Monday, October 10, 2016

Indiana to South Carolina in five and a half weeks!

Where does the time go?  Just months ago I was leaving Michigan behind, and now, here I am in South Carolina!  A lot of miles in a short time.  I had set a goal of being in Florida by the 15th of October but didn’t leave New Mexico till the 5th of June.  Probably should have taken a more direct route with so little time but I don’t take direct routes very often.

Also, I upgraded the software on my phone where most of my pictures are.  And now it doesn’t talk to my computer, despite being made by the same company.  Looking online, the problem seems to be a popular one but not easily solved.  When it is fixed, I’ll update this post with pictures.  For now, I have only a few pictures taken with my camera (not my phone), so enjoy the good-old-fashioned reading!

First stop after Michigan was Indianapolis to see my friend Jake and his ever-growing family.  While there, I got to see top-fuel drag racing.  In person, the racing is overwhelming to all 5 senses.  If you are a motor-head at all, consider going.  
Haunted Bridge

Then I once again stopped at the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, OH.  They’ve opened up a fourth building and it is amazing.  You really need to visit it if you are anywhere near Dayton.  Or Ohio.   Or North America.
Smart Car with a trailer full of racing fuel.

I followed that up with a visit to Big Muskie.  It is a bucket, all that remains of the largest thing ever made that could move under its own power on land.  No fancy buildings, no entry fee, no lines.
Big Muskie
Big Chain link.

Big Muskie's bucket

From there I went up to Cleveland where I was a (front seat) guest of the local police for an afternoon.  It was uneventful but fun to catch up with my old friend Chad and his family.  
Definitely in the front seat.

Following the Lake Erie shore line till I arrived at the wonderful Mazza Winery.  It was nice to re-connect with my friend Mario and meet his wife.  Alas, it’s grape harvest season and the worst time to visit there.  I hope to be back at a better time of year. 

Then into Pennsylvania for some camping and exploring and motorcycle riding.  All were fun, the weather was great, but the camping was a bit pricy.  Maybe it’s the proximity to NYC that pushes the prices up?  Whatever, it was a long, slow, painful kick in the budget.  
Cool house, recently sold.

7000 sq ft humidor.

I drove down into Virginia and spent a few days camping cheap (my favorite) on the VA and West Va border.  I’ve spent time there before and it helped me not get lost quite as often.  

In Charlottesville, I visited Robert, a friend since 2002.  Always good to see him, and any day now, he should be taking up an e
xtended road trip of his own!  I can’t wait to read his blog.

The Blue Ridge Parkway starts near Charlottesville and runs south at a leisurely pace.  Perfect for me and Vanna White, and it helped me get to Charlotte, North Carolina, to see one of my oldest friends, Scott.  We met shortly after my first motorcycle purchase and despite years of both of us randomly moving around the country we always managed to keep in touch.  He’s hardly changed in all these years and it’s fun to reminisce.  
Just your average cabin covered in coffee mugs.

Hurricane Mathew made me want to be farther from the coast so it was back up to the mountains.  After a great dinner with a friend near Asheville, I was moved to various campsites in the Pisgah National Forest.  The last one was a bit scary though.  As the fringe of the storm whipped through, high winds were expected.  I found a nice clearing to park in, surrounded by tall, young trees.  

That night, in my roof tent, I lay awake much of the time listening to the wind howl.  Every 5-10 minutes, I would hear the cracking and crashing of another tree going down.  I felt confident in the ones surrounding me, they were not too big and plenty flexible.  But the big ones going down could easily have made the road out of the campsite (about 4 miles, 1 lane dirt road) un-passable.  

In the morning I took a walk with a cup of coffee, and found one big branch in the road.  Other than that, it looked okay.  A couple miles down the road, there was a whole tree across the road, but some kind soul had already been there with a chainsaw.  

So a near miss at a great opportunity to be trapped in the woods, forced to camp and motorcycle and mountain bike and read books and enjoy life till rescue arrived.  

Next time, I’ll pick a better spot.