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Old 06-28-2012, 01:36 PM   #16
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I have a pretty long bucket list and many of the things on my list involve riding. I planned on checking of a few of those things on this trip. Camping at Blue Ridge Cycle Camp was on my list. Camping at Willville Cycle camp was also on my list and was my planned destination for today. I planned on going there but hadn't actually looked at a map to see how far it was. At lunch I took a look. It would be a pretty long ride and I didn't leave little Switzerland until late afternoon. I considered changing my plan but decided to ride for a while before making a decision. So I rode the BRP. Progress was painfully slow due to the cage traffic. it was also still chilly with intermitant rain. I was still regretting my decision to wear my mesh jacket. To make matters worse, my rear Dunlop was rapidly disappearing and tomorrow was Monday which meant it might be difficult to find a tire since most dealers are closed on mondays.

So I changed my plans and decided to get off the BRP and head towards Marion, VA.

I took 221 to 194. I considered stopping in West Jefferson but the price of a hotel room was more than I wanted to pay so I followed 194 into Virginia where I became a narrow back road. Then it was right on 58 and left on 16 which I followed to Marion. There were plenty of tight curves on these roads but by the time I got to Marion, I was ready to stop. I didn't take many pictures but did get this interesting old building. i don't remember where it was:



In Marion I decided on the Econo Lodge.



.



My rear tire:



I could probably ride it another day without it being completely bald but that would be the limit. For peace of mind I decided to try to get another one Monday if possible.

BTW, that's a Dunlop 403 with a whopping 2600 miles on it.

Total mileage was only 267 but it seemed like a lot more. I made a number of stops. I spent a lot of time going slow on the BRP and when I was off the BRP, the roads where mostly very twisty.

Dinner was a Mexican restaurant within walking distance.

The Hotel was nothing special but it felt good to sleep in a real bed.
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Old 06-28-2012, 04:32 PM   #17
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Good to see you again, Wyn.




My favorite place.

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Old 06-29-2012, 09:22 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by LWRider View Post
Here's a handy alternative to setting up a tent if the weather is good. Takes up no more room as it can be used as a ground cover when you do want to take the time to set up a tent. Simply a tarp and some bungees and stakes. Nice when you want to get up and moving quickly in the morning.



Cheers and good travels,

Mike, PS If you get by Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, tell Dale and Matt hi from me (just tell them the guy with the CB350 on the Kickstart Ride)

Looks convenient but what about bugs?

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Good to see you again, Wyn.


My favorite place.

With the current heat wave, your favorite place would be a good place to be.

I'll catch you next time I'm up in your neck of the woods.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:51 AM   #19
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My route was I565 through Huntsville to 72 East. As I approached I24 I decided to try to avoid the interstate as much as possible. I had seen this bridge before and decided that this would be the time to cross it and see where it went.



156 east turned out to be a very nice ride with some nice curves and scenery. It ran along a lake for a while. You can just see the lake over the railroad tracks.


Just beginning to read your report but it sounds like a great one. I cross the river using this bridge quite often. Although it wasn't going in the right direction for your trip, the best part of my travels through there is to stay on the west side of I-24 and take TN156 up to Sewanee, TN (University of the South). A nice, hilly and twisty ride plus the school campus is beautiful.
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:54 AM   #20
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Tha Saga of the Rear Tire.

I love my Aprilia. It's a blast to ride. It's Comfortable and has been trouble free except a leaking fork seal that was replaced under warrantee. My biggest issue has been that this thing eats rear tires very quickly. I replaced the stock tire at only 3200 miles. Since the stock tire is an unusual 130/80-15, I decided to try a 130/90-15 which is a common size cruiser tire. On recommendation of someone on the Aprilia forum I tried a Kenda. It worked great but only lasted 3700 miles. So I went with a more expensive name brand next. The results were the Dunlop which lasted all of 2600 miles.

Unlike many people today, I have a cell phone which is just a phone, not a smart phone. A smart phone would have come in handy looking for a tire but I had the next best thing, a smart friend with a dumb phone and a computer. So I called my buddy Steve and he got on the internet and looked up some motorcycle shops in cities nearby. Surprisingly, most of these places were open Mondays and opened at 8:30 or 9:00 AM.

I decided that nearby Wytheville would be the most convenient so I tried there. The first place I got through to was a Honda/Kaw/Suz/Yamaha dealer. They had a tire in my size but would only work on brands they sold. I guess business was so good they could just turn it away.......or maybe their mechanics were to incompetent to figure out how to change a tire on something as exotic as an Aprilia?

Next I called a Victory / Polaris dealer. They had a tire in stock and would be glad to mount it on an Aprilia. They already had an appointment that morning how about 10:00. Perfect. I packed up and rode over to Wytheville arriveing right at 10:00. At 11:00 I had a new tire on my scooter. Here's a pic of the place:



Based on my experience and also the way they took care of another customer who had a problem, I would highly recommend Hilltop Cycles to anyone passing through with a problem.

Then I headed over to Wendys to get some lunch and come up with a plan for the day.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:09 AM   #21
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Just beginning to read your report but it sounds like a great one. I cross the river using this bridge quite often. Although it wasn't going in the right direction for your trip, the best part of my travels through there is to stay on the west side of I-24 and take TN156 up to Sewanee, TN (University of the South). A nice, hilly and twisty ride plus the school campus is beautiful.
Thanks for following along. I did end up coming through your neck of the woods on the way back. Stay tuned.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:28 AM   #22
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After lunch I headed north on 52. It was nice ride and lead me to this:



This is the Big Walker Lookout. I had been here many years ago on an HSTA ride but didn't realize it was here. For six bucks you can climb to the top of the tower but I just headed into the store.



Where I spent two bucks taking care of one of my addictions.



Even without climbing the tower it's a pretty good view from here.



.



Then I headed down the mountain on 621 / Old Mountain RD, another scinic ride with lots of curves.



Then it was left on 42 to get to one of the places I wanted to see on my trip, Burke's Garden. For those of you who haven't heard of Burke's Garden, it's become somewhat of a popular destination for motorcycle riders. What is Burke's Garden? Well just follow along. There are, as far as I know, only two ways to get there; 623 from the North or 623 from the South. So I followed 42 to the southern end of 623.



and headed north on 623.



No, the southern end is not paved but it's pretty smooth and can easily be done on a street bike.

It has plenty of curves:



It's very peaceful here and I didn't come across any other traffic.



this looks like a mailbox but is way up in a tree in the middle of nowhere.



A hiking trail crossed the road here. A rest stop for hikers?



There was a sign saying that the water bottles were courtesy of a local church and this:

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Old 06-30-2012, 11:40 AM   #23
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A view onto Burke's Garden.



another of many hairpin curves:



Another scenic view.



And then the road became paved and I was in Burke's Garden. So what exactly is Burkes Garden?



There really isn't much there. It's just a scenic and peaceful valley completely surrounded by mountains. Other than some farms, there's not much there.



Judging from the price of gas, this hasn't been used for a while.



This country store closed at the end of 2011.



Then I rode North on 623. It's a great twisty road and I passed a few motorcycles coming the other way. It was a great ride but I think that coming in from the south is more scenic.
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:05 PM   #24
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Klaviator- great ride report- thanks for taking us along with you!
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:13 PM   #25
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After Burke's garden I headed to the town of Tazewell. I just rode through taking one Pic as I rode.



Then I turned on to 16 South. Yes, I know that the way to Cleveland was north but one of the things I wanted to do on this trip was ride 16 between Tazewell and Marion. It's a great road that twists and turns its way up and over three mountain ridges. Since I was headed the wrong way on 16, I would have to ride that section twice. Oh well, if someone had to do it, it might as well be me.

Just outside of Tazewell I came across this:



It's a chicken farm....or maybe ranch is a better term. Each chicken had its own little shelter and was on a leash. Definately different from the typical chicken farms we have in North Georgia.

Then it was some fun riding through a bunch of twisties. IMO, this section of 16 is much more challenging than the much more famous (infamous?) Deal's Gap.

I did stop for a break. I turned down a dirt road.



went a short distance and parked.



Good thing I was not in a passenger car Of course what fun would driving this road be in a cage anyway

If I was on a dual sport I probably would have enjoyed seeing where this road went. There were a number of other dirt roads along 16 but this was the only one with a warning sign.

After crossing all three mountain ridges, I came to Hungry Mother State Park. The park may have a strange name but it sure looked like a nice park.



I;m not really much of a beach person. Beaches in Florida leave me bored after a couple of hours but there is something about rivers and lakes in the mountains that I find really beautiful. It was still too early to stop, especially since I already lost so much time getting a tire this morning. Despite this, I decided to stay here for the night. I had only ridden a little over 100 miles and was only about five miles north of where I spent last night but since I had no real plan, no reservations, and plenty of time, I decided I could afford to do this.

So I paid for a campsite. It was a little pricey;$21 plus a five dollar 'processing fee" whatever that was. It did include entry into the park and also the beach.

I went and found a campsite and set up my tent.

Then I headed off to the beach. Throwing caution to the winds, I rode that half mile to the beach in water shoes, T shirt, swim trunks, helmet and gloves.

I took a few pics then went swimming.

There was a platform with a couple of diving boards.



Did I mention it was very scenic here?



and more scenery:



The water was perfect, a little cold at first but nice and refreshing once I got used to it.

Then it was back to my campsite.



These campsites were unusual since all tents had to be on these wooden platforms. There was a nice bath house about 50 yards away and the area was on the side of a mountain and completely tree covered.

For dinner I rode into Marion and ate here:



Good food, good service and reasonable prices. I'll give the Tuscan Italian Grill a thumbs up.

Then I stopped at McDs for a milkshake and then back to the park. Total mileage for the day: 132. Total progress toward my destination: around 5 miles.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:17 AM   #26
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Just beginning to read your report but it sounds like a great one. I cross the river using this bridge quite often. Although it wasn't going in the right direction for your trip, the best part of my travels through there is to stay on the west side of I-24 and take TN156 up to Sewanee, TN (University of the South). A nice, hilly and twisty ride plus the school campus is beautiful.
Thanks for following along. Stay tuned, I still have a long way to go to finish this report and I did pass through Murfreesboro on my way back to Huntsville.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:50 AM   #27
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Just like my my first night of camping on this trip, I wasn't all that comfortable sleeping on my thin mattress. At least I was not cold this night. In exchange for a little discomfort I saved some money by not staying in a motel and also had the chance to meet some interesting people camping near me. First was a couple from PA. riding an SV1000 and Nighthawk 750. They were about half way through their trip and where going to head south to the BRP and then back to PA. Having 2 bikes and being able to share the load of camping gear between them they had a large tent and a real air mattress. It was nice having some fellow riders to talk to. I also met the couple camped right across from me. He husband had just retired from the Air Force reserve and they were on a road trip. They where in a Chevy Avalanche so they had plenty of room for camping stuff but there is no way they could enjoy the trip through the mountains as much as I did on my scooter.

Despite A less than perfect nights sleep, I got up reasonable rested and had a couple of granola bars for breakfast. Then I started my day's ride by having a blast riding 16 to Tazewell

Riding through Tazewell, I managed to miss a turn somewhere and ended up somewhat lost. Well, I wasn't totally lost, I just didn't know which way to go to get back on 16. I ended up on route 460 which is a major 4 lane highway. I stopped at a gas station and decided to get something to eat. It was a little late for breakfast but early for lunch so I compromised. A Pizza Pocket, sprite and some donuts hit the spot. Then a had to ask several people before I found someone who knew how to get to 16 north. Even those directions where a little of but the did eventually get me there.

16 heading north out of Tazewell was a nice, curvy scenic road that took my into West Virginia. In WVA, the mountains became more rugged and the road more twisty. I came down from a twisty pass to this:



Interesting name for a city. It is supposed to be the southernmost incorporated city in WVA. Based on what I saw I would consider it more of a town than a city but it was the larges city/town that I would see for a while. It was even large enough to have it's own Dollar General.



This looked like a rugged coal mining town but I still though it was scenic because of the way it was situated in this very rugged countryside.



This is definately not a tourist trap town but at least it did have a Hotel, the last one I would see for a while.



Some more pics of War.



.



.

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Old 07-01-2012, 11:48 AM   #28
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Starting to plan a trip on my SYM RV 250 to Florida, it would be about 1200 mile road trip. I would start out in St Paul,Mn and head down to our condo in Seacrest Beach, FL. I have been encourage by ADV riders taking their smaller cc bikes on these rides.

scrappy: I have ridden to Florida from southern Indiana and back (2500 mile round trip) on a 250cc bike before; no problems. Half the trip back was even on the Interstate (needed to get back home). Many different routes you can take to Florida once you get south of the Ohio river. US31 goes all the way to Florida. If you want to kick over and do the Dragon, keep going south on the same road (us129) and it will also take you to Florida. Same goes for US27. Have fun man.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:43 PM   #29
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It's Sunday afternoon. Instead of writing this ride report, I really should be out riding. I should be but the 105 degree temperature outside has just put a damper on my riding enthusiasm. So I've been working on odds and ends around this house, working on this report, and occasionally watching the TV which is on in the background. The movie that just finished is one I have seen before but is very appropriate for the next part of this report. The movie is Doc Hollywood. For those who have not seen it, it's about a young doctor who gets delayed and stuck in a small southern town on his way to a job interview in Hollywood. It's plot revolves around the attractions of the big city versus a small town, as well as the usual romantic plot.

What does this have to do with my ride? This part of West Virginia has lots of rugged landscape, and some small towns. I just posted some pics of the booming metropolis of War. I found it a very interesting little town (I consider it a town not a city). I did some research. War has a population of just under 900. It's not exactly a big city but it seemed pretty big compared to most of the small town I would pass through on my ride through WV. It even had a Dollar general. Many towns had nothing but some houses. Here's a couple of pics I took after War:

The road is always in a valley unless going over a mountain pass.



A typical small town.



Then came to a small town which is supposed to have around the same population as War but I suspect is now much smaller. It used to be a much bigger town but shrunk after it's main industry, a coal mine, was shut down. This town, however, has become famous due to the movie October Sky. If you haven't seen October Sky, you should.



The movie is based on a true story about some boys in a poor coal mining town who manage to build some rockets and then go on to win the state science fair. They get college scholarships and one even goes on to become an engineer and work for NASA.

In the movie, the town seemed much bigger than what I saw here. All I saw were a few houses, one gas station/convenience store, and this sign:



In the October Sky, the Rocket Boys are successful because they get an education and escape Coalwood and the mining industry. In Doc Hollywood, the main character chooses a small town (and the girl) over the big city. Riding through this part of WV made me wonder about what it is like to really live in a small town. Compared to much of the country, these people are poor. Most have no McDonalds or Wally World within 10 miles. They probably don't even have (gasp!) 4G cell service. But, they would be considered rich by most people living in third world countries.

I really was thinking about this stuff as I passed through all these small towns. I wondered if these people were happy here or were hoping to escape to the big city.

Most of the houses were small but many appeared to be well maintained, some didn't

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Old 07-01-2012, 02:53 PM   #30
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The first town of any size I came to in WV was Welch



With a population of 2400, it's relatively big but still small compared to the smallest city I remember living in, the city of Bath, ME with a population of around 10,000.

I found Welch very interesting and stopped, parked my bike and walked around a bit to get some pics:



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