#121 Rainy Day in Georgia

Rainy Day in Georgia
317 miles

Day 4

I took my time getting up and out the next morning. Of course you could guess that Betty had breakfast for me. I couldn't eat it all, but I was generous when dipping into Betty's homemade whipping cream to top the peaches.

I leave just before 11am with a light mist falling.

Bishop is a small town south of Athens...
City of Royston, GA...home of Ty Cobb. Who knew?
I cross into South Carolina at Hartwell Lake.
I had a little fun with color on the shores of Hartwell Lake.
I saw this banner on US hwy 29 south of Homeland Park, South Carolina.
Jimmy Moore died in April 2003 when a car pulled out in front of him.
It was five years ago that Tommy Moore lost his son because another motorist wasn't watching out for motorcycles. Please everyone... pay special attention to motorcycles. Give us a little extra room and especially don't turn in front of us. The most common accident involving motorcycles is caused by a vehicle making a left turn in from of a motorcycle...then the driver saying, "I didn't see it." Don't forget to look for motorcycles!
Some say that the RT is a big bike, but I say it's all relative. This chair makes the RT look small...
It had been raining off and on all day. And started coming down harder as I pulled into Concord, North Carolina. I found this Sleep Inn off I85 about 5:30pm and stopped for the night. I unpacked in a light rain, it rained all night, and I packed up the next morning in the rain.

I haven't been in a sustained hard-driving downpour of a rain this trip, but so far I've been happy with my REI waterproof duffle I ordered "on clearance" for under $20. It has large grab straps on both ends, loop handles on top, and a shoulder strap along one side.
(Thanks for the tip, Jerry! I think it is very much like yours.)

I use Rok-Straps to cinch it down. To attach it to the RT, first I used two red soft ties to bring an attachment point from the rear bottom of the back rack closer to the duffle. Then I attached a set of Rok Straps - one end to the to the soft ties and the other end to the frame near the passenger pegs. Then I buckle them cross ways over the duffle and pull them tight. They are great straps -- very quick and easy to attach and remove -- and I fell the duffle is very secure in place. I put carabiners in the loops in case I want to quickly attach something or us them as a helmet keeper when parked.

Enough about packing techniques...
Tomorrow I start collecting for the VA Grand Tour shortly after crossing the state line back into Virginia.

#120 Fried Green Tomatoes

March 30, 2008
Zero RT miles

Day 3

Betty had me put the RT safely away in her garage shortly after I arrived. This is where the RT will stay, safe and dry, until I leave on Monday morning. Today, Betty will be chauffeuring me around in her cute little Pontiac as she plays tourist guide.

We always have a list of lessons learned (LL) from each trip. High on my list for this trip is...
LL: * Be hungry when you show up at Betty's house.
She is a wonderful cook and she makes sure that no one under her care goes hungry!

Saturday evening Betty served a platter full of hors d'oeuvres, then followed up with a full southern supper of pork roast, greens, yams, black-eyed peas, and cornbread. Then she finished us off with a homemade "just that morning" coconut cream pie! This morning I still wasn't in the least bit hungry so I passed on the full breakfast Betty was offering to cook. I need to save room for today's lunch.

Our first goal for today is located about 15 miles up highway US23 from Betty's home. After yesterday's warm temperatures in the 70s, we are surprised to step out of the house into a brisk and damp 42 degree morning. We hop in Betty's Pontiac as the misty rain turns to a light drizzle and back to a mist again. But our spirits are not dampened as we look forward to visiting the hometown of "The Bee Charmer" Idgy Threadgoode.

Fannie Flagg's book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, was first published in 1987.

I had discovered the book and was already a fan when the film, Fried Green Tomatoes was released in 1991.
The movie was filmed in Juliette, GA. This is downtown Juliette. All of it. At the very end of the street on the left is the Whistle Stop Cafe.
We arrive before the cafe opens at 11am. We wanted to be sure to get a seat before they get busy.
What would you order when eating at the Whistle Stop Cafe?
Fried Green Tomatoes, of course! There they are...the namesake of print and film.
They went great with my cheeseburger and iced tea.
We finish eating our lunch as the cafe starts filling up. We leave, making room for others, and take a stroll outside to see what else there is to see in this small, but interesting place.
To the rear of the cafe we see the old BBQ pit made famous in the movie. Don't forget... "the secret was in the sauce."
Down the one street town...
One of these days I'd like to get back to Juliette to attend a first or third Saturday jam session at the Opry House.
I purchased some local honey in memory of the "The Bee Charmer" from The Honeycomb Country Store.

If you've read the book or seen the movie, you will know that the local train plays an important role in the story.
Our time in Juliette has come to an end. Time to hop in Betty's car and head back to Macon.
Back in Macon, we stop by Fort Hawkins a military supply point and frontier trading post established in 1806 which eventually became Macon.
Otis Redding, son of a Baptist preacher, grew up in Macon singing in the Vineville Baptist Church. He entered in a local talent show as a teenager and after winning 15 times in a row was banned from the contest. Otis Redding dropped out of high school in 10th grade and played with Little Richard's (also from Macon) former band - the Upsetters. He was killed at 26 yrs old in a chartered plane crash near Madison, WI on December 10, 1967. His most popular song, (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay, was recorded only 3 days before his death and released in January 1968.
This is a big, big week in Macon. It's the Cherry Blossom Festival! Nature has cooperated with the calendar this year and cherry blossoms are plentiful during the week+ of scheduled activities.
We were reminded that the parade was about to start when the Budweiser horses came prancing by.
We parked and made our way to downtown Macon to claim a spot to view the parade.
The Sheriff of Bibb County is secure enough in his manhood to sport a bright pink jacket during the Cherry Blossom Festival!
Though there are 11 Nu-Way locations in Georgia, only the one on Cotton Avenue in Macon is the original that opened in 1916 and still serves up the popular hot dogs...just not today. They are closed on Sunday. Darn.

"I'd Go a Long Way For a Nu-Way"®

LL: *It's okay to travel far for a Nu-Way...just check the hours of operation first.
It was just as well that Nu-Way was closed. I was still full from Sconyers BBQ, Betty's roast, pie, fried green tomatoes, etc.

AND Betty has another special dinner planned for tonight!

We get back home, settle in and the next thing I know Betty rings the dinner (supper, we are in the south) bell and calls me to the table. After eating just one meal made by Betty, you won't be surprised to learn that she has three bookcases full of cookbooks plus more stored in boxes that won't fit in the house. Tonight she serves her special spaghetti, a recipe she learned when living in California. As though the meat sauce wasn't special enough, she served it with pasta that she made herself! It was another delicious meal...with pie for desert! Can't get any better than that.

Tomorrow morning I will load up to head back north. I need to get back on the road while I can still fit into my riding gear!

#119 Makin' My Way To Macon

March 29, 2008
146 miles
Makin' My Way To Macon
Day 2

The next morning motorcycles started pulling into the parking lot of Sconyers at 10am.

When I pulled in, this is what I saw...
Riders from Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and maybe even beyond. Most MTF riders share a certain riding style .... that is to ride far and solo. And what better excuse to ride than to meet like-minded friends for lunch a few state lines away?!

Someone took this photo of me as I pulled in. Notice the stretched toes to the ground. This is the kind of situation I dread...an unlevel gravel parking lot on a significant slope. I pulled in and stopped to assess the situation and pick out a spot to park. Not only thinking about where to best pull in to park, but also where to park that I could safely maneuver out of with a belly full of BBQ.
This RTE served as a gathering to welcome Beth (Alex's mom) back to the USA. She had been deployed to Baghdad, Iraq for the last 18 months. Pictured with her husband, Dan, and their kids.
This is probably the oldest one here... the Honda, not Richard! OldWing!
Me and my buddy Richard from Florida. I met Richard for the first time at Moonshine, Illinois last year.
Next on the agenda is Makin' My Way to Macon. I have a very important meeting scheduled in Macon.

Charles (pictured with me below) is going to follow me to Macon (just because), then head home to Marietta, GA.

So with our bellys full, we made our way in the direction of Macon.
Bartow is a small community we passed through on our way to Macon.
We make it to Macon in time to get a stamp at the Ocmulgee National Monument.

While at the park, the skies were threatening and the sky was beginning to spit down upon us. We saw the weather radar map on the ranger's computer in the visitor center and it wasn't looking too good for Charles' route back to Atlanta. It was looking like somebody was going to get very, very wet. Maybe all of us!

While Charles was "helmeting up" to get back on the road another MTF rider pulled in to the park in search of a stamp. Charles headed back to Atlanta and Don and I rode into the park to see the mounds. On the way we came across the this cool railroad bridge. Don took a picture of me as I rode through.

Sure enough, the rain starts pouring down as I travel I75 to the north side of Macon. My next stop is my very important meeting...

I am headed to Ms. Betty's house in north Macon. Let me explain who Betty is...
As many of you know, I write up my Fleeter Log trip reports and send them out to family and friends by email then post them to my blog. I started this routine in the summer of 2005. A few months after I started these reports a mutual friend started forwarding the Fleeter Logs to Betty. It didn't take too long for Betty to request to be listed proper on my mailing list so as there to be no delay in her receiving her Fleeter Logs. Ever since, she has been a number one fan of the Fleeter Logs! Betty has been campaigning for me to visit her in Macon for well over a year now. So this is my trip to meet finally meet Betty....

Meet my friend Betty...an 82 yr old faithful fleetering fan from Macon, Georgia!

Betty and I have a full day planned for tomorrow.

First, we will get fried in Juliette. Stay tuned...