Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The National Park Tour Begins!

During The Cape Fear Rally, I officially started my year-long Ironbutt National Parks Tour. I will be riding both of my bikes on this tour. I anticipate visiting in excess of 50 parks in more than 25 states prior to April 21st, 2008.

GOLD AWARD - The same rules apply as the NPT Master Traveler, however, you MUST visit parks in these areas: Alaska, California, Florida, Maine or Canadian parks northeast of the Maine border.

If the bike trips I have planned for this year work out, and with a bit of luck, I should earn the Ironbutt Gold Master Travelers Award. I plan to post my NPT stamps and associated pictures to track my progress.

Click the NP stamp for detailed information about each park .


(7) Obed Wild and Scenic River
Located northwest of Harriman, TN


(6) Great Smokey Mountains Nat'l Park
Sugarland Visitors Center, near Gatlinburg, TN


(5) Great Smokey Mountains Nat'l Park
Oconaluflee Visitors Center, near Cherokee, NC


(4) Kings Mountain Nat'l Military Park
Located northeast of Spartanburg, SC.


(3) Congaree National Park
Located near Colombia, SC


(2) Moores Creek National Battlefield
Located 20 miles northwest of Wilmington, NC


(1) Guliford Courthouse Nat'l Military Park
Located in downtown Greensboro, NC

"It's the constant and determined effort that breaks down all resistance, sweeps away all obstacles." ~Claude M. Bristol~

"A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline." ~Harvey Mackay~

The Cape Fear 1000 Rally

The Cape Fear 1000- April 20th to April 22nd, is a 26 hour rally benefiting the non-profit Victory Junction Gang. The rally is somewhat unique in that it starts from four different locations around the country and ends in Wilmington, NC.

Don Sills, Kevin Pugh and myself began the Cape Fear 1000 Rally leaving from Cairo, IL. We arrived in Cairo to find 25 riders fueling at the Fill Up Mart. After gaining the necessary gas receipt and calling in to officially start our rally, Kevin and I were off to Mayfield, KY to collect our first bonus point. Don Sills rode the rally solo.

Our rally bonus locations included:

1. Mayfield, KY -A photo of the Woodridge Monuments, Maple Lawn Cemetery with rally flag.

2. Fairview, KY - A photo of the Jefferson Davis Monument with bike and rally flag.

3. Glasgow, KY - Gas Receipt

4. Lebanon, TN - A photo of Gen. Hatton with rally flag.

5. Oak Ridge, TN - Gas receipt

6. Chestnut Hill, TN - A photo of the sign on the A. J. Bush Gen. Merchandise store.

7. Ashville, NC - Four-hour rest stop.

8. Statesville, NC - A photo of The Wine Maestro

9. Randleman, NC - A photo of the gate at the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

10. Greensboro, NC - A National Park Stamp from the Guilford County Court House.

11. Raleigh, NC - Gas Receipt

12. Finish rally at the Green Tree Inn, Wilmington, NC

A big congratulation goes to the winning rider, Mike Allen with 36,920 points.

Kevin and I rode slightly over 1,000 miles in the 26-hour period (2,004 miles roundtrip in 3 1/2 days). Our ride scored 25,770 points, good for 39th position. Unfortunately, I personally suffered a penalty when I failed to bring my finish/time sheet to the scoring table, reducing my point total to 10,190, or 70th position. Don Sills accumulated 24,440 points, good for 43rd position.

After a couple of days of rest, I have had a chance to reflect on the Cape Fear Rally experience. As a result of riding this rally, I met some really nice people who are very dedicated to long distance riding and the safe promotion, protection, perfection of the art. I also found rally riding to be a very intense experience with little room for errors if you expect to be competitive.

I have not yet decided if I will ride The Cape Fear Rally again although I did enjoy the experience and regard it very positively. I would also highly recommend this rally if you enjoy long distance competitive rides. The Cape Fear Rally was extremely well run and top notch in every respect.

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.
~Mark Twain~

"When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends." ~Japanese Proverb~

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Natchez & Vicksburg, MS Trip 04-06-07

After what seemed to be a long winter, a few of us were more than a little ready for a road trip. For the past 20 years, Mike & Rhonda Jennings have made an annual trip to the Natchez-Vicksburg, MS area as their first trip of the year. This year, with an invitation in hand, I decided to join them.

Friday, April 6th. 2007 dawned cold!

Mike & Rhonda Jennings, Ray and Susan Nichols and myself had all agreed to meet at the Raceway in Mayfield, KY at 8:00 am. I opened my garage door in Paducah to a nippy 34 degrees around 7:15 am. Oh what the heck, I'm all too well insulated anyway ......

We had one no-show but didn't let that stop us from leaving right on schedule. We rode south, down the Purchase Parkway to Fulton, KY. From there we crossed the TN state line and continued on to Jackson, TN for breakfast at Casey Jones. If you like a mega breakfast buffet, you'll be in the right place. After a nice warm-up and full bellies, we continued south across the Mississippi state border.

It wasn't long before we stopped at the visitor center at Grenada Lake for a break. The lake appeared to be in winter pool with vast areas of exposed flats and blowing clouds of dust. Obviously the lake had suffered low water conditions recently but remains beautiful.

From Grenada Lake we continued our ride south, arriving in Gluckstadt, a small suburb just north of Jackson, MS. in the late afternoon.

Saturday morning we rode the southern 80 miles of the Natchez Trace, viewing wild turkeys and beautifully wooded scenery. We also stopped at the Windsor Ruins.

Click any picture to enlarge.
Windsor Ruins

Stanton Hall highlighted our tour of Natchez along with a quick trip across the Mississippi River to Vidalia,LA for fried chicken, red beans and rice.
Arriving at Stanton Hall, Natchez, MS

Stanton Hall

Vidalia, LA
From Natchez we rode to Vicksburg, enjoying the sites and a quick visit to the Ameristar Casino. I very much doubt if, collectively, we spent more than three dollars in the casino.
After a very entertaining, twisty backroad ride to our motel in Gluckstadt, we enjoyed a nice dinner at a local steakhouse in Jackson.

We returned via I-55 and Hwy 51, arriving back in Paducah mid-afternoon Sunday, 04-08-07. (1007 total round trip miles from Lone Oak)

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears
you out. ~Anton Chekhov~

Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example. ~Mark Twain~
Pudd'nhead Wilson (1894)