Expanding Horizons

Over the past three months I have gone from learning to ride a motorcycle at a Harley Davidson’s of Savannah’s Riding Academy to striking out on my own longest yet ride of 330 miles and across state lines. As my brother has recently stated, I need to work on increasing my endurance for the adventure we have planned for the end of the month. Well, today I came to know why long distance or endurance rides are known as “Iron Butt” or “Saddle Sore” rides. Riding non-stop between fuel stops, your rump will definitely let you know when it’s being roasted.

Today’s ride was a planned ride. My intent was to visit the doughboy (again) at Waycross, travel to Kingsland for the Tour of Honor site there and then zip up the interstate to the ToH site in Ridgeland, SC – about a 140-mile stretch, non-stop – before returning home. Round trip was right at 6 hours. I left home at 7:40 and rolled to a stop in the driveway at 1:40, all planned visits accomplished.

The weather called for 50% rain, but the hourly forecasts didn’t have any actual rainfall until late afternoon so there was plenty of time for the trip. Looking at the forecast from the various destinations as well as the projected radar showed the closest threat of rain was southwest of Kingsland late morning. It wasn’t until I was leaving Kingsland heading north on the interstate before I had my first taste of riding in the rain. It really wasn’t that much nor that hard; it was relatively light and sporadic. The worst of it was the drops hitting the shins quite like running into a bunch of bugs.

I wrote about visiting Waycross before, but that was before being registered and having an official Tour of Honor flag. Unlike before, this time I had installed a wireless holder for the phone. Since my bike is “bare-bones” compared to most other bikes I see on the road, apps the phone become my guide. As long as it is being “charged” (plugged in), the map will continue to be displayed. That makes navigating to the next point of interest easier. It wasn’t that big of a deal going to Waycross because it was literally a straight shot down Hwy 84 to the site on the right. Quick and easy. Getting to Kingsland from Waycross was the real test.

Doughboy statue in Waycross, Georgia
DB025 on the Tour of Honor database

The Tour of Honor app feed the map app so “programming” the next point assumes current location as the starting point. I looked at route and notice the app would have me making a left across a four lane highway to make a hard right under a train bridge. When I looked at the “map” and saw that the road I was going to making the right onto was the same road I could see three blocks away (less than a quarter mile and at a “T”), the decision to go straight and then right rather than do the “dogleg” was a no brainer.

Leaving Waycross was uneventful or at least not unexpected as normal for traffic going in or out of a Walmart. Anyway, traffic all but disappeared within three miles as I passed the last light out of Waycross. The only hiccup was missing a turn and having to backtrack a little. Other than that, the ride to Kingsland, too, was uneventful. However, I did discover that my speedometer was a little off. According to the speed shown in the “GPS”, my speedometer shown about ten percent faster than actual speed. That meant when I though I was doing 75, I was actually doing 64 or so. When I mentioned that to Gary, he said most bike speedometers are notoriously off. Let’s just hope the odometer is accurate.

I applaud the American Legion Post 170 of Kingsland, Georgia for remembering those who kept home front.

The ride from Kingsland to Ridgeland was where I ran into the rain. As I said before, it really wasn’t much, but it was enough to have water bead up on the face shield. Thankfully traffic was just as splotchy and I did not have to deal with spray from the road. However, I fully understand the origins of the terms “Iron Butt” and “Saddle Sore” as applied to non-stop riding. I really have come to love riding, but I was equally happy to get off the damned thing when I got to Ridgeland, SC. Sure, I could have taken Hwy 17 and a little longer to get there, but I also wanted to back home BEFORE any major rain came.

Tour of Honor site in Ridgeland, South Carolina (SC005)

Overall, it was a most enjoyable ride. I saw a few other riders early on and a group as I was returning home. I know there are those who prefer to ride alone and those that ride as a group. As of yet, I am not a member of a club (not for the lack of trying), but I’m still looking. That’ll be another first in my ever-expanding horizons.

ENJOY THE RIDE

Jeff Allmond

6 June 2020

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