Day one – Sunday Oct 7

My trip for 2012 was to ride a relatively unplanned trip.  We were starting from Lynchburg VA after I completed the Void 7 rally and were going to ride down the Blue Ridge Parkway. The plan was to pick a direction that evening and ride towards it the following day, and then repeat. However before we started I had to do some repairs. While I was riding to one of the stops in the rally I hit a huge pothole and heard something snap. When I stopped I couldn’t see any damage so I shrugged it off, however at the end of the day when I was unpacking the bike I noticed my tourpack was loose.  Further inspection revealed that the snap I heard was the two front bolts pulling through the bottom of the tourpack.  Not sure why the others didn’t pull through, perhaps because I had a bungee cord holding the lid shut since it vibrates. I figured the best way to fix it for the rest of the trip would be a few fender washers and some epoxy. I went online and found a Homedepot a few miles away.  Went out to take the tourpack off so I knew what size washers I needed and when I got outside I saw it had rained overnight.  Pulled the tourpack with the help of Brad and ran out to get what I needed,  It was cold!  A short time later I had it fixed and we were on the road towards the Blue Ridge Parkway by 10:30 or so.

Along the way we stopped at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford VA. As we were riding I spotted a sign for the memorial.  We both thought it would be some small memorial and we would be on our way after a few minutes.  Boy were we wrong, it was huge.  We spent over an hour or so there.  After checking out the memorial, we got on the road and made it to the BRP.  The roads on the way were great, but would have been better if they were dry.  Once on the BRP it started to rain.  And rain some more, and then got foggy.  After an hour or so we decided to bail and head for I-81.  A short time later we decided to call it quits and got a room in Radford VA.  Total miles were 126.  Here are a few pics:

View of the lot this morning

The damage

Repairs completed, good as new

Cool 1927 Seagraves firetruck in the Bedford Museum where we got our tickets for the D-Day memorial
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The D-Day Memorial was really cool.  As I said, we expected something much smaller.  What we saw was this complex with busts of those involved in the battle such as Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, etc., plaques honoring or describing almost anything you can imagine, plaques listing the names of all those who gave their lives during the battle, a fountain that contained a representation of the landings, another depicting an image of the Rangers climbing the cliffs, and more.  Here is a sample:

Eisenhower whose statue was in a rotunda

Omar Bradley

Winston Churchill

Diagram of the landing sites for the 116th which I believe was from VA

Info on Operation Fortitude which was to mislead the Germans as to where the landing would occur

Names of the US soldiers who gave their lives were on this wall

And the names of those from allies who lost their lives were on the opposite wall

Depiction of the beach landings.  They had water cannons going off to simulate the shelling

More views showing the landing and the mock up of the landing craft

View of he Rangers climbing

View of the Rangers “coming over the top”

Monument to the air forces

And the naval forces

One of the plaques for the ships present

View of the bikes on the BRP

And what it looked like a few miles down the road.  Not much to look at.  It got worse after this

As the weather turned worse we discussed our plans and took a look at the weather forecast. It seemed most of the east coast was like this with the exception of Florida.  One of our original plans was to stop at the US Naval Air Museum in Pensacola FL.  After a very brief conversation we decided to head south west to Pensacola.

Day two – Monday Oct 8

Another cold and rainy day.  Started off on some two lane roads and cane across some interesting stuff.  Then we got on the highway.  Mainly a travel day and these were the only pictures we took:

We stopped in LaGrange GA for the night

Day three – Tuesday Oct 9

We left LaGrange and decided to ride back roads since we didn’t have too far to go.  Brad needed a post office and the first one we stopped at was busy, so we continued on to the next in Loachapoka AL.  Small town and had a nice chat with a local resident who told us about their syrup sopping festival coming up in a few weeks.  It actually sounded like fun and when we asked about next year’s dates she old us they cannot set the dates until Auburn University sets their football schedule since they close the highway.

From there it was on to Tuskegee.  What an experience.  The hanger the Tuskegee Airmen trained in has been restored and has some really good exhibits.  Definitely worth the trip.

From there it was on to Pensacola.  Again, we took all back roads.  Since on several occasions people asked if we were going to Panama City Bike Week (who knew it was this week?) we decided to book a hotel in advance.  I picked the Crowne Plaza which was only a few miles (as the crow flies anyway) from the base.  When we pulled up we were greeted by an old train station turned into a hotel.  It was really cool.

Here are the pictures:

Post office in Loachapoka

Syrup Sopping sign

Town Hall

General Store

Brad watching a train go by

Hanger at Moton Field where the Tuskegee Airmen trained

Tea Room

Cadet Waiting Room

Army Offices

Supply Room

Stearman used for flight training

Maintenance Records Room

Our hotel in Pensacola

Pictures of the lobby

Day four – Wednesday Oct 10

We started off with the Naval Air Museum. From there we rode along the coast until it started going too far south, and then rode some two lane roads headed east.  Stopped for the night near Tallahassee FL.

The museum was really cool. As you walk in the entrance, you see hanging from the ceiling a 1911 A1 Triad Curtis Flying Boat, the first aircraft of the US Navy. Below it is a sculpture representing the spirit of naval aviation with sculptures representing WWI thru Desert Storm

In the main hall is a Curtis MF Flying Boat from 1918

Nieuport 28

Tommy S4-C

Boeing F4B4

Grumman FF-1

Beech Staggerwing

Grumman F4F Wildcat

Vought SB2C Vindicator – Only one left

Japanese “Zero”

Japanese “George” fighter

Corsair

Dauntless Dive Bomber

ME 262

P2V Truculent Turtle which set an endurance record flying from Australia to Columbus OH

Marine 1

Blue Angel Skyhawks

One of the things we heard several times was we had to check out the beach. We saw a place to park at Ft Walton and stopped to have a look.  Looked like a beach to me.  While there we bumped into a local and after he introduced himself he asked what our favorite football team was. One of us said we were Eagles fans and we got a strange look, then he said something along the lines of “oh, a pro team” Forget which team he mentioned, however it was obvious that they take their college football a little more serious down south.

Here’s the beach

Day five – Thursday Oct 11

Thursday we left Tallahassee and took all back roads to Savannah.  Along the way we spotted an old train depot that they had turned into a meeting room/community center. Really cool that the preserved this. In Savannah we toured the Eight Airforce museum which was another good one.  Afterwards it was an uneventful trip to Charleston SC on highways.

Here are the pictures

Train depot

Old sign

Old scale

Wing of a B17 found in Europe

Some of the other displays

Mural on the wall

Stearman

P51 Mustang replica

ME 109 replica

B24 nose section

The centerpiece, the B17 City of Savannah that they are restoring

Crosley Pup, one of 7 known to exist

B47

Chapel of Fallen Eagles

Some of the stained glass windows

Day six – Friday Oct 12

Friday we stopped at Patriot’s Point to see the Yorktown.  Also there are the WWII destroyer Laffey and the submarine Clamagore.  Also there is a mock up of a Vietnam fire base, complete with two Huey’s, a Cobra, and another chopper that escapes at the moment.  Sorry Ireeman, no cutter.  I did see a poster in the gift shop that did show that there was once one there.  Perhaps that is the one that is now in Baltimore?

The ships were cool and we spent about four hours there. The Yorktown has a number of aircraft on her deck and in her hanger bays.  They also have an exhibit on the carrier Franklin which survived a devastating attack and also on the Charleston Navy Yard closed a few years ago. They were dedicating a new helicopter for their exhibit and had a large number of Vets there from the Yorktown association.  It was cool sharing the ship with them and watching them explain things to their wives. Afterwards we went into downtown Charleston to visit the Moonpie General Store.  The store was cool and I had a double layer dark chocolate Moonpie and a diet Cherrywink (had to make up for the double Moonpie). That area of Charleston was pretty cool and was worth the visit.

Our original plan was to run the coast up to Kitty Hawk, however we spent so much time at ships we threw that out and hopped on I 95 and headed north.  Ended up in Emporia VA, 5-6 hours from home.

Here are some pics

Yorktown and Laffey

Yorktown Stern

Yorktown’s bell

Bell for one of the previous ship’s named Yorktown

Some cool aircraft in the hanger bay, first is an F9F Cougar

Skyraider

Sick Bay

Bridge

Parts of the carrier Franklin

Franklin’s Bell

40mm Bofors from the Franklin

Charleston Navy Yard exhibit

Charleston’s Bell

Diving equipment

Laffey Bow

Forward 5in gun turrets

Torpedo tubes

Clamagore

Torpedo Room

Maneuvering Room

Hull repairs being made

Vietnam Fire Base

PBR – Patrol Boat River

Cobra

Moon pie general store in down town Charleston

Day 7 – Saturday Oct 13

Last day was a travel day and we made no stops. Total miles for the trip were 2,222

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