OH-STOC 2017

Ohio Stoc Meet 2017 took place at Lake Hope State Park in Ohio this year, and I just had to go. Stoc meets are mainly for Honda ST1100 and 1300 owners. I used to ride an ST1300, and know a lot of these guys from back in the days. Even though I currently ride a BMW R1200 GSA, I am still welcome to attent these great meets.

The ride was about 460 miles each way. Loaded the bike up on Wednesday June 7, took off the morning of June 8, and arrived around 1:30 PM. Unloaded the bike, and took a look at the cabin I was staying in with 3 others. Nice! AC, kitchen, , living room, 2 bedrooms and screened-in porch.

Filing in on Thursday afternoon

Chili simmering and almost ready to eat

You know, there's always room for more

Headed out to Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park, and started early in the morning to beat the heat.

Interesting, peaceful place..

 

Rode back home Sunday. Started at daybreak, again to beat the heat. By the time I came down the mountains down to North Carolina, it was already 85 degrees.

Never been riding in Ohio before. Very nice roads. Lots of rolling hills and farmland. Deer were out in force during the morning hours. Staying on your toes always pays off.

Natchez Trace 2012

We had planned to ride the Trace a while back, but didn't get to it until now.

 

Day 1 – 9/22/12

 

Home to Oxford, AL. Around 400 miles for the day. No pictures. Just riding interstate. Plan on getting to Natchez,MS tomorrow, Sunday. Bikes running good as always. Topped off the clutch reservoir in Oxford. Somehow I overlooked this when I prepped the bikes before leaving. Ended up at 84 degrees and clear skies. Looks like the forecast is good for the days to come, with a cold front dipping into the south, cooling the air down to camping-level.

 

Day 2 – 9/23/12

 

Oxford, AL to Natchez, MS. 411 miles for the day. Interstate riding 2.nd day. Nice weather, but the temperature is too high. Ended up at Natchez State Park, where we camped. Sleeping in a tent in 85 degrees is not my cup of tea. Anyway, we ate supper at the camp site, and crashed after that.

 

Day 3 – 9/24/12

 

Broke camp, and rode across Mississippi river to Louisiana. Ate breakfast and returned to Natchez, where we stopped at St. Mary Basilica. This is a gorgeous place. Was able to take some shots inside, including a few HDR shots.

 

What a beautiful and peaceful place.

 

St. Mary Basilica, Natchez, MS

 

 

St. Mary Basilica, Natchez, MS

 

 

St. Mary Basilica, Natchez, MS

 

We then proceeded to Natchez Historical Park. Nothing much to see there, so we decided to start up The Trace. Went across to Vicksburg to visit the Military Park. However, it just got too hot, and we opted for a hotel room for the night. Going to the Military park tomorrow.

 

Day 4 – 9/25/12

 

Up bright eyed and bushy-tailed, packed up, and headed to the military park. The park is MUCH bigger than expected, and took us around 3 hours to go though, including stops.

 

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USS Cairo

 

USS Cairo

 

Steam chambers (I guess) driving the huge wheel that propels the boat forward.

 

USS Cairo

 

Part of the bow

 

USS Cairo

 

 

Vicksburg National Military Park

 

17000 + civil war soldiers buried here, many unnamed.

 

Vicksburg, MS National Military Park

 

 

Vicksburg, MS National Military Park

 

Early morning light

 

Vicksburg, MS National Military Park

 

 

 

After getting done there, we headed up I20 into Jackson in order to save some time. The goal was to get to Tupelo, MS. Followed The Trace for the rest the way to Tupelo. The Trace matches the BRP (Blue Ridge Parkway) in pure beauty, but lacks the twisties of the BRP.

Overall a very good day, although it was on the hot side in the afternoon.

 

Day 5 – 9/26/12

 

Up early to visit Elvis Presley's birth place in Tupelo, MS after eating bfast at Waffle House. Spent a good deal of time at the birth place. Actually a very nice place, and I'm not an Elvis fan (Lois is).

 

The King's Plymouth

 

Elvis's car

 

 

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He was born and grew up in this little shotgun house

 

 

Elvis at 13 years old with a Ladybug in his hair

 

Elvis at 13 years old

 

Fountain outside the Elvis museum (10 sec exposure)

 

 

 

Continued up The Trace. Weather was beautiful, but still hot in the afternoon. Made stops here and there.

 

Natchez Trace bridge just south of Nashville, TN

 

Natchez Trace

 

We finally ended up in Nashville, where we had supper at Loveless cafe.

 

Loveless Cafe, Nashville

 

 

Loveless cafe, Nashville

 

This cafe is a very famous place to eat, according to all the pictures. Nice people, and the food was very good too.

 

Loveless Cafe, Nashville

 

Super 8 was next stop for the night.

 

Day 6 – 9/27/12

 

After a good breakfast, we headed along I40, and headed through Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg, then Blueridge Parkway. Had time to drop by Clingmans Dome (highest point in the Smokies).

 

Clingmans Dome

 

 

Clingmans Dome

 

 

Fall is here

 

 

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Stop at Blue Ridge Parkway

 

Blue Ridge Parkway

 

Supper was had at Clyde's in Waynesville, and pitched the tent at Moonshine Campground for the night.

 

Moonshine

 

 

Day 7 – 9/28/2012

 

Departed the campground, and couldn't resist going back to Clyde's for breakfast. Fuel up the bikes, and headed towards home via he Blue Ridge Parkway, through Rosman, and down US 128 to SC scenic hwy 11, and Hwy 9 home.

 

About 2000 miles for the trip. A little warmer than we would like for riding temperature. The weather was very nice otherwise.

West to the Rockies or Bust

Coming up in September is our trip westward to The Rocky Mountains incl. South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and parts of Utah. Not sure if we have enough time to get to Glacier National park in Montana. It all depends. We'll be using our BMW F650GS and F800GS Dual Sports on this trip, since we'll try to crawl through some of the nice mountain passes in Colorado, which are not exactly paved. Stay tuned. Main trip report page is Here.

We'll update that page as we progress.

West 2011

Smoky Mountains or bust

We're headed up to the Smokies this Memorial weekend. Plan on staying in Cades Cove, TN. We have been there before, but it's been a long time, and we wanted to go back. It's one of the most beautiful places in the Smokies. We'll probably also be checking out the area around Cades Cove area during our 4 day stay. Stay tuned for pictures and ride report.

Edit:

We left Friday at daybreak, with overcast weather. According to the radar, the forecast didn't look too good, with a line of storms going east towards us on Hwy 9 and 11. By mid-morning the rain and storms hit us, and we rode in rain for about 2 hours. The rain continued up through 178 into Rosman. Had a good lunch there (at the only eatery in sight) and had some good home made chicken tenders and the works.

We continued up the mountain until we hit Blue Ridge Parkway. The clouds and fog were still hanging low by the time we got on the parkway…

Parkway

Continued on the Parkway into 441 a little north-east of Cherokee. By then, the fog had cleared. 441 is a nice road, fog or not :-). We finally pulled into Cades Cove Campground around 5:30PM, after 360 or so miles of riding. It takes a long time to ride any distance when you are riding twisties in the mountains.

The next day, we headed out through the Cades Cove scenic Drive. There were cars piled up everywhere, so we pulled over and waited for the "circus" to end. 

Cades Cove, TN

A few miles further into the Cove, we stopped and looked around.. Below is an 8-picture pano of The Cove. (Olympus 14-52mm at 14mm f. length, using polarizer)

Cades Cove, TN

We got half way through the loop and instead of continuing on the Cove loop, be headed down Parson Branch road off the loop road. This turned out to be a nice dirt and gravel road that stretched for miles though the wood. We even ran into some horseback riders. The road ends at US 129, so we planned on riding it all the way though, which is about 8 miles of pristine dirt.

After a few miles though, this unimproved road became somewhat rutty, with deep gravel built up in the center, several nice water crossings appeared, and it also narrowed considerably. Lois didn't like the way this adventure developed, but I was able to coax her through, all the way to US129. No pictures of this section. But I was mighty proud of her conquering this "beast" of a road on her shiny Beemer, equipped with appropriate dirt tires, without leaving a mark on it. Sorry no picture, but a video is in the works, of the good part of the adventure.

We got down to US129 (Deals Gap), continued towards Deals Gap store, where there must have been 1000 bikes and 2000 people (remember it was Memorial day weekend)

Deals Gap, NC

Everyone was running around buying tee-shirts and baseball hats. What a mess. They had added a restaurant since last time we stopped by years ago. The line was a mile long for a cheeseburger, however, and we opted out, and hopped on our GS's and headed down 28 towards Fontana Dam, NC, where we stopped for a few minutes. By this time, it was staring to get hot.

Mules at Fontana Dam, NC

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From there we continued to Fontana Village, ate cheese hamburgers for lunch (probably half the Deals Gap burger price). Then up through 441 back to camp.

I really, really regret not getting up early one morning at daybreak, and ride into the Cove with my camera equipment and take some sun rise pictures. Oh well.
 I'll put up a link to the video as soon as Lois have done her magic. (she's the videographer)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dkp5TcyJZA