ADVrider

Go Back   ADVrider > Riding > Ride reports
User Name
Password
Register Inmates Photos Site Rules Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-17-2010, 11:10 PM   #46
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 202
My wife is up at the crack of doom, on the shuttle, and off to catch her flight back home. I sleep in. I have absolutely no plan for my route home. East. Then North. My only constraint is a wedding I have to be home for in two weeks.

I discover that Colorado is, unsurprisingly, like Alberta in that it flattens out immediately after you descend from the Rockies. I’m a little bummed about being alone, but the weather is good, and frankly I’m more than happy to burn miles across the prairies today after the intensity of driving through where we’ve been, on the roads we’ve been on.

There is also the lifted weight of responsibility for my passenger’s safety, something else that I left behind in Denver. I don’t know how other riders feel about it. Keep Her Safe are the three words I keep focused in the front of my consciousness when I wake up every morning, before leaning over into every blind corner, when I start getting a bit aggressive on the throttle, and when I’m drifting off to sleep. It’s a relief, a small compensation, to let that go today.

Now, I just have to Keep Me Safe, and Have Fun moves from slot #3 to slot #2. That is nice.

At the rural gas, the grizzled attendant, who drives a Fat Boy, sums up the immediate future:

“If the wind keeps calm you’ll have a nice ride.”

Sage, and accurate.

The rest of Colorado is straight grasslands, and clear… a tonic for the drama of the previous days, and a nice space to reflect upon my new solitude. Until:



I took a leak at the Kansas state line, and for some reason, I remember this and I feel sort of badly about it, like I stomped on the flag or something. Sorry dudes, I didn't mean anything by it. I will have you know I packed out my banana peel.

Maybe Kansas knows about my transgression. A fierce SE crosswind starts ripping it up. Waves are shimmering across the grass, and my head is weathervaning halfway around my neck with the wind. You know it’s windy when the rare SUV in front spends more time straddling the fog line than between the lines.

On the bright side, you don’t get many opportunities in the prairies to wear the sides of your tires out, and I'm doing it now! After a while I give up adjusting my tank bag back to center. I start picking highways for their bias to the wind.





Smokin on the beaver????



The pull of seeing the world’s biggest ball of twine, biggest prairie dog, and a live five-legged steer prove almost irresistible. Plus there are buffalo and you get to pet baby pigs. But the desire to make time is greater.

Unfortunately I’ve been chasing this all day, and finally catch the damned thing:



And so end up in a nice town campground, in Ellis, a rail town which itself has seen better days. But what days they must have been.



It's a surprise to me to see original cobblestone streets in the small towns of Kansas and Missouri, where they are still exposed. The people of Ellis are trying extra hard to make a visit to their town memorable, and they've put up historical plaque all over the place (like the one to the right of the hydrant) showing historical photos of buildings and explaining their significance to the town. After wandering around for a while reading as many as I can find, I come away with a better understanding of the place, and a renewed sadness for the continued decline of small towns everywhere.





I have camera, ergo I must take photos of rusty things...













I don't think this train gets much action any more:



All aboard?



A gentle reminder to watch where I’m stepping in my flip-flops. This snakeskin is about four feet long.



Following the kiddy train tracks through a grove, the place is chock full of butterflies! I’ve never seen so many. Monarchs are not exactly rare at home, but I've never seen anything like this.





Tomorrow I smash more of these on the front of my bike and jacket than I have ever seen in my lifetime, and it makes me a bit sad.

Tonight’s accompaniment is the low drone of the nearby I-70, crickets, and the regular hooting of several nearby owls. I have a great sleep after paying the nice young sheriff deputy guy for the camping, the first person I've spoken to in Kansas.

shaweetz screwed with this post 10-17-2010 at 11:30 PM
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 06:05 AM   #47
Iron Tiger
Born To Be Wild
 
Iron Tiger's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Oddometer: 39

Thank You For Sharing..
__________________
Pray, Work & Ride...
Our Journey Must Go On...
Iron Tiger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 06:06 AM   #48
teachnsurf
Bonnie Adventurer
 
teachnsurf's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Oddometer: 253
Loving the write up!
__________________
This is my Bonneville. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My Bonneville is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My Bonneville, without me, is useless. Without my Bonneville, I am useless. I must ride my Bonneville true. I must ride faster than my enemy who is trying to beat me. I must beat him before he beats me. I will.

1st Epic Journey

#2
teachnsurf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 02:14 PM   #49
The Killstar
Ted Simon Acolyte
 
The Killstar's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Austin, TX
Oddometer: 300
Hope you enjoyed Kansas. I gotta tell you though, it's way more fun riding out of it than riding in.
__________________
Watch out for snakes! - Crow T Robot
2000 Honda Sabre (Sold)
2010 Triumph T100 Black
"Absolutely! If we didn't like visually beautiful bikes we'd all ride V-Stroms or something." - Av8rPaul
The Killstar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 04:36 PM   #50
perterra
-. --- .--. .
 
perterra's Avatar
 
Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tejas
Oddometer: 7,400
Hell'va good read.
perterra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 08:44 PM   #51
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 202
Land of Buicks, Land of Butterflies

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Killstar
Hope you enjoyed Kansas. I gotta tell you though, it's way more fun riding out of it than riding in.
I gotta say, I actually enjoy riding through the prairies, I'm sure I'll do it again someday, and that's not a loathsome proposition to me. The sightseeing turns inwards, for a while, and you have no choice in the matter. You've got a big mirror illuminating all that ugliness and goodness and there's no avoiding that view no matter how much Rammstein or Elbow or ZZ Top or whatever is queued up in your ipod.



Todays only missions: head east, and find the Kansas Motorcycle Museum along the way. The foul weather of yesterday has totally blown out .

I set out south from Ellis in search of Kansas K4, which led me over a nice stretch of graded dirt, thence to a nice two-laner.

But something feels different.







Its the cows.

Ive come thousands of miles, passed thousands of cows. Cows never pay you any mind. Never.

These cows stop their very important business, look up, and regard you as you go by, like the painting with the moving eyes in the haunted house. It's a strange thing, to suddenly be an object of their consideration.

Maybe these cows have just never been treated to the awesome sound of a British parallel twin.





Further on, the cows resume usual cow-like behavior.

About an hour in, a fellow at the grocery store in Hoisington pulls up in his white pickup and we chat bike for a bit. Turns out he's just bought a used Tiger. A nice chat, and sort of a rarity to meet a Triumph owner at all. He also mentions the museum Im headed for, recommends it, tells me about how far it is, and recommends a joint for lunch.

It's funny to me that folks around here dont seem to know the wherabouts of their own neighbouring towns. Folks at the grocery store cant exactly say how long a drive it is to get to a place that is 45 minutes from home... really? There's a bunch of hollering ("Fred, you know how far it is to -- where'd you say son -- Marquette? No?? Maybe Bob here knows. No? Here, betcha Earl knows" (Asks old feller with no teeth) etc. etc.).

Here in Marquette, which is a tiny little place, a great collection of old bikes is stashed. Im greeted at the door by LaVona, a sweet lady whose late husband Stan Engdahl was responsible for winning all of these flat-track trophies:



I'm a little awestruck at the accomplishment and dedication implied by all this.



Moto pr0n alert (photos were taken with permission)!

Stan's bike:



Others in the collection:

















More. They've got a lot crammed in here. A feast for the eyes.



Europe is a little underrepresented. This guy figures into my ride report in a post or two:



Wouldn't you know it, Harley used to make cool bikes:







Britain sort of gets the shaft. I'm not too offended, I'm in the heartland after all.

BSA's representing:





Lunch next door is an unforgettable roast beef sandwich. I think. The roast beef was delicious. But I've never seen so much gravy in my life; god, so much gravy. The plate comes out, and all I see is a mountain of gelatinous gravy, half to three-quarters of an inch deep, covering the whole plate. There's no room to even scrape it aside without it oozing over the side of the plate and onto the table, like some B horror movie entity.

Did I mention I've been a vegetarian for almost 15 years?

Once I found the sandwich, it was very tasty, and the meal was cheap. I didn't feel so hot for a while. Probably I've just met my caloric intake requirements for several days.

I roll eastward and stop for a little while in



Just for kicks. But Ottawa doesnt give me that loving feeling, so I keep on, a little ashamed that I dont know the aboriginal origin of the word ottawa, which is also my hometown, in Canada. A little web searching solves that: Adwe is the Algonquin word meaning "to trade". The Outaouaks were a trading nation of the Anishinbe family. It is from Outaouak that "Ottawa" is derived. It is the English corruption of Adwe. Class dismissed.

I get almost to the Missouri border, whack the web at McD's for a while looking for camping, and have to backtrack 10 minutes straight into the blazing setting sun After this unpleasant affair, I found the camp and dove straight into the first vacant site I see, unpack my crap, and make a meal.

The camp host pulls up.
"You're the guy I gotta pay", I say.
"We've got a problem", he says. "You're in a serviced RV spot. There's a tent camp down the road. The RV sites are twenty. The tent sites are ten."

My crap is unpacked, my tent is up, and I'm beat. And the RV park is half empty. Could he just say he saw me down the road and charge me for a tent spot? I'm not using any services. I need an 8 foot square patch of grass.

Mr. Rules is having none of that. He thinks I don't want to pay at all, so I use some smooth talk to get him to be my friend again, pay up, and start to settle in.

The air is so damp, as soon as the moon comes up, it might as well have rained.



An upstanding fellow Kevin stops in and invites me over to his campfire to meet his family Carson and Dawn and enjoy some brews. Hope I got the names ok. It's a real treat to visit someone else's campfire, since building my own is a big time commitment and I'm always ready to fall over soon after night arrives. These most excellent folks were great company, kindly gave me a Missouri map, some tips, and a bit of WD40 for a minor bike problem. It was a privilege to hang out with them.

Awoken by some serious coyote howling, which also sets the owls hooting. I like those owls, if only I get a chance to actually see one.

In the AM, my other neighbours, a pair of cool ladies in a tent trailer, holler over and ask if I want some coffee. Hell yes. Their awesome perc brew saves me a lot of hassle with my GSI espresso thingy, and the company is great.

People ask if I get lonely doing solo touring. Obviously they've never done it.
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2010, 10:38 PM   #52
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 202
Show me Missouri? But not too much please.

I didn't take too many pictures in Missouri.

Not in Kansas anymore (sorry, boo)



State highways through the Mark Twain state forest unwind like a bouncing roll of toilet paper. The weather is great and there’s serious whoopdee dos, and I’m doing my best to round out the rear tire, which has become seriously squared off since Reno. Fun riding!

Taco Bell, where have you been since my student days!???



So cheap!! So yummy!!

The payment, I have forgotten, comes later.

A town of 66 people can’t afford a fancy “welcome to” sign, but hey, this is way, way better:



Stuck on the bridge at the Harry Truman Reservoir, I strikes me as a little odd, these reservoir things, a little, I dunno, fake. In my neck of the woods, there are gazillions of lakes. I guess if your state got shafted, you have to make your own. Fair enough. I add that it was damned odd seeing every second truck hauling a boat through the desert in Utah, destined for Lake Powell, yet another massive reservoir project. (Actually, I've had a chance to look into it, and boating on Lake Powell looks like it would be pretty cool).

Evil twin Montreal is even less inspiring than evil twin Ottawa:




So this here's a public forum that's potentially online forever, and I put a bit of thought into this next bit, and how I ought to include it, if at all...

I gas up and have a rest stop in this little town in the Ozarks. Now, folks chat me up all the time at gas stops, that's always nice, and not particularly unusual. At the next pump, I catch a fine lady glancing my way. I don't think too much of it, until I catch her again (which means I've also been caught), and she asks me about the bike, and where I'm going. East, is my reply.

That's hot, she replies.

(processing... ... ... am I being hit on?)

Some small banter proceeds, and there is now absolutely no question that I'm being hit on hard, like with a baseball bat. I tell her my lovely wife just flew home from Denver, which is maybe a mistake, since perhaps it sounded like a hint of the wrong kind; she seems undeterred.

Now don't get all excited. I am an honourable fellow.

Here is what I'm supposed to say happened: I wish the girl a nice day, look at the map, and ride off, wondering what I'm going to have for dinner tonight. My, the people are nice here in Missouri.

Instead, a slightly more detailed version: I'm a happy man in a strong marriage, lucky at that for having such an amazing partner who does crazy things like motorcycling tours with me, as you can see. My love for my wife is deep, I'll be perfectly clear. But I've never really been presented with a Test of this magnitude; I obviously don't seek it out, and it doesn't usually happen to me. Let's go over the facts: I'm travelling solo again; nobody really has a clear idea of where I am; I am not expected anywhere; what is on offer is... quite nice. In other words, a perfect storm for any man.






I wish the girl a nice day, throw my leg over the saddle, and get the hell out of there like I'm being chased by rabid hyenas.

It's like the devil himself appeared, holding out ten million dollars... there's a microscopic amount of time, the briefest pause, a contemplation that happens before the Right Thing To Do presents itself with strength. In this small space, less than a breath really, there is an ugly darkness of temptation. I think any man who claims he hasn't seen it, that man is either a liar, or has never really been given the Test.

You're never supposed to say you got the Test. Furthermore, you're never, never supposed to say that you happened to notice the Test had more than one answer. I don't doubt my strength in picking the right answer, but I've never seen the scaffolding that holds it all up laid so bare. I'm not a religious man, but if the devil's temptation brings this much turmoil with it's mere appearance, I can only imagine what happens to your soul if you take him up on it . No thanks.

Now, I could have left that out of my report. But that was my Missouri.

Back, then, to motorcycling.




I'm kind of set on dispersed camping somewhere in Mark Twain Natl Forest tonight. But then, I can't go too far off the road, there's the road noise, and I worry about getting bugged by annoying people. Lucky for me, I find an organized park. I buzzed around the place for a while trying to follow the little trailer signs, but damned if I can find any campsites. There's a picnic area and beach (closed for the season) by a lake, which I can only reach by a "no cars past this point" trail. I've got the place to myself.



It rains hard, but I manage to sleep some after reading the brief autobiography of Nikola Tesla. The coyotes are busy and seem very close tonight, maybe a fitting end to the day I've had.

shaweetz screwed with this post 10-19-2010 at 12:16 PM
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 09:40 AM   #53
MotoNP2010
n00b
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee (USA)
Oddometer: 3
Thumb Thanks

Great ride report. Thanks for sharing.
MotoNP2010 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 12:58 PM   #54
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 202
The rain having mostly cleared by morning, I discovered the water was still on at the park, so I enjoy a frigid outdoor shower in the middle of the picnic field, beside the beach. Being alone has certain advantages. Sorry, no pictures .

I pack my stuff and roll out. One problem.

The previous evening, an authority has arrived at the parking lot, discovered it empty, and locked me in.



On the road, it seems, there is seldom a dull moment.

1) wait around for a haughty ranger type to come, unlock it, and upbraid me for not paying. No thanks.
2) I think I can limbo under this if I pull the flyscreen, mirrors, and unload the duffle. Still a practical problem of power walking a heavy bike under the bar while crouching beside it. Not great, and will take time. Mr. Rules is probably going to show up any moment.
3) ADV style. The right side is totally blocked, with rocks, out of the question. The left looks to be just barely enough room. I don't exactly have dual-sport clearance here.

What would Tesla do?

Tesla probably didn't ride. He would spend the rest of his days designing a teleporter.

One pannier pulled, I gingerly thread the bike around the left side.



These photos make it look like there was tons of room. I tell you, it was not so.

At one point Im off the saddle and straddling the bike on the rocks, just to get the clearance I need to avoid demolishing the pipes. Its raining, misty, and my glasses are totally fogged, to make things worse. I'm expecting a sickening scraping noise at any moment. I tell you, you could maybe squeeze a sheet of paper between the bike and those bike eating things. Somehow I got out with a mildly scratched shift lever . Realizing my little accomplishment might qualify me for an ADV boxtop secret decoder ring, I snapped those two pics and got the stink out before Mr. Rules showed up.



Ten minutes down the road, a small town, an ATM. Perfect, I need some cash.

Insert card. Enter PIN. Request $200. Retrieve card. Collect slip. Have a nice day.

Have a nice day? Where TF is the cash???

9am on Sunday morning in rural Missouri. The world is in church. This day has not begun well. A bunch of expensive cell phone time confirms that nothing can be done until Monday morning.

Karma is, indeed, a bitch. Somewhere, some Hindu goddess is laughing her ass off.


But hey, the Mississippi River! Cool!





Come on, feel the



Everywhere is the home of somebody, Bob Dole, Popeye, whatever.



Ugh guh guhguhguhhg. Bronze Popeye is strangely creepy.



I've developed my master plan, and that is to head over to the Dragon, thence to North Carolina. And why not, I'll roll through Nashville on the way.

The fine print on my ATM slip says the transaction didnt actually go through. So I got upset for nothing. Things are looking up.
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 01:06 PM   #55
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 202
Thanks to everyone for the compliments. It's a bit intimidating to post my little ride pictures here among such epic and legendary reports .

A few more posts to go.
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 02:31 PM   #56
noqmansan
Adventurer
 
noqmansan's Avatar
 
Joined: Oct 2010
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Oddometer: 16
This thread definitely made my day. Very inspiring - I plan on riding through many of the same places. Thanks for taking the time to post all of this!
noqmansan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 04:40 PM   #57
Goldie05
Fast George
 
Goldie05's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Jackson, NJ
Oddometer: 612
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaweetz

We rolled around in Natural Bridges Monument, which really requires the time so you can hike down. The access road is nice but there is no doubt you need to do the hikes to really appreciate.


Great report I recently did a cross country trip and went through some of the places you went through, Crater Lake NP, Mt. St. Helens, route 50, Oregon, California, loved it all, beautiful places
I did my trip in July but I'm still updating my blog

I have a question though, 6 years ago I visited Arches and saw the above arch but I thought a couple of years ago the above arch had collapsed
Was it a different arch that collapsed? just curious
__________________
12 Yamaha Super Tnr
Alaska Trip
Cross Country Trip
Riding USA Blog
GeorgeFPhotography
Goldie05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 05:25 PM   #58
Goldie05
Fast George
 
Goldie05's Avatar
 
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: Jackson, NJ
Oddometer: 612
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaweetz

A town of 66 people cant afford a fancy welcome to sign, but hey, this is way, way better:




So this here's a public forum that's potentially online forever, and I put a bit of thought into this next bit, and how I ought to include it, if at all...

I gas up and have a rest stop in this little town in the Ozarks. Now, folks chat me up all the time at gas stops, that's always nice, and not particularly unusual. At the next pump, I catch a fine lady glancing my way. I don't think too much of it, until I catch her again (which means I've also been caught), and she asks me about the bike, and where I'm going. East, is my reply.

That's hot, she replies.

(processing... ... ... am I being hit on?)

Instead, a slightly more detailed version: I'm a happy man in a strong marriage, lucky at that for having such an amazing partner who does crazy things like motorcycling tours with me, as you can see. My love for my wife is deep, I'll be perfectly clear. But I've never really been presented with a Test of this magnitude; I obviously don't seek it out, and it doesn't usually happen to me. Let's go over the facts: I'm travelling solo again; nobody really has a clear idea of where I am; I am not expected anywhere; what is on offer is... quite nice. In other words, a perfect storm for any man.






I wish the girl a nice day, throw my leg over the saddle, and get the hell out of there like I'm being chased by rabid hyenas.

It's like the devil himself appeared, holding out ten million dollars... there's a microscopic amount of time, the briefest pause, a contemplation that happens before the Right Thing To Do presents itself with strength. In this small space, less than a breath really, there is an ugly darkness of temptation. I think any man who claims he hasn't seen it, that man is either a liar, or has never really been given the Test.

You're never supposed to say you got the Test. Furthermore, you're never, never supposed to say that you happened to notice the Test had more than one answer. I don't doubt my strength in picking the right answer, but I've never seen the scaffolding that holds it all up laid so bare. I'm not a religious man, but if the devil's temptation brings this much turmoil with it's mere appearance, I can only imagine what happens to your soul if you take him up on it . No thanks.
love the bank picture

Loved the above description of the encounter, you write well and I love your honesty not sure I would be that honest, like you say, no one knows where you are
__________________
12 Yamaha Super Tnr
Alaska Trip
Cross Country Trip
Riding USA Blog
GeorgeFPhotography
Goldie05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-19-2010, 06:52 PM   #59
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldie05
I have a question though, 6 years ago I visited Arches and saw the above arch but I thought a couple of years ago the above arch had collapsed
Was it a different arch that collapsed? just curious
From wikipedia:

Since 1991, three slabs of sandstone measuring 30, 47, and 70 feet (9.1, 14, and 21 m) long have fallen from the thinnest section of Landscape Arch,[4] forcing the Park Service to close the trail that once passed beneath it.

You must be thinking of this one:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...rch-photo.html
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2010, 07:36 PM   #60
shaweetz OP
Gnarly Adventurer
 
shaweetz's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Ottawa, CDN
Oddometer: 202
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldie05
Loved the above description of the encounter, you write well and I love your honesty not sure I would be that honest, like you say, no one knows where you are
I was less worried about doing the right thing than what would happen when my lady found out I posted about it!



However, the boss cleared it and we had a good chuckle about the episode. Besides, I can guarantee she gets hit on way more than my sorry azz. I gotta play it up when I can .

Always wanted to use the dancing MJ emoticon .

---

The weather pretty much dictated my plans for a while. I needed a delay in Nashville while some nastiness cleared up out near Knoxville. I'm no country music fan, but no matter, it would be a travesty to skip Nashville when some of the most momentous things in music history have happened there.

A couple fellows own a coin shop across from the Country Music Hall of Fame and sell parking. They kindly offered to stow my helmet and some of my crap behind the counter, right beside the shotgun. Nice folks, and full of questions about the bike.

I don't see too much point in posting my touristy CMHOF photos here. But the side visit to RCA Victor Studio B was slightly religious, in small part because, as a musician, I've spent a sizable chunk of my life in places such as this. A number of years ago, I read the morphic resonance theories of Rupert Sheldrake with some curiosity. To wit, the past events of a place impress themselves in a hitherto unproven "morphic field" which is "tuned into" or detected by future visitors to a place. Wild stuff.

In other words, the history in these walls is palpable. The list of artists and timeless songs originating here is longer than a prairie highway. Orbison, Everly Brothers, Elvis, etc etc etc. All right here, not that long ago.





Original vibraphone:



Roy Orbison stood here (the boots are smelling a bit better now, thanks to Dr. Scholls)?



Midday I'm rolling towards Knoxville, but I didn't wait long enough for it to clear, and the weather is ugly ugly. Still leftovers from that hurricane business up the east coast. Boots soaked, dark, this place draws me in with it's beacon in the night:





And they have a "biker discount" one of my cheapest motels yet.

Breakfast is biscuits and gravy . Mercifully, Starbucks is next door.

I can't exactly say why, but the whole idea of doing "the dragon" is kind of meh for me. I came all this way and I might as well check it out. But then I discovered I could ride up the Cherohala instead. So I make it so.

Now, not that a modern Triumph is particularly special, but given that I've seen ONE modern classic on the road out here in over a month, I'm starting to feel a bit smug about being on a long tour on a unique machine. Until this guy pulls up at the Cherhoala HD dealer:



I hang my head, mutter a few words, and hand him my Oscar for Coolest Thing Out here. This dude from Ohio appears to be travelling with a shaving kit and some rubbers to go over his sneakers. Wow. I think he said it was a '63 R50. I am smitten. (with the bike).

Trapped behind a half dozen slow moving open Harley pipes up the Cherohala is of no consequence (other than hearing loss), because our lane is covered in THREE INCHES OF MOWN GRASS , almost entirely. This goes on for perhaps fifteen minutes until we pass the tractor, and I pass the HDs.

As promised, the foul, foul weather of yesterday has blown out, and its a fulfilling run up the Cherohala and the lower part of the Blue Ridge, to Asheville, NC. At the end of it, I imagine that my back tire is not so square as it was yesterday . Both roads are well engineered, and it was a satisfying day trying to make perfect lines, perfect leans, perfect exits at conservative riding speeds.

I have no regrets skipping the Dragon. Later I learn that today (perhaps yesterday, perhaps every day) they pulled another rider out of the ditch. This area is too theme park motorcycle for me already. Plus I dont get much enjoyment out of tight switchbacks and such. So I hit the Cherohala instead, and don't regret it.

Id read in advance about NC mile marker 10, and I could see how folks have gotten into serious trouble here. If you blink and miss the 20mph curve rating (half the sign was missing), or miss the fading SLO that weary local riders have painted on the road, you could be easily fooled by the first half of the turn: a long, slow sweeper which is easily run much, much faster. The sign often doesn't call out the first turn, which is usually much tamer than the one succeeding it, and then you think its over. As in this case. The turn tightens in and if you've gotten excited and wicked it up on the sweeper, you have a problem.

I get through mile 10, as most do, without difficulty. So it is with the rest of the day. These roads are neither more or less difficult than anything else Ive ridden this last month. In my helmet I know I am young (ha), comparatively inexperienced, and no superstar. Still, Im satisfied with my run today, and I know that it was pretty good.

Quite by chance I rode down the beautiful Nantahala river gorge, enjoyed watching raft after raft floating down the fast picturesque river, while at the shore I used my new Walgreen's nail brush to finally take care of the ghastly bug paste that encrusts my riding jacket. People have been looking at me funny for quite a few weeks.

At the bottom, a rest area, restaurant, and lo! A pair of Triumphs .





I nearly fell off making wild gesticulations at the owners while trying to remove my headphones. A Street Triple and a Bonnie SE. I met the nice owners from the Orlando RAT, who invited me to lunch with their crew of six bikes, out for a week long tour. These Florida people were quite fascinated (horrified even) by my heated vest. Very nice folks. Thanks for the drink Bill.

The days are growing shorter, and my tradition of locating a campsite in a nick of time continues. A state park, near Asheville NC. Finally a nice campground with a good value. I tuck into my gourmet tin of beans, crackers and cab sauvignon, and wrap the day.



The problem with camping and short days is that you're in the sack at dark, which is now well before 8pm. I'm up at midnight, reading and laying out my options for tomorrow.
shaweetz is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Share

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

.
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


Times are GMT -7.   It's 06:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.5
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright ADVrider 2011-2014