Thanks for the welcome, mmonce. I'm actually in GA now (Savannah). Just uploading pics of the rest of my stay in the Carolinas before I'm out of the South altogether!
Funny that you mention all those signs in NC, Blader. I was thinking the same thing when I was there--and those "Burn Headlights" signs sure are oddly worded.
After the Tail mishap I finally found the only thing that's ever worked for waterproofing for me.
You heat your gear up with a blowdryer and then cake the stuff on (then hit it with the blowdryer some more). It's just thick wax, but it soaks into leather and actually works. Used to use it all the time when I rode everyday in SF. Only issue is when you cake it on your gloves you have to remember not to wipe your visor or you'll smear a light coat of wax all over it.
After a quick shine they look as good as new.
I intended to stay in/around Asheville for a couple nights, but the forecast called for two days of snow. So I got up early in the AM and headed east for Columbia. The bike read 39 degrees, the sign at the bank read 38 and my skin and bones confirmed the effects of windchill.
That there's frost inside my helmet.
On the way to Charlotte I saw the first cotton field I've ever seen: