May 15, 2009 GMT
Georgia & The Carolinas

I was looking forward to seeing Savannah and Charleston, two of the centres of the deep south. The weather has been hot a dry except for a couple of hours whilst walking around St. Augustine when there was a thunder storm.

Savannah has kept a lot of the older buildings and every few streets (or blocks depending which side of the pond you come from) there is an historical square with monument, trees and shady seats. This is the way cities should be designed. I crossed back and forth between a large park at one end of town that was hosting a pavement painting competition and the river front with arts and craft markets, restaurants and in the evening, live jazz.

Enroute for Charleston I stopped at the “Shrimp Shack” for lunch. The same family own the shrimp boats on one side of the road and the Shrimp Shack on the other. It is on highway 21 between Beaufort and Hunting Island, South Carolina. I met a couple on a BMW from Atlanta out for a days ride. They had their wedding reception at the Shrimp Shack. After lunch we set off to ride together but I made an accidental illegal overtake and lost them. What I thought was an overtaking lane was a ‘no go’ area to be treated like a central reservation. Whoops.

Shrimp Shack 1.jpg
The Shrimp Shack

Shrimp Shack 2.jpg
A better shot of my bike outside the Shrimp Shack

Charleston had a similar feel to Savannah. Narrow streets, old buildings with a number of parks round the harbour. A market sells arts and crafts where once it sold slaves.

South Carolina Campsite.jpg
South Carolina Campsite

I was looking forward to heading inland to the Smokey Mountains. Up till this point I had done over 1600 miles on straight roads with a stop sign or traffic lights at the end and had another 200 straight miles to travel. I could see the centre of my tyres were wearing faster than the sides. The mountains meant bends. I based myself at the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge where Horizons Unlimited are holding a rally from 17th July to 19th July 2009 and had a great time despite seeing more than my fair share of rain. The Tail Of The Dragon is one of Americas most famous biking roads. 318 bends in eleven miles. At Deals Gap, a fuel and souvenir stop there is a ‘Tree Of Shame’ decorated with broken bits of bike from those that didn‘t make it to the end. Best ridden through the week for the first time if possible as it gets busy at weekends. I was going to wait until the Monday before riding it but as the rain finally started to clear on the Saturday A couple of Harley Davison riders, James and Bill asked if I wanted to join them on the Tail Of The Dragon for a steady ride I thought it would be good to follow riders that had done it before. Thanks chaps. The area is full of good biking roads and well worth a visit. Jack and Mary work at Iron Horse and invited me to dinner three nights in a row. On the middle night determined not to arrive empty handed I was late and empty handed as I went to eight shops looking for wine only to find out that we were in a dry county. Their hospitality was amazing.

Tree of Shame on the Tail Of The Dragon.jpg
The Tree of Shame, Tail Of The Dragon

It was poring with rain as I packed my gear away to head north on the Blue Ridge Parkway but had stopped by the time I set off following a final coffee with Jack and Mary. The Blue Ridge Parkway is 469 miles long following the crests of the southern Appalachians. Another great biking road, either enjoying the sweeping bends or taking in the scenery. Having a wet tent and some damp clothes from loading the bike in heavy rain I opted for my first night under a solid roof since leaving Miami four weeks ago by staying in a very nice but expensive B&B. When I arrived there was no one in but the door was unlocked and a notice invited anyone to come in and make themselves at home. I can’t remember coming across that kind of trust before.

Smokey Mountains 1.jpg
Smokey Mountains

The Blue Ridge Parkway rises to well over 5000 feet and some of the higher points were in cloud reducing visibility considerably. On a few occasions I was travelling with the hazard warning lights on to make me easier to see by any cars coming up behind. Nothing did come up from behind but a motorcyclist coming the other way had his hazard warning lights on as well. We passed in the fog giving the American low hand signal greeting.

Smokey Mountains 2.jpg
Smokey Mountains

It’s Black Bear country here and all food has to be in metal containers or suspended from a tree while camping. It’s a bit of a pain. I’m forever taking food out of a pannier and putting it away again but it’s better than fighting a bear over the last banana.

Thr first photo I have ever taken in a public toilet.jpg
The first and probably last photo I ever take in a public toilet

Posted by at May 15, 2009 07:36 PM GMT

Renedian Adventures

HU DVD Summer Special!

Now that summer is here, get On the Road! Take 30% off the Achievable Dream - On the Road! 2-DVD set until August 31 only. Get On the Road! Learn the tips to staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure!

Our veteran travellers share their tips (and great stories) for staying healthy, happy and secure on your motorcycle adventure.

"A fantastic, informative and inspirational DVD."

"It's brilliant - thank you very much!"

Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'ONTHEROAD' on your order when you checkout.

What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!

What turns you on to motorcycle travel?

Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.

Books & DVDs


All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.

Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!

Story and photos copyright ©

Sorry, you need a Javascript enabled browser to get the email address and dates. You can contact Horizons Unlimited at the link below. Please be sure to tell us WHICH blog writer you wish to contact.

All Rights Reserved.

Contact the author:

Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!