Day 14 – Birmingham, AL through GA to Chattanooga and on to Knoxville, TN

heading north out of Birmingham, AL

heading north out of Birmingham, AL

Didn’t like watching the Weather Channel and seeing all the terrible weather in the places we’d just been. So I was extremely happy to wake up to a beautiful day.

downtown Birmingham

downtown Birmingham

Loaded up the bikes and went next door to the Texaco to fill up and headed out of Birmingham by 8:30. Of all the riding thus far on this trip rush hour in Birmingham was the scariest yet. Gregg was leading and at one point traffic just came to a screeching stop. He veered left and I went right. Phew that was close. Luckily we each had a few car lengths of clear lanes. But still…

NOT what you like to see on the interstate - almost another "Oh shit moment"

NOT what you like to see on the interstate – almost another “Oh shit moment”

As we had 100+ miles of straight ahead I took the lead. At one point about 20 miles into the morning I realized that my L.L. Bean Visa card wasn’t visible through the rain cover on my tank bag. I spent the next 60 miles trying to remember if I could recall sliding it back in or not. I knew I’d not taken off my gloves and resolved myself to the realization that it must have slipped out of my fingers and onto the ground next to the pump.
I finally ‘fessed up to Gregg and told him we were getting off at the next exit so I could confirm its loss and call Barclays.

I have a set routine when fueling.

  1. Turn off bike.
  2. Push GPS out of the way.
  3. Unzip tank bag clear pocket and get credit card.
  4. Remove key.
  5. Unclip rear buckle and flip tank bag up all the way.
  6. Unlock gas cap.
  7. Run credit card on pump.
  8. Refuel.
  9. Lock gas cap.
  10. Secure tank bag.
  11. Put credit card back in pocket.
  12. Zip up.
  13. Put key back in ignition.
  14. Pull GPS back into easy viewing position.
  15. Reset trip odometer because I have not replaced the sending unit so fuel gauge is permanently on E.
  16. Start bike and continue on our merry way.

We pulled off the interstate and dismounted. Sure enough my credit card was not in the pocket of the tank bag. Nor was it the tank bag. I was going to get out the phone and call the bank when something just forward of the tank bag caught my eye. There – upside down and somehow wedged in between my triple tree and handlebar risers was my credit card. I had to check. 86.3 miles on the trip odometer.  It stayed put there at highway speeds for nearly 90 miles. I must be doing something right.

credit card wedged between triple tree and handlebar risers - for  nearly 90 miles

credit card wedged between triple tree and handlebar risers – for nearly 90 miles

After checking the oil and noticing considerably slack in the chain we decided to head to a Triumph dealer in Chattanooga to get the chain adjusted and pick up some more oil.
We drove out of AL and into GA and on into Pandora Motorsports in TN. What an amazing day and pretty ride. We rode back into Fall. Bright clear day. Beautiful sunshine.

does this bike make my butt look square and green?

does this bike make my butt look square and green?

The only momentary pause was the steeply banked sweeping curve coming into Chattanooga in heavy and congested traffic when what do I hear in my headset? “Just relax into it. The bike will move but the tires will stick.” CRAP – grooved pavement. Here? Of all places? Really DOT what the hell were you thinking? I had no choice but to relax. Did I mention I was going the speed limit. Which down here is 70.
The guys at Pandora were great. Took the bike in as Gregg and I admired all the new BMWs. 650, 800, 1200s. The Ducatis and Triumphs. Very fancy showroom. I ate a lot of their free M&Ms (which according to a billboard are made in TN) and we relaxed on their super comfy leather couch.

hanging with Gregg @ Pandora Motorsports, Chattanooga TN

hanging with Gregg @ Pandora Motorsports, Chattanooga TN

I was the dirtiest thing in there.

the dirtiest thing in the showroom was me

the dirtiest thing in the showroom was me

The tech tightened the chain and added some more oil and pointed out the wear on the clutch cable. Once the Teflon goes and it starts to fray it’ll go quickly he said. Have added that to the growing list of things that will be needed when I get home. New chain and sprocket set. New tires. Have coolant system fully checked – she’s fine on the highway put often will spit up coolant out of the reservoir at the end of the day.
Pulled into a great Super 8. I may have failed to mention the truly disgusting place we stayed last night. Let’s just say the pool was one of the nicer assets and leave it at that.

this was the nicest thing about this place

this was the nicest thing about this place

We decided to go to dinner at Cheddar’s up the street. Sat at the bar four-tops and got conversations going with the other two tables. One with a couple who were going to retire to Belfast, ME and another couple who are motorcyclists and now ride a trike. Very fun.
Tomorrow – a visit to the site if the 1982 World Fair. The one Gregg invited me to ride to with him when he and Lance and their Dad rode down to. I couldn’t go with him then so we are going tomorrow. 31 years later.

Total tally for the trip thus far: 14 days, 20 states and 4432 miles. And a whole lotta smiles with Gregg.

my close friend Gregg and riding companion for this incredible journey.  I am one lucky gal to have been friends with this guy for going on 35+ years

my close friend Gregg and riding companion for this incredible journey. I am one lucky gal to have been friends with this guy for going on 35+ years

Observation of the day:  I’ve noticed as we’ve been heading north that then temperature is slowly dropping but the fuel prices are rising rapidly.

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