The idea for this trip was hatched during New Years weekend of 2000. After spending the weekend riding in the Texas hill country, my wife and I got the urge to make a longer road trip on the bikes. Until mid May we continually waffled back and forth between heading west to Colorado and east to Asheville, NC. After researching the Asheville area and contemplating the alternative, a LONG ride west just to get out of Texas, we decide to head for the Smokey Mountains.

  Once we made a final decision to head east, I set about the task of planning our routes. I use the AAA MapnGo trip planning software to explore different routes. I highly recommend this program. Used in conjunction with the internet map site, it is possible to get very detailed routes, including distances, times, points of interest and printed maps for use on the road. The hours spent planning are almost as much fun as the actual trip because of the time spent daydreaming about different routes.

  We have been nervously keeping an eye on the weather. The last four weeks of July and the first few of August have been constant one hundred plus degree days. The thought of riding in such heat is quite daunting. Perhaps next time we plan a long road trip through the deep south it will be in late September or early October. Well there is no turning back now, vacation times at work have been decided, so it is now or next year hehe.

  We are planning on meeting our friends Shane and Stephanie Christian in Alexandria, Louisiana Saturday morning. They will be coming down from Dallas and staying with Shane's Grandfather in Winnfield, La. Shane rides a 1987 Yamaha VMax, although he has decided to stuff it in the back of his truck for the first part of the trip. It has a bad track record on previous trips hehe.

  The night before finally rolls around. Beth has long since been packed and ready to go. I am a last minute packer. It seems I can never think of what to take until the last minute. I spend the entire evening and late into the wee hours pouring over last minute maps and packing. The bikes are already prepped and ready to go. We are scheduled to leave Friday, August 11th after work. It seems that all I have been able to do the last few days of work is daydream about leaving and exploring unknown roads. Now the time is upon us...