Two girls on a bike
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Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Mon May 17, 2010 4:44 pm quote
You have probably heard about big Southern families, and I am a part of one. I am one of four kids, and rarely do two days pass where I don't talk to my mom, dad, sisters, or brother. Well, last fall my cousin Anne announced she was getting married in St. Augustine in May. My son and husband said they would rather have their eyes gouged out with a spork than spend a whole weekend being sociable, and I decided I would rather have my eyes gouged out with a spork than have to deal with them if I made them go. So it was down to me and my 17 year old daughter. The first words out of her mouth after the decision was made were "Can we take Lloyd?" Lloyd is my scooter.

I've only been riding about a year and a half, and she had never ridden at all. OK - time for some learning. Her daddy took her out for her first ride, and then we practiced.

Thursday we left from my school (I'm and elementary school librarian) about 2:00 and rode down toward South GA. I decided to take 2 days to get down. Four hundred plus miles would be a long day for me, for her it would have been really hard. The first part of the trip went well. Lots of roads like this

You see some odd things rolling around in the rural south.

This giant KFC bucket was like 30 minutes from anywhere - the only other businiess is the convenience store you can see in the background. That means someone went to a considerable amount of effort to haul this out into the middle of nowhere. There has to be a story here. It probably involves beer.

Now we get to the not so great part. I was trying to avoid the interstate. Riding 2up on a 500cc scooter I feel a little underpowered for interstate trips. So I was going from town to town on the GPS. At some point in the past, apparently my GPS had a problem with smoking a crack pipe. Either that, or there is a button in there somewhere that I have clicked that says "tour the hood looking for a dealer". When you put it in charge, you will go through every bad neighborhood and housing project in every town. Not even kidding. My favorite was when it routed me through the interior roads of a project in Rockmart. Apparently decided that the hood in Rockmart wasn't intimidating enough, the next step was to route me south to Jonesboro by taking me 20 miles north into the Atlanta neighborhood near the airport. When it started routing me into bad neighborhoods there, I said forget it and just got on the interstate. It was perfect timing. Traffic was light, and we had a plane go over us on the runway over 285 (picture after it was off to the side)

Judging by the excited wiggling, I think she liked the tunnel under the runway too


South GA is, ummm, interesting to drive through. The riding isn't interesting. It is flat, straight, and has lots of construction.

It is peanut country, home to President Carter.

When we stopped for gas Goose (we call my daughter Goose, long story) had an observation

"Mom, I'm glad we aren't staying in Andersonville - apparently you get off the interstate and go right and go straight into the den of iniquity." She got a picture of this billboard

There was also the "Love Stuff" store that offered free coffee and pet waiting area. And the "Strippers - need we say more?" billboard that also advertised that they opened at noon. Oddly enough, my 17 year old was most concerned about the opening at noon and pet waiting. Apparently pet-waiting and coffee conjured visions of geriatic adult superstore shoppers that were waaay to much for a 17 year old to think about, and the opening at noon was just incomprehensible - why would anyone want to do something like that first thing in the morning (that is first thing in the morning in her world.) Apparently there isn't much to do in South GA, so they occupy themselves with what is available. Day One ended in Perry at a chain hotel


I'll work on another day in a minute.
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Mon May 17, 2010 5:09 pm quote
Day Two
We got up and had breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I know it is a chain, everywhere the same type of place, but it is an integral part of every trip from my childhood. We would all get up at some ungodly, still dark hour and Daddy would drive for a few hours with semi-conscious children, and when we all woke up we would stop at Cracker Barrel. After feeding us a huge breakfast, we were in that semi-comatose state that follows a huge meal, and so Daddy got four or five hours of whiny free driving. For me, and now for my kids, breakfast at Cracker Barrel means we are on an adventure.


We were riding on down to St. Augustine - so more South GA interstate

Florida was prettier, but just as flat.

I'm a teacher and my husband is a mechanic, so while we aren't bad off, neither are we rolling in money. So my reservation was the hostel the Pirate Haus. My mom worried about that A LOT, and since they were paying for everyone else's room at the Hilton they got us one too. My husband told me to put my pride aside and let them do it, because Mama would enjoy the trip more if all us kids were together. So we had a nice room:

Then we went out to dinner at an Italian place behind the hotel - they had wine and music, Goose and I were both happy

Then we walked around the city. I have a sort of door fetish, and St. Augustine has some beautiful ones. It has that coastal Southern ciy feel, but a little more European somehow. Anyway, we were tired of sitting, so we wandered for about three hours.


Tomorrow was a big day, so we turned in early

Last edited by GeorgiaGirl on Thu May 20, 2010 4:14 am; edited 1 time in total
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Mon May 17, 2010 5:44 pm quote
Wow, wow, wow
Everyone has a bucket list. Mine is long, because there are few places I don't want to go and few things I don't want to try. When I was in fourth grade we lived in Muscle Shoals, AL, and came home to Chattanooga all the time. Huntsville, AL was a convenient waypoint, and so we would stop there at the Space Center to run for a while. Before 9/11, you could also tour Marshall Space Flight, and they were training for the first shuttle missions then. So I became a slight space geek and my bucket list has always included a launch. The stars aligned, and there was one the Friday of the rehearsal. Goose and I got up early and set out for Kennedy.

We rode down the A1A - the sun rising over the Atlantic and the ocean breeze almost made up for the straight, flat road

Like I said, I'm relatively new to riding. Us, and 40,000 other people, were on our way to the area to watch the launch. The line to go through security was literally 9 miles long. Riding your bike two up for an hour and a half at walking speed is a different skill. The locking front end was a nice addition when we stopped, but my arms and legs were tired.

We wandered around Kennedy, looking at the exhibits.

While we were at Kennedy we met a security guard who was from Chickamauga, 15 minutes from my house. He said in 15 years of working there, I was the first person he had met from home. I asked him about the best way to get back to St. Augustine for the rehearsal and he gave me this stricken look and said "Honey, I hate to tell you this, but you aren't going to make it." Crap. I had to make it. Sh**. I don't curse, but at this point I have that sick-to-your-stomach-my-mom-is-going-to-kill-me feeling that I haven't had since I was 16. I had to be back by 7. The nice security guard said my best bet was to watch from the parking lot, gear up, and leave before anyone else. OK, out to the parking lot we go, where we watched the launch with a family from Argentina, an older lady from Orlando, and a couple from Atlanta. I was sooooo excited. We heard liftoff on the radio, and it was about 5 seconds for it to clear the treeline

I was really excited. You could see it throttle back, and you could see when they throttled back to full power. We watched until the cloud wasn't growing anmore.

Well, we yank on our helmets and roll. I was feeling good for the first four miles. Then we got on the bridge over the Indian River and traffic stopped.

I mean seriously stopped. Like people getting out of their cars to walk around kind of stopped. Goose took off all her gear. Her jacket isn't mesh and she was dying.

So we got off that road onto Hwy 1, and spent an hour and a half going about 10 miles. We hadn't eaten, were breathing exhaust fume, and the temps were over 90 with us sitting still in full gear. At that point, my sick to my stomach was turning into full-blown panic. Seriously, my mom would kill me if I wasn't there on time. So I turned off the hwy and onto some back roads and let the GPS drive. True to form, I have now toured another city's housing projects, but I didn't care, we were moving. We then come to the most amazing part of the trip. We got off the bike at 5:40 - we had showered, dressed, fixed our hair and gotten over the Lightner Museum at 6:35. That has to be some kind of girl record. It was a truly lovely evening. I saw lots of family that I haven't seen in years, and it was nice to be in a room full of people you love and admire.

Too late tonight, I'll write up the rest tomorrow.
Ossessionato
LX150, GTS300(black & white), GTS300(red)
Joined: 25 Dec 2008
Posts: 2467
Location: Menifee, CA. (Land of the Dirt People)
Mon May 17, 2010 6:05 pm quote
Is Goose asking for her own scoot yet??? Sounds like a great adventure and doing it with family makes it all that much better.
Ossessionato
R.I.P. ----K.I.T.T.500, Agent Orange (400)
Joined: 04 Jul 2008
Posts: 2670
Location: Rockford, IL
Mon May 17, 2010 7:12 pm quote
Looks like a blast Georgia Girl! Man, you've come a long way since you first started posting about learning your way around the 500! Glad your daughter is enjoying it too, you guys will remember this time together the rest of your lives...I definitely need to plan a trip like this during the Summer....
Hooked
Piaggio MP3 250
Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 210
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Tue May 18, 2010 1:22 am quote
Did you drive at night/in the dark at all? If you did, how'd that go? I have a GPS (TomTom One IQ Route) and wanted an interesting-sounding voice telling me where to go, and the most interesting free voice is a British male voice called Simon. So every time I go riding with my GPS on, it's a game of Simon Says!

Instead of taking me into Projects, Simon takes me on non-intuitive routes, always somehow finding the time-sensitive streets (No left turn 7am-5pm Mon-Fri) and trying to make me turn down on Monday to Friday between 7am and 5pm. He also knows I'm afraid of heights so tries to make me go up a highway overpass called the Gardiner Expressway. Very high, very fast, for a very long time. Very scary! I have to twiddle about with the "drive via" and "avoid driving on" route changing buttons with Simon to reign him back in. But if I have the time and and tell him to leave me off the Gardiner, I have some pretty wacky drives going where Simon Says!

Glad you guys had a great time! What did the family think of your Mean Machine, Loyd, and your trip down on him?
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Tue May 18, 2010 4:47 am quote
JimmyTwoNutz wrote:
Is Goose asking for her own scoot yet??? Sounds like a great adventure and doing it with family makes it all that much better.
Yes, she and my brother are taking the class this summer. I'm not sure when, we are out of town a good bit in June, so probably July. I love my scoot, but probably will add a regular bike with gears *gulp* to the stable so we have three bikes for three riders.
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Tue May 18, 2010 4:57 am quote
Maxi_Rose wrote:
Did you drive at night/in the dark at all?
Yup. Night riding doesn't bother me. We live in a little town 30 minutes away from anything, so even going out to dinner or a movie on the scoot involves a night ride. The GPS has an automatic night riding feature, so that isn't a problem. I'm just extra careful. I can't hear it because I have my MP3 plugged into my ears. No GPS voice, but plenty of Chad Kruger
Quote:
What did the family think of your Mean Machine, Loyd, and your trip down on him?
Actually, we had a long conversation about this. I'm an elementary schoolteacher mom, and I pretty much fit the visual stereotype for that. I also ride my bike a lot, and everyone finds it hilarious, because I fit NONE of the biker chick stereotypes. My parents are afraid I am going to start showing up for family gatherings in assless chaps with tattoos, and most other people keep looking at me and say "Really - for real, YOU ride a bike"
My favorite is when I take off my helmet and people say in a shocked voice "You are a GIRL" This is my jacket.

It even has glitter. And people are shocked I'm a girl. What male would wear that jacket .
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Tue May 18, 2010 5:24 am quote
Day 3
Well, today was not a riding day. I was happy about that, because my rear end was tired. The MP3 is a joy to ride, but it wasn't designed as a touring bike, and the seat gives that away I got up early and had breakfast with my sister and nephews while my daughter slept in, then I wandered around while she toured Flagler college with my baby sister and brother-in-law. We all met at a place called Harry's for lunch. It had a lovely outdoor eating area.

Jason and Meg

Then we wandered the shops

Then we all got ready for the wedding. When I said I was part of a big, close family, I meant it. We loved seeing each other. Forgive the family pics, but I can't express how much joy these people give me.
My insanely cute nieces and nephews

My closest sister and her boys

My brother and his wife and daughter

My Goose and I

My uncle and cousin

One more totally not ride related story. My grandmother, who passed away about fifteen years ago, was a very special woman to all of us. In her front yard she had the most amazing irises, azaleas, and hydranga bushes. At our weddings, all of us have wanted granmother's flowers. Anne didn't even remember why she wanted it until my sister Kat looked at the flowers and started crying, and then she agreed, yup, that memory was probably why she wanted them. Her centerpieces were iris and hydranga.

My sister then told the story about her wedding. Since we still live in the Chattanooga area, we staked out Grandmother's old house. Then, once we were sure no one was home, we engaged in a little judicious pilfery. Actually, what we did was shear about half the flowers off all of the hydranga bushes, which was neither judicious nor just pilfery, it was pretty much criminal trespass . I know it is a silly thing, but having grandmother's flowers at her wedding meant a lot to my sister. A couple of years later at my baby sister's wedding, the dried hydrangas from Kat's wedding were in the centerpieces at Meg's fall wedding.

The only not so great part of the wedding was the open bar. I had to leave early the next morning, and Uncle Dick (oddly enough everyone else calls him Jim, at his request) said to everyone that he was paying for the bar by the hour not the drink, so the only way to justify the expense was for everyone to drink early and often, so the cost per drink came down to a reasonable number. We all did our share to furthing his value per dollar

Ride home begins at 5:30 the next morning.
Moderatus Rana
MP3 250 (sold) MP3 500 (current)
Joined: 11 Jul 2008
Posts: 21445
Location: Palatka, Florida
Tue May 18, 2010 6:54 am quote
Looks like a great trip! Yeah, most of the east coast is straight roads. Some pretty spots though. We have curvier roads over by the river. Thanks for posting your pics.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
RIP: MP3 500 - Brutto Moto
Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 5278
Location: Austin, TX
Tue May 18, 2010 7:57 am quote
LOL - That was The Best Writeup EVAR!
You seriously cracked me & my sweetie up big time. I'm also convinced that I've PO'd my GPS and it wants me to suffer for it. I've ended up in some dead-end trailer court in the midde of the night with it showing me plain as day on the map that the pasture in front of me is supposed to be county road. What kind of fantasy is that????
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Tue May 18, 2010 11:38 am quote
Coming Home (actually some bike stuff in this one)
Well, despite the large amount of lovely wine I consumed the night before, I was up at 5:30 to leave. There was supposed to be weather coming in, so I sent Goose to ride home with my brother (she didn't fuss, as he was leaving at 9:00). I rolled out and headed up the A1A along the coast. Not as many pics because my photographer was still asleep. A1A is a really pretty road. I went over a really cool, tall bridge in Jacksonville. You see it looming up ahead with the nuclear power plant smoking behind it and cranes bristling from the harbor below - it looked very industrial. Then we got into my GPS and its issues again. It routed me through some North FL, South GA highway that was deserted on Sunday morning. Pretty weather, no traffic, 65mph speed limit - I mad some serious time. Didn't know where I was since the GPS doesn't show you the big map, but where ever I was I was going there quickly. I kept drinking water until the headache started to subside , and by 10:00 am I was enjoying the ride. When I say the road was deserted - this picture was taken in the road. I got off the bike, unzipped my bag, got out my camera, and took the pictures - all that time there was one car on the other side of the divided highway. Seriously - nothing to see here folks. Farms, pecan groves, and swamp.

The reason I stopped to take a picture was that I rolled 10000 on my odometer . I was happy.

Then it was straight haul butt up the interstate time. Clouds were thickening and I did not want to get hung out. I did have three interesting things happen.

1) Luthor said I'd come a long way, apparently he wasn't kidding. Some dude on a bright orange sport bike got behind me in Atlanta. I was riding WOT - it was gray and yucky and my butt hurt and I wanted to be home. Dude stayed behind me following my lines for about 30 minutes until I had to stop for gas You all don't know what an improvement that is in my world. But it led to the second problem

2) Don't know how fast I was going, high 80s or low 90s I would guess. So at some point we went over an overpass and when I hit the bump on the other side my handlebars started vibrating side to side really quickly. My husband said it is called tank slapping? Anyway, I came off the throttle and the handlebars started turning side to side instead of just vibrating - OK, very quickly move on to plan B. Crap - I don't have a plan A, let alone plan B. Throttling down didn't work, let's try throttling up. I poured it on and the problem levelled out - but that was not my favorite feeling. I'm really not fond of "what the crap is wrong?" as a way to ride

3) I met a nice guy on a bike who said nice things about Lloyd when I stopped for gas. So many 'real' bikers are sort of condescending, either about riding a scooter or being a girl riding alone. It was nice to meet someone who was neither

Got home just as it started raining - I wasn't even damp.
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
Tue May 18, 2010 3:34 pm quote
Great write-up. All the reading you librarians do must have implanted in your brain the skill of writing a story with that is sad at the end only becasue there is no more to read.

Thank you for sharing. I expect to hear more this weekend over an Alaskan Ale.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37273
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Tue May 18, 2010 3:37 pm quote
I enjoyed that.

That was a very good snapshot of why we ride.
Molto Verboso
Burgman 650 (May, 2012) MP3 500 (11/2009 - 5.2012)
Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 1385
Location: Massachusetts- Boston South Shore
Tue May 18, 2010 4:37 pm quote
Loved it.. and I had my wife read it to convince her that it's not just a guy thing ! A tank slapper... Damn ! I figured the MP3 was prettty much immune.. not so.. !
Veni, Vidi, Posti
RIP: MP3 500 - Brutto Moto
Joined: 10 Jun 2008
Posts: 5278
Location: Austin, TX
Tue May 18, 2010 8:12 pm quote
noth wrote:
Loved it.. and I had my wife read it to convince her that it's not just a guy thing ! A tank slapper... Damn ! I figured the MP3 was prettty much immune.. not so.. !
Naw - watch long sweepers. There are a couple of overpasses here (183, Mopac) that sweep long and wide and there's one surprise with a big fat seam that I guess the lean angle, the speed and the bump will set it off. Scary stuff at 80+. I know where it is now so I can straighten up monetarily and hitting it square seems to keep the front from getting squirrley.
Ossessionato
2012 BV 350
Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 2091
Location: Vestavia Hills, AL
Wed May 19, 2010 1:52 pm quote
I enjoyed your ride report! Sounds as though you buys had a wonderful ride. It's cool that your daughter enjoys sharing this passion with you and that she would want to ride, instead of drive, to the wedding.

How long before school is out for summer for you guys? Our last day is next Friday and we are all ready!
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Wed May 19, 2010 3:46 pm quote
ScooterGirlinAL wrote:
How long before school is out for summer for you guys? Our last day is next Friday and we are all ready!
This week, next week, and Tues and Wed after Memorial day for inservice. Not that I am counting. We leave for the beach in Ocracoke Island on Thurs.
Hooked
GTS 250 i.e. "Silver Bullet"
Joined: 13 Apr 2010
Posts: 357
Location: Norcross, GA
Wed May 19, 2010 7:33 pm quote
Great write-up! I thoroughly enjoyed that. That statue of the peanut is EXACTLY halfway between our house and my parents' house in Gainesville, Fl... It's our landmark on the way down! Thanks for posting that.
Molto Verboso
2007 GT200L Graphite Black
Joined: 27 Jun 2009
Posts: 1869
Location: Fayetteville, AR
Wed May 19, 2010 7:35 pm quote
This is a fantastic write up!
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Thu May 20, 2010 10:30 am quote
noth wrote:
Loved it.. and I had my wife read it to convince her that it's not just a guy thing !
No one ever would have pegged me to be the one who likes to tour and loves, loves, loves to ride up through the mountain twisties (I just have to do it when they aren't crowded, 'cause I'm still slow as Christmas ) I don't guess it's a guy thing, I think it is the same part of me that likes to travel and likes to hike - you see and hear and smell your ride in a unique way.
Moderaptor
The Hornet (GT200, aka Love Bug) and 'Dimples' - a GTS 300
Joined: 26 Aug 2007
Posts: 37273
Location: Pleasant Hill, CA
Thu May 20, 2010 4:55 pm quote
I ride slow quite often - relaxed, aware, but able to take in the surroundings.

However, it's a Very Good Idea to learn how to 'Make Progress' safely and without anxiety when necessary - I have no clue how you might do that where you are, but this is what we can do:
http://www.iam.org.uk/do_you_want_to_be_a_better_rider_/doyouwanttobeabetterrider.html
Banned
Joined: 24 Oct 2007
Posts: 6035

Thu May 20, 2010 6:04 pm quote
This is such a great thread!

I've really been enjoying it
Molto Verboso
Piaggio MP3 500
Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 1402
Location: North Georgia
Fri May 21, 2010 5:03 am quote
jimc wrote:
I ride slow quite often - relaxed, aware, but able to take in the surroundings.

However, it's a Very Good Idea to learn how to 'Make Progress' safely and without anxiety when necessary - I have no clue how you might do that where you are, but this is what we can do:
http://www.iam.org.uk/do_you_want_to_be_a_better_rider_/doyouwanttobeabetterrider.html
I'm learning at a safe pace - but in our area the mountain twisties are literally outside your front door. The place Fuzzy goes to camp (TWO Wheels Only) is about an hour and a half from my front door, and according to everything I've read this is some of the best riding around. I know people come from all over to do it. Because we all cut our teeth on roads that require you to be horizontal to have any speed, there are some phenomenal riders around here (there are also a lot of injured and dead riders, but that is another story), so my bar for what is an acceptable skill level is pretty high, and I'm not there yet. I keep up with my cruiser friends no problem in the twisties. My sportbike friends can smoke me, as can the guys from this forum, and I'm okay with that. My hubby said I'm far faster this year on real twisty roads, and I just go as fast as I feel comfortable. He says I pick a good line and then just don't follow up with enough throttle to power through. It's all good - my general life philosophy is when you stop learning you start dying, and I have no intention of doing that anytime soon.
Ossessionato
2012 BMW G650GS, 2006 GTS,
Joined: 15 Jan 2006
Posts: 2089
Location: Snohomish County, WA
Fri May 21, 2010 6:19 am quote
I don't see a Waffle House in any of the pictures!
Enthusiast
2010 LX150 & 2005 GTL 200
Joined: 21 Apr 2010
Posts: 77
Location: Memphis, TN
Sat Jun 05, 2010 2:01 pm quote
That is sooooo cool. Loved following your trip; your daughter is very lucky!
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