Thursday, August 28, 2008

Destination: CSS Neuse

Saturday August 16, 2008

With mostly cloudy and a 40% chance of precipitation in the forecast it didn't appear that it was to be such a good day for a road trip.  But today is special since it is our 24th wedding anniversary.

By 10:00 the sun peeks out and we see stretches of that Carolina blue overhead.  We mount up and head to Country Biscuit for a much anticipated but delayed breakfast. In the parking lot a couple from out of town asks: "Is the breakfast any good here?"  Well the Country Biscuit is owned and operated by the Ipock's. I grew up with Jeff who manages the restaurant and I have enjoyed every meal I ever had from there for the past, soon to be, 30 years.  So naturally my reply was "You won't be disappointed."  Most of the time when someone from this area refers to out of town we mean from farther up North.  Debbie and I wondered if they had ever had cheese biscuits or hush puppies or grits.  "I'm really not that hungry so let me have just one grit."  Just kidding!  With our hunger satisfied we discuss where to head next.

We decide to head over to New Bern Harley Davidson and and pick out some anniversary gifts to ourselves. Good luck was in the cards and I picked up a great leather jacket for half off while Debbie acquired a light weight jacket and shirt.  We figured these items will come in handy for our mountain trip in a few weeks.

We decide to head over to Hollywood Video and return the movies we rented and see what was on the newly released list.

It was about 12:00, we were done with our errands and with no destination in mind. Debbie thought of the CSS Neuse in Kinston.  One location has a full sized model while the other location has the actual remnants of the CSS Neuse on display.  The Confederate States Ship Neuse was one of the early iron clad gunboats utilized during the Civil War.  Sounds good to me so off we go to Kinston via the bypass route on highway 70.

DSCF8381 The site which contains the model was closed so we missed the interior tour.  Our son says it's a pretty cool tour.  Nonetheless the outside is most impressive and much larger than we envisioned.
We head over to the CSS Neuse historic site.  Looks like there is quite a bit to see in this fairly large park.

A fellow two wheeler had a modified Triumph Tiger 750.

A reenactment was in progress on the grounds.

Here are the actual remains of the CSS Neuse.
DSCF8407 If you wander down to the river you see this gigantic concrete shelter.  The CSS Neuse was located here at one time but the flooding caused by hurricane Floyd caused the relocation to the current site.


I wasn't expecting this type of view on this outing but it's a definite plus.

We took a leisurely ride back to New Bern on Highway 55 through Fort Barnwell,Perfection and Jasper.  A fairly short run of about 80 miles but we did run some errands and saved gas.

For a day that we thought would be a bad ride day this one turned out quite well.

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Mountains of North Carolina


All the plans are complete: we are going to Maggie Valley in late September.  Our trip will coincide with the big rally but we don't intend to spend much time at the event.
But we do plan to ride to Gatlinburg via the Smoky Mountain Park, try our hand at the Tail of the Dragon and visit the Wheels Through Time Museum.
Looks like there may be eight of us on this trip. 
image Mike K is one of the guys in our extended riding family.  The following pictures are from a recent ride on the Dragon.  I believe his Yamaha Warrior has a better lean angle than the Ultra.
You would think he had more sense than to try to clean his side walls like this.

Check out more of Mike's pictures at




How About Lowland, NC?


We hadn't planned on riding but it seemed like a good idea early Saturday morning.  We fixed BLT's for breakfast with some really fresh ripe tomatoes.  Probably one of the best BLT's I have had in years.

 ride map

I don't believe we have ever been to Lowland, NC proper but we had it planned for today.  I set the route up for the GPS and it came up to 82 miles round trip. 

Now that's 82 miles through some very rural country.  Lowland is only 3 feet above sea level so I guess the name says a lot.

So off we go to DC or Down in the County, Pamlico County, NC to be precise, destination Lowland and other points east. 

We are to ride through places like Olympia, Alliance, Maribel, Hobucken, Aurora and Cayton.

The weather forecast is for mid 90's with the normal high humidity.  Even higher humidity since we were to be at the shore of the Pamlico River in less than an hour.



Just east of Bayboro we stopped for a few pictures creek side.




We weren't the only ones enjoying the view.

If you happen to be in Lowland and need to mail a letter just run over to the local post office.  It's right on the main road, you can't miss it.

Just past Lowland, and at the end of Fulford Point Road, we stop to take in the scenery along the banks of Goose Creek and the Pamlico River.


Looking north toward the Pamlico River.

One of the best things about the area is the total lack of traffic once you run north and east of Bayboro.

We didn't pack water or food for this short trip so we decided to stop at the Hobucken Marina which is located just off Jones Bay.

NC128 and Lowland Road.
The view from the high rise bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway is always a pleasant surprise.  The Coast Guard Station is to the left.

And yes, we have plenty of wide open spaces left.

On through Aurora, NC and on to the Tunstall Swamp road.  This place reminded me of what the dinosaurs might have seen.

A little closer to home and we begin to see signs of civilization.

We had a great leisurely ride and boy did it warm up quickly.  In a few places we stopped for pictures the 96 inch motor reminded us that it was summer time in Eastern NC.  I can verify that the saddle shields do a good job of keeping the heat away from the rider but the humidity made it almost unbearable at stops.  I've lived here all my life and believe me when I say you don't get used to it, you just learn to tolerate it. 

Sunny and 95 for the day with average humidity at 80%