Chattanooga to Panama City
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Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:07 pm quote
I've had a difficult, kind of stressful last month. I had a tumultuous beginning of the schoolyear andthen a couple of weeks in my Grandmother, who I was very close to, had a stroke and passed away. Adding in two teenagers with active schedules who don't drive, and I was feeling tired and overwhelmed and exhausted. My best friend's husband works on an oil rig and has been out most of the spring and summer, so they couldn't do a summer vacation, and took it up last week. My sweet friend offered to take my daughter down with them for the week and then asked if I would go, too. I couldn't get a whole week off, but I took 1/2 a day Friday and all day Monday. The ride down was long - about 430 miles from the time I left my front door at 6:30 Friday morning until 10:30 when I pulled up in Panama City. All total, the trip ended up being almost exactly 1000 miles.

The pictures tell the story of the trip, but not the ride home. It was AWFUL weather when I left Panama City. It was raining buckets and storming for the first few hours, and somewhere between Dothan and Eufaula Alabama the rain sort of let up and I untucked from behind the windshield and stretched my back a little. It was still raining, but was at least bearable. The clouds were all swirly, gray and white and black - really pretty. Then I noticed something I've never seen before. I've seen tornadoes a few times, but this was a column of clouds just coming down out of the sky. I no sooner noticed it than the rain SLAMMED in and the wind picked up to unbelievable levels. It started with the wind picking up my bike off the suspension. I leaned hard into it, but it still pushed it all the way across the slow lane, then across the fast lane, and left me wiht one of my front wheels in the median. It went on to the scariest 45 minutes of my life. There was about an 18 inch median, NOWHERE to pull off, and just constant wind and rain. The water was deep enough to be splashing in a constant sheet up on my running boards. The cars were pulled off in the grass and I just kept going forward, I couldn't think of what else to do. I thought parking a bike right off the side of the road might not work out so well, and there was nothing. The air had that horrible burnt metal smell that goes with lightening strikes, visibility was something between five an six feet. I did okay, I didn't think I was even that scared - then I pulled off at the first gas station I had a sort of girlie meltdown. My legs went out from under me and I was shaking and sort of quietly crying sitting beside a gas pump. When I let go of my handlebars the water that was pooled in my elbow armour cascaded down my arm and out of my rain gear, and I called my friend's hubby and asked him to talk nice to me for a minute and then I got back on the bike and went on home. FYI, the bike handled it beautifully - except for apparently the electronics were not meant to be submerged for long periods. They were funky all the way home. The blinker kept going off randomly and the tilt lock wouldn't work. By the time I got home six hours later it was way better.

The trip was a blast and I learned a lot about how I ride and how I handle a bike. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm getting better!

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Everyone had their bikes. I've done really long group rides, but never the kind of just cruise up and down the strip going to dinner and shops. Everyone was riding 2up - Me with my daughter, my friend's hubby with his young daughter, another friend with

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My friend, her hubby, and Boo - my adopted niece.

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Boo at the beach!

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I've never ridden two up, but Sunday I geared up and got my daughter up and we went out to breakfast together. That went okay, so we loaded up and rode out to Cape San Blas and back - beautiful ride.

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She was sitting behind me taking pictures. She said we need a neck strap for my camera on the back - anyone else have ideas for pictures by the passenger?

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My absolutely beautiful older niece and her boyfriend or fiancee - it seems to depend upon whether you are asking her, her boyfriend, or her mom.

Addicted
MP3 500 (no - longer); now an old guy on a Goldwing
Joined: 10 Jan 2009
Posts: 853
Location: Tellico Village, Loudon, TN
Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:00 pm quote
Thanks for the ride report. Did you change out your back tire before the trip? I was wondering about whether you were going to make the ride when we were driving from that area of Florida back to Tennessee on Friday.

Your trip report is a great reminder the really adverse weather can hit at any time and we have to be constantly aware of our surroundings so that we can take approprite action when necessary. I'm sorry you had to experience the horrendous rain storm, but now you know you can endure the worst and you have one heck of a ride story to tell
Veni, Vidi, Posti
. . 2008 Blue MP3 400. . di Peluria Orso .... 1993 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 ....... 2013 Honda NC700XD; 2017 Versys X300
Joined: 02 Jun 2008
Posts: 6141
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:26 am quote
Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a great time at the beach with a tough ride home. I don't recommmend riding in the type of rain that has cars pulled onto the grass. Glad you made it OK. Now you know a normal rain is OK for an MP3.
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:11 am quote
Kevin, didn't change my tire out - but I need to now

Fuzzy - I don't think you should ride in weather like that either - The voice of God kept muttering something like "ARK - I said ark woman, not BIKE!" If there had been ANYWHERE to pull over I would have pulled over and stood in the deluge, but the edges of the road were so narrow and the wind buffet so great that I was afraid I would get hit if I just pulled on the verge. It continued to rain off and on all the way from Eufaula to Carrollton, but I didn't even notice the regular rain after that - not a big deal. On another note to you and Kevin and the rest of the forum folk, I apprecieate riding with all of you guys (forum and other friends). Watching more experienced riders handle a bike was a big help. I kept having to move my weight on the wheel that the wind was picking up and countersteer into the wind - six months ago I just straight wouldn't have had the skills necessary. I still don't know if I would have the skills without the adrenaline, but it worked out fine, so I'm not complaining
Veni, Vidi, Posti
. . 2008 Blue MP3 400. . di Peluria Orso .... 1993 Kawasaki Vulcan 500 ....... 2013 Honda NC700XD; 2017 Versys X300
Joined: 02 Jun 2008
Posts: 6141
Location: Milledgeville, GA
Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:51 am quote
GeorgiaGirl wrote:
Kevin, didn't change my tire out - but I need to now

Fuzzy - I don't think you should ride in weather like that either - The voice of God kept muttering something like "ARK - I said ark woman, not BIKE!" If there had been ANYWHERE to pull over I would have pulled over and stood in the deluge, but the edges of the road were so narrow and the wind buffet so great that I was afraid I would get hit if I just pulled on the verge. It continued to rain off and on all the way from Eufaula to Carrollton, but I didn't even notice the regular rain after that - not a big deal. On another note to you and Kevin and the rest of the forum folk, I apprecieate riding with all of you guys (forum and other friends). Watching more experienced riders handle a bike was a big help. I kept having to move my weight on the wheel that the wind was picking up and countersteer into the wind - six months ago I just straight wouldn't have had the skills necessary. I still don't know if I would have the skills without the adrenaline, but it worked out fine, so I'm not complaining
Maybe the problem is going to Florida? On my way back from bike week I had significant rain (Not near what you describe) and a 45 mph wind. Wind was pretty steady so just leaned the bike into it. I literally went around right hand curves leaning left with the wind blowing me around, just leaned less than going straight.

Finding out you did not get your rear tire changed confirms a belief for me that the rear tire tread is not a big issue for traction on wet roads. I ride in the rain frequently and have never had any traction issues on either bike with a range of new to worn out tires on the rear.

So when are we getting a group together again for another ride?
Hooked
2007 Avio Grey GTV
Joined: 22 Dec 2008
Posts: 485

Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:26 am quote
GeorgiaGirl - what route did you take?
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Wed Sep 16, 2009 11:44 am quote
I would have hit rush hour in Atlanta or Birmingham, and I dont' much like the interstate solo riding anyway, especially in the rain, so I opted for highway. US 27 to Columbus, then 431 through Eufaula, AL to Dothan, then 231 straight into Panama City. Here is a link to the Google Map. I can't seem to make the embedding work.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=La+Fayette,+GA&daddr=233+lullwater+drive+panama+city,+florida&geocode=FV6PEQIdXbPq-g%3B&hl=en&mra=ls&dirflg=h&sll=32.528289,-86.044922&sspn=8.295213,14.040527&ie=UTF8&ll=30.970544,-85.23468&spn=0.52752,0.877533&z=10
Hooked
2016 Vespa Sprint 150
Joined: 09 Jul 2009
Posts: 350
Location: New Zealand
Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:44 pm quote
GeorgiaGirl wrote:
Here is a link to the Google Map. I can't seem to make the embedding work.
It'll be cool to have Google Maps embedding work on MV. For now what I did in my posts I did a screenshot, resize the image and upload.

Beautiful photos there!
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