Hi all. Back from 12 days of vacation. Of that, I was only able to ride over Memorial Day so here’s a brief ride report (and no, I didn’t want to do Rolling Thunder Storms again this year 🙂
Goal: Avoid the rains, get out of town.
Destination: Deal’s Gap (1,400 mile round trip)
Depart: 2pm Friday
Return: 6pm Sunday
I bagged up my clothes and chaps into a laundry bag and then into a plastic trash bag. It was tied up and mounted under my tailbag. Boris the Spider had been my tailgunner for a month or so and continued for this trip. I also used a tank bag which had my camera, cell, plugs, moto mags, maps and various other small items. I bought a couple of mini-locks for the tank bag and used cable ties to secure the bag. Nothing I would leave overnight but I could hit the bathroom at a rest stop or grab lunch without worrying that it’d take a walk.
I tried to pack my other helmet but there wasn’t a good place to put it so I left it behind. I grabbed my cable lock and a handful of rubber gloves. Ironically I forgot just about all of my other gloves so I stopped at Whitts in Manassas to pick up a pair of “waterproof/windproof” gloves.
For my riding gear, I had my boots and wet weather gear. My leather jacket was under the blue rain coat and I had the hood up and tied down. I also used my 5/8ths helmet and aviator goggles. I tried to find one of my scarves (red or blue) but Rita’d packed them away. The only thing she had was her purple scarf so I snagged it and tied it around my neck. I used it to cover my face below the goggles. Drizzle can be distracting 🙂
I was able to leave on time which was a first. Maybe because I set the departure time to 2pm.
It was more drizzly than rainy. I headed out to Rt 28 and then south on 29 until I got to North Carolina. Instead of going to Greensboro, I took a shortcut to 40W at Winston-Salem. I started looking for a motel but found them all full up. After the third or fourth one, I found out that there was a cup race and that I should try the other side of Hickory. I called my wife and had her checking 40W motels to find a room. Meanwhile I kept going. Finally on the other side of Hickory and two exits east of Morgontown I found a Red Roof Inn that had a room. I unpacked the bike and got set up.
I put a chair in front of the heater and put my wet clothes and boots in front of it. I put my gloves on top of the bathroom door and moved the door under the heat lamp to dry and sat down to read on of my moto mags. After a few minutes I checked the gloves and found they were steaming/smoking so I moved them back a few inches.
The next day I headed west on 40 and then south on 74 (I think) to Rt 28. 28 to 143 to 129 and I’m in town. Lots of bikes both on the way in and in town itself.
I headed west on 129. There was someone behind me on a bike but he was the only one. I’m a little uncomfortable when someone is riding behind me, I’m not sure why. In a few minutes we caught up with three “wheelchairs”; Goldwings that had training wheels (a device where you can back your bike onto this contraption that converts your bike to a trike in 5 minutes; I saw them at the bike show a month or so back). As they took corners, the opposite wheel would raise into the air a couple of inches.
When we hit the white bridge, I saw three sport bikes coming from the other side. The last guy wheelied and then we were at the tail of The Dragon.
After a few minutes of following the wheelchairs, I pulled off to the side and let them get a few minutes ahead of me. I was able to get a little better lean until I caught them again. They and the other bike pulled into the gas station where there were 150 or so other bikes. I kept going though.
I was able to ride most of the rest of the way without being slowed down by someone in front. A couple of times I moved to the right and waved the sportbikes to pass me. At several locations there were people sitting on the side of the road filming people coming over the hill or around the bend. There was a yellow Porche Boxter in front of me at one point with another car filming him; a regular motion picture type camera with mounting rails on the car. They tried to wave me by but I wasn’t interested in passing on a double yellow and curves. Eventually they pulled off and I was able to continue on.
At Fontana Dam, I pulled off and took some pictures of the bikes parked there. One of the guys took a few of me by my bike.
Oh yea, I probably kept it at 2nd gear the whole way and dragged right peg twice. I noticed that I was much more confident when making right turns than making a left, hence the right peg dragging and not the left.
When I got to the bottom of the run I was looking for Deal’s Gap Resort; basically I wanted a t-shirt and maybe a map of the run so I had good information. I never saw it and eventually stopped at a gas station. In the meantime I saw three ambulances, 4 cops and a pickup all with flashing lights and all heading back to The Dragon. Someone (or more) had probably gone over the edge.
I really enjoyed the ride on 129. An extended roller coaster ride without the safety harness 😉
I continued on heading towards Knoxville Tn. I was looking for Rt 40 and mistakenly turned onto 140 West. Since the difference was only a few minutes I just kept going and made a right on 40. I followed it up to 75 north. I was going to hit the Harley Dealer and pick up a light bulb; my right running light had gone out but I missed the exit. The next dealer was in Paintsville but I got there too late.
I have to say that the roads were great. Four lanes and at long stretches there wasn’t any traffic. It made for a nice ride.
I turned at London Ky and headed up the Davy Crockett Parkway; a toll road. In Hazard I got back on 80 and headed up to Louisa and eventually Huntington WV. Unfortunately again I couldn’t find a room. Rally Across America. I kept going until just west of Charleston (St. Alban I think) and they cancelled a room (9pm).
Sunday morning I headed out to go home. Somewhere by Beckley I encountered a smallish looking bike that had camo paint and Kanjii (or some Asian type script) on the side. I was very angly; like a stealth plane. In the Motorcyclist mag I had, I think it was one of the newer bikes in the 600cc range with Canadian tags. Anyway, we played tag until the rest area when I pulled off and we waved at each other.
Along the way I was passing a white family car with a couple of girls in the back (10 or 12 or maybe 10 and 12). They were jumping and waving at me as I went by so I stuck my thumb on my nose and waggled my fingers at them. Probably made their day 🙂
Once I hit 81N in Virginia, I knew I was back. Rude driving. People parked in the left lane. Weaving traffic. At the next stop I put my reflective vest back on in defense. I also noticed that my rear left turn signal was out as was my right front running light. Three failed lights. Must be the vibration.
I was going to hit 211 at 81 but there was a big backup at Harrisonburg so I pulled off and found 33E. I got on Skyline drive ($5 bucks) and headed down to 211. The ride down there was ok but there were two cars and a bike in front of me so we kept it slow.
I connected with 29N, made a right on 234 and headed home.
This is just the beginning of the ride report. I’ll flesh it out with more observations and anecdotes and post it to my ‘blog. I post the URL here when it’s ready.
Later (260 messages; jeeze you haven’t been busy, eh? 🙂