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Discussion Starter #1
The time is coming when I will ride from our present home in Huntsville, Alabama to a new (to us) home in San Antonio, Texas. Any suggestions on route or places to stay along the way?

The ride will happen in mid-July. Time is not a huge issue, but the spouse will be driving the car with the cats on board. She will be making time and the duration of my voyage will be time separated from her. We both hate separation, so I would like to make the trip in three or four days if possible.

The bike is a 2018 HD Heritage 114. It will have just gone through a 15k service and be in pretty good shape. It has the optional extra touring trunk mounted where the passenger would sit. It has a USB port to keep the iPhone charged up and running books on tape. And music. Something about traveling through the cradle of the Civil War...

This seems like an opportunity to take a few days and soak in some culture and motorcycle zen.

The Natchez could be a pretty and safe, but slow, way to cross Mississippi. Would it be better to stick to the interstates through Alabama and Mississippi? Is the I-10 the best route west from New Orleans? Never been down that road before. Maybe there are beautiful backroads that would add a few hours of travel and a few years worth of positive, memorable riding moments?

I do have a preference for hotels that have a bar or restaurant on site. A nice meal and a couple of beers at the end of the day will be most welcome. :smile_big:

Any suggestions would be super welcome. Either way, I will post about the trip.
 

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I would stress the importance of what effect HEAT will have on you in mid-July on your trek to San Antonio and to intelligently plan your riding times to avoid the heat of late afternoons!:wink2:

Personally, I would leave at the crack of dawn and maybe check into a fine motel @ maybe 3 PM or so, to avoid the 'No vacancy' debacle and then a nice soak in the swimming pool, a nice dinner and a good nights sleep in a comfortable bed, will make you look forward to the next days adventure:smile:

I would 'GOOGLE' scenic routes from your home to your new one in San Antonio for some ideas.:smile_big:

Hydrate, Hydrate and Hydrate! Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are killers and can sneak up on you before you know it.:surprise:

Have fun. Sam:nerd:
 
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Ace Tuner
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You can get into some good Ouachita Mountain roads in the Southwestern part of Arkansas and over to the Southeastern part of Oklahoma if you want to stay that far north coming across.
Arkansas caters to motorcycle tourists. The state will send you info for free.
Watch out for DEER around there. Also down in the Piney Woods of East Texas if you come down that way.

I 10 in LA sucked (bad road conditions) the last time I was over there, bet it still does. I 10 in Texas is okay, not much to see but super slab then you get to deal with Houston traffic. Good road conditions from Houston to San Antonio last time I was that way. You might want to check for construction.
Although if you are interested in seeing the Gulf Coast and/or New Orleans you would want I 10 for that. Don't know if I'd want to park my HD just anywhere in the banana republic of New Orleans though.

Oh, and after you're settled in San Antonio you gotta go over to the Leaky / Vanderpool area and ride the "Three Twisted Sisters" in the Texas Hill Country. The best part of Texas IMO.
 
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I travel the secondary roads. It's where our country first got around and still do in many cases. Just pick a road and go. Hit the states welcome center or tourist center near state lines then choose the direction from there. But those are generally by interstates. I'll go a 100 miles out of my way to avoid major cities so I miss some of the regular tourist stuff. But I don't think there is such a thing as a bad road in Arkansas. Personally I'd avoid I10 and I35. But if you just need to see the Gulf then you are stuck. But I love our country's secondary roads.
 

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Second what Porky said - please please do not underestimate the heat of San Antonio are in mid July. It is something brutal. And if you're not used to it, it could provide for a bad experience. Head out early and wrap your riding day early to avoid it too much. Safe travels
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the great advice and feedback! Takeaways:

You have emphasized the HEAT. Got to plan around that. I have one of those soaking cloth things that claims to help you stay cool. Starting and finishing early is a great idea. Even though a heat stroke would suck at any time, I am challenged to think of a time that would suck more than the middle of a long ride, at speed. Scary thought. Porky, your description of finishing the ride with a visit to the hotel pool has me wishing for a swimming pool right now! With that visual in mind, I will be looking for nice hotels where a restaurant and swimming pool are on site. Maybe a nicer hotel will be safer for the motorcycle, too.

Hydration: Will carry water, gatorade, etc. Stop every 60-90 minutes and drink more. No soda. I do not have one of those hydro-pack thingys. They are very popular in my organization in general (not so much in my specific activity, but overall). However, I never really got into them.

Route: Arkansas seems like kind of the long way around, for San Antonio. Taking the southern route, Google says I-10 takes 14 hours, secondary roads 17. That's two or three days riding. At first I thought this could be a chance to see New Orleans, but this thread and conversations with others have caused me to rethink the wisdom of parking the bike in a hotel lot in that city. Also, seeing romantic New Orleans while traveling alone seems like a waste. Not so much joy in a perfect jambalaya or Croque Madame, a show or a music hall without my spouse. So, no visit to New Orleans this ride. The I-12 is basically a New Orleans bypass, staying north of Lake Pontchartrain and skipping New Orleans entirely. That's on the list, for the southern option.

Another possibility is to turn west at Birmingham and follow I-20. I came back from a few months out west on this road, about a thousand years ago (okay 18 years ago). This route would go across Louisiana through Shreveport and out towards Dallas, then secondary roads to skip DFW and find the 35 south through Austin and down to San Antonio. Maybe more scenic than the I-10, but still meaningfully more direct than the Arkansas option.

It looks like flexibility will be key. It's not like I have to be at work the following Monday morning. I will stop as often as needed, drink plenty of water, try to stay cool, and not ride tired.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Packing light, too. Most of the internet agrees that people take too much stuff. It's not moto-camping across Siberia. If I need another t-shirt, I'll buy one. Same with socks and maps and all that. Trying not to overthink this.

One thing got added to the list because of this thread: Definitely bringing a bathing suit for that hotel pool!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Got an alarm and a cover, too. Just a light cover to hide the bike. It's cheap and generic and looks it. No one with pride of ownership in their fancy expensive motorcycle would use such a thing - or at least, I hope that's what thieves will think.

Already had an alarm, but lost the key many years and several moves ago. Clearly hopeless. Bought a new alarm yesterday. Spent $80. Key to the old one turned up today. :rolleyes:

Gear will be light - Klim textile pants with light D3O, and a Klim Marrakesh jacket. This item is sort of like mesh, but stretchy and more comfortable. It has light D3O, too. Not sure which boots. The TCX boots are lightweight and good for the heat. The Road Stars are super robust, but heavy and hot. The usual Shoei lid and Dainese MIG2 gloves will complete the set. No backup gloves. No thermal layer!
 

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Rain gear?
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thinking about rain gear. Thing is, the rain gear is hot. The air will be hot. A short downpour would be a blessing. A long downpour would be miserable without the rain gear.

The rain gear wants the waterproof gloves, too. Probably should just carry that stuff. It weighs almost nothing.

...

...

Okie dokie. The right hand saddlebag now contains one bike cover, one bike lock, one all-important USB cable, the tire inflationator, and rain gear.

That leaves two whole saddlebags for a laptop and some underwear. And a bathing suit. :grin:
 

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You know a storm just came in off the Gulf, right? :surprise: Rain gear.... good. :wink2:
Happy Trails too You

And

Welcome To Texas
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thank you, SemiFast! TEXAS! Woo hoo!

So nice of you to welcome us!

Every interaction we have had with the good people of Texas has been positive. We even visited for a few days and were constantly impressed with the gracious manner of the people there. We are lucky to have the opportunity to move to TEXAS!

We are also lucky that we move later this week. I will depart Thursday, and try to arrive around Saturday. The storm should be dissipated and dumping rain on Cleveland by that time.

Still bringing the rain gear...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Okie dokie! We made it to Jackson Mississippi, yesterday. Met with the house inspector guy at 9, signed out of the rental around 9:30, and resolved small logistics with a few trips back and forth between the hotel room and the now empty house. Listened to the last couple of chapters of The Killer Angels, by Michael Shaara. Loved this book.

I left Huntsville first. Wife went to the barn to say goodbye to the ladies, I went straight to Birmingham. Left around 10:40. Storms were due in from the west around noon, so it made sense to get southward before then. The drive was mostly uneventful and fun. There was some construction, with grooved pavement. The big Harley doesn't even register grooved pavement. There was a brief jam up due to some tractors cutting grass alongside the highway, but otherwise smooth sailing. Listened to The Whole Truth by David Baldacci. It is disappointingly ludicrous and absurd, but entertaining enough for the ride (maybe).

Got past Birmingham before lunch, then slogged along the 20 until Jacksonville. Started getting pretty tired only 180 miles into the trip, then remembered the advice on this forum and stopped to hydrate. 32 ounces of Gatorade fixed me right up. Kept doing that every hour or so and felt great.

Somewhere along the 20 there was a BMW R1200GSA on the median, parked in shade. The rider was leaning on the bike, talking on the phone. I pulled over to check. He gave a big thumbs up, so I waved and kept on moving.

Boo Boo decided she wanted to stay with me, today, much to my delight. We agreed to stop in Jackson, Mississippi. I got in around 5pm, shortly after she did. By then the sun was starting to drop into the west, right in front of my eyes. Definitely time to stop.

We stayed at the Westin, which is comfortable, pet friendly, and has good food. The valet guys let me park the bike at the valet station, right next to all the Porches and other exotics that are watched all night. Very safe!

We had a super delicious dinner together. I had the redfish, which came served atop a bed of avocado and huge chunks of lobster. I was amazed. It was delicious. A kale salad polished off my appetite. Boo Boo had a salad and the fried chicken livers. These came with pickled watermelon rinds. I tried one of those. It was very good! It was sweet and had hints of clove. Never seen pickled watermelon rinds before.

We all slept great. I got up around 6, and will hit the road in a few minutes. Boo Boo is talking about heading south to the I-10 with the land yacht. She can get to the new house in about 9 hours. I will stick with the I-20. No way I can comfortably do 9 hours on the bike, so today's goal is the outskirts of Dallas. Would like to stop earlier in the afternoon, this time.

It has been a very nice trip so far!
 

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Be safe, keep the rubber side down and check in when you stop.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Made it to the new house. Rode 982 miles; 350 the first day, 632 the second day. Had planned on taking one more day, but drank one of those Starbucks double shot espresso things at 4:45 pm. Stopped often, rested and drank what must have been several gallons of Gatorade. Just didn’t want to stop.

Had an absolutely lovely ride. No close calls, no near misses. The bike was perfect. Stopped on day one to check a GS by the side of the road. Stopped today to check on a Honda having trouble. Both riders okay. The HD just soldiered on, through road construction and grooved pavement and uneven lanes and shifting lanes and darkness and all the stuff.

It was amazing to see so many places. Louisiana was especially interesting. Saw some real bayou and those ropy, droopy trees. Then the sky got real big just over the Texas state line. The vistas were sometimes breathtaking. Rolling green grass and forests out to an impossibly distant horizon. The USA is such a lovey country. And it’s HUGE!!

This ride was to our new house. We bought it sight unseen. I am happy to report that it is very nice!
 

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Heck, I've seen the homes I've bought and was sorry I did in a couple of cases. So you are darn lucky if you still like it after a year.It takes awhile for the true nature of the neighborhood to come out. So I do hope you continue to be happy. You put in some long days getting here. I usually average 250 to 350 but can still do 500 to 600 if needed but I sure don't like to do that much. Glad you made it here safe too. Now for that long rest to make up for it.:grin:
 
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Glad you made it safe and sound. You bought a house sight unseen? Like off the internet? Did you have family/friends in the area that took a look for you?

I expect you will be sleeping late after a 600+ mile ride :)
 
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Well, I've been tied up in my world and I'm late to this thread. I live in Mississippi and would have given you some tips, but it seems that you had a good time with the route you took. I would have absolutely steered you away from Jackson, but you had a good experience, so it just goes to show that one man's poison is another man's meat.

And having lived in Texas for about 17 years, I would have steered you away from the interstates and Dallas. Texas two-lanes are great for traveling, but driving on Texas interstates is a contact sport. That said, you enjoyed your ride and got to your destination safely, so that's what counts.

You will love riding in the Hill Country of Texas. Living in the San Antonio area will put you within reach of lots of activities and great roads.

But I'm with Critter: you bought a house sight unseen? We need to talk...
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
UncleBo, you are absolutely right about the highways. I turned off I-20 about 80 or 100 miles short of Dallas and had near deserted two lane roads for a few hours. Got spoiled. Beautiful views and peaceful, easy travel. Hit a toll highway north of Austin with an 80 mph speed limit and whoa!

Of course this happened right when it got dark. I don’t like riding (or driving) that fast so it was the right lane at 75 for me. Some of those drivers were practically flying.

By 9:30 pm I dropped onto the 35, and things got worse. Traffic picked up, speeds stayed high, and there was road work. Uneven and shifting lanes, at 70 mph, in the dark. No choice but to relax, apply appropriate control inputs, and trust the bike. This worked fine. The high speed roads in the dark were the only parts of the ride that were not much fun. Just had to ride safe and trust the machine.

It is not normal for me to ride after early evening on a Friday or Saturday due to all the drunks. But I made an exception and assumed some additional risk because home was so close by.

As for buying sight unseen, well, we were not local to San Antonio until yesterday. We came out for a few days and found a realtor. Looked at a bunch of houses but did not get one. So when this one came up and looked good, we bought it. The agent checked it out and took video, and we had it inspected. We had the inside painted before we even got here. Everything looks great. The house is wonderful. Many small details and upgrades have been done very well. Seems the previous owner held nothing back with taking care of the place. Even the cats really like it.

It’s our first house. This is fun!
 

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Great Tex-Mex and bbq in San Antonio. My family is from there even though I have never lived there. I still have relatives there.
 
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