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Old 05-05-2004, 07:09 PM   #11
MikeO OP
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Joined: Jul 2002
Location: Scarning, Norfolk, today...
Oddometer: 6,729
Creeping towards Virginia...

13th February

A beautiful morning. I eat a hearty (as in severely damaging to my cardiac function) breakfast, pack the bike and I’m off. Almost immediately I enter North Carolina. With my usual map reading skills, I’ve failed to notice that there are NO scenic routes in South Carolina (the one I’d spotted was in North Carolina). Ah well…

I stop at a Post Office and post my earplug monitors back to the UK to be repaired. The left speaker has gone, so Judge (cheers Andy ) is going to sort it out with Ultimate Earplugs and arrange for them to be posted back to me… Total cost of posting the ‘plugs back, including buying a Jiffy bag? – 85 cents…

I ride through the warm sunshine and come across Sunset Beach Airport.



Aviation is completely matter of fact in the USA. I can’t think of an aerodrome anywhere in the UK where you can drive directly from a public road onto the tarmac.

I get to the start of the Scenic Route, which runs from Supply to Lumberton, a distance of about 70 miles. It is noteworthy as a scenic route for its utter lack of scenery. Honest – I really wanted to take some pics to make up for the ‘Roadside Signs’ edition of my Journal yesterday, but there wasn’t a single view, bend or anything worth bothering with. It’s not that it wasn’t a nice road – 55mph limit, but a continuous series of long sweeping bends which presented no challenge at a steady 80mph – it was just not scenic…

Always a sucker for trying again, I navigate over to Elizabethtown, the start of a further scenic road, Highway 242, leading North towards Virginia. I notice, once again, how proud the people here are of their local heroes. This mural celebrates local boy & Shuttle pilot, Lt Col Curtis L Brown jnr…



After noticing a law firm that would, presumably, represent you overground, underground etc :P,



I turn onto the 242 and find it to be delightful. For a start there are hills (up until now, despite being 50 miles from the coast, I always felt threatened by a high tide), as well as a twisty, well-surfaced road leading through the Bladen Lakes Forest, full of well - you know – scenery.



I continue North, heading towards the Virginia Border.



I stop to take a picture of this garden, surely a contender for ‘Gnome of the Month’ award. I also catch a snap of a Fat Boy.



I think he’s riding a Harley . He gives me a tentative wave – probably a bit suspicious of this weird looking bike with its hazards on and of having his picture taken…

The tar-paper shacks of Georgia & South Carolina seem to have disappeared now. In their place, low-cost housing is evident in the form of these pre-fabricated houses, little more than caravans without wheels really. On the outskirts of large towns I see them in huge parking lots, advertised for sale, either new, second-hand or, sadly, repossessed…



The big houses are getting bigger. Mostly of timber construction, some are absolutely huge and must cost a fortune to build. This is quite a modest one, but it shows the basic style…



For those who haven't ridden/driven in the USA, you must not pass a School Bus when it is stopped & has its lights flashing. This goes for traffic in both directions. You can see this bus has a fold-out 'Stop' sign deployed...



I detour into Beaver Dam. To find that there are no damn beaver…. (Although I did see a couple of white-tailed deer run across the road 100m or so ahead of me)



As I enter the town of Oxford, I spot a cheap looking motel (my favourite type ;)). I ask how much for a room - $25. Cheapest yet. There isn’t a single vehicle in the car park. Can I see the room? The receptionist’s face falls. He leads me to what, presumably, is the best room & opens the door. It smells like a wet Labrador. ‘Think I’ll give it a miss’ I call over my shoulder as I make a dash for the bike. As I ride on, I try to imagine what circumstances would’ve made me stay there. I can’t envisage them. I’d rather sleep alongside my bike in the rain than stay there. Who does he rent rooms to?...

I find a pleasant lakefront hotel, just over the Virginian border, in the town of Clarkesville (of ‘Last Train to’ fame). After a quick shower, I drop in to the local bar and meet up with Charlie, who works for AT&T and Russ, who doesn’t. We spend a couple of hours discussing a variety of subjects, including the fuss made by the US media and general public about the halftime entertainment at the Superbowl a fortnight ago, when Janet Jackson (almost) bared a boob; whether Dubya ever turned up for duty as a National Guardsman and whether anyone cares and, of course, the old favourite – where I should think of going next. The perceived wisdom is that, if the weather holds tomorrow, I should head North, then spend a couple of days riding down the Blue Ridge Parkway…

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MikeO screwed with this post 02-12-2006 at 03:13 AM
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