Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It's Fall up there - DAY 1

I miss the mountains.  I miss curvy roads.  I miss Fall.

Google puts the closest mountains to my new home in Florida in North Georgia, 8+ hours from "home."  My new job's standard 3-day weekend is meant to accommodate such folly, so I decided to use the camper as a camper, the truck as a truck, and the moto as a moto and hit the road "early" Friday.

Prior to leaving, I wanted to install my new ACD skidplate... before which it makes sense to change the oil (note: not a good idea to put used motor oil in a clear plastic Pepsi bottle).
Thursday night I got the oil changed (5450 miles) and did a little bit of packing; Friday I got the skid plate on and took a refreshing sip of leftover "Pepsi".  I started throwing gear and bin, and the bin in the car... and the best wife in the world followed me in the cage to deliver bins of gear to the camper storage site.

I got the trailer hitched, the bike loaded, swapped gear from the car to the truck, and was on my way.


I let the GPS take me rt75 across and up thru central FL.  Several times I was surprised at how curvy the roads were... Florida curvy, not curvy.  I hadn't bothered to hook up the back camera in my haste to get rolling, but I could see a sliver of motorcycle thru the camper window in the rear-view mirror.  After hitting a sizeable bump, I became paranoid that the bike was leaning a bit.  Within a few miles, I was desperate to pull over because clearly the bike was on a slow list to starboard.  With no options to pull off, ever slowing, and with traffic mounting behind me, I took a left turn and pulled off into the grass.  Horrified, I found the bike at about a 45 degree angle, 2 straps completely slack.  I re-cinched everything down and got rolling, but on a two-lane country road with a 23' camper rig with front leaf springs towing a 12' trailer, options don't present themselves often.  Several miles and 20 minutes' driving brought me back to where I'd finally been able to pull over.

rt75 thru northern FL and southern GA is mostly uninteresting slab.  In GA, I passed fields of cotton, and lots of road signage alluding to peanuts and peaches, interspersed with billboards depicting Jesus and zombies from "The Walking Dead" and asking the reader to make their choice.  The dichotomy rang a little false to my mind. ;)

Traffic piled up approaching the knot of roads that are the numerous Atlanta beltways, and 2 northbound lanes spread out to something like 7 or 8.  Having spent the morning packing and doing maintenance, and getting a slow start and turned around, it was obvious I wouldn't be arriving in daylight.  I called ahead to my planned destination to secure a campsite.  I paid a deposit on a site with water and electric, but no sewer hookup.  I was assured the rig would fit.  Onward to Cleveland, GA.

Several hours of ceaseless driving and one fuel stop later, I checked in to the campsite again with my updated ETA: 8:15pm.  The nameless woman who I'd now talked to multiple times didn't seem phased.  My final approach to the campsite was in total darkness and I became (rightfully) concerned that I might pass the entrance at speed and have to spend a half hour getting turned around... which, naturally, is exactly what happened.
Finally, I came down a steep, twisting gravel drop into the campsite.  I was surprised people were able to tow long travel trailers and RV's up and down into the park without high-centering (or rather, low-centering).  I got disinterested spotty instructions at check-in and headed in total darkness back to a site with hookups 40' from the parking spot in the woods.   I felt the truck crawling over tree roots and decided the pitch blackness would win for the night - I'll just leave it where it sits and deal with this all tomorrow.
I carry a long 120V extension cord but all the outlets were unpowered... which I confirmed with a multi-meter I also carry.  No power, no lights, no water, and a long day on the road =  capitulation.  I crawled in the back and went to sleep.

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