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Old 07-05-2014, 10:26 PM   #1
c1skout OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Western PA
Oddometer: 213
"Facere tempus ut veho"

Near as I can tell that means Make time to ride.

I'm a Pennsylvanian born and raised, and have forever enjoyed just riding around and looking at stuff. Cars, trucks, busses, motorcycles, to no place in particular. For me the fun is the surprise. I enjoy seeing a rusty Rambler sitting on its side just as wholly as a rapidly descending mountain stream cutting through a valley. Thinking about what treasures may be hidden behind the next log pile or over the next ridge is it's own type of intoxication, so I try to travel on roads where I can hope to be surprised more often than not. I understand the appeal of high strung engines but they have never been my preference. I'm drawn more to the heavy flywheel, double-clutching type of motive power. This helps explain my Royal Enfield.

I bought my Enfield from a dealer who was no longer selling them, he had kept it and used it himself for a few rides, so I bought it with just over 300 miles on the clock..... not even broken in. When it went over 15000 miles late last year I thought I'd celebrate that with a trip somewhere, and this spring I decided that since I'd never been there, somewhere would be Alabama.

Google maps showed 800 and some miles to the town I'd picked at random, so I knew this would take me a few days. I figured the first week of summer has the longest days so that would be when I'd go. I invited my wife along but she declined when I mentioned tenting. My brother-in-law said he would go if I wanted to leave a week later, as he already had vacation scheduled, so we started to plan.

D (my brother-in-law) thought that I should have a destination in mind other than "random town", and asked if there was anywhere in Alabama that I'd like to go? I'd like to see the Barber museum......and I am going to Alabama......OK, I'll take another day off work and we'll try to get there.
Around this time my Daddy-in-law (Jack) says what the heck, he'll come too. Now the planning starts in earnest. I have my wife pick me up some paper maps from the AAA, then with highlighter in hand I spend a couple evenings crawling around on the floor highlighting routes across 7 states. I see that we'll be sorta in the area so we may as well hit the dragon too.

With the time off scheduled and the planning completed I turn my attention to preparing my Enfield. Change the oil, adjust the chain, lube the cables, pack some extra tools and a few spares and the bike is ready. I do a dry run packing tent, bedroll, camp stool, etc. and after some adjustments declare myself ready, and I had a day and a half yet before time to leave.

Our plan was to leave on a Tuesday after I got home from work. I thought we could get a 3 hour head start and make it part ways through West Virginia before nightfall. When quitting time Tuesday finally got here my wife had supper ready, and we ate quickly while listening to a thunderstorm brewing outside. The rain finally broke through just after D headed up the driveway. It stopped pretty quickly though, so we all said our so-longs and we were on our way, Alabama bound!


c1skout screwed with this post 07-08-2014 at 06:13 PM Reason: spacing
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:57 AM   #2
c1skout OP
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Western PA
Oddometer: 213
We had traveled maybe 25 miles from home when the leaden clouds decided to begin to lighten their load. It started out light but got progressively heavier. Pulling a slight grade my bike started to sput-sput-sputter and my first thought was "when did I last get fuel?". I flipped to reserve and the sputtering became less frequent, then went away. I made a slight re-route to head for a gas station and we all pulled in and topped up. I thought it strange that I only needed about 1 gallon.

I went inside to avail myself of the facilities and when I returned outside I see my companions talking with a very wet, younger fellow who was holding a small plastic gas can. He said he'd been in some pretty heavy rain since Pittsburgh, and then started telling us about his troubles. He was riding an older Honda VLX from California to Baltimore to start a new job and had run out of cash and out of gas and was hoping for a handout. I went ahead and bought him a fill-up and told him "good luck, that should get you to Baltimore" Hopefully he wasn't just pullin' a fast one!

We continued south into Maryland, hit some detour before West Virginia and became a little crossed-up. After getting back on track it was starting to get dark, and we finally made Petersburg about 10pm. We got gas again and headed south on highway 28, towards Seneca Rocks. A few miles outside of town I spot a small brown campground sign and make the turn to follow it. Up up up we go, twisting and turning on a tight unmarked macadam road. I figured we were on the top of the mountain when the road finally flattened out, then when it started to pitch back downward I stopped and we had a little powwow. Seems as though none of us had seen the campground, so we decided to abort and head back towards Petersburg and one of the hotels we had passed.

At the first hotel we found an open office door, behind which was a counter that had a sign reading "try the bell, if nobody comes dial this number" on the house phone. So I try the bell..... and try again..... then the phone.... and the phone again..... then we gave up. There was another hotel up the road a bit, but they're closed. No bell or phone even. We decide to backtrack into Petersburg and ask at a convenience store for someplace to stay. A helpful employee directs us to The Hermitage in town. She says "the office will be closed, but they have a number you call to get in", I'm thinking this line sounds familiar but we're kind of short on options, so off we go to The Hermitage. We pull in the parking lot and by the time I pull off my helmet and walk to the door the manager was opening it up. She said she heard us pull up . 12am we finally get a room!








Day 1, Home to Petersburg WV
6 1/2 hours 159 miles

c1skout screwed with this post 07-08-2014 at 06:13 PM Reason: text
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:43 PM   #3
c1skout OP
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Western PA
Oddometer: 213
Next morning we were up at 6, had the bikes packed and were on the road by 7.



Down highway 28 we stopped at Seneca Rocks for a stretch and some pics.





It was smooth sailing through the beautiful countryside, Almost every town we rolled through had me wanting to stop for a bit and explore (there was one town with an older fellow walking down the sidewalk wearing a sundress and clutching a handbag that I'd just as soon remove from memory) we even got to watch a mature bald eagle being harassed by a couple of crows. The national radio observatory looked like a good spot for another time.
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Old 07-08-2014, 05:47 PM   #4
c1skout OP
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Western PA
Oddometer: 213
We ran back into rain just north of the Virginia line. My bike started sputtering again once the rain got heavy, then it finally shut off completely and I coasted off the road into a parking lot.

It fired right back up and idled fine. I was thinking I might be getting some water inside the points cover, but didn't want to open it up in the rain just to see. With the rain slowed down it would rev normally, so we just continued on our way. We were in rain all through Virginia, then after getting lost and finding our way again we stopped for fuel in Abingdon, that's where I noticed I'd sprung a leaky fork seal.


We travel on, out of the rain at last, and made our way to a Tennessee Waffle House for some health food. With our bellies filled we finally found a campground in Mooresburg. When we pulled up to the gate the owner told us that he had no spots, then when I was about to ask directions to any other places to stay he said "I do have one spot you could probably put your tent, follow me and see what you think" The sight was on a grade but had a level enough spot for the tent, so we were happy to get it. It was getting dark as we set up the tent. We got a good hot shower and spent the evening meeting all the campground locals. Made for a nice night.

Day 2 totals: Petersburg, Wv to Mooresburg, Tn 7am-9pm, 373miles

c1skout screwed with this post 07-13-2014 at 08:50 PM
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:39 PM   #5
c1skout OP
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Joined: Sep 2009
Location: Western PA
Oddometer: 213
Day three begins with more clouds. I snapped a few shots of our campsite and the lake just after crawling from the tent.





A few minutes after I took this picture you could barely see the lake through the fog. The campground owner had told us of a gas station a few miles down the road where we could get a quick breakfast, so we headed there to fill up before heading towards Knoxville. I had a sausage biscuit and coffee health food.



We ran into and out of rain again as we headed into Knoxville, where we were planning to try and find the local Harley store. We detoured around some road construction in downtown Knoxville and got a bit spun around again. We ended up stopping at a place called Tim's garage and got surprisingly good directions to Harley of Knoxville. We were only a few miles away.... but I don't think we'd have just blundered into it.

D's bike was running pretty rich at low speed and he was hoping a new air filter would make it better, and I guess he was running low on laundry 'cause he picked up some t-shirts too!



After the parking lot tune up we headed out of town towards US 129, the "Tail of the dragon".

c1skout screwed with this post 07-11-2014 at 09:22 PM Reason: spelling
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:20 PM   #6
Beezer Josh
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: 15.6 miles from the U.S. Capitol
Oddometer: 874
Looking forward to more! What year's your RE?
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