Sand Mountain Alabama Motorcycle Ride

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Cholo

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Most of my riding this year has been in the extreme NW corner of Georgia and NE Alabama. It's some beautiful country made up of the southernmost Appalachian Mountains as they taper down, rolling ridges and farmland. We average over 55" of rain per year (over 17" above normal so far this year) making this one of the greenest areas of the country. My day trips run anywhere from 175-325 (max) leisurely miles with multiple stops. Most lately have include 80-110 miles on top of Sand Mountain, Alabama.

The bike for Saturday's ride:



Sand Mountain Alabama

The running joke was if you were from Sand Mountain you first discovered shoes when you moved off it. I've always said that SM is 40+ years behind the rest of the country, far more good than bad.

SM is a plateau maybe 12 +/- miles wide. You'll see old tractors and farm trucks rusting right where they were left decades ago. You'll see the old white frame houses now overgrown with brush. There was even a graveyard of old VW Beatles that never changed for years and years, gone now. I've always gotten the feeling that I was stepping back in time, a better time for the most part. Ponds are everywhere, but there are more churches than ponds with new ones going up, several of them. You're not going to be in a hurry up here. An old man in a PU will slow you down every time. I think you get the idea that I think it's a really cool place, all by itself up there.

I remember in about '05 I took a GF from Colombia, South America on a motorcycle ride on the Mtn. I tried my best to explain to her about the folks living up here. I remember telling her that I could never remember seeing a person of color. That's not to say that there weren't any.

Yesterday I was riding southward in an elongated figure 8 with an extra loop at the bottom of the 8. On a stretch of road I've never been on were about 10 restored tractors that looked brand new. John Deere, Massey and International Harvester Farmall tractors all looking like they were on a dealer's lot in 1949. I knew I'd have to stop there on my way back north in a couple of hours.

There are only a handful of towns up here, most of them unincorporated or with a single traffic light. Rainsville is the largest I cut thru, a tornado magnet if there ever was one. I recall 3 tornadoes hitting it since '97.

AL has been slow to open with the WooFloo and all so I stopped at a fast food joint in Rainsville for a large coffee to take the chill off the 90* day :) Inside was a sight--about 7 Hispanics who looked like they might have been from Guatemala. Time marches on. There was the cutest little girl about 4 years old who kept smiling sheepishly at me while we played peek-a-boo. She would not smile when I took her pic on my phone. I hope she's never taught to hate.

;

I started working my way here and there back to the tractors. There was a big snake on the side of the road in a shadow that I thought it might have been hit by a car. I turned around and it was doing just fine, a beautiful corn snake maybe 5' long...with an attitude. He did not want to get out of the road! I finally found a stick big enough to pick him up, get some pics and video while cars drove around me, and put him in the brush. I left when it had disappeared away from the road.





;

I had to park the bike on a narrow driveway that led up to a house somewhere in the woods not too far away. I love old tractors more than I love old cars. These were simply immaculate! I no sooner started taking a few pics when a man in a PU pulled around me in the drive I was partially blocking. He said Hi and introduced himself and said he didn't mind me stopping to take pics at all. He was just happy to talk about these old work horses. He asked where I was from and then asked if I knew this family. Yup. How about this one? Yup, Mike and Patty lived 2 doors down from me in the 80's and my daughters were friends with their daughters. He told me Mike's dying from brain cancer :( I'm over 50 miles of country roads away in another state and I get the news. It's a small world.

I think the oldest tractor was a '47 and the newest a '53. Then he started about 5 of them! They started faster than a new one and just purred without a shake, smooth as a sewing machine. Those old diesel's sound so amazing! He said that he did convert them all to 12 volt. I even got the history about where he found them. I believe it was the gray Massey that he'd bought from the original owner. He seemed the most proud of that one, even though it was homely compared to the others. The gauges in these tractors looked brand new, including the glass! Every one of them was in perfect working order and could have been put to use.

I told him how much my 3 year old grandson loves John Deere tractors and he said to bring him up and he'll take him for a ride, just stop by or call first and handed me a business card. Then he invited me in for dinner. Gotta love country folks. When I mentioned that I'd be concerned about someone stealing the tractors he said that he'd lived there all his life and never locked the barn or his house. He then gave me 2 of his tractor color hats for my grandson. What a fine gentleman!















I hear people saying how they'd like to move to another state or part of the country. I can't say that. There's no place I'd rather be than right where I'm at. I like the scenery, the people, the mild winters, and the conservative politics. I'm already looking forward to my next ride on Sand Mountain. I like feeling like it's 1970 again. It's kinda pretty up there, too.
 

Rick Courtright

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Hi,

Those old tractors always catch my eye. The amount of work that goes into some of them is phenomenal. A couple of the local car shows usually have a tractor section, too, and there are often more folks looking at the tractors than the cars!

It was cancelled this year cuz of the Covid problem, but normally every year in the Spring there is a huge tractor show at the Tulare International Agri-Center (about 2 1/2 hrs south of Wolfsong) so you might want to file this website for future news in case you can sneak out here to see more of the things you missed on your last trip, Ken. https://exhpo.com/usa/california-antique-farm-equipment-show/

It's worth a day!

Rick C
 

Bull Barrel

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Feb 22, 2008
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Great story and pics!

The reason old pickups hold you up is because a parade of pirates on Harleys is in front of the truck!

I'll have to get over that way someday as my son lives in NW AL.
 

Gator89

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I lived in Albertville, AL from fall 1993 to winter 1996. Lots of chicken houses and processing plants in the region.

Had a lot of fun telling folks the winter Olympics were held there in 1992.
 

daveg.inkc

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Thank you for sharing. Good looking H-D! Nothing cooler than old, restored tractors.
 

Cholo

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Those tractors were nothing short of amazing in how absolutely perfect they were! I love the old cars as well, but I get to see them all the time. I've never seen a collection of old tractors in this condition in my life. When he began starting them up I couldn't help but smile. The man, Ricky, was enjoying me enjoying them :)

Thanks for the link, Rick. It would be fun, but too bad the WooFloo canceled the event for this year.
 

Cordwood

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Jul 19, 2014
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Cholo, I grew up in Trenton, Georgia. My grandfather owned a farm on Sand Mountain and some of my best memories are from my summers spent with my grandparents.
It was a great place to grow up in.
Butch
 

Big Old Boy

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Sounds like a great ride, and I also love the old iron I sat my butt on a Ferguson 35 just like that for many hours.
 

turd

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Cholo: I don't know you, but we all pretty much live in the best place we could if we just look around and acknowledge it. I've always thought the midwest was best, but I see the same things in the man that restored those tractors that I see everyday here in South Dakota. My dad (now 93) always said he didn't mind paying taxes because they funded the best place to live on earth. I have lived long enough now (68 YO) to agree completely.

Looks like a fun ride, I wish sometimes I still had my bike........
 

Rook

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I used to live in Jasper, TN and worked at TVA's Widow's Creek Steam Plant near Stevenson, AL which was down on the Tennessee River side of Sand Mountain. I used to drive over Sand Mountain quiet often back then.

I would buy a ticket to watch the rioters coming to Sand Mountain to loot. That would be something to see. :lol: :lol:
 

6GUNSONLY

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Nov 30, 2004
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I was over that way a couple of weekends ago. It is a nice area. About 2 hours east of me.
 

Muley Gil

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Oct 27, 2004
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Used to go up there years ago. Little towns like Skirum and Geraldine. Trade days was fun too.
 

LuckenbachTexas

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My people are from all over the Sand Mountain area, Rossers and Hunts. I spent 20 years in the military, I’m stuck in Texas because of grandkids, and I still get comments from the peanut gallery of neighbors because I’m barefooted every day. And, every family photo from holidays and gatherings past I am barefooted. Its 797 miles from my door to our camp and I do it straight on a frequent basis.
 

gunzo

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Sep 8, 2010
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Hey Cholo,
If you really enjoy old tractors & had ever entertained looking around he Ohio river area E. of Cinci. The small town of Georgetown Oh. has a show every August that is one of the bigger ones in the east. I've been a few times & it never disappoints.

http://www.ovams.com

Their facebook page offers more that the site I listed.
 

Number9

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Rook said:
I used to live in Jasper, TN and worked at TVA's Widow's Creek Steam Plant near Stevenson, AL which was down on the Tennessee River side of Sand Mountain. I used to drive over Sand Mountain quiet often back then.

I would buy a ticket to watch the rioters coming to Sand Mountain to loot. That would be something to see. :lol: :lol:

I used to live in Jasper, TN(9yrs) and worked at Bellefonte NP in Holywood, AL.
 

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