#40 Chickamouga to Gadsden

September 11, 2006
289 miles

RTT (Return to Texas)
Day 3

So I was talking to this guy yesterday in Chesnee, South Carolina. He was riding the bike I parked near when I pulled over to check the route and time. We talked about how nice the weather has been the last few days. He told me that he generally uses Accu-weather and his reports have been on the other end of accurate lately. He's been frustrated that even though he wanted to ride, he left the bike at home because the reports had called for rain when actually the day turns out to be a perfect day to be astride!

Well riding down the road, I get to thinking and decide that this is much my fault. Let me explain...
You see, I figure the weather gods have the weather pretty well worked out for the next few months and then only have to fine tune each day as they go along. So there they are sitting back taking it easy when I pull up to a stop sign at a T intersection in western South Carolina. I look left, I look right, glance back left again, trying to decide which way appeals to me more at that moment. Then I pull out to the right. So there I go, a direction picked on a moment's decision.

Now the way this all ties together is...
I put in a request for good weather when fleetering. So now all the weather gods have to scramble around to rearrange the region's weather to fit my chosen path.

If I get rained on, I figure it was because someone with more seniority trumped my weather request, which is to bound to happen when you have a popular road during a peak time.

So next time the weather turns out beautiful even though rain or cold had been called for... you might think about the motorcycle rider that's be passing through your area... and thank them for the unexpected nice weather that day.
Look to the left... then to the right...
Chickamauga Battlefield near Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
This place has the most amazing collection of long rifles! Never seen anything like it.
My brother, Jerry, would have been amazed!

This park has a wonderful loop you can drive through and see the many monuments along either side of the road.

While riding through the battlefield tour of monuments, I met up with a Fleeter cousin. The other rider, Chris, saw Fleeter, turned around and came back up to where I was sitting. We chatted for over 30 minutes while sitting on the side of the road in the park. This threw me a bit behind schedule, but was worth it seeing how another VStar 1100 can have such a different personality than Fleeter. Same year, same model.

Next State: Tennessee
I feel like I'm sneaking in a back door of the state by riding in on the southside of Chattanooga like this.
Lookout Mountain, south of Chattanooga, is part of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park.
Point Park is on Lookout Mountain and overlooks the Tennessee River and downtown Chattanooga.

click to enlarge

I took a break here sitting on this park bench looking out over the City of Chattanooga.
Unfortunately, it was a hazy day so the view wasn't as good as it could have been.
While I was sitting there, it started to sprinkle, but then suddenly stopped. When I made it down the mountain, I saw rain puddles all over the place from the rain. The weather jugglers did good. While I sat and took a break, they put a serious shower over the area I would be riding through in the next few minutes. So when I rode through it was nice, clear and freshly rinsed.
Next State: Alabama
I don't know what she was thinking, but Jill picked a rather crappy road to get to the next stamp location.
It started out okay enough, but then turned to a smaller paved road, then a one lane paved road, then a narrow gravel covered pot-holed, hard-to-qualify-as-public-road road.
After investing over 30 minutes and several miles on this route, I hated to give up and have to back track all the way back looking for a better road. I was, however, getting nervous that this was NOT going to get me there OR that I would have to turn around and ride this road back out. This gravelly condition had gone on for about 5 miles.

So when the school bus came by, I waved him down and asked if this road actually went anywhere and if there was another way out of that "where"?
He assured me that Russell Cave was, indeed, down this road and that there was a wide, nicely paved state road on the other side leading to US72.
For awhile I thought it was only me and the donkeys on this road. And they weren't all too friendly!

Sure enough I finally got to where the good state road ended...at Russell Cave NM. Right where my pitiful road led me.
Russell Cave visitor center
After obtaining the Russell Cave stamp, I headed to Little River Canyon Scenic Drive. Of course I took the nicely paved State route and came to the US highway a few minutes down the road in just a miles.
Jill, Jill, Jill...
I came across these painted barns along the country road outside Fort Payne, Alabama.

And down this nice stretch of road in DeSoto State Park of Alabama.

And who knew the Alabama's fan club was located in Fort Payne, Alabama??

Tonight ... motel in Gadsden, Alabama.
Tomorrow ... more Alabama.

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