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Old 04-11-2012, 11:45 AM   #1
sdthorpe OP
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The Toonamint Trip 6 Days of Alabama & North GA

Augusta, GA is a nice town. It's the kind of town you spend your college years trying to escape but then later on in life; "It's a wonderful place to raise a family".

Every year, during the first week of April, this town becomes the focus of sports fans all over the world, The Augusta National Golf Club has put our town on the map since 1934 when they first hosted The Masters Golf Tournament.

Now, There are two kinds of people in Augusta; 1.- The ones that embrace this event, all the hoopla, and traffic that comes with it. and 2. - The ones who get the heck out!! Augusta and the surrounding counties in a stroke of genius hold off on letting school out for Spring Break until this week every year. Growing up, I lived two miles from the Club. We would rent our house out for the week and go on vacation to Disney World, the Mountains, even Hawaii one year...

Anyhow, all this to say, If your job isn't directly "public related", lot's of businesses will even close for the week. My buddy Wayne is a school teacher so he has the week off. I also am in a position that allows me the week off too. Trent, we're still not sure how he got the week off, but somehow he pulled it off!!

So, where do we go that's not too far from home, has a ton of dirt roads and none of the three of us has spent a lot of time in?


That's right. Alabama.

We followed the tracks of an Inmate named TreemanG23.

More specifically, Treeman did a Ride Report called "My Tri-State Dual Sport Trip" that I came across a while back and I knew next time I had a chance to take a trip, I would be lobbying hard to do this.



His tracks look a little bit different, we had four days to play with so some modifications were needed. I couldn't leave till Saturday night and Wayne had to be back by Wednesday Night. So, that gave us a four day window to get it done. His tracks go down into Florida, but knowing our time restraints wouldn't allow for it, we cut east across the state and worked our way back up. (We went counter clockwise).

Here was the plan; Leave Saturday night, trailer the bikes across the state to the Alabama border in West Point, GA. go for a four day ride and make sure we had Wayne home by Wednesday night. We would ride as long as we felt we needed to, no destination pre-determined. We would camp along the way.

Let me introduce the guys;

Wayne (CajunE) Yamaha XT250


Trent (Catalyst) Honda XR650L


and my self, David (Sdthorpe), (Very Original, I know...) Honda XR 650L


We would do almost 1,700 miles and get home Friday evening. We road some awesome roads, and hopped a ferry in the middle of nowhere!!
If you can put up with my ramblings and penchant to capitalize unnecessarily, read on for some good times and good pictures.

sdthorpe screwed with this post 04-12-2012 at 12:54 PM
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:04 PM   #2
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Great trip - I look forward to reliving some of it reading this report!
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #3
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Day 1. West Point, GA - Cullman, AL 263 Miles

Have you noticed that I said we strike out Sunday morning, that Wayne has to be back Weds night, yet it's a six day trip? Don't add up does it... Well, you see, Wayne has to be home Weds night, but that doesn't mean Trent and I do!! We have a decision to make. After we get back to the truck on Weds and wave goodbye to Wayne, do we:

Point our bikes North East?


Or Southeast.


Oh, one of the two is gonna happen. But at this point in the trip, we really haven't decided...



So we strike out;


Bikes fit, but it was a bit tighter than we thought it would be...


Trip across the state was thankfully uneventful. We had arranged to store Wayne's truck and trailer inside the gates of a self storage facility in West Point. Guy's name was Lamar, I wish I had gotten a picture, he was a trip. Only charged us Ten Bucks!!
So we drive straight there parked outside the gate and slept till he came to open it up in the morning. As morning light arrived, so did Lamar. First things first, we pull the bikes off and proceed to warm them up. Well, Trent and I warmed our up, Wayne had a slightly more difficult time getting his cranked;

That's not a bad omen is it?!?!

Anyways, shortly after, we are off!!


First Dirt ten minutes later!! We stop to air down the tires.

Look at how clean those machines are, that won't last long...




This is the stuff we came out here for!! Loving this stuff;




Then the fun really begins, Here's the guinea pig going through;


Wayne's turn;










All the fields are filled with little yellow blooms, it's beautiful!!


Kinda blurry, but you get the point












Beautiful Alabama Dirt


Wayne The Carzy Cajun


Your Fearless Ride Report Writer




Very cool bridge




We push on, Oh it's so terrible!!


Later, we make it here;


Didn't stop for pics in the forest, probably should have... Just didn't want to stop! The riding is so good in there, just perfect sweeping dirt roads, following the ridge lines. Saw turkey hunters and their trucks everywhere... that's when it first occurred to me that over the next couple of days we will probably disrupt many a turkey hunters day, my only hope was that we pushed the gobblers towards the hunters!!

Out the other side of the Talladega NF




Seemed like a nice shady spot for a breather


Stopped for gas somewhere in the middle of nowhere Alabama, had to post this sign from the front door




Then we got on one of the craziest county roads I've ever seen, or ridden!! Pictures will not do this one justice... Big bolders, bigger ruts, and a big downhill. Crazy Man...


Yeah, you're right, that didn't look too bad;



Getting worse,



It was fun!!



After that fun road, we continued on. Looking at the map and looking at the sun's position, we figured Cullman, AL was a logical stop for the night. It was right off the interstate, so food would be plenty, and hopefully we could find a campsite nearby. We get there and find a Waffle House at the exit, and only a waffle house at the exit, nothing else... It's funny, one of the things we were hoping for the most out of this trip was to find little diners and old hole in the wall greasy spoons to eat at along the way. Day one was a severe disappointment in that area; Place in West Point that I wanted to try was closed, forgot it was Sunday. so McDonald's it was. Lunchtime found us needing gas and guess what the only option in that town was, McDonald's again!! Waffle House for dinner would have been just fine back home, but that was the issue, we could have had that back home too, oh well. Tomorrow will hopefully find us with more local flavor.

While dining on our scattered, smothered covered and chunked dinners, we discovered thanks to iphones and google that Good Hope Campground was under a mile away, how perfect was that?!? Well, we were about to find out just how perfect it was... hint; NOT VERY!! it was funny and fun though, all part of the adventure right?!?

We arrive and find that the place was in terrible disrepair. First guy we met tells us that the campground doesn't provide toilet paper for the bath house... seriously?!? He said he would "score" us some... Funny, the thought of someone "scoring" something returns in the morning, but in a different way, in a "have you ever watched the show The Wire?" kinda way... But they had trees, trees we need and not much else. One look at that bath house had me convinced my pack of camping wipes and the water spigot near our campsite was gonna be enough for me...

My setup


Trent's Spot


Wayne!!


All in all, we figured this was still gonna be better than going out in the woods to camp, because at least we could wake up and get the day started right with some more Waffle House. In the morning when the light is better, Trent does a campground walkabout to capture the decay of the place. the blight is depressing, but for these three tired guys, it's perfect tonight.


sdthorpe screwed with this post 04-11-2012 at 02:43 PM
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:04 PM   #4
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A few more details –

We didn’t arrive in West Point until almost 3am! Sleeping folded up on the back bench of a Silverado isn’t my idea of a good’s night sleep.

That crazy old road was one of my favorites in Alabama. And admittedly, I had my first tip-over here after getting stuck on a rock. Thankfully Thorpe was close behind and helped get the pig upright again.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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What you guys have posted so far is awesome; can't wait for the rest! Great photos! I like Wayne's tail bag - is it a hard shell backpack or something else? I've got a Cortech tail bag over a RotopaX on my 350. Keep those posts comin' ...
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:23 PM   #6
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Morning of Day 2

I don't know why the decay of this campground touched us the way it did. Maybe because in the morning under the truth of sunlight, we saw more of it's underbelly. You can tell that back in the beginnings of the place, the design was for motorhome folks to have a place to park and hook-up for the night. Hook-up electronically and pneumatically that is... Built beside an interstate, it was perfect.

In the morning's light we did not see any visitors of that kind. What we saw were the destitute in a transition stage; the responsibility of home ownership was gone, and after this would be homelessness. It's sad, but it's not the only place in this State you can see it, and Alabama is certainly not the only State in this Great Land where it can be seen either.




















Not sure who Flore is, but don't let her get wet m'kay!!!



This camper was parked next to where we slept for the night, in the morning Trent and I were joking a bit about how this has the look and feel of something from AMC's Show; "Breaking Bad" where a meth lab is operating inside an RV... Then as we were laughing about it he spots this right beside the campers door;

That's when we really stated thinking there was a good possibility our imaginations might not actually be running all that wild after all!!

Then if that wasn't enough, about five minutes later, two guys pull up to the camper in a red pickup. They get out, give us a pretty good up n' down as they walk inside. two minutes later they both walk out holding cardboard boxes about the size that a case of oil would be. Except, you can tell the contents of these boxes must be quite dense as they seem to struggling ever so slightly under it's weight while all the while trying not to show it. Then get in and drive off. To which we say; "alright, time to go!" You know the feeling when everything ain't quite right? yeah...

So we pack up and head to the Waffle House






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Old 04-11-2012, 08:28 PM   #7
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Laura

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura0107 View Post
What you guys have posted so far is awesome; can't wait for the rest! Great photos! I like Wayne's tail bag - is it a hard shell backpack or something else? I've got a Cortech tail bag over a RotopaX on my 350. Keep those posts comin' ...
Laura, my tail bag is called an Axio tail bag. I bought it at a local motorcycle dealer called Aiken Motorcycle Sales. It's not a hard case but the top is a stiffer vinyl with a canvas bottom. Hope this helps.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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http://thethorpes.smugmug.com/ADV/To...0/L/TT06-L.jpg

My girl just needed a little extra love in the morning.

Great Job on reporting David ! Would like to add that this route was so enjoyable that I wished Wednesday was not the end of my ride. Such is life.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:51 PM   #9
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Day 2 Cullman, AL to Eutaw, AL - 292 Miles

While enjoying our Allstar Specials, we discussed the days ride. Technically we had left Treeman's tracks sometime yesterday afternoon around the Gadsen area and we are now on the tracks of an inmate named Swamp that posted up a DS ride that spanned from the Ga to Miss state lines across the northern portion of the State. In his Ride Report he clearly stated to sometimes being on private roads, on gated roads, and even on a horse trail at one time... I wasn't too keen on being anywhere we weren't supposed to be, but I wanted to at the very least, use his tracks as a blueprint to get us across the state in the general direction we wanted to go. I figured we might have a re-route or two, but I also wasn't sure how much of what was in his RR was on the section we wanted to do.

So I PM'ed and asked:
"Hey Swamp, is the section of track from Gadsen to the Miss line on all legal roads?"

He replied a couple of days later: "No."

So I explained the guys that we may have some re-routing to do. We were all in agreement that none of us felt comfortable going around a gate or past a sign that clearly states we don't belong.

**Point of all this; a re-route we had to do today took us to a cool spot we would have missed had we gone around a gate!!**

And we're off




Stopped to relieve myself of this mornings coffee at a little church down this dirt road. As I was watering the weeds, my eyes gazed out over the cemetery beside the building. I locked in on one tombstone I HAD to take a picture of;

How awesome is that??!? Whether it's your style or not, you gotta admit Ol' Jesse had a pretty good wife to let him get that kinda granite...







If I remember right, around here is where Trent almost got taken out by a calf. Lil thing was right next to the road and I whizzed by I honked my horn at her trying to scare her off into the pasture. She decided to come out into the road instead...









Had to reroute here because the road dead-ended at an old cemetery. Except it didn't end, it became a trail with one of those brown skinny stick signs saying what could and couldn't be on the trail. The stick said we couldn't be there so we turned around. but not before checking out some markers;








And not before I had to Lay 'er down!!

I went to put my foot down while parked and there was nothing there! fell right over... In this pic, I'm trying to pick it back up on my own yelling, "Help I'm dripping gas!!" but I guess I'm glad Wayne got the pic before running over....

So, we rerouted, and come down off the mountain to an intersection, look to the left and Whoa! Check it out!!




This awesome little store out in the middle of NO WHERE!! We decided to rest for a minute and enjoy it. Old guy inside named Robert, let me borrow his funnel to add half a quart to the bike. He's owned the store for years. I wish I had gotten a picture of him, close your eyes, you'll picture him.

Across the Street was this big Oak with a Historical Plaque:






Pretty cool huh...

Wayne posed for this one, and I will too in a minute...


Being here reminds me of my childhood. When I was young, my Dad owned 25 acres out in the country. We would go there all day and cut firewood or rake pinestraw for Momma. at the end of a hard days work. Dad would take us by the Ol' Country Store and I would always get a Mountain Dew in a glass bottle and one of those Lil' Debbie Pecan Pies. You know the ones with the little pie tin and all, right?!?

Years later if I find myself somewhere like this, I get the same thing. Takes me back to a simpler time, I didn't realize how easy life was back then...

That pecan pie hit the spot!!!

We pull ourselves away




A little while down the road we come across a group on horses. We immediately pull to the side and shut 'em down till they pass.

We all exchanged hello's and gave each other that knowing grin; That in our own way, we were all enjoying this fantastic countryside in the way we like to do it.






Wayne let me know that he was running low on fuel. His stock tank is tiny and no one has made an aftermarket tank for the XT250 yet, so He has a rotopax tank. It works great. I looked and looked for the perfect spot to pull over that would take care of all of our needs, I found it:



Purty


By this point we've reached Hodges, Al and we are really in the middle of Nowhere. It's lunchtime and Waffle House was a long time ago. There is nothing around except a gas station, so we stop for gas and eat gas station food for lunch. I packed some beef jerky and cliff bars, they hit the spot. Hodges marked the end of our westerly journey, we were now turning south and catching onto Treeman's tracks again. Swamps ride really wasn't too bad afterall, just two reroutes if I remember right, and both were simple.















We stopped in the next town we came to, and no we didn't eat at the McDonald's but I did go inside to pee and fill up my Camelback.

Last years trip I wrecked more than twice, but the two bad ones had one thing in common. Both times I crashed, I had to pee really bad. Sounds weird I know, but I kept trying to hold it until we all stopped somewhere, and I know the discomfort of it took my concentration off of reading the road like I should. So, I promised myself this time, I would stay hydrated, but I would also pee immediately when the need arose and not try to hold it. I know this is TMI, but it's also my report, and if saying this to someone helps them out then good!!

So anyways, the Air conditioning had gone out at the McD's and the Manager had gone up to try to look at it, and then she froze and would not come back down the ladder, pretty dang funny if you were there...



By this point she was screaming in a way only a southern girl can






















Pretty Tree


Facing the other way;






Right around here somewhere I found an Alabama tag on the side of the road!!


Then we turn down a road that says bridge out. didn't truly believe it b/c we passed a sign like that earlier today and when we made it to the bridge, it was nice and new, with graffiti that had last years date on it so we felt our chances were good...

Uh huh...


This one was out.



With no way around;


But our reroute was quick, painless and all dirt so we were happy boys.

By this time, the sun was going down, and we were hungry. We saw on our GPS's that we cross Interstate 20 in 20 more miles or so, surely there would be food there. And there was! I instantly remembered the sign of this place from Treeman's RR.



We were so hungry that no one remembered a food photo until we were done


During our awesome meal of burgers and fried catfish and such, we realized that 20 miles down the road on our track was a campground on the Black Warrior River, so we headed on in






This place was like the Marriott compared to last night, it was a Corp of Engineers Facility and we loved it. We strung up the hammocks and slept like rocks.


sdthorpe screwed with this post 04-12-2012 at 12:20 PM
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:58 AM   #10
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Ive been there.




Looks like you guys had a great ride. Looking forward to the rest of the it.

Do you have a GPS file of your route by any chance????
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:25 PM   #11
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I'm starting to be glad Wayne took so many pictures. Great write up!

Small world Yankee Dog! Thorpe is a GPS file hoarder, I'm sure he'll PM you.
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:26 PM   #12
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Old 04-12-2012, 12:29 PM   #13
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Funny thing you mention the Golf tournament going on because I was going right through down town Augusta one day that week while running the tetS loop.
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:06 PM   #14
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Looks like a great time!
That first campground reminds me of the Saltillo Landing Camp Ground we stopped at on the TAT in '09. Trent, you missed out on this place on that trip.
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Old 04-12-2012, 01:11 PM   #15
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Looks like a great time!
That first campground reminds me of the Saltillo Landing Camp Ground we stopped at on the TAT in '09. Trent, you missed out on this place on that trip.
I was thinking the same thing!
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