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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Photos at the end of the post!

Most appreciated item: DynaPlug air pump. It lives under the seat and was called into action this trip.
Most used item: Throttle lock. Invaluable for hours on the highway. I’m still using a cheap eBay lock… maybe it’s time to upgrade to an Atlas. But if it’s not broken…
Most appreciated upgrade: Moto-Werk peg lowering blocks. After the last trip, my knees were hurting at the end of the ride. After installing the lowering blocks… no more.

I take a few multi-day rides a year just to get away and recharge; I had booked a great AirBnB back in January and it was time to go! The destination this time was the Pensacola area.

The V was ready to go with a new chain and sprockets (15/43 if you care) and a fresh oil change. I tend to pack on the minimal side; for this trip I was carrying a backpack and a big-ass umbrella. I had packed the bike the night before so all I had to do was grab a quick breakfast, put lunch in my tank-bag, and say good-bye to anyone willing to get up before the sunrise. So my daughters slept soundly and I said goodby to my wife:)

After a quick fuel stop, I was on the road. Weather was a bit chilly and overcast but I knew the sun would be up eventually, burning off the chill and forcing me to discard layers along the way.

Instead of wandering the backroads, my plan was to do mostly interstate and arrive as soon as possible. I-65 heads directly south into Florida so that was my route. I also wanted to see just how far I could get on a tank. I knew Birmingham, at 170 miles away, was easily reachable, and I really wanted to get to Montgomery, which was another 100 miles or so, but as it turns out, cruising at 80 isn’t the most fuel-efficient way to travel. I was carrying a small fuel container but it was clear that making Montgomery was a lost cause. I ended up stopping just beyond Birmingham and put 4.5 gallons in, meaning I had attained a measly 40 MPG, which makes me wonder if there’s something amiss. The good thing is that the V will cruise at 6k all day every day with no problem.

I wanted to do a lot of highway just to see how that felt; I have a goal to do an Iron Butt ride but I’ll have to address my windscreen before that happens. Turns out hours of highway miles are a bit mind-numbing. Or perhaps it was just the endless noise and buffeting provided by my less-than optimal windscreen. And the less than optimal stock seat.

But here I am complaining about first-world problems when I’m RIDING MY MOTORCYCLE TO THE BEACH. So no more complaining.

Regardless, I had planned to stop in Montgomery for a break and I did just that, stopping first at Prevail Union Coffee, which proved a great choice. I nestled my coffee in my cargo net and rode a mile or so to the river and the Wright Brothers Park, where I ate my lunch, enjoyed the coffee, and stretched my legs. Being from North Carolina, I grew up fully aware of the Wright Brothers and was curious as to what was here at the park. Turns out they have a full-size replica of the Wright Flyer, which was interesting to see.

Fresh after the break, I once again enjoyed the monotony of I-65… until I reached exit 114 and decided to leave the highway. From there the ride was much more enjoyable, the route passing through Andalusia, Alabama, Conecuh National Forest and Blackwater River State Forest.

Once through Blackwater River, I joined up with Interstate 10, crossed the bridge into Pensacola, and quickly arrived at my Bnb, a cool little Airstream near the bay.

Sampling new taco trucks is one of the required activities of these rides, so after unloading the V, I headed back out to fulfill my destiny.

Supplied with some excellent fish and shrimp tacos, I rode down the Bayfront Parkway to the Veterans Memorial Park. I savored the tacos and the perfect weather, then walked around the park a bit. As a nation we are quickly drifting further and further away from the ideals that have set us apart, and the leaders honored at the park stand in stark contrast to some of the “leaders” we have at the moment.

I grabbed some groceries, headed back to the Airstream, and spent the rest of the night reading.

The next morning I walked to breakfast then headed to the beach. The main bridge was still out due to storm damage, so a 5 minute ride turned into 30. I headed to Johnson Beach National Seashore, part of a string of National Park Beaches along the gulf. The lion’s share of the day was spent sitting on a mostly deserted stretch of beach. Lots of thinking, reading, and writing. Lots of sun and wind. More birds than people, which was the idea. I left briefly to grab dinner, tacos again. By the way, grilled grouper, slaw and pineapple make for a great taco.

Stayed for the sunset, which was beautiful, then headed back to the Airstream via a coffee shop.

This place was great; it had a fenced courtyard that served as a perfect place to park the V. No concerns.

As it turns out, everyone back home was struck by a bad stomach bug so I left earlier than planned the next morning. I took the same route back and was making great time. Until I realized the bike felt weird.

There was a long stretch of construction and I had been riding on grooved pavement for miles. Once back on smooth tarmac, I was still feeling that squishy feeling. And not because of the tacos.

Fortunately, a rest stop appeared just in time. I pulled in, got off the bike and saw that the rear tire was in fact low. Very low.

I carry the requisite items for tire repair under the seat, so I found some shade, unpacked the bike, and got to work. I’m so glad I had my tire kit and my “trail-jack” on board. I couldn’t find a puncture or tear anywhere so I inflated the tire. I figured if the tire held long enough for me to re-pack the bike I’d stick to slower roads for a bit to test it. Pressure was stable so I ended up back on the highway and eventually made it home. Later than I wanted but home nevertheless.

What a fantastic ride! The highway wasn’t my favorite but I think that can be remedied. Any time I can spend time on the coast is time well spent; there’s something about the air and the wind and the salt that rejuvenates the spirit. TN is full of rolling hills and great riding roads, but there’s something about crossing the bridge and seeing the ocean stretched out infinitely before me that inspires in a way nothing else can.

By the way, the following day I did find a small pinhole leak in the tire. It was almost too small to see but some soapy water revealed the location. A quick patch and it’s good, but these tires are already getting old so… maybe it’s time:)

Ride safe!



Ready to go. Since this photo, we've gotten a Neso Tent; it will replace the beach umbrella on future trips. Smaller pack and larger shadow when set up. Great piece of gear for the beach.



Prevail Union Coffee.



The Wright Flyer, Montgomery, AL.



Another view of the Flyer. This model was a crude representation, not nearly as detailed as others. Still nice to see though.



I really enjoy passing these tiny US Post Offices. This is the one in Wing, Alabama.



Home for a few days.



Veterans Memorial Park.



Early the next morning.



Most of the day.



Moonrise to the east.



Sunset to the west.



Somewhere in Florida.



Somewhere in Alabama.



My DIY trail-jack, complete with tire pressure reminders and chain-slack gauge. Doubles as a wheel-chock when needed.
 

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What date did you do this ride? There are times when there is a strong north wind out of the gulf as moisture and warm temps build in that will suck away your fuel economy.

I work down that way a lot. I have ridden just about every route south meandering all the way over to Georgia or Mississippi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What date did you do this ride? There are times when there is a strong north wind out of the gulf as moisture and warm temps build in that will suck away your fuel economy.

I work down that way a lot. I have ridden just about every route south meandering all the way over to Georgia or Mississippi.
Rode down on the 25th of April... as I remember there was a noticeable breeze. I didn't even think about the wind factor. Glad you mentioned it.
 

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I saw your pic of trail jack and thought I'd post pics of my version. I cut a U in the top to fit in the swingarm spools. They can't slip that way. Just another option that is pretty easy to make and secure.

Wood Wood stain Hardwood Plywood Lumber
Wheel Tire Crankset Bicycle tire Automotive tire
 

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Welcome to Florida. Goodbye. ;-) Next time you take a trip down here, go East to the Forgotten Coast (don't waist your time at PCB) Mexico Beach and East is real Florida.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@MC-Professor I've been wanting to get down that way, also a bit lower to the more open areas like Port St joe and the Apalachicola area. But... we visit Florida several times a year; 30A area, Naples and Sanibel Island area... none of those trips seem like wasted time to me:)
 

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I have lived in many places throughout the world, but I always return to the Big Bend/ Forgotten coast area, it's the last remaining area that is still Florida. It hasn't been taken over by developers and those who want to live in New York, but cannot afford the taxes.
 
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