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Old 08-27-2009, 09:29 PM   #16
txxr
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keep going, i like your style
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Old 08-27-2009, 09:59 PM   #17
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Cycletroll - If you can remember that far back, I live in the Colony. Towson's been fun so far.

Day 2 - More Blue Ridge Parkway, mostly.

Someone forgot to tell the mountains it was August as it got down to about 50 degrees that night and I damn near froze in my hammock. I left the camp pad on the bike since it was hot when I went to bed, and with no insulation under me when the temps finally dropped over night I woke up cold. The pics of camp didn't turn out, put I have more later.

One of the interesting bits about the parkway... there aren't any gas stations on it once you get off of Skyline Drive. I pulled into Otter Creek just as the reserve light popped on, and the closest Garmin listed gas station was 25 miles off the parkway... I could have made it, but it would have been very annoying so I used the big green gas can to give me some extra range for the first time.

Time for the first annoying bit of the trip: the rotopax can was leaking from the corner opposite of the vent cap. There wasn't an obvious spot, just a tiny weep hole near where you can lock two rotopax's together. Some JB kwik weld over the hole and it was fine for the rest of the trip. Getting the can off the bike with the dirtbagz was also annoying, but less so than wasting an hour wandering around for a gas station. An inelegant solution at best...

No worries, time to motor. First thing of interest was this little pond




and not too much later I stopped for breakfast at one of the Inn's on the parkways and ran across my first herd of Harley riders.


Nice people, took a bunch of pictures of the group for them on their cameras, pretty sure they were on a memorial ride but I can't remember now and didn't write it down.

No worries, lets get moving!



Somewhere around mile 100 on the parkway (campground was around 60) I took notice of two things. 1) The parkway had gotten decided less scenic and less on the Ridge 2) there were miles and miles of nice gravel roads paralleling the parkways. Hmm.... time for a dirt detour!






Pretty soon I came to the first route decision for the trip. I had two maps routed in my Garmin, one followed US 58 west to Jellico from where it crossed the BRP, which was my original plan. See, I only had a rough idea of how far I thought I could comfortably go on the bike each day and a hard date I needed to be back in Towson for class to start. The original route plan had me 265 miles to Jellico...


... the second route had me finishing the Blue Ridge and heading to Deal's Gap before cutting north to Jellico to start the trail.


It was an extra day on the road guaranteed (or so I thought), and as amazing as it is looking back it required some serious thinking... Ooooh look, water! Lets ride while we think!





You have chosen... wisely.


There's no simple way to put it, the parkway in North Carolina is one of the most beatiful roads in the country.





Made it to another campground about 60 miles north of Ashville, another 300+ mile day on the bike. I thought this thing was supposed to be uncomfortable? Fuel range was also hovering around 60mpg and I was by no means taking it easy.

Tomorrow would debatably be the most scenic day of the trip...
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:35 AM   #18
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Great report so far...now you're getting to my neck of the woods!
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Old 08-28-2009, 03:36 AM   #19
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Amazing trip

Amazing trip skierd,

All WR riders are glued to this story---mainly because of the big mileage you did on this ride----as everyone is curious as to just what these little motors that could .............can do.

Riding solo----yep--you can go where you want --when you want. Just purring along on your quiet little bike with a big smile your face.

Thanks for taking the time to tell this story---I'ts a lot of work--but a labor of love.

Less is more Thanks
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Old 08-28-2009, 06:42 AM   #20
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Indeed. Bring it on.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogAdventures.com
Amazing trip skierd,

All WR riders are glued to this story---mainly because of the big mileage you did on this ride----as everyone is curious as to just what these little motors that could .............can do.

Riding solo----yep--you can go where you want --when you want. Just purring along on your quiet little bike with a big smile your face.

Thanks for taking the time to tell this story---I'ts a lot of work--but a labor of love.

Less is more Thanks
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Old 08-28-2009, 06:52 AM   #21
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Just back from trip to Maine, stayed on slab coming home due to time restraints, wanted the BR or skyline and kept running into bikes at gas stops headed that way, sigh.

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Old 08-28-2009, 07:41 AM   #22
wraith
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Thanks for the trip report! I'm looking forward to more.

Did you mount your camera on the bike for some of the on road moving shots?
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:32 AM   #23
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Nope, I just took pictures with my left hand. The camera lives in the tank bag and I always put it so its easy to grab, turn on, snap a pic, turn off, and put back in the bag one handed. Its just a Sony cybershot point and shoot, DSLR's are too bulky and fragile for this kind of trip imo.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:04 AM   #24
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Skierd, I think I may have asked this on GRM, but what were you at Townson for?
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:23 AM   #25
Jordan Y
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I've been daydreaming about getting an R and doing a long distance touring trip so I'm very interested in this ride report. I'd be interested to hear how the bike was working for you over the course of the trip, and your impressions of what it's like to go a long distance on it.

Keep 'er coming, good stuff so far.
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Old 08-28-2009, 09:35 AM   #26
bash3r
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caithness
I've been daydreaming about getting an R and doing a long distance touring trip so I'm very interested in this ride report. I'd be interested to hear how the bike was working for you over the course of the trip, and your impressions of what it's like to go a long distance on it.

Keep 'er coming, good stuff so far.
x2 !!!
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:08 AM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigDogAdventures.com
All WR riders are glued to this story---mainly because of the big mileage you did on this ride----as everyone is curious as to just what these little motors that could .............can do.
even those of us that aren't on WRs are pretty impressed

6k mi is a long way to go on a dirt bike.
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:31 AM   #28
skierd OP
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PHeller - I'm an Art Education major. I would have posted this over on GRM, but the forum interface over there is so wonky that its more of a PITA than its worth.

You want distance? I'll give you distance.

Day 3 - End of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Deal's Gap, and Jellico, TN

One thing I like about camping: waking up at dawn. One thing I don't like about camping, at least in a crowded public campground: other people. For example I woke up around 1:30am to the sounds of a couple obviously having more fun than anyone else going by her moans... There were a lot of noisy kids, noisy pets, and people in general, and big (and unwelcome) change from the relative solitude of the last few days.

Whats nice about waking up at dawn? Other than getting out before everyone else, the views are pretty nice:



First stop for gas was around 8am, as I came off the parkway I found this little sign...



They weren't kidding. I learned something about North Carolina that morning: when the sign says its a 20mph curve, its a 20-fricking-mph curve. Had a close call when the road curved around a cliff face and tightened back up with no warning...



As nice as that was, it was just a taste of what was to come.

Back to the Parkway:



But first a little breakfast. This is a big part of how I could get up and going quickly in the morning. I tended to pass a town big enough for a walmart every few days, so I would get a box or two of clif bars to eat first thing in the morning. Before stopping for the night I would also get a gatoraide and drink about half of it. Waking up, the two combined makes a decent way to start the day. Cheap, somewhat filling, and tasty.


More early morning beauty:




It wasn't all sunshine and happiness unfortunately, as I was coming up one of the mountains after my breakfast stop, I ran into these guys




The guy in the white and red shirt was responsible for the skid marks in the grass, lost it on the corner and went for a pretty decent tumble. His bike was ok except for the mashed up highway pegs (the bike pictured is his), and he was fine except for a few bruised (or broken?) ribs, few bumps, small cuts and a abarsions. Used my first aid kit and helped patch up what I could. Keep it safe out there guys...

As I entered the Cherokee reservation that serves as the terminus of the Parkway, I couldn't help but notice some more dirt roads off to the side that again seemed to parallel the parkway... Off we go!




It popped me out basically into the town of Cherokee at the end of the parkway. I found the town odd and harsh on the eyes and ears after being in the woods for 3 days. I guess I just don't get the casino thing maybe?


Oh well, lets motor! Kudzu!


I like where this is going...


This is the dam Harrison Ford's stunt double jumped from, if I read the sign correctly.


Its only a few miles away from...




Here's hoping I don't make a contribution...

Lots of amazing hardware, lots of bikes, lots to look at.



But screw it, lets ride it! I haven't ponied up for the US129Photo's CD yet, but I made 3 runs through the gap, two of which I pushed the bike as hard as I dared to. What. A. Fantastic. Road. The fact that its a US highway gives me some faith that the US government can indeed occasionally get something right. Blind squirrels and nuts and all that. I can say that I felt my boots touch down several times, and that was on D606's. I certainly wasn't holding anyone up on the dragon. But the same can't be said for the D606's... by this time they had about 3000 or 3500 miles on them, the last thousand of which were pretty hard street miles on the Blue Ridge and North Carolina back roads. Every knob on the front showed evidence of overheating around the base, and the rear was pretty well worn. More on the tires later....

In any event, my last trip through was taken at a much more relaxed, cruiser pace (especially because I got caught behind a few dressers). So, I took some pics:



and pulled off at the scenic overlook. One of these bikes is not like the other




It was only another 100 miles to Jellico, and I had plenty of day light left... so I pused it and made it. It was something like 350 miles, can't remember the exact total as I didn't write it down.

More slab...

Oh thank Jesus...

You gotta start at the beginning, and I had laundry to do, so I took advantage of the reasonable rates at the Days Inn Jellico and turned in for the night, excited for what the next day would bring as I've read that the first 60-100 miles of Tennessee were great.

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Old 08-28-2009, 11:05 AM   #29
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Some quick reflections...

Skyline Drive, while pretty, was a disappointment compared to the first and last 100 miles of the Blue Ridge. Similiarly the middle 200 miles of the Blue Ridge were fairly disappointing by comparison.

The last 150 miles of the Parkway, Deal's Gap, and any/all of the roads I took to get gas makes me seriously want to move to western NC. The people are fantastic, the roads are amazing, gorgeous scenery. The detours off the "route" were as good or better than the parkway many times.

Less is more indeed, I'm going to be working on my setup over the winter to drastically reduce bulk, weight, and make everything more efficient.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:12 AM   #30
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