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Thread: Sgt Blco's USA Coast to Coast 2017

  1. #33
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    USA

    I'm not one bit jealous

    Great stuff so far. Looking forward to the next instalment

  2. #34
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    ditto

    i am in for the long haul

  3. #35
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    Sorry for the delay folks but we've been riding...........

    We always stay in a small town called Townsend Tennessee for a number of reasons which include a good motel, superb roads in the area and possibly one of the best old fashioned ice cream and milkshake places in the USA

    Anyway, the roads around here are simply stunning and when you string them together they will give you the best days riding of your life without doubt.

    Our route took us along the Foothilsl Parkway up to Deals Gap (the Tail of the Dragon), Highway 129 and onto the Cherohala Skyway before running through some gorgeous back roads and back into Townsend. The whole route is 180 miles and gives you everything from tight twisties to very fast sweeping roads and very little traffic apart from the odd Harley barge but the generally get out of the way.

    The Foothills Parkway is a great run of around 20 miles and a nice ride at 50mph. The views are stunning.




    On to the infamous Deals Gap which is 11 miles long with 318 curves and is a mecca out here. Personally, I don't really like it as it's relentless, can get tiring and if you lose concentration for a second, you could easily end up in a tree. Many do and at weekends it's all kind of hell with cars and bikes everywhere and no real fun as the police are all over it. A few days before we got there a guy had been killed in a Ferrari so they have been extra vigilant. However, in the week it's fairly quiet and pretty good fun as long as no Harleys are bimbling up there.

    Warming up.....


    They aren't joking......


    Most of the curves are very nicely cambered so if you are fairly brave you can keep up a fairly decent pace.







    Then at the top they have the tree of shame dedicated to those who, in the words of the great Casey Stoner, their ambition outweighed their talent!!


    A quick brew and time to give the bikes a rest and off again.


    Another 30 or so magnificent miles before we turn right on to what I think is the cream of the roads in the area. The Cherohala Skyway runs for around 50 miles across teh top of a mountain range and comprises of some great fast turns, sweeps and swoops and you just ride along grinning like a lunatic as you get the old bike standing on it's ears. The surface is racetrack smooth and would turn even the most sedate rider into a hooligan. Just magnificent and pictures just cannot do it justice. Mine certainley don't as I was too busy riding to take many!




    You can just see the road running through the trees along the top of the hill


    And then you hit the inevitable harley traffic jam..... They insist on riding in a formation making it difficult to get past especially if they don't want you to. Most are pretty good though.


    Then it's back to Townsend on some very Swiss like roads just to calm you down and get the adrenalin levels back to normal.



    And it's back to base for a well deserved ice-cream


    As an aside, I can highly recommend spending time in the area as it's a great place to visit and ride. A mate of mine in Townsend rents GS's, S10's and dirt bikes and if wanted to visit somewhere different from the usual, this is the place. www.gsmmotorent.com
    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  4. #36
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    The best laid plans always fall over so apologies for not updating this as we went along. Many of the places we visited weren't blessed with hi speed internet to down load the pictures and of course we we pretty most evening. Anyhow the story continues........

    After the fun and games of the Smokies and Deals gap, we head west across Tennessee and pick up some 100% gas which means it has no ethanol in it. You can pick this up easily in the East and Mid West and without that ethonol sht in the tank, the bikes always runs a lot better.




    And more of those crap roads:



    Time for breakfast and when you go past a small town called Pikeyville, you really have to stop and see whats there. What was there was a fantastic little cafe which served a great breakfast.




    Christine found the perfect touring accessory for the Honda Crosstourer......a five gallon drum. Andrews Crosstourer had only 600 miles when it came over and was using a lot of fuel compared with teh GS's but would get better as it ran in.


    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  5. #37
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    In the afternoon, we called into the Jack Daniels distillery which is always worth a visit. The guided tours are great and give you access to most parts of the distillery.

    This is the charcoal burner where the turn the cords of wood into charcoal to filter the whiskey



    The main part of the distillery



    The water source for the whiskey



    The man himself



    And the product.....



    After the tour, we went into the town of Lynchburg which is obviously a tribute to the product and a great place to mooch around for an hour.




    A sit down and chat with himself



    Jack Daniels Ice Cream on the menu and Andrew chose the biggest thing on the menu. He still hasn't worked out US portions yet so us experienced US travellers hung around with a spoon.......



    Then saw this fantastic truck. I know to some people it's just a truck but it's truck porn in my eyes......

    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  6. #38
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    Sarge' ....That truck porn with both 'zorts belching fumes/smoke/oil/shite into the air......Fabulous contraption.......

  7. #39
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    Get that trucker some AdBlue

  8. #40
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    With you all the way Chris...
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPI[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]C]

  9. #41
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    So after a very wet start it finally dried out (you have to love hot and humid......!!) at we hit the Natchez Parkway down through Mississippi:



    Stop for fuel just as the local troppers appear to fill with gas and doughnuts. Incidentally, Fuel around these parts is under $2.00 per gallon which is about 38p per litre at current exchange rate......!!



    Into Elvis's birthplace at Tupelo which was very hot and mildly interesting. I've been there a couple of times so I guess that's why i didn't take many pictures but there are some on previous write ups. There was alos a couple of coach groups who rolled up so it was full of shuffling tourists.





    We escaped the tourist trap and headed across country in temos up in the high 30's and found a bit of coll up at Sardis Dam which is one of the largest fresh water lakes in the US .




    Lunchtime was looming as we hadn't had much breakfast and I remember that there was a restaurant in a small town called Panola on the way. Unfortunately it has closed down as many places have but we found this fabulous pizza place in the same town which was almost deserted. Apparently, it's the best place around and folks come 50 miles to grab one of the pizza's or sandwiches and I'm not surprised at it was delicious.





    Peter and Tony had a small pizza.........



    Whilst I had to have a Muffaletta which turned out to be a doorstep of a sandwich.......



    Full of food and fuel, we head off towards Arkansas and Oklahoma

    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  10. #42
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    We pull into Pine Bluff in a huge storm but next morning started very hot which temps nudging 40 degrees. Luckily, we climb into the absolutely fantastic Ouchita mountains in Arkansas which are a gem to ride through. Incidentally, if anyone doing the TAT, you ride the dirt roads across here which are utterly fantastic.



    Not many people know of this area and most pass by but it's always worth thinking about on a Coast to Coast. You have to love American road Engineers as they seem to love finding a mountain range and building a brilliant biking road across the top. If this road was in the UK or Europe, it would be jam packed with all sorts but as it's here, there is no one here so we ride this great road and admire the stunning mountain views all on our own.






    Of course we need food and fuel and up here in the middle of nowhere it's hard to find. We fell up on this small garage who served us up a great brunch and really cheap at about $5 per head. Quite how they make a living is hard to say but it's one of the last places open for a large area.

    Bikes parked in what shade there is....



    The Honda takes it's usual place by the fuel pumps......



    Whilst we tucked in.....




    Talking to the owner was really interesting. She had moved down from Chicago a couple of years before and had bought this place so was trying to make a go of it. She left Chicago because there is no work up there and of course the conversation turned to politics. Many large swathes of the US have been basically abandoned by succesive administrations and told to accept globalisation and the loss of work. Industry has been decimated not only in places like Chicago but in many places like rural Oklahoma. She said that there are so many people leaving places like Chicago that the authorities are going to tax people who leave as the their tax receipts don't cover there costs. Down here, people have nothing else to do so the place is falling to rack and ruin as no one has any money. It's big Trump country and when you see what's happening here, you really understand why the voted for him. Politicians have let everyone down and he is their last hope of something. It's easy for us to get sniffy and all high minded about these things but until you see what's happening in places like this, you can understand it. I can see it and I reckon there will be a lot of trouble in certain parts of teh USA if this issue isn't addressed fairly soon.

    Anyhow, we head across to a small town called Davis Oklahoma. One of my best buddies grew up in the area and said we had to go to a BBQ places called Smokin' Joes as it's the best in the area. he wasn't wrong and this place is unbelievable. The amount of meat dished out is staggering and everyone did their best but were soundly beaten by the sheer amount on the plate for around $15.......



    Vegetarians look away now.

    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  11. #43
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    Next morning we need to blast across Northern Texas which is pretty flat and not much happening.

    After last nights massive feed, we leave early with no breakfast and it's around 100 miles before we stop for sustenance at a really great typical busy roadside cafe. The breakfast waitresses were brilliant and these girls not only work hard but are all sassy and take no shit off anyone. They do love us brits though.



    Unlike your local cafe where all that's on offer it a plate of grease and stale bread, breakfasts over here are superb and the choice huge.



    Fully fuelled we now head across the vastness of Texas. You can't get the scale in a photo but everywhere is a long way from anywhere else. Strangely enjoyable riding though.






    Lots and lots of fracking out here and there is big money to be earned if you can stand the bleakness and the vast distances involved in getting anywhere.

    This big refinery loomed up and it felt like we were on a Mad Max movie set.



    Everyone loves a big truck and this Ford F250 was a monster. And they say a GSA is big...............

    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  12. #44
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    Cracked off nice and early but the mist was down but started to clear as we approached Colorado to give us a peak of some lovely mountains.




    Most of the US is quiet high and we were up at 6,000ft and climbing slowly. It started to rain heavily and the mist was in and it got very effing ccccccold and a truckstop appeared just in time. Proves you need to carry all sorts of gear on these trips as the weather can change quickly.

    Putting on the warm stuff



    Night heaters on chaps



    If the cap fits.........



    As is usual around these parts, go around a corner and the weather changes and the sun gods were smiling on us today. We took a lovely highway at the foot of teh Rockies and were rewarded with a superb ride and fantastic scenery. No matter how many times I come here, I still absolutely love what's all around.





    Look at this road......





    And pull into another great little cafe with great views all around.




    Just up the road is one of the bizarrest places anywhere. A guy has spent the last number of years building this bizarre castle on the top of the mountain. He's a bit of a nutter but has hand built this place and it's open to the public. People are climbing all over it and it has to be 150ft high. Richard had a mooch up to the first level but cae down saying it was a bloody death trap. Now I'm no health and safety loony but it's staggering to understand how kids are allowed up there with no apperent nod to safety. Oh well, we had a good look around and it's a pretty impressive, if odd, place.







    Now this is a wobbly box, Colorado style.

    www.unchainedtours.com

    "Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so powerful as hope.
    With hope, one can think, one can work, one can dream.
    If you have hope, you have everything."



    http://www.unchainedtours.com

  13. #45
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    Fantastic read as always Sarge. Like the wobbly box

  14. #46
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    Good to have you back

  15. #47
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    Enjoying this report Bilco

  16. #48
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    That wobbybox appears to be a "toy hauler"! Excellent!

    Great report so far!

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