The bootleggers ( as seen on TV) give the state police the run around and continue to produce the illicit liquor under their noses. You would wonder how, however when you see the size of Cherokee and Chattahoochi forests you can see why. The whole population of Ireland could hide in those forests alone. Across the tellico plains and into Cherokee we disappeared for 187 miles without straying from a single fire road up and down turning every 20 m for 7 hours. The good point it shaded us from the 43 deg heat and the thunderstorms drowning us and the roads in seconds. The weather is strange, 40 plus on the plains. Almost unbearable to ride in dropping to 30 in the mountains with humidity of 60. Sweat bucket time. We need to get used to it for as we go further west the temperatures will rise again.
Now we cleared Tennessee, passed into Alabama and Mississippi. There is a contrast between the vast rolling hills and wealthy farmland of the Tennessee and an altogether less impressive Mississippi or that’s the view from the saddle.
Once out of the mountains in Tennasse the route changes to a mix of back roads and red stone roads. Impressive to ride on, enjoyable. We need to be careful as the mind can wander easily overshooting a bend or a 4 way junction. Simon has been on his arse once and nearly a second time. The screech of brakes told us it was close.
Mick is out front, his nav skills are good particularly as he has no Montana with the route working from a smaller dot route map. He makes few mistakes.
Soon we will cross the Mississippi River, heading into the central west through Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. It will be flatter and straighter with Oklahoma a straight 800 mile run. No turns !
Bikes running ok, brake pads worn out from the wet forest roads and both mick and Simon will need tyres soon. Strangely Nick’s tyres are good.
No motels to date, only camp sites which is fine if the wet gear could dry and stay dry for a day or two. Packing wet is not good but maybe better than the heat to come. Set a task to travel 200 miles per day which we are just making .. each day is cc 8 hours riding.
Hoping to keep on track and the bikes together … as we head directly west.
To be continued…