#137 Greenville RTE

Fleeter Log #137
Greenville RTE
2009 February 20-24

interactive map of this trip

Day 1, Friday
February 20, 2009
410 miles

Gold Hill, NC

My friend, Mike "Grizz" Newton, called a ride to eat (RTE) in Greenville, SC for tomorrow lunch. The occasion is the International Motorcycle Show being in town. I won't be attending the show since Sylvia and I already went to see what they had to offer when the Show came through Washington, DC in January. But, just because I've already been to the Show doesn't mean that it's not worth a ride down to join a few other riders for lunch. Besides Grizz and his wife, Cindy, offered to put me up Friday night. And when someone is willing to put up with me AND to "put me up" it just gives me more reason to saddle up and go. They live about 75 miles from the restaurant, so Saturday morning will be a nice ride into Greenville to eat.

There are a lot of riders out there that use what they call their 'lectrics when the temps turn to the cool side. To explain the newfangled electric gear, I suggest you picture a basic jacket with hidden wires in the lining and some plugs to get it hooked up to the heating juices. Then there're the gloves that are set up the same way. The gloves plug into the wires on the sleeves of the jacket. The bike's battery provides the power to get the heating juices flowing. It all comes together with a controller box about the size of two decks of playing cards where the heating juices can be controlled for the amount of heat needed with a simple turn of a knob.

I've been riding in the kind of cool weather that many riders had rather park their bike and take the car, unless they have a set of these magical 'lectrics to keep them from freezing. So with much encouragement, I have now joined those who plug-in when riding in cooler weather. I went with the Gerbing brand and now have my very own jacket liner and G3 gloves. This will be my first ride to truly test the magical 'lectric gear.

It's a chilly 28 degrees and a bit breezy. Even though the sun is shining, the chill makes itself known as I saddle up and ride south to North Carolina. Indeed, a good day to have electric gear if you are going to be riding a motorcycle 400+ miles.

And after riding but a few miles down the road, she then declared her love and adoration of the new found electric gear!

Yes, I am a convert. How did I live without heated gear for so long? Many have asked me just that, but all I can do is claim ignorance. You just don't miss what you've never had. But now that I've known the pleasures of the magical heating current wrapping around me even as the chill factor drops into the single digits, I will always ride with my 'lectrics donned or packed close by.

Since I am bundled up and wearing the G3s that are slightly bulkier than my normal winter gloves, I choose to keep riding the miles and not try to fiddle with the camera. Therefore, not many photos of today's ride, but late in the day I couldn't resist when the sun reached that magic angle.

Gold Hill, North Carolina
(click to enlarge any photo)

Just off US52 in Gold Hill is a Historic Park where one can find some old buildings situated as an old mining town.

When I arrived at the Newton's home, I was directed to the room reserved for the Fleeter!
After getting cleaned up and changed, Mike and Cindy took me out to eat. We had a wonderful dinner and visit before heading home where Mike and I stayed up way too late chatting about stuff.

Day 2, Saturday
February 21, 2009
195 miles

South Carolina

The next morning it's still definitely cool enough to don the Gerbings. This is me doing the "Gerbing dance" as I try to fish out the plug for the gloves -- I forgot to have them at the ready before I put on my riding jacket. I'm still learning! After struggling to fish out the cord, I decided next time that I forget, it will be easier to just take my jacket off and do it right.
By putting up a sign on the mailbox post, Mike made sure that I would know this was the place.

Sorry. No group shot photo of those breaking bread (or tortilla chips) at the RTE. I got distracted. The chips and salsa alone were worth riding the 400 miles for. After eating, I rode a couple blocks over to the Touring Sports BMW dealership and took advantage of the 15% discount they offered to celebrate Show Day by buying a t-shirt. About 2pm I headed south out of Greenville to find some of the roads less traveled in South Carolina.

Mural in Honea Path, South Carolina

I rode south to arrive at Due West, South Carolina.

McCormick, South Carolina welcomes visitors to Thurmond Lake just 7 miles away. Thurmond Lake is on the Savannah River which serves as the border between South Carolina and Georgia.

Tonight I land in Augusta and call the Quality Inn home.

Day 3, Sunday
February 22, 2009
236 miles


Today I will meander down to Brunswick, Georgia to meet Sylvia where she is spending the week doing some job-related training.

An old building in Matthews, Georgia that has seen better days.

Louisville proclaims itself as Georgia's first permanent Capital. I guess I don't understand how they define "permanent" since the capital was only located here from to 1796 to 1806. I guess in this case "permanent" is defined as anything over 10 years since before moving the capital to Louisville, it had bounced back and forth mostly between Savannah and Augusta, but not staying in any location for over two years at a time.

Cola history lesson:
In Columbus, GA in the year 1905 a young pharmacist named Claud Hatcher set out to formulate a new drink. His first creation was a ginger ale named Royal Crown produced by Union Bottling Works. In 1912 this company decided to incorporate and use the name Chero-Cola under which they produced a number of flavored syrup drinks. In 1914 the company (and others using 'cola' in their name) were sued by Coca-Cola over the rights to the term "cola" in their name. The lawsuit went on for years before finally being settled in 1944 with the ruling that use of the name cola would be allowed. Coca-Cola lost the long battle, but in the years it took to reach the ruling, managed to force many companies out of the heated race to be the top cola company. Chero-Cola was one such casualty . Due to high legal fees and the rising price of sugar, Chero-Cola decided to take the company a different direction when they changed their name to Nehi Cooperation and focused on fruity flavored soft drinks. In 1934 the company decided to reintroduce the original Chero-Cola drink by the name of Royal Crown, later shortened to RC Cola.
Taste tests were conducted even back then and RC was endorsed as "Best by Taste Test" by such well known personalities as Lucille Ball, Ronald Reagan, Loretta Young, and Shirley Temple.

Chero-Cola mural across the street from the Jefferson County courthouse in Louisville, Georgia.
Last year when I was riding along this section of US221 with my friend, Charles from Marietta, he wanted to stop and go exploring when we saw this sign. That was before I lowered the RT and I could barely get my toes on the ground. I was too chicken to go exploring down this road not knowing what kind of terrain I would find at the end of it. But not this year! This year I am eager to explore new roads! Sorry you missed it, Charles.
Not too far from the highway the small road opens up at this old cemetery.
I spent some time putzing around reading the tombstone inscriptions and taking photos . . . to show Charles what he missed.

This one was interesting. The large stone belongs to Mary H. (nee Savage) Wright. The inscription reads, "Beneath this stone reposes all that was mortal of Mary H. ..."
According to the dates, she married at 17 years old and died in 1854 at 28 years old.

More cola history:
Originally known as "Brad's Drink" named after its creator pharmacist Caleb Bradham. He concocted the cola 1898 in New Bern, North Carolina. While Coca-Cola and other soft drinks sold 6 oz for 5 cents, Pepsi decided to sell 12 oz for 10 cents. But this was the depression and sales were slow so they decided to lower the price to match their competitors and used the move as a marketing maneuver using the slogan, "Twice as Much for a Nickel"
The Jingle:
"Twice as much for a nickel, too / Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you /
Pepsi-Cola hits the spot / Twelve full ounces, that's a lot"

I'm not sure who was dispensing drugs back then since the pharmacists seem to be busy creating new formulas to enter in the Soft Drink Wars of the early 1900's.

Bartow, Georgia

Horton's Grocery seemed to side with one of the winners . . . at least one of the survivors that seems to be doing okay for itself.
Johnson's Grocery must have been in competition with the Horton's just a few yards down the road on US221 in Norristown, GA. But they apparently agreed on which cola to support in the ongoing war.

Soperton, Georgia is the county seat of Treutlen County.

In Treutlen County, the folks at O'Conner Horses and Mules must have also been Coca-Cola drinkers. I wonder if they shod horses and mules before selling Firestones to shod more modern day transportation?

As I continue to ride south on US221, I find this freshly painted mural in Mount Vernon, home of the Montgomery County courthouse. But, oddly enough, not home to the Montgomery Monitor newspaper, which is found over in Treutlen County at Soperton. But they do have a mighty nice looking mural on this building just a block over from the Montgomery County courthouse.

It was about 2:30pm as I was headed south on a lonely, straight stretch of US221 between Uvalda and Hazelhurst. As I was running the RT up though the gears (all the way to 6th), Trooper Kicklighter was sitting in his patrol car idly wondering who his next victim would be. By the time I saw the steel gray car off the side of the road sitting in the shadows, he had already had plenty of time to make note of the reading on his radar gun . . . probably well before he could see what the little fast moving object was flying his direction. He was probably welcoming the break in the monotony since we were the only ones visible for miles in either direction.

When I saw what lurked in the shadows, I immediately hit the brakes. Like that would do any good. I was as good as cooked. He had a clean shot at me and there was no one for miles that I could blame his alerting radar gun on. Who knows how fast I was going, but we know that the RT doesn't even ask for 6th gear until about 75 mph and I had already settled in 6th a ways back. I was so busted. As I quickly ran up on him (even though I had judiciously applied the brakes), I saw his hand on the gear shift and saw the tail light flash red as he passed reverse on his way into drive. He was already positioned at an angle to pull in right behind me and it was obvious that that was exactly his intention. In a split second I decided, "Why make him come after me? Why even make him leave his nice cozy spot in the shade?" I applied the brakes a bit harder and pulled over to stop on the shoulder near his parked position. I didn't even pass the point of his front bumper. As I put my boot to the pavement, I called over to him, "I bet I was going too fast, wasn't I?" Who after all was in the perfect position to answer this rhetorical inquiry, but he?

The trooper looked at me a bit stymied as he returned the shifter to park. He then reached down for his trooper hat, snugging the leather strap down at the back of his head when he put it on. He opened the car door and reached for his ticket book sitting on the seat next to him. He wouldn't want to leave that behind, now would he? He has to have a reason for sitting out here on this lonely stretch of road, right? He crossed the distance between us in five easy strides and requested my driver's license. While I dug for my wallet buried deep in the patch pocket of my thick riding gear pants, he asked if there was a reason I was exceeding the posted 55 mph speed limit. Without an excuse to give, I just looked at him and asked if he's ever ridden one of these R1200RTs. He shook his head no and the look on his face told me that this line of reasoning wouldn't hold up with the serious Trooper Kicklighter --- his name, according to the shiny metal tag above his pocket. I was curious about his name, but felt it would not be prudent to change the subject during his serious line of questioning. I feel that he did stray off the topic a bit though when during his line of questioning he asked me the story/meaning behind my personalized LP. I told him the story of Fleeter -- glad to get away from the questions about my spirited pace on his 55 mph roadway.

After getting my identifying information, he stepped a few feet away and started relaying the data to the dispatcher at the other end of his radio. He finally finished his detailed writing in the ticket book and handed it over to me to complete the less than social interaction that one of us initiated on this lonely, straight stretch of US221.

Maybe because he liked my Fleeter story, maybe because he was still a bit stymied by the way this traffic stop was initiated, or maybe he was just showing appreciation to me for letting him keep his parking place in the shade -- whatever the reason -- as I took the pen to sign the document, he advised me, "This is not a ticket, but a warning. Keep in mind the 55 mph speed limit on these Georgia highways."

In that moment, Trooper Kicklighter became my friend! He showed me mercy! We chatted for a few more minutes. He took a close look at the RT's dash as he appeared interested in the gadgets I have mounted there -- GPS, XM-30 puck radio, boosteroo, and Spot. I wonder if he was really just checking to see if I had a malfunctioning radar detector in the gadget lineup. Grateful for my good fortune, I started the RT and pulled back out onto the empty highway . . . careful not to shift past 4th gear in an effort to keep my speed within Trooper Kicklighter's expectations.

The fence posts went slowly past as I made my way to Hazelhurst where I stopped for fuel. When stopped, I pulled my copy of the warning citation out to see just how fast I was going when I got busted, but it wasn't noted -- just a general offense of speeding.

Last mural of the day found in Baxley, Georgia near US321.

I've never seen a Smoker's Cafe before. Not sure if it is a place to eat, smoke, both, or neither?
I like the "haul your butts on in" though. Sounds like it would make a bonus stop for some Iron Butt Association (IBA) riders . . .

I arrive in Brunswick in time for Sylvia and I to "haul our butts" over to Mill House Steakhouse for supper.

Day 4, Monday
February 23, 2009
305 miles

Locally known as . . .

I left Brunswick, by taking I95 north to get a jumpstart on the miles for the day, but just 20 miles later I felt the need to veer off on to US17 to see some of the parts of America that are missed when flying the Interstates.

Sure enough, I wasn't off the Interstate but less than 10 miles when I saw this sign. By the time I read what I was passing, it was too late to make the turn. Time for a U-turn to go back and check it out.

On US17 near the small town of South Newport, Georgia is where one will find the structure

Tokens have been left by those praying and asking for prayers.

The door is unlocked with the request to "close door" on the way out. The interior light is controlled by a button mechanism that turns the light on when the door is open. Nice idea.

I continue to wander north on US17 past Charleston, South Carolina and make my way to Sullivan's Island for my next stop at Fort Moultrie. The fort was named after William Moultrie, a Revolutionary War hero. It was from Fort Moultrie that the Confederate forces fired upon the Federal soldiers at Fort Sumter just off shore. It was this action that started the Civil War in April of 1860.

The Charleston Lighthouse is just a few blocks north along the shoreline from the fort. Activated in 1962, it was the last lighthouse built by the Federal Government. The unique triangular shape has one point/corner facing outward toward the Atlantic Ocean. This design allows it to withstand winds up to 125 miles per hour.

I left Sullivan's Island making my way to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
I don't remember just where I was on US17, but it looks like one of the local seafood restaurants is taking delivery of the "catch of the day"!

I let price determine where I would stop for the night. A better than average Quality Inn & Suites in North Myrtle Beach won the bidding with a nice room for less than $43.00. After I got checked in, I rode a couple miles to find a Subway. Subway is about the best place to go for a meal that can easily be stuffed into my tankbag without issue.

Day 5, Tuesday
February 24, 2009
440 miles

Barn Sour

Here's where I called "it home" last night. Nice place for less than $43 a night. When I asked, they said that they haven't suffered noticeably from 'empty room' syndrome due to the economy. They said they have a pretty loyal following by a wide range of clients -- business, leisure, and even some spring breakers. I can see why. A good room for a good price.

When I found myself going through Cape Fear Country, I couldn't help myself. I had to make a slight side trip to find a Cape Fear Rally bonus location that I didn't get to last April during the rally.
Battle of Rockfish monument near Wallace, North Carolina.

Soon after sneaking back into Virginia on the back road of route 35, I see the sun hitting this old red brick post office in Courtland, Virginia.
Anyone that grew up riding horses, will understand the term barn sour. When I was around 5 years old, I spent a lot of time riding Ol' Dixie up and down the fence line next to the lane from the house to the highway - about a quarter of a mile round trip. Mom restricted my riding area to where she could see me if she were to look out the window, so I didn't have a lot of choices where to ride at that age. I would have been happy riding all day up and down that lane, but to Dixie it probably got a bit boring. Maybe like the horses on a Merry Go Round -- how much fun do you think that is for them? While I was having a blast riding Dixie on my Merry Go Back & Forth, Dixie would get more and more reluctant to travel away from the house and barn, but she would pick up the pace every time we turned back toward home. After a few hours, it became a real battle for me to get her all the way to the highway, where I would turn her around and let her rip as we would take-off running back toward the house and barn. It was the only way I could get her to 'go fast' . . . and I liked to go fast! When we pulled up to a stop in front of the barn door after a spirited return ride, I'd fight to get her turned around and then we'd do it all over again. This was the routine until Mom would come out and call me in, putting a stop to my fun and bringing relief to Ol' Dixie.

A horse's behavior of being reluctant to travel away from the barn, but being eager to go fast as soon as the turn is made back to the barn is known as the horse being barn sour. How this relates to fleetering is the closer I get to home, the less likely I am to stop and take photos. Guess sometimes I get to acting a bit barn sour as I make the last push for home.

I arrive home about 7:30 pm. Another great fleetering trip on the books, even if there aren't many photos taken on the last leg home!

Greenville RTE Ride Summary
Total trip miles: 1,590
States fleetered in this trip: 4
Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia

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