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Old 01-01-2009, 09:00 PM   #1
vwone OP
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The Blue Ridge Parkway from bottom to top!

What a year of riding it has been. I experienced some great things this year on two wheels. I thought I would share another ride with all of you.

I met my friend Steve, who rides a BMW R1150R, a few months ago. He and I have been riding together here in the Southeast. He has a few thousand more miles under his belt than I do, and since I have only been riding for a couple of years, I learn a lot from Steve. Steve and I had been talking about taking a trip together, but families and jobs had kept that to just talk - until recently.

It ended up that we both had a 4 day window to knock out some miles. I had been wanting to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway from one end to the other for a long time. After reading about others doing it, Steve and I decided that this would be a good time to try it. Other than a setting a date to depart, and knowing that our goal was to ride the entire BRP, we had no real plans or itinerary.

On a Wednesday evening in August, we hit the road!

Wednesday: After work, Steve and I met up. We decided that going through Lake Lure, NC would be a nice way to get to Asheville for the night. With the temperature around 98F, our plan was to not stop riding, so we could stay as cool as possible. An hour or so later, we were in Lake Lure. As we were riding in, there was the smell of smoke in the air and we could see a forest fire above us. It was strange going through Lake Lure that evening. Normally the place is packed with tourist, but we were lucky to catch the town on an off evening. As we were riding through, we saw a helicopter flying at eye level going up the river to collect water to dump on the fire. I must say that is quite a sight!

Now if you are heading north to Asheville from Lake Lure, you will find the road has several switch backs as you descend off the mountain. Well, this is where the F800st shines! That bike loves roads like this, so of course I took off to play a little. I downshifted into second gear and opened it up. As I entered the first turn, the bike really felt planted and sailed right through it. As the instrument needles climbed the next short straight was over and before I knew it, I was taking full advantage of the incredible Brembo brakes! Looking through the turn, a slight push on the left handle bar and the bike laid over with no effort at all. Again the needles climbed as if they were dancing. Using the low end torque to pull me through the turn, the engine howled as if it was screaming! I could feel the front tire come off the ground for a second as the bike became upright. At that point the trees started to become a blur, and I almost forgot that I was on a bike. It was as if the road and I were having a conversation, and my communication tool was the bike beneath me. The road seemed to give me a list of challenges and I gave examples of ways to over come them. Before I knew it, I arrived at the bottom of the mountain. The f800st is very nimble and makes roads like this an absolute blast to ride!

So, after a great evening of riding, we landed in Asheville for the night. Thursday, the second day: This is the first pic of the trip, Thursday morning with the bikes loaded up and ready for the road.



As we left Ashevillle, the temp was 71F and we took Hwy 74 to Cherokee, NC. The ride was great, it was cool and traffic was light.



Welcome to Cherokee! This is the main road. As you can see, gas was 3.99 a gallon. There was not too much going on that Thursday morning.



This is a shot I took on the way out of town, heading for the southern entrance to the parkway.



Finally! The beginning of the parkway!



Just to give you the GPS view of the Blue Ridge Parkway, it looks a little bent up.



Well just a few miles into the Parkway and we hit a wall of fog. The temperature had dropped and we could hardly see ahead of us. We stopped to take a breather and put on some liners. This is a pic just to give an idea of what we were up against.



Here is the f800st with some riders in the back headed south. They had warned us of what was ahead, as they had been in the fog for a couple hours.



The fog had let up and here is a shot of what we were looking at for a few miles. It was hard to believe that this was mid summer and we were in a total fog in 62F weather.



Still in the fog, here is a shot of the Steve with his R1150R.



Not that we could see anything, but here are the bikes at the highest point of the Parkway. We were hoping as we started to go down in elevation that we would drop out of the clouds. We were still having a blast! Our bikes were running flawlessly and our gear was doing a great job. We were also running into riders here and there, everyone was nice and seemed to be a little extra careful that morning.



Just a close up of the bikes.



Finally at 11am, we were getting clear of the fog and the views started to show up. The temps had risen a little, the electric grips were off, and it was nice to take in the views.



The bikes taking a little rest.



More Soon!

AceRph screwed with this post 01-01-2009 at 10:32 PM Reason: removed disrupting Microsoft markup.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:13 PM   #2
GB
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BRP heaven!

but when the fog rolls in.... you kinda need a white cane!! DAMHIK

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Old 01-01-2009, 09:15 PM   #3
frijole
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Nice pics. Always enjoy riding the BRP.
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:16 PM   #4
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hmm... this thread seems to be broken.. let me investigate further..
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Old 01-01-2009, 09:34 PM   #5
Fireman1000
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I've ridden the BRP several times, but only from Brevard south to Cherokee. I'd like to go to the end sometime. It's really a beautiful road.
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Old 01-01-2009, 10:34 PM   #6
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Dude, cool ride.

Watch the cut 'n paste from your software - the HTML code gets wonky.
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:12 PM   #7
vwone OP
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Lets see here, where did I stop? Oh yes, half way through the second day!


This was the view for the rest of the day! The roads stayed clear and it was sunny. The great thing about the southern portion of the parkway is the typically cooler temperature. I do not think we saw temps above 75F that day. Right after this pic, we stopped in Asheville, NC for some great barbeque.

Right after crossing into VA, we pulled over just to take a breather. This is the view I had as I was laying on the ground.





These are a couple shots of the bikes from the ground. It was nice not having a schedule; we had no reservations and no particular time to be anywhere. That allowed us to stop and go as we pleased. I normally travel alone, and I would never stop to just to take in the air. This was a nice, much-needed stop.




I think this was the last pic of the day. We found a hotel in Galax, VA where we stayed the night and had a great country dinner.




more soon!
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Old 01-03-2009, 10:25 PM   #8
vwone OP
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Friday, Day 3:
So after going through a Friday morning road block with Virginia’s Finest, we were on the parkway again. It was nice to breathe the morning air and to be back in the saddle.

Here is the first view we came to Friday morning; it was a great place to stop.




Of course, a couple more pics of the bikes.








This was what was ahead, and it was a sign of what was to come.



A lot happened between the last shot and this one. Once getting around Roanoke, VA, we found a sport touring dream! There were some great sweepers north of Roanoke, and we took full advantage of them…which explains the reason for no pics. It was some of the best riding I have done on the F800st! Here are a couple of pics as we were getting close to the end of the parkway.





Since there is a pic here of the R1150R, I thought I would mention how much I like this bike! Steve and I had traded bikes earlier in the day, and I got to spend some serious seat time on the R1150R. This bike is completely opposite of my bike, so it took me a few minutes to get used to it. First thing I noticed was the seat, it is a wide supporting seat compared to the F800st seat. Second thing I noticed was the boxer engine; I own a R90/6 and I am a big fan of the boxers. The boxer engines have a pleasant vibration that I just really enjoy. As I was riding the R1150R, I really appreciated the torque from the engine. Riding in 5th gear on the parkway was a blast on this bike. There is enough power to break laws but the vibrations are very low and pleasing.

I was really enjoying riding that day! At one point, we were riding along a ridge that was mostly shaded and I got to enjoy some great views of the Shenandoah Valley. I was riding the R1150R and I remember looking down at the gauges and I noticing the chrome trim rings bursting with little bits of sunlight that was popping through the trees. The temps were perfect and the wind was nice and steady. As I looked up to the road again, I glanced to my left and looked down over the valley. What a beautiful view that was, it was as if I was flying. I wonder if this is what BMW has in mind when the came up with the phrase, “BMW the ultimate driving machine?” As I looked forward again, I gently pushed on the bar to enter a slight right turn, and the view was gone as fast as it appeared. For a couple of seconds it felt as if everything was perfect. A perfect day while riding a great bike with great views, this is what I hope to experience every time I ride.



The road!




More Soon!
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