought about leaving on Monday morning.  We checked the weather reports and verified the previous forecasts: Monday projected with overcast skies and temps in the low to mid 60's.  Tuesday and Wednesday forecast to be sunny with temps in the high 60's, low 70's (and yes, it was still for my destinations, not current location).

Of course, I was awake early and gathering the gear and making coffee!!  (Helping to wake G up and get her ready for her hectic day.)  I will excuse myself, since I have never owned a coffee maker or coffee grinder, that I really didn't know what I was doing when I started that darn pot of coffee.  I scooped the beans into the grinder to about the level I thought G had, filled the water reservoir and hit go.  It was only upon verification with G that I realized I had probably put a few too many scoops of beans and not enough water into that maker.  So before we "taste tested" the brew we added a couple more cups of water (4 to be exact...oops).  I now know how many scoops to water for two people and shouldn't have a problem next time.

I think I hit the road about 9.  I could look at SPOT but am too lazy.  I really had no clue where I was headed and was going to have to rely on the GPS.  I promptly missed my first turn, but didn't mind too much as some of the neighborhoods are a little sketchy.  I stuck with the straight route through town, only to end up on the other side of the tracks and underneath the freeway.  Not much better then the alternative it seemed.  But there wasn't much traffic.  I was soon purportedly on Hwy 17 heading south, but wasn't terribly impressed with the junk yards and mechanic shops lining the road.  Let's just hope it cleaned up.

I had a light day in front of me with only 120 or so miles.  I just planned on taking it slow and easy.  Maybe stop by a couple of coastal forts.  I had realized late last night that GA State Historic Sites are now on their winter hours, meaning closed on Monday's.  Actually, only open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  I decided to continue my plan to the first fort, Fort Morris, just to see what was around.

Well, I wasn't disappointed.  They were closed.  And even though half of the gate was open I was chicken enough to not venture down it.  I took the requisite "shots" in front of the gate and headed towards the coast...1/4 mile away.  :-)


It is still fall this far south.

So much to see and do in this area.  Alas, all closed on this Monday.

The roads are clear and open.  So quiet and pretty.

The little town of Sunbury, GA is just 300 feet or so down the road.  It looks pretty interesting, but all sand roads.  I'm not willing to mess with sand on my first day, so just head to the dock and take a few more pictures.


And I think one of my most favorite historical markers.  Who writes these things??

Just in case you can't read this:

Home of Many Famous Persons

Many famous persons lived in the town of Sunbury.  Among the was Dr. Lyman Hall, signer of the Declaration of Independence.  It was also the home of Richard Howley and Nathan Brownson, later governers of Georgia; of John Elliot and Alfred Cuthbert, United States Senators; of Major John Jones and Major Lachlan McIntosh.  Button Gwinnett, another signer of the Declaration of Independence, spent much time here as a Justice of St. John's Parish, and Georgia's third signer, George Walton was among those help in Sunbury as a prisoner of the British during the Revolution.

Mariah J. McIntosh, noted authoress and her brother, Commodore James McKay McIntosh, hero of the Mexican War, were born in Sunbury.  The Hon. John E. Ward, first United States Minister to China, and the Hon. William Law, noted Jurist, were also natives of Sunbury."

The state park is a tale in itself...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Keep a Sharp Eye Out

One of the most important lessons in motorcycle riding is being aware of your surroundings.  On the freeway in the summertime one of those items to be aware of is a tire blowing on some other vehicle.  In most cases it is just the shrapnel to avoid being decked with.  Worst case scenario is being next to a blowout.

So I keep a special eye out on tires around me, even in the winter.  And that paid off big time on Thursday.

I was going out of town in the cage for the weekend.  So I hopped on the bike to run my errands on Thursday and get the last few miles of windblown enjoyment.  Somehow I still managed to slab it most of the way, but it was still good.

My last few miles towards home and I see a little mini-truck passing me, listing a little to the rear.  I keep a wary eye on the right rear tire, seeing it seems a tad low.  And I just don't like the way the guy is driving.  Must give him a wide berth because I am sure that tire is going to blow.  I just never, ever expect to be around when it happens.

I'm about 15 miles from home and losing sight of the mini-truck as he weaves around cars and always stays in the faster lanes.  My attention is diverted a little when the Lexus pulls up next to me and the two guys are waving and giving thumbs ups.  I stay ahead of the curve of annoying cagers and make my way towards my off-ramp.  As soon as I enter my lane that little mini-truck comes veering from the fast lanes...with an extremely flat tire.  At least it hadn't shredded and flown all over the freeway.  He entered the breakdown lane a few short moments before I passed.

I've never really expected to see a tire blow near me.  And I guess I technically still haven't.  But I recognized the possibility and actually did see it immediate post-blowout.  Really glad nothing went bad.  So please keep your eyes peeled for possible dangers around you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009 that is cold!!

Mr. Oilburner hasn't been able to really take the new bike out.  We put about 50 miles on it Friday, but nothing since then.  The weather has either been rainy or COLD!  But we really had to see the motorcycle group one last time before Christmas and give well wishes to everyone.  So even though he made it home first and had already changed into his "lounging" clothes I figured this was one time I would have to push and make it happen.

Did I tell you it was cold??  40 degrees cold!  We ate a quick dinner at home since I was starving and to give traffic time to die down.  We hit the road at 7:30, a little late but nothing unusual for us.  The destination was completely new and in the Buckhead district.  Which doesn't mean much to anyone that doesn't know Atlanta.  But Buckhead used to be "the happening" area where the rich and beautiful went out to play and cruise and look beautiful for everyone.  Talk about traffic and congestion.  That perception is changing a little as the financiers try to take the city back and are slowly closing the bars and restaurants down.  But there are still some interesting places to go.

So we hop on the bikes and head down the freeway.  Deal with a couple really annoying issues with my helmet communicator refusing to work properly, my GPS refusing to take us on the freeway and Mr. Oilburners GPS with no backlight.  What fun!  All issues aside we still manage to not find the place.  As previously stated there is always something going on and someone was handy to give us directions.

Oh.  Have I forgotten to mention that this is Mr Oilburners SECOND time on the bike?  After passing the semi's he enjoyed opening it up and hitting 75 mph in a 55 zone.  I'm comfortable enough at that speed but my fingers were freezing!  Remember, it was cold!!

The thermometer hit 35.6 as the all time low on the ride home at eleven though it mostly hovered at 40 on the freeway.

Would you believe that I still decided to hop on the bike today and run some errands?  Since I wasn't going to ride it down to Savannah this weekend.  (80% chance rain tomorrow.)  And yes, I did notice the frost on everything this morning.

Did I mention it was cold yet?  :-)  At least I waited until a reasonable hour. And this time I took my winter gloves.  Though I didn't wear them immediately.  I have been torturing myself and not wearing them because they are big and bulky and I haven't tried them on with my new winter jacket (that is a little long in the arms and bulky itself).  Wow.  Talk about Stay Puft Marshmallow woman.  I relented and put them on for the freeway ride home, it was going to be 40 miles.  And given that I just about froze my thumb off last night with 20 miles...

Even though it was COLD it was great being out.  And there were actually a few other crazy people out and about on their bikes too.  We reveled in our camaraderie.  But I did feel really bad for the guy that didn't have a windshield and was bent low hugging his tank, riding as fast as he could to get home and get out of this COLD!

Be safe out there and enjoy it.  It will be high summer with humidity and we will be complaining about the heat soon enough.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Brief Interlude and Long Term Affair

Mr. Oilburner has turned to the dark side...  I apologize for taking so long to get my Savannah ride report written up.  And I really apologize for interrupting the flow (errr....what flow).  But I have to inform you that Mr. Oilburner will need a name change now that he has discarded the Harley and is a new initiate into Beemer ownership...  I guess he just couldn't handle me owning the obviously superior bike anymore.  He caved, abandoned the Harley and tried to catch up.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Savannah Ride - Still a Tourist

More friends, more visiting, more booze and more sightseeing.  We ventured to Bonaventure on Sunday.  It was cold (!) and rainy but we had some time to kill and I hadn't been to Bonaventure yet.  (Yes, we started watching "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" last night.)  I won't say much, just give you a few pictures to enjoy.  It started rainy and we rushed to the car.  I need to go back when I have the tripod and much more time.

Savannah Fun

Mr. SPOT and I decided it was time to get to know each other and take a ride.  The time, money and weather were coming together and allowing me to take a longer distance trip. Mr. Oilburner has been on two weekend/overnighters and I have stayed home and held down the fort. But this time it was my turn. And I was going to enjoy it.

I found myself with a week off from work…that I was not expecting. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mind. But it was very last minute and the week of Thanksgiving. I pulled a few strings, looked at the weather forecast and decided to head south.

My first stop was Savannah, Georgia. My best friend lives there and it was time to spend some quality girls time together. I frantically assembled my camping gear and some clothing Thursday night for a Friday morning departure. Of course, I merely assembled the stuff. Didn’t bother opening anything or trying to pack anything. So the patience was a little lacking on Friday morning as I tried to shove everything in my saddlebags…and it wasn’t fitting.

I knew I was packing a luxury item or two. But I was only going to be gone for 6 days. And only camping for two nights. I needed to bring the “nice” clothes and shoes (as nice as I can get) to go out evenings in Savannah. But they had to be packable enough to squirrel away for the remainder of the trip. I also was insistent that I was going to bring my feather pillow. I had a compression sack from camping that would minimize the size of that thing.

Beyond that I just couldn’t figure out where in the world all of that darn space went from my saddlebags. They were full and I hadn’t even finished the packing!!! Argh. We scoured our kayaking equipment and allocated a cool dry bag that I used to use for my camera. It was the perfect size to take the leftover stuff and was easily Velcro-ed onto the bike. Viola!

Don't get the wrong idea.  I am using ultralight equipment since I also enjoy(-ed) hiking and backpacking; the bulk is there but the weight isn't.

I was emotionally spent after fighting with the equipment. (I know, sounds stupid. But I will get better as I get the hang of this!) So I sat for a few minutes and enjoyed the cooling fan before donning all of that hot equipment.

Forecasts called for a great day riding down to Savannah. Blue skies, bright sun and temps near 70 were welcome! I knew to expect rain on Saturday and Sunday. But I wouldn’t be riding, just roosting. Because the forecasts called for slightly overcast and mid-60’s on Monday and sunny and high-60’s Tuesday and Wednesday. (And yes, these were the forecasts for my destinations…not my current location.)

I took a longer route down to Savannah to avoid the interstates. I have traveled many of the backroads many times and didn’t have a problem with where I would be going. But my weekend experiences have convinced me that the entire infrastructure of this great nation is under construction. I don’t so much mind if the road really needed it. But was a little disheartened when perfectly good road that had been paved within the last 3 years was being ripped up and repaved just because the government stimulus money was in. I managed to hit about 5 different construction zones along the 264 mile route. Luckily some of the other ones were on the other side of the highway.

But let me tell you about Mr. SPOT...maybe he should be renamed to Mr. Tell-Tale.  I left the driveway and turned the tracker on and forgot about it.  I made a quick stop for fuel and called Mr. Oilburner to see how he was taking my departure.  :-)  He liked Mr. Tell-Tale but was frustrated with it's 10 minute update interval.  My fuel stop was 20 minutes away and he had only seen two updates.  ;)  He needed information faster!

OK.  I was ready to hit the road and put some miles under those tires.  My next stop was about 2 hrs down the road to stretch the legs and back.  Of course I needed to call some people and share my accomplishments.  Mr. Oilburner didn't answer.  hmph.  Savannah G did tho.  And the first words out of her mouth?  "I know where you are."  That turned into the first words out of everyone's mouths.

So the tradition became tracking while riding and OK when stopped for fuel or food.  Just so Mr. Oilburner could feel good when the little dots stayed put for a little while.  Since this was the first test of Mr. Tell-Tale I wondered what the map looked like.  Riding through some of the larger towns with traffic and stoplights I wondered if the lower avg speed was noticeable in the track.  (Found out later that it is true.)  Made it down to Savannah without issues.  Enjoyed blowing the off a couple guys as I speed away after passing a cotton truck. HEHE

I had just pulled into Savannah G's driveway, gotten my gear off and gotten off the bike when the phone rang.  I figured it was Savannah G since she certainly wasn't home.  It was.  :)  She would be leaving work momentarily and home in 5 minutes.  She had been watching the map all day and thought she had the time to beat me home.  Until the dot suddenly blipped on screen that placed me on the east side of I-95, close to home.  No matter, she was home right quick and we started our weekend!

I've since found out that many friends left the map open all day and watched my progress.  I found it hilarious and charming.  Note to self: be sure to turn tracking off if going someplace secret.

We spent time with friends and enjoyed some of the tourist trappings of Savannah.  We needed some tomatoes to try out a new zucchini and ricotta recipe so we went to Polk's Fresh Market.  It's a great little market and I wish they had more space, they had so much fun stuff.



We also were starving and headed for a BBQ place before we detoured to Polk's.  But they had their own BBQ truck up front that smelled superb.  Wow!  My new favorite BBQ.  Why do they have to be so far away?!?!?

We walked through Forsyth Park and enjoyed the liveliness and scenery.

Testing the physics of a dolly.

Find some interesting things on light poles here. I think the dogs have been leaving some greeting cards.


Weddings in the middle of the park.

 If you follow "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" you might recognize this.  Sorry for the quality, the big camera was at home.

We popped into the Gryphon Tea Room for the warmth and caffeine.  The ambience is original to the apothecary that used to be here. The stained glass windows and lighting fixtures were eye-catching.  And the orange spice tea with honey was exactly what we needed.

Continuing on we made it to the honey tasting bar Savannah G had told me of.  Wonderful!  So fun to stroll the counter and sample the honey's.  Even enjoyed the apple/honeycomb/cheese stack.  Savannah G enjoyed seconds and the wonderful sticky mess she made. I love how they lined and lit the honey bottles along the perimeter of the room.

 to be continued...