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Terry H and Dave M's 2nd Grand Tour

Editorial note: This article was first published in April 2014

Terry's Story

I was looking at the weather forecast on Monday for the upcoming week and it appeared that Thursday was going to be an ideal day for motorcycle riding. So I contacted my previous Grand Tour riding partner – Devil Duc (Dave M) and asked if he would like to venture out on a 2nd tour. Having already seen the weather prediction himself he just asked where and what time we would meet. We agreed on a spot in Niceville for about 8 am. Well the morning came and off I went to meet Dave. The weather did not disappoint. The sky was a brilliant blue with not a trace of a cloud. The temp was in the low 50’s with a forecast high of about 70. Wind was very light out of the north predicted to change to a warmer southern breeze later in the day. So we met up and were on our way heading north about 8 am.

When I planned this 2nd tour I wanted to make sure that we visited towns that we did not use during our 1st tour. The 324 mile route included some contingency towns since there were 2 or 3 on the list that I was not quite sure if we would be able to find something there with a town name on it. We kind of learned that during our 1st tour last year. Just because it shows a name on a map doesn’t mean there is something there identifying it.

Our first stop was at the Mossy Head School on Hwy 90. From there we headed up 1087 and over to Hwy 2 where they are doing some road construction on the drainage ditches and have 1 lane closed for a mile or so. While we were waiting our turn we had a lively conversation with the flagman who was extremely jealous of our plans for the day compared to his plans for the day. He did recount their adventure of uncovering a really ticked off cottonmouth - this big around - looking to take a bite out of someone.

Once the “Follow Me” truck came for us we were off and made our 2nd stop at Caney Creek on Hwy 2.

From there we proceeded over to Darlington and then back south to Leonia.

From there we headed east on 185 then south on 81 to Hwy 160 which was going to be a new road for both of us. It was okay with a few turns and some small elevation changes. When we hit the river we headed north on River Road and grabbed another stop at New Hope.

So after taking advantage of all the Florida towns we could, we headed north on 81 into Alabama which changed over to Hwy 87. From here on I would be traveling on new roads for me. 1st up on the Alabama towns list was Samson. We by passed a Baptist Church on the edge of town since our last 4 stops were Baptist Churches. We figured that surely we could find another option so we could have some variety. By the time we hit the center of town we hadn’t seen anything so we decided to venture out of town a little ways and decided we had gone far enough and were going to turn around at the next driveway when lo and behold that happened to be the Samson Municipal Complex – Jackpot!

Off we went to our next target – the town of Lowery. It is one of those places that if you blink you will miss it. Well we couldn’t find a town sign or Community Center but we did find a Church that suited our purpose.

After taking our photo we headed off to our next stop – Opp. 1st thing we did was find some fuel and then headed off in search of a photo op – cheesy – I know. We found “downtown” Opp and in turn a perfect place to take our photo.

On our way out of town headed toward Andalusia we were once again stopped for some road construction. A Very helpful flagman suggested we would be sooo much happier going back through town and taking the bypass around town since they were putting down new blacktop and he was pretty sure we would not want any of that black tar splashing up on our bikes. How did he know we wouldn’t like that? So we found the bypass and headed up to Andalusia and then a short trek over to River Falls. We found the Post Office but there was some pretty heavy plant growth blocking the sign so we eased on down the road to find – you guessed it – another church. Take a look at the photo and you’ll see why we chose this angle.

Well it was getting to be about 12 noon and we had 10 of our 11 stops already covered. We were feeling pretty good about our ride especially with now warmer weather and still brilliant blue sky. Of course the last stop was on my list of uncertainty and could dictate the extra mileage we had built in to our plan. But being the hour it was we figured we would grab some lunch and see what’s what. Instead of backtracking to Andalusia, we improvised and headed over to Evergreen on Hwy 84 which was about 25 miles to the west. It was a really nice road especially the last 6 or 8 miles coming into town. We found a little Mexican restaurant and had some lunch. After regrouping we headed south on 31 in search of Appleton, AL. The road was pretty cool. We found our cut off and started looking for Appleton. We went well beyond where the town should have been and just about the time we figured we would need our back up – voila – the Appleton Volunteer Fire Department. So we snapped our last photo and started heading south about 1:30.

So our actual route for the tour would end up being about 270 miles. I would estimate that about half was on new roads but all of the miles were outstanding.

Overall a truly awesome day to be out riding.

S Samson, AL

A Andalusia, AL

N New Hope, FL

D Darlington, FL

O Opp, AL

L Leonia, FL

L Lowery, AL

A Appleton, AL

R River Falls, AL

M Mossy Head, FL

C Caney Creek, FL

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