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Old 10-30-2012, 05:06 PM   #1
RockinTheRVA OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Oct 2012
Location: Central VA, USA
Oddometer: 105
Blue Ridge Parkway and Dragon by an Aspiring ADV Rider

Hey there!

I've been lurking ever since I've started riding 2 years ago, and I finally have something remotely interesting to share with everyone! So, with a new ADV account, plenty of pictures, and some good experiences to share, here is my first RR!

Hometown: Richmond, VA
Destination: The Dragon- Deals Gap, NC
How to get there: Blue Ridge Parkway - End to End

The Group: Two Riders and a Cager
-2007 Honda 919(myself)
-2012 Kawasaki ZX6R
-1994 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo

This might not be your typical Adventure Rider group, but I wasn't about to turn down some good company! We had 4.5 days to make this trip, starting Friday after work and returning the following Tuesday. The goal being to ride the entire Blue Ridge Parkway, ride the Dragon, and return with enough time to recover for work on Wednesday.

Day 1: Richmond, VA(RVA) to Montebello, VA ~120 miles

Needless to say, the day at work Friday was quite restless in anticipation of our departure. We geared up, packed up, and set off for the start of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Waynesboro, VA. Unfortunately it was dark by the time we reached the parkway but I insisted we stop for a picture anyways . We rode about 20 miles down the parkway to a wonderful Bed and Breakfast called the Dutch Haus. The crew highly recommends the Dutch Haus as a cheap but very home-like place to spend the night; truly a home away from home with your typical B&B amenities. Could not wait to get going Saturday morning!

Day 2: Montebello, VA to Hillsville VA ~ 200 miles

Saturday morning we suited up, braved the brisk morning air, and set off down the BRP. My cold weather gear consists of FirstGear Kilimanjaro Jacket(highly recommended), some generic windproof overpants, Venture Heated Gloves(battery power), and plenty of underarmour. I forgot my balaclava somehow, but thankfully the rest of my gear kept me plenty warm. With only a hint of clouds the first day, we were blessed to see nothing but blue skies and sunshine! It even got warm enough to shed the outer layers and trade out gloves in the afternoon.

Anywho, the real reason we're here, the ride. We could not have asked for more beautiful weather this entire trip. The Parkway really is a beautiful ride, with nothing but gorgeous vistas mile after mile. We were immediately impressed at how fun the parkway is to ride while keeping an indicated 55 or below. The parkway is not a racetrack of course(that's what the Dragon is for!) but it's nice to have some good curves to keep your mind busy(if the views weren't entertaining enough!). 469 miles of parkway riding and not once did I worry about uneven tire wear!

One fun stop for anyone heading down the parkway is ‘Tuggle’s Gap’ near Roanoke VA. Mile Marker 165 on the Parkway. An awesome curvy road I discovered while attending VA Tech that I like to call the “Mini Dragon.” There’s also a motel, some decent eats, and gas while you’re there.

We made sure to stop at the scenic overlooks and be typical tourists(minus the leaf peeping). We made the obligatory stop at Mabry Mill. We snapped an amazing picture, bet you’ve never seen anything like it!! The number of cagers on the road increased as the day went on, but was never enough to detract from the experience. I would LOVE to make this trip on the weekdays when there is no traffic, but alas I can only take a few days off. We made our way to Hillsville VA where we indulged in delivery pizza and relaxed with our good friend Jim(…Beam that is). There was not enough room for 3 males and motorcycles, so the bikes had to stay outside!

Day 3: Hillsville, VA to Asheville, NC ~200 miles

Sunday began with some more gorgeous weather as we headed further south beyond the NC border. As much as I love my home state and its mountains, I must say I was very impressed with the sights to be seen in NC! Each section of the trip brought new geography to marvel at.

In the trip’s planning stages, I worried that the Parkway might become monotonous. However, this worry disappeared as our second big day brought us to some of NC’s most beautiful views. I quickly determined that there is no such thing as too much time-away-from-work-vacation-riding, especially in such a beautiful locale. The mountains surrounding Asheville were stunning as we neared sunset and made our descent down to Asheville to stay with some family friends. A few good burgers, some good company, and a few good beers and we were ready to retire for the night.

Day 4: Asheville, NC to Deals Gap, NC, and back to Asheville, NC ~275 miles

Day 4 was to be our longest day of riding so far. This was of no concern because we were determined to make it to the Dragon, and there were awesome sights to be seen along the way. The final leg of the parkway proved to be some of the most beautiful sights as others have said. We stopped for a short break in Cherokee, NC and set off for the Dragon. Route 28 was quite the fun road en route to Deals Gap.

As cliché as the Dragon might be, we all had to admit that we had a lot of fun. Our first run was obnoxiously slow with traffic, but the subsequent 3 runs were good clean fun! Being from Richmond VA I rarely experience such elevation change and hairpin turns. Any hint of chicken strips on this back tire is gone, and I had a blast working on them. I have not given into Killboy's pics of me yet, but if I do I'll be sure to share.

~20 miles of fun Rt. 28 + ~100 miles of superslab, and we were back in Asheville resting up for the journey home. Maggie the English Lab will be sad to see us leave, and the feelings will be mutual.

Day 5: Asheville, NC to Richmond, VA ~ 375 miles

The trip home was a long one, by far the most miles I’ve done in a day @375. I realize this only one of many long days as my trips will only get longer from here out! I was thankful I chose the 919(over my other bike, the 600RR) as my buddy on his ZX6R was feeling the fatigue. Our friend in his 300ZX was definitely enjoying being able to relax in the car.

After 1274 miles round trip, we agreed it was a blast but over too short. The trip, while not nearly as epic as many folks’ RR’s here, was proof that ADV riding is for me. I can’t wait for longer more adventurous rides in the future.

RockinTheRVA screwed with this post 10-31-2012 at 01:27 PM Reason: Added Dragon Photo
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