A 198-day adventure by Nancy Webb...Pat Bonetar
  • Day198

    End of the Summer, End of the Trip

    October 3, 2021 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 70 °F

    Well, the time has come. My Summer on the Harley has come to an end. But as some of you know, I don't do anything halfway. So, my last ride on this trip was a staggering 1,167 miles from Alcoa, Tennessee, to Emory, Texas, after 18.5 hours on the bike!!! During today's ride, I hit 55,000 miles, 55,555.5 miles, and 56,000 miles on the trip. Mind totally blown 🤯🤯🤯!!!

    All that AND I successfully completed my Iron Butt Association SaddleSore 1000 🎉!
    - Start 71295 04:29 EDT
    - End 72438 21:06 CDT
    - TOTAL 1143 17 hours 37 minutes 😁

    It has been an absolutely amazing summer. I am so happy to have finally seen so many more places in the US, even though the Northwest was covered in smoke and the Southeast was covered in kudzu. But the best part of the trip was meeting so many new people and listening to their stories, dreams, and challenges, all while riding around on motorcycles. How will I ever top this trip 😳?

    Here's a short statistical wrap-up:
    - 198 days
    - 56,018.3 miles
    - 47 states
    - Exactly 500 Harley Davidson dealerships
    - 10 of the 10 Rides for 2021 challenge
    - 46 of the 50 Rides 1 Nation challenge
    - 11 of 11 possible HOG rallies
    - 49 of the 50 Motorcycle Grand Tour of Texas event [P.S.: I got the 50th on 9 Oct.😁]
    - 1 broken foot, 1 broken bracelet, 1 broken heart, 1 broken pair of chaps, 1 broken kickstand, 1 broken helmet
    - 3 bike tows, 8 tires, 11 5,000-mile services
    - Amazing suntans from my gloves

    What I've learned:
    - #1: NO WHINING! 🚫😩
    - Pack for 3 days and plan to do laundry 🧺.
    - If you're afraid, act like you're not 💪.
    - There are terrific people 😀 and awful people 🤬 everywhere.
    - Virginia vehicles do not come with blinkers 🤦.
    - If a hotel costs less than $50 a night, there's a pretty decent chance you don't want to stay there 😝.
    - Open your heart because you will find love more often than pain ❤️.
    - And lastly, never completely trust that the GPS knows whether or not a road is paved. If you do, and it's not, then see #1 above 😉.

    So long, and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Final Day 198 mileage: 1167.0 🤯 (FINAL TRIP MILEAGE 56018.3)

    P.S.: 30 Nov 21: I just did the math. I spent $11,119.99 on maintenance and service 😳.
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  • Day198

    Beginning of The End

    October 3, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 73 °F

    Well, the rally ended last night, the last HOG rally of the season. I said so long to the folks I met along the way and packed Willie for the ride home.

    I'm sad to be skipping the Georgia and South Carolina 50 Rides 1 Nation locations, but it's time to head back. I've been through a lot this Summer on the Harley, and I've met some amazing people who I hope to see again next year.

    I left the hotel in Alcoa, Tennessee, this morning at 04:15 😱. I decided to try a SaddleSore 1000 from Tennessee to Texas, which is a challenge to ride 1,000 miles in under 24 hours. I'm stopped outside of Memphis now for a quick snack and to get a receipt as proof of my route, timing, and odometer. I'm just over half way now. My starting mileage was 71,295. Wish me luck!

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 197 mileage: 56.3 (total 54851.3)
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  • Day197

    Great Smoky Mountains HOG Rally Day 4

    October 2, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 77 °F

    After Pigeon Forge, we went to the Bush's Beans Manufacturing Plant in Dandridge, then had lunch at a great little place called Harbor Grill. It's in the marina and RV park on Douglas Lake. (More info: http://mountaincovemarina.com/rentals/the-harbo…)

    We stopped next at the Kodak HD, then went to Panther Creek State Park for our last stop on the poker run. We said hi to Oliver, but didn't stay to chat.

    We headed back to our hotels, then I met Chris and Tammy back at Smoky Mountain HD for the Journey tribute band Departure. They were terrific!!!! (More.info: https://thejourneytributeband.com/)

    I slept in this morning, mostly because the hotel's boilers broke last night and we have no hot water 🤬. But really, I just wanted some time off the bike. Now I'm working on my route for tomorrow as I head back home.

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 195-196 mileage: 430.2 (total 54795.0)
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  • Day196

    Great Smoky Mountains HOG Rally Day 3

    October 1, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    What a terrific rally, the best stationary one of the season, hands down! They didn't keep us in the prison 😉, so we continued northwest and took more recommended roads through the beautiful Tennessee country-side.

    We got back to the Knoxville area around 16:00, and having skipped lunch, we stopped for an early dinner while I ran a Ross the street to a leather store to pick up replacement zippers for my chaps. I don't have time to have them fixed, but at least I have the zippers now for when I get home.

    After dinner, we went into downtown Maryville where the streets were blocked off for the rally. The local motorcycle cops did a riding demonstration, which was awesome! Then the rally did a slow ride race and a ball drop competition. Finally, a rally with motorcycle activities in the evening! I called it a night after that and went back to the hotel.

    This morning I wound up leaving again, this time to get the rest of the dealerships and poker runs stops. Hitting a winery at 10:00 in the morning is probably not the best idea, but it was on the poker card so it had to be done 🤣.

    Then we rode through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Gorgeous, of course, winding along the Little River with its rushing waters and tumbling falls. We stopped at The Sinks for a few photos, then we rode through Gatlinburg and into Pigeon Forge, where we are now.

    Another amazing day to ride!!

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 195 mileage: x (total 54364.8 + ? oops)
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  • Day195

    Great Smoky Mountains HOG Rally Day 2

    September 30, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 73 °F

    What a great day yesterday! When we left Bryson City, the six of us continued east to Cherokee. We stopped at the HD merchandise store, then spent a little time in the Qualla Arts and Crafts Center. They sell authentic Cherokee-made arts and crafts, like baskets, wood carvings, and pottery.

    We backtracked a little bit west, then started the Cherohala Skyway in the Nantahala National Forest. Although it isn't as difficult a ride as the Tail, it is a beautiful run with lots of overlooks. Great road!!!

    We had dinner by our hotel and called it a night around 21:00. It wasn't a long day of writing, but it was a lot of technical writing, so we were all pretty beat.

    But not beat enough to want to do it again today! Five of us (Kevin rode with some other friends) left the hotel at 09:00 and headed northwest to do the Devil's Triangle. [More info:
    https://devilstriangletn.com/] It may be short, but it is full of switchbacks, twists, and turns! Yay!

    We did the route counterclockwise based on a recommendation from a guy at Bootlegger HD where we stopped this morning on the way up. We came across only one accident. The solo rider was fine, but the bike's nose was slammed into the hillside in the middle of a tight turn. I think he was mostly embarrassed.

    Now we've taken a break at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary with about 500 other bikers 🤣. It has quite an interesting history, https://tourbrushy.com/history, and is probably most well known for housing James Earl Ray who murdered Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Another great day to ride!!

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 194 mileage: 236.6 (total 54364.8)
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  • Day194

    Great Smoky Mountains HOG Rally Day 1

    September 29, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    Yesterday, I made it into Maryville after a very short ride and went straight to the rally check in location. This makes 11 HOG rallies for me this summer, the maximum possible 😁. Later, I went to the Smoky Mountain HD for the opening ceremony and found several people I met on other rallies. How cool to see folks again.

    This morning, Chris &Tammy from Arizona, Doc & Mary from Missouri, Kevin from California, and I left the hotel at 08:00 to ride the Tail of the Dragon (TN129) and the Hellbender (NC28). Each is a terrific twisty-turny route and the location for the TN and NC 50 Rides 1 Nation photos. That brings me to 46 😁.

    Now we've stopped at the Bryson City HD for a photo (me) and shopping (them). It's a great day to ride!!

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 193 mileage: 131.1 (total 54128.2)

    P.S.: More info on these roads: https://www.smokymountaindrives.com/roads
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  • Day193

    Rally Day!

    September 28, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    Yesterday, I got my 70,000-mile service done and bought a cup holder for the bike, which the guys put on for me. Awesome shop!

    I spent the rest of the day working on routes and photos, then a movie to cap off the night.

    I just left the hotel in Chattanooga bound for Maryville to check in for the Great Smoky Mountain HOG Rally! Yippee!

    You can't eat inside fastfood places, so I'm the Wendy's drive thru. It's not too difficult as long as I don't get a soda 🤣. Oh wait! I have a cup holder now!

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 192 mileage: 60.9 (total 53997.1)
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  • Day192

    70,000-Mile Service

    September 27, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    Coming back from Fort Payne was a nightmare. As it turns out, yesterday was the Ironman race in downtown Chattanooga, and they apparently closed the Interstate. I took back roads and did some stuff you can't do in a cage, so I made it to town without terrible delays. But my hotel was in an area completely closed off. The GPS wouldn't route me because all the streets were closed, so I went in between the barriers... because I could... and took the wrong direction on the one way streets...because there wasn't any traffic.... I made it back safely and spent the next couple of hours hanging out at the pool. Aaaaaahhhhhh. I spent the rest of my evening in the room with Netflix. Great day.

    Today I'm hanging out in the room. I'll get my 70,000-mile service this afternoon 😁.

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 191 mileage: 92.0 (total 53936.2)
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  • Day191

    Alabama 50 Rides 1 Nation

    September 26, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 73 °F

    If you've glanced at my mileage below, then you can see I went a very long way yesterday, my longest day yet. Mississippi was a blur. I made it to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and was planning on spending the night there, but every hotel from there through Birmingham was booked. I have no idea what was happening, but I decided to push through to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    15.5 hours after I left Texas, I arrived at the Tennessee hotel at 22:00. I drafted an SUV for the last 80 miles or so because its headlights lit up both lanes well enough that I could see where I was going and if I needed to dodge anything in the road 👍 .

    About 50 miles before Chattanooga, my GPS told me to take an exit. Thinking it was one of many fuel stops I added, I ignored it and kept following the SUV. I realized this morning that it was taking me to the Alabama 50 Rides 1 Nation location in Fort Payne. So, today I've ridden back south to take the photo.

    I got here 15 minutes before I left because of the time zone change at the Georgia border. (I-59 cuts the corner of Georgia as you go between Alabama and Tennessee.) I expect it to take me an hour and 45 minutes to get back though 🤣.

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 190 mileage: 853.2 😱 (total 53844.2)
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    Traveler

    853!!!!!!! you are such a BadAss

    9/29/21Reply
     
  • Day190

    Magical Morning

    September 25, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 75 °F

    Yesterday, I finished 49 of the 50 stops on the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Texas! The last one is tracking down a guy riding to support diabetes. I'll find him later. I also hit the final HD in Texas, Waco HD 😁. Great day riding in beautiful weather along back roads with 70 mph limit. Yippee!

    I spent the night in Buffalo, Texas, which is east of Waco on I-45. I walked across the road to Anthony's Restaurant. They had a buffet, which I opted for before seeing it. Big mistake. Although the fried shrimp was good, the other items I had were middling to poor. There was nothing green, and everything else except the fish filet was fried. Worst of all, when I went back for more shrimp, there were cockroaches on the bar 😝. Nope.

    On the way back to the hotel, I stopped at the Dairy Queen for a Strawberry Cheesecake Blizzard. I took about 10 bites and realized I can't eat this sweet stuff anymore. Too bad because it was really good.

    I left this morning at 06:30 in the pitch dark, heading south on I-45 until I turned off onto Highway 7 towards Davy Crockett National Forest. As the dawning light began to emerge in front of me, it revealed lush fields laden with dew. Atop most laid a gentle mist just high enough to clear the grass yet low enough for sleepy cow eyes to peer above. Occasionally, the mist reached out to caress the road. Rolling through it left fine droplets on my face shield and sent a shiver through me. The warming sun finally broke the horizon about 07:15, and I welcomed its light on my path. It was a truly magical morning.

    The magic ended when I crossed the Sabine River into Louisiana and its horrible roads. I had to drop from 70 mph (80 😉) to 55 because of the potholes and rough patches...and the lower speed limit. Now I'm in some little town where everything is broken. The gas pumps won't take cards, Kentucky Fried Chicken is drive through only, and the Sonic bathroom is closed. Everyone's blinkers must be busted too because no one uses them here 🤦.

    So long [for now], and thanks for all the fish! ✌️

    Day 189 mileage: 599.3 (total 52991.0)
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    Traveler

    maJik!

    9/29/21Reply