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Old 01-08-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
GLantern OP
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Eek GL Slays the Dragon

Here is my first ride report for ADVRider! Before the report even starts a big thank you goes to soth from suspectsunlimited.com also known as goldenchild for helping me plan this.

Consider this the cover page


So i went to the dragon over columbus day weekend in 2009, thursday night till monday night....i promised myself i would go this season and i did. I started by asking some friends to see if they wanted to come along but everyone was busy unfortunately so a solo adventure was in order. My original plan was there and back in 3.5 days. I was going to slab it down and skip all the gorgeous twisties between long island and there. Upon hearing this my friend goldenchild/soth decided that i'm being ridiculous and sent me some ideas.

I started the planning and per his advice i also took Friday off to give myself some more time to enjoy the whole adventure. I would take a half day on thursday as well to get myself a nice headstart. A lot of planning was needed as i never did a trip this big and never have i ridden solo for this long. I made a big list of everything i needed. Ordered up some rain gear, checked the chain tension and assorted bolts and changed the oil. When i changed the oil i was out at my dad's shop and he also gave me a gps beacon just in case. I also asked his advice on my current pirelli diablo corsa 3 rear and if it would make it. This tire had 3 track days on it and a bunch of street miles already and what was another 2k street miles? The sides are worn more anyways from the track i won't be leaning that far over! My dad probably reading my thoughts and sticking to the family motto just says "it will make it". Last time i said that was my infamous gas in a gatorade bottle ride. I ran out of gas and a friend of mine had to go to the nearest gas station and fill a bottle up for me. I had an actual plan though and i knew it had plenty to make it down there. I would just get a new tire at a shop when i got to the dragon if i needed it. Hell why not it is just me so i wouldn't hold anyone up.

So the packing list was as follows for those ever considering a trip like this.
rain gear, heated gear (jacket liners and gloves), snowboarding face mask, all my leathers, socks, wool socks, underwears (boxers obviously no tighty whities here), plug kit, air gauge, and air compressor, Xena Disc Lock w/ Alarm, GPS, EZPass, a pair of jeans 1 tshirt, a set of under armor, gopro camera, zune, phone, digi cam, all assorted chargers, print out of routes, duct tape, gps locator, mini can of chain wax, 3 trash bags to put non waterproof stuff in if it rains, assorted tools such as allen keys, a leatherman, and a flashlight, ear plugs, toothbrush, axe body spray. And a laminated, or in my case i used clear packing tape, printout of emergency contact numbers stuffed in my jacket. I think that is all!

O don't forget my special wheel nut socket in case i need a new tire.....damn ducatis and their special tools.....
One last thing no amount of axe body spray can withstand the stench of underarmor after 4 days let me tell you!

All week i was excited i could not wait to leave and consistently checked the weather over and over again. It changed back and forth a lot but there was no going back the route was set and the hotel reservations were made. That is why i ordered my rain gear right?!

Thursday-
The day is here i ride into work and work hard to get out early. Of course my boss gives me a last minute job 45minutes before i'm supposed to leave. So much for getting out even earlier! I run downstairs after 2 oclock and get my ass in gear! I had dropped all my bags at my GF's on Tuesday and sped down to her house and swapped everything over, donned the rest of my gear and headed off! Here is my first stop with the bike all loaded down, at this point i figured with all the extra weight i finally knew what an RC51 feels like


I quickly learned everybody wants to talk to you when you stop. Where are you going where are you from etc etc. I'm tired and it is dark and i got another couple of hours to go! I also had a run in with Johnny Law! At my 2nd gas stop i checked my bags and low and behold the heat shield was not doing its job on the sidebags.....

If only i bought those titanium slipons this wouldn't have happened.......As i'm sitting there figuring how to fix my first problem a cop pulls up behind me. I proceed to avert my eyes and keep working on the bags wondering what he is going to nail me for. He walks up asks me a couple of questions to just make sure i was ok actually and then says "Got a couple of track miles on those tires huh?"

In my shock i just look at him and say "you ride?" turns out he used to have a extremely farkled RC51 and his wife had a ZX6R that they used to track with TPM until they had a kid. We BSed a bit and told him i hoped to see him riding again someday soon. A cop just trying to help a biker was a nice thing to see. I solved my heat shield problem also by just pulling the bags further forward and continued on my way.

Back onto to the highway and with the sun setting here is me getting over the hump at a wawa. Pondering to myself how much the slab sux.


I landed somewhere around harrisburg that night and signed in to my hotel. I noticed an Arby's on my way in and proceeded to eat some serious curly fries. Little did i know this would become a common food for me, that and subway.....



Friday-
The fun finally starts or does it?
It rained overnight and the roads were wet

The only night she slept outside though

Gotta be prepared and seal up those boots i wouldn't want cold feet now would i? Duct tape works wonders.

This was also the only morning i had a free breakfast mmmm WAFFLES


By 8am i was on the road, which was wet but no rain yet, and heading towards my first destination. At a gas stop i almost managed to lose my credit card talking to another biker who had just come from the dragon. That would have been the end for me But i had mistakenly just put it in a different pocket in my bags. He also informed me of a place called Wheelers that changes tires all day at the dragon. So if my tire was looking ragged i had a solution
Goodbye PA


Hello MD


O HAI WV!


After another stop i realized it started to rain so i pulled on my rain gear and continued the journey. It got really bad soon after this, i was constantly whiping my visor down. There was a good hour where i was stuck behind a tractor trailer kicking up mud and dirt. I even had to hit some grooved pavement while all of this happened. Once i hit the twisties though all was forgotten and the skies began to clear.

This is my its about goddamn time it stopped raining look

Looking forward to the road ahead!


And now it finally really cleared up, the next bits were a blur of nonstop twisty heaven. It must have been over a 200miles of twisties! Don't you wish you were here?!






After all of that riding i needed a break and chowed down on some beef jerky and redbull. My favorite riding combo. Sorry no coffee for me!

Dirty

Clearly i am not riding hard enough


This was it for the day and i decided some more Arbies was in order and my bike did not deserve to be shunned to the outside weather anymore!

I also felt bad for her being that the only gas in town was 87.......


So i slept right? Damn right i did i was moving today and was beat! All i dreamed about was twisties!

Saturday-
What do i wake up to? RAIN DAMN YOU!
Convincing myself that i am tough and can do this


So what was next on the agenda? NC of course!

Spiderwebs at a gas station i guess i really am in the middle of nowhere now?


Today i got to go to the BRP! Man was i stoked! or was i? Today it rained....and rained some more....and then some more. I wore all my rain gear and my heated gear all day. I'm angry here i swear the thumbs up is a lie

As you can see even my bike was affected, hanging a bit to the right?


You might say i was miserable.........but that is almost impossible to say when i saw this


Followed by this




Absolutely amazing....all of it. Even in damp weather i was so damn happy to be there. I can not describe really in words what it was like just everything was cool This day was unfortunately my first close call and i really got shook on it. The guy in front of me slammed his brakes while i was looking at my gps and then proceeded to turn last second without his blinker to get a picture of this sign.

He was going the opposite direction of the sign, i was behind him, and it was close. But i came out unscathed and proceeded to rest up a bit at the next gas stop.

After this happened i was almost to my next hotel, pigeon forge, TN. When i got there in settled in with some pizza, my favorite girl (my bike duh!) and all my soaking wet gear. Tomorrow was the day i had been waiting for. The whole reason behind this trip! O my room again



O TN i'm only doing this picture of every sign because i have to


Sunday-
I wokeup and guess what.....NO rain! Holy hell i was happy! It was nice outside finally and the forecast looked perfect all day! It seemed that if i ate some sort of pancake/waffle for breakfast my day would work out well. Saturday morning i ate pop tarts and it rained all day. Friday morning i had 1 waffle and it rained the first half of the day so clearly more than 1 breakfast piece made from batter would please mother nature. Istuck to this new philosophy and ordered blackberry pancakes. mmmm


Soon after i found my way to my pre dragon warmup


I was out early enough were the cop presence was ZERO. The only downside? Killboy hadn't even started setting up until i had run the dragon and finished up taking pics and collecting my souvenirs. I got a sweet carbon fiber stickers for my gas tank. I had no idea what these stickers were until now.

I like this spot but the CF is different from the tank protector and clashes a bit. I bought a 2nd one to put somewhere else later if i want to remove the tank one.

So my thoughts on the dragon? I loved it......every second of it the turns were awesome and a lot of them i could look right through. When i went it was practically empty and it really did make my trip worthwhile. The only downside is i finished it and had nobody to talk to about it!




But my absolute favorite part came after the dragon....the Cherhola Skyway....With the perfect weather it was a whole other level of riding for me. I was in the zone for most of it and everything was flowing perfectly. Sorry no pics from it i wouldn't stop because i was having too much fun

So the skyway was finished and now i had to slab it back.....my only regret is not taking 1 extra day off to do all the twisties on my way back!

Here i am sad about hitting the slab!

Umm random foot shot while i was emo about the slab

Looks like the right side heat shield is going o man....it will make it!


So the slab sux right? Right! Well i stopped for lunch and while eating i noticed a guy roll up on an R1. I finished up and he left the gas station a little before me. I hop on the highway and caught up to him actually. We go back and forth for a bit and at the next gas stop we both pull over. His name was Ricky.
Ricky and our bikes




He was heading to virginia beach and we rode together for the next 200+miles making both our slab rides more entertaining! Thanks Ricky for saving me some boredom. I almost hit 700 miles that night and when i finished up riding i grabbed a motel 6 for cheap. 3 things about that night though.....

1 i noticed my tread on my tire was near zero

I convinced myself the tread was ok

2 i hit the kill switch doing about 90 at one point at night killing my lights and causing me to panic, you would have too if you rode a Ducati.
And 3 even though the motel was all ground level rooms they sure made it tough to get my bike in. Look at that ledge height!

But i persisted and got her in!


In the morning i noticed this sign and it fully justified the effort of getting my bike inside


Monday-More slab....and more slab....
Hey my EZPass isn't working! Man i hope i don't hit any bridges with gates and the cops aren't watching! Yeah i probably got free tolls all the way home you know that license plate is a bit hard to read

A phone call to my friend Alan asking him what wear bars on a tire look like. I had a 100miles left and had to be sure i would make it, thanks for the info!

I hate the city and the LIE.....HOME FINALLY!

O and 2 minutes into PA that day i almost got nailed twice by a tractor trailer and then by some other car coming into my lane. The tractor trailer kept going into my lane too! If i didn't slam the brakes i would have been done. Funny thing was i wasn't even angry about what happened i was more angry at myself for not being able to react faster and make it out of that situation with a bigger safety margin.

This also brought something to my mind....you know endless hours of slab makes you think. It is not an if but more a when that we will have to deal with a situation like above or be in a crash. The difference though is if you get back on that bike or not! I find myself calming down easily after an incident and just saying hey your still alive keep going.


That was my trip.....it was awesome. Would i do it again? Yes but with more time and with hopefully some people! Cause talking to my bike and myself gets old! And no i didn't get any tickets but i was really close to getting one for lane splitting when i hit the city traffic.

A parting shot of my tire.....yeah it made it. Who needs tread?!


Fun times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z1_NESTer
Some people may question your mental status when you go tagging in crappy weather......... at night.......... on a 1098.....
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2012 GasGas XC300

GLantern screwed with this post 01-09-2010 at 09:12 AM
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:14 PM   #2
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Great looking 1098, nice to see one being ridden (and getting dirty). Looks like you had a fantastic time.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:15 PM   #3
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Lovely bike and photos. Congrats.
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Old 01-08-2010, 12:30 PM   #4
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Looks like a great trip, love the bike Reminds me of touring on my TLS in a way:)
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Summer 2008 RR. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=367703
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:42 PM   #5
flyingz06
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I have a 1098 myself and look forward to riding the dragon on it! Best damn bike ever made!
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Old 01-08-2010, 04:48 PM   #6
DougZ73
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Hey GL, nice RR. I can not believe you rode down there. I am all up for putting in the miles, but heck, even trailering down there from Jersey takes me 14 hrs. I guess stopping in various states would make it easier....and more fun.

Nice work....ride safe.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:22 PM   #7
Frustration
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Nice first ride report, good job. As you probably already know, great roads to ride all around the Gap area and into North Georgia. Every time I go there, always wish had more time... ride safe.
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Old 01-08-2010, 09:42 PM   #8
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Dude you passed 5 years worth of impeccable roads to ride one mediocre one.
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Old 01-08-2010, 10:57 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies all glad everyone appreciates a dirty 1098!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SR1
Dude you passed 5 years worth of impeccable roads to ride one mediocre one.

Umm i didn't I hit twisties the entire way down just had to slab it back due to time constraints. But i did feel i had to go to the dragon at least once, even if it is a mediocre road, in my life i think all east coast riders should. Did you even read the report ?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z1_NESTer
Some people may question your mental status when you go tagging in crappy weather......... at night.......... on a 1098.....
2008 Ducati 1098
2012 GasGas XC300
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Old 01-09-2010, 05:07 AM   #10
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Listen man, love the bike, love the ground covered. Great report. I've got to say though, people have got to stop taking road going motor vehicles into motel rooms. What next? Hunters butchering a moose on carpet children may be playing on the next night? Ultimately I can see all of us having some BS $500. deposit until it's established that our motor vehicles were in fact parked in the parking lot. I've seen this practice on several reports here. I was asked not to take my bike into the room years ago in California and I erupted into laughter at the front desk at the very prospect. I thought he was kidding.
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Old 01-09-2010, 07:59 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDogAlberta
Listen man, love the bike, love the ground covered. Great report. I've got to say though, people have got to stop taking road going motor vehicles into motel rooms. What next? Hunters butchering a moose on carpet children may be playing on the next night? Ultimately I can see all of us having some BS $500. deposit until it's established that our motor vehicles were in fact parked in the parking lot. I've seen this practice on several reports here. I was asked not to take my bike into the room years ago in California and I erupted into laughter at the front desk at the very prospect. I thought he was kidding.
I can understand where your coming from but i have to say i was out there alone and a sportbike is really easy to steal. I worked too hard for this bike to risk something like that. And 2 of the areas i stayed in really did not make me comfortable in the least. If a thief comes around and sees 1 sportbike sitting there in a hotel parking lot you can guess what they are taking. And im sorry there is a big difference between blood on a carpet and motorcycle tires that touch the same stuff as shoes or bicycle tires. If hotels would maybe put up some gated places for motorcycles then i wouldn't do it. But being in some of these places by myself makes you paranoid. Anyways to each there own i'm going to keep doing it until i can't.

Otherwise i'm glad you enjoyed the report
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z1_NESTer
Some people may question your mental status when you go tagging in crappy weather......... at night.......... on a 1098.....
2008 Ducati 1098
2012 GasGas XC300
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:02 AM   #12
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Great RR, thanks for posting. I suspect you went Labor day by the color change and not memorial day, correct me if I'm wrong.
Love your Duc, very nice, Don't feel the least bit bad about your bike in the room, it's not like you stayed at the Hilton.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zwild
Great RR, thanks for posting. I suspect you went Labor day by the color change and not memorial day, correct me if I'm wrong.
Love your Duc, very nice, Don't feel the least bit bad about your bike in the room, it's not like you stayed at the Hilton.
I just checked the calendar it was columbus day weekend Oct8th to the 12th, it had been a while i mix up dates easily. I corrected it thanks for catching that! Glad you enjoyed it
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Originally Posted by Z1_NESTer
Some people may question your mental status when you go tagging in crappy weather......... at night.......... on a 1098.....
2008 Ducati 1098
2012 GasGas XC300
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Old 01-09-2010, 10:26 AM   #14
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Well for most of my long distance travels I was on Goldwings. We usually travelled in large groups, and you are not going to get one of those beast in a motel room anyway. Recently, I took my new 09 Versys to Daytona Beach. I felt as you, that it would be very easily stolen. I asked the motel if I could park it right up on the sidewalk immediately in front of my window. They said no problem.

I took my same bike to Pigeon Forge Tenn b4 Christmas. The motel there- forget name,( but the Grand motel was right outside my window) told me that all the ground level floors were rented out. Next moring there were only 6 cars to probably 30 rooms. Obviously, when she saw me and my riding gear she did not want bike in room. That is why she put me on second floor.

I just keep full coverage insurance on it and try not to sweat it. I get an nice new shiny one if some low life steals it. Enjoyed your RR. Kevin from Athens Ga.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GLantern


Nice report! Love the Dragon and that whole area down there.

What road are you on in the pics above?
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