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Old 12-23-2012, 11:00 AM   #376
jdrocks OP
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We set sail to Scotland Neck, crossing the historic James in a thin cold mist, sun higher, something to squawk about regardless.



My photo quest took me along the rail, thankfully both sides, and I encountered a thirtyish woman standing near her SLK350, halfway through an early morning cig, didn’t want the smoke in her car, or maybe on her clothes either. I don’t think smoking is permitted, but nobody was rushing over to throw the cuffs on her. Speaking of smoking, five inch heels on short black suede boots, fitted black skinny leg slacks, red blazer with gold crest, and where you might expect something like a nice silk blouse, wasn’t none, just the very top edge of some lacy black thing, hate to speculate. If she thought the buttoned blazer might tone down the impact, it wasn’t workin’, I already had a crick in my neck by the time I was close enough to say hello. She was slim, but not where it counted.

Blond hair pulled back guitar string tight to a gold pinned bun, minimal makeup, the statement clear, “This is who I am, take it or leave it”, and when I said hello, I wasn’t surprised by the eye contact, it was part of the package. A brief conversation, sunrise, weather, destination, and she was one of those people who can smile widely and carry on a conversation at the same time, try it, ain’t easy, takes practice.

I’m not all that easily embarrassed, so I popped the question.

“I’m looking for a place that sells fried pie, do ya know any?”

That brought out a shriek of laughter, and a head shake “Nooooo, I don’t know of any fried pie places, never heard of fried pie either.”

Damn, I felt bad about the fried pie quest, but good about my status in this world of gamesmanship, heck, I was one up on this sweet thing, at least I’d heard of it. She was feelin’ the chill, could have something to do with having near nothing on under the blazer, and jumped back in the Mercedes. Oh well, that perfume was starting to jump over to my riding jacket anyway, take a hundred miles or more to get rid of it, but the last molecule better be gone by the time I get home.

Like all the Virginia rivers, the James has over 400 years of modern history, and this morning the river was about as flat as you’re ever going to find it.



Navigation aids and the Southside riverbank nearly lost in the mist.





The ferry had just about docked when a young unwashed guy ran over to one of the cars in front of me and jumped in. He must have made the whole trip locked in the restroom, any thoughts of going in there, don’t. His ball hat read “Take this job and shove it”, hadn’t seen one of those for a long long time, fit him perfectly.

(to be continued…)
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:59 AM   #377
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Southside Virginia has a different look and feel once you’re only a matter of miles away from the river, the view open to larger farms, and in an evil weather twist, it was even colder as I worked my way southeast on secondary roads. The ditch water was solid, small pond water skimmed with ice, and ice in patches on the road where shadows had prevented the early sun from hitting it. I was in thermodynamic denial, could have stopped but didn’t, ain’t much adventure found with a parked moto.

If the market is right, I can sometimes find cotton north of the James, but there’s always cotton found in Southside where there are still local gins within a more reasonable trucking distance.



The roads crisscross the countryside, routed around the small creeks and rivers, also bays off the James, the network dating to the colonial era, and titles to the land noting grants from the King of England, it’s that kind of place. The flavor of the Southside extends in various similar forms and textures all the way to Texas along the coastal waters, unique in the larger Country, the native residents, color not withstanding, seemingly more proud in their distilled heritage as any found elsewhere.

An old house on the edge of a clearcut field of maybe five hundred acres, frost on the roof, the land may be destined for row crops in the future.



The backroads route I had chosen was a fried pie route, can’t find pie at 80mph on the I system, or the other four lane roads south, but it was comparative slow going, although interesting, and a quick run through the numbers meant I would need to average 119.5mph or I was going to miss the next scheduled ferry departure over on the Currituck Sound. That’s a big number, jailhouse big, better not try it. Besides, I was thawing out a little as I wandered, plenty to see, hungry for pie.



South at the Dismal Swamp Canal, part of the Intercoastal that runs all the way to Florida, you used to be able to follow the canal way south until a new road was recently completed, now you get a look at the canal for only four miles, too bad.

When I first started coming down into the area 30 years ago, there wasn’t much going on except for the big ag operations, now development has overtaken the area, sprawl from the Hampton Roads metro area, and it didn’t thin out until the available land decreased along with the elevation. I knew I was in coastal Carolina when I found salt marshes reaching to the horizon.



My destination was the Knotts Island Ferry, I missed the 10AM sailing, now I had an hour before the next departure at noon. I had been on all the North Carolina Ferries over the years, except for this one, today was the day.



A dredge with pushboat was moored next to the landing, I could see that it had been cleaning out the shoaled channel in front, although not working today for some reason, a wintry sun on the water, it wasn’t the weather. This was a North Carolina DOT operation and there were some guys on board, no work though, must be rules.

I was pleased to see that Janet Whatshername had the alert status posted, seemed like it would be important to know. Why any terrorist would try his luck sneaking through the Mid Atlantic is beyond me, heck, if he read up even a little, he would know that every man, woman, and child in the region owns a dozen guns and a truck load of ammo to match. Down here, a child gets a Glock and a Benelli when its baptized, by age three, it can land rounds in the X ring, spin silhouettes like a whirl-a-gig. Bad terrorist choice here, the locals would make Red Dawn look like a freakin’ tea party…just for fun, use up the ball ammo that’s been on the shelf a little too long, blow lots of holes in things, fires, explosions. Better fire up pig cooker, feed the troops, they’ll be hungry, home by 5.



They were heavy on the signs, I couldn’t think of anything important the DOT or HS people had forgotten.







They could have saved themselves a lot of bother and condensed it all to one big sign…

DON’T DO ANYTHING STUPID

YOU WILL DIE, BY ACCIDENT OR GUNFIRE

I’m bettin’ that plenty of people would think that the sign was speaking directly to them, and the number of people using the ferry would drop by about a third, some a little nervous of the gunfire part, especially with their deranged sociopathic tendencies.


By the time the ferry showed up, I realized that I was going to be the only passenger. I eased the rat up the ramp, didn’t want any stupid moves, and I barely had the sidestand down before the ferry ride got real interesting.

(to be continued…)
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:39 PM   #378
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Keep the prose flowing, it soothes a tired mind better than Christmas eggnog.

David
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:21 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by MTrider16 View Post


Keep the prose flowing, it soothes a tired mind better than Christmas eggnog.

David
if you like eggnog, you would like "Cavalry Punch", a traditional holiday drink in the coastal south, the only downside being that it leaves you with little mind to sooth.

this ride is a contrast to your rides in the mountain west, the water in the roadside ditch is sea level.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:14 AM   #380
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdrocks View Post
By the time the ferry showed up, I realized that I was going to be the only passenger. I eased the rat up the ramp, didn’t want any stupid moves, and I barely had the sidestand down before the ferry ride got real interesting.

(to be continued…)


Looks like we have the same OBX idea. I'm on Hatteras Island in my rr. Maybe we could meet up on the Ferry and do some shootin, fishin and have a beer!!!
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:04 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by JaxObsessed View Post


Looks like we have the same OBX idea. I'm on Hatteras Island in my rr. Maybe we could meet up on the Ferry and do some shootin, fishin and have a beer!!!
NC12 must have been repaired. rain and fog in eastern VA, hope you're doing better. if ya mix up some Cavalry Punch, the weather won't matter...visibility is reduced to about 10'.
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Old 01-01-2013, 03:43 PM   #382
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Fried Pies

Hey JD. Hope you had a Merry Xmas and fantastic New Year. I thought I saw fried pies at the Crab Thicket 7-Eleven. Looked like it but are mini tacos all sealed.

Oh. Got a set of Full Bore tires for the next change. The Wee will be ready for spring if it comes.

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Old 01-02-2013, 05:26 AM   #383
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Hey JD. Hope you had a Merry Xmas and fantastic New Year. I thought I saw fried pies at the Crab Thicket 7-Eleven. Looked like it but are mini tacos all sealed.

Oh. Got a set of Full Bore tires for the next change. The Wee will be ready for spring if it comes.

Mike
Happy Full Bore New Year to ya Mike.

you sure that those pies weren't the regular small baked pies sold by every 7-11 in the world. fried pie is deep fried, you can't mistake the two, and is a little out of it's usual range for Crab Thicket. i'd send Monsieur Nix over to investigate, but he's supposed to be on a New Year's diet.

speaking of the four horsemen, i might be able to catch up with the NVa horseman this week.

i need to get back on this report, been all tied up over the holidays, plus i finally cleaned up my warehouse and i think i uncovered enough junk parts to build a Toyota truck project from scratch, man, plenty of junk in there.
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Old 01-20-2013, 10:23 AM   #384
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let's see, now where was i...?

between my post flu shot flu and truck assembly, i'm way behind.

next chapter coming up.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:14 PM   #385
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Bike parked, no tie downs necessary for this relatively short ride over flat water, although I had been on ferry rides in North Carolina when the seas were so rough that I thought the whole freakin’ ferry was going to sink. Not today, and besides a DOT truck carrying spare parts for the ferry, I was the only non working passenger.





I was about to wander around with the camera when one of the DOT deck hands rushed up, “What kind of bike is this?...wait a minute, gotta work, don’t go anywhere, I’ll be right back”.

Huh, did he just say “Don’t go anywhere”, I’m on the freakin’ ferry, the only place to go would be overboard, and that option held no appeal. I did get a better look at the dredge, and there was a mechanic doing some heavy work on the push boat motor. Working in a cramped engine room is never fun, so that must be why the dredge itself wasn’t operating.



The ferry itself had even more warning signs, Lordy, we hadn’t left them behind.



Luckily, I hadn’t broken out my skateboard, or perched in the wrong spot between tricks.



In the distance along the edge of the saltmarsh were a series of recently brushed up duck blinds, with the area from Back Bay through the Sounds south being a traditional hunting area, although with the warmer weather recently, fewer fowl get this far south than in centuries past.



My deckhand buddy came back, we might have been close to the same age, and coincidentally, he had been up to Alaska in 2009 on an R80, although later in the season than I had been in the same year. We compared our stories of bike travel, and it turned out he was old school in comparison…no GPS, no cell phone, no SPOT, no computer, no route planning, not itinerary, no MC forums, no nuthin’ besides a paper map and a destination, man, how refreshing.

I couldn’t recall meeting anyone lately who could afford at least some of the usual gizmos, yet chose not to own any. Our conversation went non stop for the entire crossing as we swapped stories, but then he said “Oops, gotta get back ta work again, nice talkin’ with y’all, ride safe” and he was gone, and so was I, back on dry land in North Carolina. Lest I forget, my buddy that didn’t own a cell phone just happened to have a mint 441 Victor in the garage, a country boy, Mr. Cool.

I had expected a fair amount of traffic for an Outer Banks Friday, even if it was off season, but there was very little. The Sandy storm had brushed this area, and there was still a washed out main road farther south that was restricted to 4X4 vehicles. I had been visiting the area for 30 years, and now there are many businesses that close the doors in the winter. Between the storm and the closures, the place was dead.

I was going to briefly follow a track provided by inmate Patrick from the Hampton Roads area, and ride a little muddy gravel for a starter, but first I needed something to eat, sorry no fried pie. So many places were closed that I finally said the heck with it, and pulled into a McDump near Kitty Hawk, I was way late and needed quick grease. Yeah, I know, once ya eat there you can’t keep your socks up for the rest of the day, but the choices were slim, clock ticking, and the sun heading the wrong way. I always park the bike where I can see it from the inside, and that turned out to be a real good choice.

(to be continued…)
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:25 AM   #386
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Why do you think they call it a flu shot?


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Old 01-27-2013, 04:12 PM   #387
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This
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:50 PM   #388
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yeah, so you guys have the winter cabin fever crazies...

now ya get to meet Ms. Manatee, and sidekick.
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Old 01-27-2013, 05:08 PM   #389
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I got my tray, sat down, glanced at my watch, contemplated what was likely going to be a freakin’ hair-on-fire civil aviation speed ride home in the dark, oh boy, and it occurred to me that I was one of only four people in this McDump. Two women were glued to the TV screen over in the corner, while a third young gal was shoveling in what looked like a little 5000 calorie snack.

Now, if the normal range of a pregnant manatee included eastern Carolina, that would be her, and if she regularly chose to dress like that, please take eternal pity on the rest of us, and at least shave your butt. Lordy, was she a mess, rolls of fat on top of other rolls of fat, an unlikely layered look. It would take a two ton come-along to pull those knees together, unfortunate, the gene pool of the human race is likely to further degrade.

(I did find out later why the two women were so intent on watching the TV, seems there had been a school shooting…)

I had ordered one of them McRib sandwiches, good thing I was so hungry I didn’t mind swallowing soggy gray cardboard smeared with off brand ketchup, and when I looked up after two bites, there was a kid standing next to the bike with one hand on the bars, oh boy, here we go. All my junk was still out there, the kid was looking at the bike, then looking around, and I could read his little feral mind. He was gauging the chances of getting caught after doing some impromptu shopping, but when he got around to looking back at the McDump windows, he found me looking right at him, and let go of the bars like he had been holding the barrel of a soldering iron.

Ms. Manatee waddled over, splayed leg fashion, to the beat ricer parked next to the bike, and my feral buddy hopped into the passenger seat, damn, who could have guessed these two were a couple, a match made in…ya can fill in the blank. The car backed out, a severe list to Port, shock and strut collapsed on that side, maybe sheared body mounts too, and it presented a peculiar sight driving away, half low rider low on the left, half mud bogger high on the right. Mr. Feral was smoking a cig, arm half out the window, trying to look cool, good freakin’ luck, weasel boy.

Exciting as was my brief McDump visit, I had to run, my fried pie hopes falling with the sun. I was headed to the mud…at the beach, no less.

(to be continued…)
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:32 AM   #390
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Kill Devil Hills, Kitty Hawk, then Nags Head, and I was looking for my turn on the route I had converted from Patrick’s tracks, the desolation continued with nobody around this usually very busy location. It was like the place had been struck with the bubonic plague…except for the Brew Thru with five vehicles in line. A hurricane could flatten the rest of the OBX, but if the treasured Brew Thrus survived, life for many would still be good.

For the OBX noobs, the Brew Thru is a drive through beer emporium, mainly for those already so drunk they can’t be trusted to walk into a normal convenience store, that’s right, they’re too drunk to walk, still fit to drive. The whole business plan was built around the long standing tradition in Carolina of drinking while driving, heck, every convenience store sells iced down single cans of beer right next to the cash register.

Of course, if ya had a long way to drive you’d want a 6pack of Coke or Dr. Pepper with a jumbo cup of ice, ya know, to mix with whatever’s in that bottle under the seat. Before vehicles came equipped with a dozen cup holders, it was easy to come down with a bad case of frozen nut syndrome from riding around with a cup of ice…never mind, I wouldn’t know the details.

The turnoff I was looking for took me through an established residential neighborhood on the sound side, and I swear you would never know that there could be anything of interest in back of these paved streets unless someone like Patrick had done some homework. The investigation would have to be through a combination of Google Maps sat view and GPS mapping software, then you’d have to go there and determine whether there was an actual road. I was taking advantage of this effort, and found a pretty cool sandy gravel road with occasional mud pits running south parallel to the sound.



The road traversed some old property that had been slated for development before the Nature Conservancy stepped in and bought it. There were incongruous hydrants along the road, so development of the property had progressed to the point of some utility work.



The Nature Conservancy isn’t all that well known outside certain circles, but they’re big and exceptionally well funded to the tune of numbers partially described with the letter “B”, and are not universally well liked, to say the least.

The property was mostly ground with good elevation, highly desirable on the OBX, where storm surges from both ocean and sound do most of the damage.



There were recent tracks on the road, but I didn’t pass another vehicle.



Despite the elevation, the road was holding water in several locations, just greasy enough to get your attention, no real problem, although that Full Bore rear is almost useless in any goop.



Patrick had warned that the road was gated on the south end, but also that he was able to squeeze his WR250R around the gate somehow, although he wasn’t specific. I did find a gate, but not where his track indicated, a puzzle, and when I dismounted to scout a way around the locked gate, here’s a well dressed guy standing there watching me, the owner of the adjacent house…hmmmm, this could be trouble ‘cause I wasn’t going to backtrack, forget that option. He looked like he was in the midst of an IRS audit, or else was halfway through a jar of very sour pickles.

He must have decided that it was going to take more than an ugly frown to turn me around and wandered off to collect a loose dog. When he got back, bingo, I was on his side of the gate, although it took some wrasslin’. The guy was close enough to hear me “I would have turned around, but I didn’t want to get my bike stuck in all that mud, sorry about the gate”. He just shrugged, the proverbial horse was already out of the proverbial barn, and I idled away with a cheery wave. Lucky he was dog chasing without his cell phone, but heck, I’m hard to catch when in transitional escape mode, and that shouty exhaust was knocking the leaves clean off the trees. The subtleties of escape are short lived.

Me, I was southbound, had jumped the highway, running along with the ocean beach, a kaleidoscope of image and color. Master of the universe, if for a moment anyway, but all I could smell was salt spray air, no pie.

(to be continued…)
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