November, is that you?!

I have a daily “Sleepy Puppy” calendar that Dwayne bought me when I was sick last winter. He had went to Walmart to get me some medicine and surprised me with the calendar because he knows all about my love of puppies and he knew it would cheer me up. It may be one of the best gifts anyone has ever given me, as I look forward every morning to tearing off yesterdays puppy to reveal today’s new, adorable puppy (or puppies), and it always starts my mornings off with an “Awwwwh!” And a smile ūüôā

Anyways, Tuesday morning I tore off the weekend puppy, and the new puppy notified me that the date was November 1st. It seemed impossible that it was already the first of November, but even more surprising was the fact that it was¬†to be 85 degrees outside later, and I was getting ready to head out on an overnight motorcycle trip down to Kentucky. November in Indiana is rarely this warm, and I’ve usually had to accept the fact that my riding season has come mostly to an end by this point. Mother Nature is being quite generous, and I intend to take advantage of her generosity for as long as she will allow it.

We scheduled to leave work a couple of hours early Monday night/Tuesday morning so that we could get in bed at 4am instead of 6am so we would be able to get an earlier start without sacrificing sleep. We got up at 10am and had breakfast and coffee while Dwayne drew us up some maps and I made sure our bags were packed. I have gotten into the habit of just permanently leaving a toiletry bag packed at all times since we travel so often and it is just easier that way.

We finally got on the road about noon, and we opted to take the longer route to avoid 75% of the interstate we would have otherwise had to travel. Once we got across the bridge from Madison, Indiana into Milton, Kentucky, we made our way along the Ohio River to Carrolton where we deviated from our usual route a bit to hit some roads we hadn’t been on before. The roads were curvy and fun, and the new scenery was a welcome change.

Eventually we did have to hit the interstate for a bit to get down to Richmond, Kentucky where we were staying for the night. Once we made it there, we checked into our hotel room and dropped off some of our gear and grabbed a quick lunch at Culver’s. We then hit the interstate a little further South to Berea where we jumped back on the back roads.

We spent the next couple of hours playing on¬†some beautiful, curvy roads. One of the roads was scenic hwy 89, which started off as¬†a narrow, barely more than one lane road and had a neat one lane wooden bridge on it. I would have loved to have stopped for a photo here, but there was a car not far behind us and we did not want to be in their way, or have them in front of us. Eventually it did turn into a 2-lane with a center line, but it was curvy and an absolute blast the entire way. About 2/3 of the way to Irvine we caught up to a guy on a Harley who was out enjoying the weather as well. Luckily, he wasn’t the usual Harley rider, and he actually seemed to enjoy attacking the curves and didn’t hold us up too much.

Once we made it to Irvine, the sun was starting to set, so we hit hwy 52 heading back West to Richmond. After we got back and got cleaned up, we walked across the road to Buffalo Wild Wings so we could watch Game 6 of the World Series and eat some dinner, and afterwards we called it a night.

We woke up at 7:30 and had breakfast at the hotel before loading up the bikes and hitting the road. It was a beautiful 62 degrees and sunny when we left the hotel. We accidentally made a wrong turn on our way out of town, but we just rolled with it and took a slightly longer, but much more fun route on some county roads. The temperature fluctuated between 56 and 67 degrees as the road dipped in and out of valleys, but it felt perfect in the warm sunshine.

Once our detour met back up with our intended route, we went through Irvine again and then through Ravenna where we followed the Kentucky River along highway 1571 until it met back up with highway 52, which we took for a couple of miles until we came to highway 1036. This is one of the things that I find funny about Kentucky; Highway 1036 starts out as nothing more than a narrow road with no center line, which would be considered a county road or rural route road in most states, and a few miles in the pavement ends entirely and the gravel begins. This was a pleasant surprise, as I am always ready to leave the pavement behind any chance we get on the ever capable Tigers.

The scenery was beautiful, and we stopped a couple of times to snap some pictures. I did have one near-miss when my front tire washed out a bit and caused me to get a short case of the wobbles, which was the first time that has happened to me so far. Luckily I got her lined out quickly, though it took me a bit longer to get my heart slowed back into a normal rythym!

Eventually we ran into highway 11 which we followed North past the Natural Bridge State Park. This is a beautiful, very fun stretch of curvy road, which we had ridden previously a few years ago. It ends up running into the Bert T Combs Mountain Parkway, which we hopped on for about 8 miles to the town of Pine Ridge where we exited to find highway 715, otherwise known as Sky Bridge Road.

This road runs up through the Red River Gorge area and has some beautiful natural attractions to see. We¬†took the gravel Chimney Top Rock Road detour which is about a 7 mile trip there and back to the Chimney Top Rock Lookout. This was one of the best gravel roads I’ve been on, as it wasn’t thick gravel, it was nice and hard packed, and you could easily ride 30-35mph no problem, though we kept it to 20-25 due to the dry conditions making it a bit dusty at higher speeds. Not so bad when we could ride side by side, but I didn’t really want to be covered in Dwayne’s dust when I had to fall in behind him for passing cars or blind corners, lol!

After we made the hike to the lookout and back and rode back to the main road, we ventured a little further until we came to the road that goes out to the Sky Bridge. We hiked out to see that and decided to do the whole loop so we could see it from above and below, which in hiking clothes and boots would have been a piece of cake, but in Sidi Adventure boots and full leathers was a bit warm and tiring when we had to climb back up the hills and stairs to get to the bikes! I work out 5 days a week and even I was out of breathe and needed a break when we got to the top!

From there we continued on 715 until it met with highway 77, which we took North. It was another beautiful, fun, curvy road that we very much enjoyed. We then took a few different roads up and across the dam at Cave Run Lake, and then we hopped on I-64 a short distance over to Mount Sterling where we stopped for lunch at Cracker Barrel to feed our growling tummy’s and rest for a bit before starting our journey home.

Once our bellies and the Tigers gas tanks were full, we started snaking our way back towards the house. We mapped out a route almost entirely of back roads so that we could avoid the interstate and main highways and see new things, and we took our time enjoying the stunning old homes and farms that are so abundant in this part of Kentucky. That is always one of my favorite parts of riding in that area, because no matter where you go there are always incredibly beautiful old properties that have been well kept over the years.

Eventually the Tigers found their way back into the garage at home, and yet another wonderful adventure came to an end. Luckily, the weather is still looking optimistic for next week. No 80 degrees in the forecast, but¬†right around 70 and sunny, so now the only question is, “Where do we go next?!”

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