|03-15-2012, 08:12 PM||#1|
Joined: Feb 2012
Passing the baton: Louisville to DC
Couple new things for me this week: this, my first post in ADV; and my first DRZ, waiting patiently as I type to receive its temp tags so I can take it hooning properly. Here's the story of one bike, twelve wheels, four people and a parking lot in scenic Charleston (that's West Virginia, not South Carolina). I'll warn you now, I don't have any pictures.
Story starts a couple weeks back, when I casually mention to my friend, riding buddy and fellow ADViant squirrelscoundrel [shameless promotion: check out the nice restoration he did of a 74 r75/6, which will likely be on the market very soon: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=524199] that I'm thinking about selling my Concours. Haven't taken a good long trip in over a year, and frankly it's a pain in the ass to get that thing in and out of my tiny city backyard.
No sooner had I said those words then my inbox starts filling up with emails from him linking to bikes for sale on ADV. After a couple misses, he sent me this link: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=770273. For those of you keeping score at home, its a 2002 DRZ400S converted to a supermoto, with S tires and wheels, an FCR carb, an Acerbis tank -- all kinds of goodies. Far as I can tell, it had been through at least three inmates before me. Now here's the sticking point: the bike and its seller, ghostdncr (he'll appear in a second) were in Louisville and I'm in Washington, DC. He says he'll deliver it 250 miles, but that still leaves about 300 miles to DC. But what fair city is 246 miles from Louisville? That's right: Charleston!
Because of all the extras, both of us needed to convince a friend to come with us. I sweet-talked [read: bribed] my loving girlfriend; as far as I can tell, ghostdncr found some guy in a bar (kidding, but it did all come together at the last minute). Ghostdncr very generously let me ride back with his KY tags; otherwise I would have had to rent a van or something. So I called my insurance company, made a trip to the bank, packed my gear and roused my begrudging support driver early on Saturday for the drive -- although by the time we got up, ghostdncr had already been on the road for an hour.
We all four managed to get to Charleston at about the same time early Saturday afternoon. Ghostdncr could barely sign the title over to me because his hands were still frozen from the ride. He gave me the keys, I gave him the cash, we shook hands and the bike was mine. The girlfriend and I spent the night at squirrelscoundrel's mom's house, then lit out for DC early Saturday morning -- but not that early because we lost an hour to that goddamn daylight savings time.
Sunday morning started out cold, maybe right around thirty. Between the cold, the wind and the seat I wasn't sure I was going to make it all the back to DC. On small roads and a small tank I knew it would be slow going, and it wasn't long before I was looking forward to our first stop. That's when we started to climb out of the river valley and hit the first really nice section of Rt 60. Tight turns, climbing up and down the sides of the gullies -- I quickly forgot the cold seeping through my jacket. Squirrelscoundrel and I rode the Black Hills a few years ago, and I remember being impressed by how flickable my big Concours was, but this was something totally different. Maybe the most fun I've had on a bike in years. I even kicked out a leg once or twice, not that I actually know what the heck I'm doing. Still felt cool though.
With about an 80 mile range, we got to see a whole lot of rural gas stations between Charleston and DC. The girlfriend was a good sport about the whole thing -- she deserves a lot of credit. We came across a maple festival in Monterey, VA [who knew they had maple in Dixie?] and stopped for a while for pancakes. The line for the maple donuts must have been 100 meters long. We didn't wait, but we did talk to a Japanese tourist. I didn't know they had those in this part of the country either.
That's also when I noticed my chain was pretty slack. After three or four years riding a shaft (if you know what I mean), I was a little out of my element. Fortunately, the first big trip I took with squirrelscoundrel he was riding a beat-up Ninja 500 so I'd seen a chain or two tensioned in my life. With the help of a nice old guy at the volunteer fire house, a couple adjustable wrenches and the sweet chain tensioner on the bike I was back in business in no time.
I loved every turn we made all the way home. In the end it took us about 11 hours and we came into DC on the freeway in the dark -- not ideal, but a pretty small price to pay for a great ride. The only downside I can find is that sheep and cows ran away when I rode past. That made me a little sad, but I could also feel the beginnings of a maniacal cackle coming on. I think the bike is already wearing off on me.
Ghostdncr didn't tell me much about his ride to Charlotte except that it was cold, so I'll step aside now and let him fill in his half of the story.
|03-15-2012, 08:28 PM||#2|
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: Louisville, KY
Dante envisioned Hell as a frozen lake. Hat tip, Dante. Fire is for sissies.
Here's a pic of the Yellow scrum:
I finally decided to give up and get out of bed around 4:00am. The temperature had dropped to five degrees below freezing overnight, courtesy of a weather phenomena known as an Alberta Clipper, and I was not looking forward to the journey ahead. Spoiled by the robust electrical system on the 950 Adventure, I was not looking forward to the lack of heated grips and a 12v outlet to keep me toasty. As I locked the apartment door, the cold was already penetrating all the various layers I'd added between my skin and the outer textiles. Wool, cotton, polyethelene, Gore-Tex, and so on, this dry and biting cold didn't seem a bit impressed...
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