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· Registered
2014 Kawasaki Nomad
110 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Since this new site is about LD rides, or so I was told, I thought I'd tell all how I got started. Hopefully you won't be too bored. While a member of a m/c club in New Braunfels TX and attending a monthly dinner, I sat at a table and overheard a couple of others talking about heading to the Tail of the Dragon. Heck, I didn't even know what that was but I chimed in "I want to go!". Before you know it, 4 of us were ready to go. The day before we left one the guys dropped out due to neck problems. My daughter lived in Spring Hill, TN at the time so I figured it was a good place to stop along the way, visit and spend one of the nights. That October I loaded up my 900LT and the 3 of us headed out. This was in 2013.
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We wrote down a plan (didn't really use gps's at the time) and went partway up the Natchez Trace Parkway, then over to Spring Hill, TN to spend one of the nights at her house. This took several days. The next day, in freezing temps, we headed to the Tail and spent the night in that little cabin before heading south on hwy 129: the Tail. After taking the obligatory pics at Deal's Gap, we continued south, then west on the Cherohala Skyway.

One of the guys had a friend he hadn't seen in a very long time in Atlanta, so we headed south to see him. The next morning we checked the weather map and saw a very wet cold front headed our way, to instead of heading back to Texas one of the guys said he's never been to Florida, so we headed south and went through the panhandle of Florida along the coast.

We avoided all rain on this trip so far! But, as soon as we got to the Texas border, the sky opened up. When we stopped for lunch the employees actually put up "Caution Wet" signs around us because we were dripping so bad. Even our waterproof boots were soaked and dripping.

Anyway, this trip was about 1600 miles. We avoided interstate hwys when we could and stopped lots of places along the way. I was hooked! However, I learned how NOT to pack a bike, as I had waayyy too much stuff. A fully expanded leather bag, a tank bag, 2 saddlebags and 2 roll bags.Now when I travel I only have the leather bag, unexpanded, the 2 saddlebags and a tailbag. Much better! In 2015 we began yearly rides in our quest to ride through all 48 lower states, and have done a total of 7 rides at about 30,000 miles to do so, completing it this year, 2022. Sadly, one of the original 3 riders passed away from cancer in 2018 before completing it (right side in the pic above). Also, a rider we brought in to be a 4th in 2015 was killed in a freak collision with a deer after completing only 1 ride with us to the Grand Canyon and area that same year.

I hope you enjoy!

How NOT to pack. This is on the Cherohala Skyway
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The morning leaving my daughter's house. Lot's of frost and 30°.
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Our little cabin the night before heading south to the Tail.
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At Deal's Gap.
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We made it to the gulf. This is near Pensacola, FL
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Proudly displaying my sticker!
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· Administrator - "Loose Nut"
From Bandera, Texas - 2019 HD Freewheeler - 2006 Vulcan 900
524 Posts
Very nice. Was the Texas rain at least warm? Definitely understand about packing to much. I'm a slow learner, still pack way to much. What's always amazing is how well everything fits the first day then I'm thinking about leaving stuff behind after that.
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