Day 25: Savannah to Cleveland

I finally understood why the two couples were yelling at each other after the RV trailer shifted.  I’m not to sure how they pulled it off:

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My packing job was a bit of a disaster.  It had been quite some time since I’d repacked my panniers while they were still attached to the bike.  I’d camped a lot more back in Oregon; at the time I had the process buttoned up pretty tight.  After a few weeks though; not so much anymore.  I got something that worked well enough put together and figured it was good enough to ride with; I could fix it again later that night.

I’d only had a can of soup the night before so I decided I wanted breakfast before heading out for the day.  I was technically just outside of Savannah; about 4 miles actually.  I’ve got admit you see some weird signs on churches and businesses in the South.  I would have enjoyed snapping some pictures of them to illustrate my point but there always seemed to be someone cutting the grass or something when I’d pass. This sort of makes it awkward to turn around and snap a picture of their sign.  Anyway, there was a local place selling sheds who’s sign read “Made in the USA, Christian owned”.  That’s cool, but it’s the middle of Southern Tennessee; I’d assume that’s already pretty heavily implied…but hey, what do I know?  It was kind of like when you see a “No Trespassing, Private Property” sign in the yard of a house sitting on a 1/4 acre lot in the suburbs.  It’s pretty well implied that your yard shouldn’t be used for an impromptu Burning Man festival… Ah, but so is life, in America, in 2016…

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I decided on McDonalds for breakfast. I’d considered going to a small diner for a taste of the local fare; but it was Sunday and I was in all my riding gear which I’d been sweating in for 2 weeks now.  It seemed rude to sit down among people wearing their Sunday best smelling like I hadn’t showered in week.  Plus, I wanted to get on the road rather quickly. Also, I could be reasonably certain I wouldn’t have catfish in my food at McDonalds; Savannah claimed to be the “Catfish Capital of the World”.  I didn’t know people ate catfish.

I didn’t expect much of an exciting day; I was just excited to finish it. The two following days I’d ride through Western North Carolina.  Which was one of my favorite places to visit.

I rode down some pretty open road.  I noticed some classic car stuffed into the high grass behind a trailer.

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I’d let Garmin Basecamp sort of decide the route.  I’d selected a general point-to-point of where I wanted to go and to avoid main roads I’d selected “Dirt Bike” as the mode of transport.  Ask and you shall receive…

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After about 10 miles of dirt the road turned back into tarmac, but was still pretty scenic.

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I’d ridden about 130 miles by that point.  I was hot and really needed a couple of drinks to rehydrate so I pulled over at a gas station in some town I’d come through.

You could tell it was a small town; a lady rode her tractor to the gas station to fill up.

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I’d also noticed I was missing the pinch bolt for my clutch cable mechanism. I had no idea how long it had been missing for.

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Replaced; it was time to move on.

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I came across this kid who appeared to be struggling to hold his bike up.  Naturally I stopped to see what was going on; plenty of people had stopped when I was just hanging out on the side of the road out West, I may as well continue the tradition.

He’d been riding this bike and the starter was completely shot.  He couldn’t get the thing going.  He’d tried bump starting it a hand full of times without any luck and looked like he was about to collapse from heat stroke.  I gave him a push and told him to bump her in 2nd rather than first.  Sure enough the thing fired.  Poor kid didn’t stand a chance;  he almost dropped it turning around in the lot and then again when he pulled out onto the road.

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The road became pretty cool after that.  I was just West of Chattanooga and the road was following a lake for maybe 20 miles or so.

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I wanted to see what lake it was so I pulled over to consult my GPS, which was very helpful…

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I followed the road into Chattanooga; after my experience riding through Memphis I had decided to just use the beltway on the interstate to bypass the city. It seemed like it would save time. It did save time but it was rush hour and traffic was a madhouse.  I’m not sure how I made it through there.

I finally got to Cleveland, TN, checked into my motel and decided to grab some dinner.  I was about 10 miles away from the Smokies and Nantahala National Forest.  Tomorrow would be a good day.

Mileage: 278

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