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Old 11-28-2010, 05:10 AM   #1
mikegc OP
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Location: High Point, NC
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Late Autumn Ride

You know how it is when you’ve been “farkling” your motorsickle and you can’t wait to try it out? Well, the ol’ job isn’t going so well in “The New Economy” and, since I had just installed a new oil sump drain plug, I did my best Joel Goodson imitation, hitting the road under fair skies and warm temperatures. Making my way up US 220 to Roanoke, VA, I found the entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed north. Since the drought had subdued fall’s announcement of winter’s approach, there was virtually no traffic on one of the nation’s premier motorcycling roads. I paused briefly on Mill Mountain and took a picture of the former village of Big Lick, now known as Roanoke.


Continuing north, I exited the Parkway at Highway 25, near the Peaks of Otter Lodge on one of Virginia’s scenic byways, I didn’t have to ride far to determine why. Making my way over to Natural Bridge via state and US routes, the lower altitudes yielded warmer temperatures and light traffic.





I visited friends just outside Lexington before pushing on to Harrisonburg for the evening. Winding my way through all the bucolic countryside the Shenandoah Valley has to offer presented many “Kodak moments. The shadows were lengthening and that meant the area’s plentiful deer population would soon be stirring. I did stop in scenic Bridgewater and snapped a photo at the old college campus:


Arriving at the hotel in Harrisonburg around 5:45, the day had been, in my opinion, what motorsickle travel is all about. I cleaned up and walked over to an Outback to celebrate my good fortune of enjoying the countryside on two wheels. The next day, I had the Skyline Drive in my sights.


The morning broke clear and cold with a biting wind out of the northwest. I waited until 10:00 AM to leave in order to get the mercury up a little from the 30 overnight low. I made my way to the Skyline Drive and climbed up the ridge on the eastern border of the Shenandoah Valley and was rewarded for the effort:


The temperature had dropped precipitously into the low 30s with the gain in altitude and, combined with road construction, I exited the scenic route in favor of state and US routes. I wanted to visit Antietam, as the Confederates called it. I found the town of Sharpsburg to be quaint if somewhat “touristy.”

As I rode around the battlefield, I recalled my history lessons that deemed “America’s Bloodiest Battle” as over 23,000 died there. The Army of the Potomac pursued the Army of Northern Virginia and this engagement was the first major battle fought on Union soil. General Lee was outnumber three to one and managed to fight General McClellan to a standstill. The battle, considered a draw, did serve to end General Lee’s invasion of Maryland.


General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson stood near here during the battle.

Because of some road construction, I couldn’t get to the Sunken Road where Confederates endured many Union assaults before yielding. I took this photo near there at what was Miller’s cornfield:


I was sorry to leave this hallowed ground after spending such a short time. Shadows, again, were lengthening and I needed to push on to Pennsylvania as I had a social commitment in the Hershey area. Using Maryland’s rural lanes, I negotiated the farmlands and stayed off the interstate routes, making it to my hotel at sunset.

After cleaning up and pulling out some non-riding duds, I went to dinner at the home of a lady who I met a little over forty years ago. Back in those days, I was a combat photographer with the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam. When not in the field, my buddies and I would head down to the orphanage to help out any way we could. I photographed many of the kids and, over the years, managed to hold on to those black & white negatives. Well, through the Internet, I became reacquainted with the lady who ran the An Lac orphanage and reconnected with many of the orphans earlier this year. I took Ngoc’s picture in 1970:





Me in 1970 near the Cambodian border. I rode on an M-48 in those days!

Here we are today:


Okay, Okay, the years haven't been kind to me. I know it! Anyway, I try to visit her and her adoptive mother whenever I’m in the area. Pretty cool, huh?

Tuesday morning was a “Chamber of Commerce day.” I fired up the beast and started to ride over to my business appointment when I noticed the handling was weird. I took a pressure reading on the rear tire and found it only contained 15 lbs. On the bikes center stand, I spun the tire and found no punctures and, after the traditional valve stem core test yielded no tell-tale signs of leaking, I brought ‘er up to 42 lbs and motored on to a business appointment. After that, I rode over to a convenient Honda shop where the techs agreed with me and said, “No problem.” Still uneasy, I went to the BMW store in Lititz and they, too, found nothing wrong. I rode on to Gettysburg for the evening on a fully inflated tire. After dinner, I rode downtown, taking my camera with me.


The Gettysburg Hotel (Best Western) on the Square



Beast in the City




Street Scene in Gettysburg

Wednesday morning, I was really looking forward to negotiating the Lincoln Highway and enjoying the West Virginia by-ways down to the picturesque Canaan Valley. On the side of caution, however, I broke out the tire gauge only to discover the rear tire was flat again. I pumped it up to 42 lbs again and rode out to do a little early morning photography around the old battlefield.


Sentinel at Seminary Ridge


Uneasy about continuing to West Virginia with a wounded tire, I motored up to Velocity Cycles in Carlisle. Tim and Jeremie listened to my tale of woe and, after clearing up a couple of riders who were ahead of me, pulled the Continental off the rear. Inside the tire was a little water and sand mixture that the tech called “slurry.” They asked if I’d done a recent creek crossing and I recalled doing just that the previous weekend. The tech reasoned the tire’s bead hadn’t seated properly, allowed the mixture in and sand lodge in the bead. While the tire was hot, the leak sealed itself but, in the cold overnight temps, the leak opened. They installed a new Bridgestone Trail Wing and I was off again. Due to the hour, I had to do the Eisenhower System in order to arrive at the Canaan Valley Resort before sunset. I pulled it at 6:00 PM after blitzing the speed limits all the way. Deer were everywhere! Just as I unloaded the bike, the skies unloaded, too.

Thursday morning showed no sign of the sun and it was pouring. My new BMW Comfort Shell riding suit was about to be put to the test. I also had a new pair of “waterproof” BMW All Around gloves. I launched it the driving rain after checking the tires (front okay, rear down about 15 lbs) and headed for Lexington, KY, 365 miles to the west. Making it to Charleston, the rain gave me a break as the Garmin 665 said it would. I really like the active weather radar on the newest addition to the zmo line. By the time Huntington was in view, the sky promised sunshine just up the road. I saw the temperatures climb to 60 as I neared my destination. I did run into a few spotty showers from very small storm clouds. Under one of those clouds, the temperature would drop from the high 50s to the upper 40s in a heartbeat and rise again as I passed through. Funny weather. I made Lexington, KY around 4:30 PM.


Friday was going to be an easy day. All I had to do was ride the 70+ miles over to the Louisville area where I was to meet my wife and friends to have a nice weekend with former home towners. As was becoming my custom, once again I broke out the pressure gauge and found only 15 lbs of air remained. Dang! Once underway, I headed for Louisville’s BMW dealer and found they had been purchased by the Harley-Davidson dealership. I explained my reoccurring problem to the shop foreman and he had me wait a good five minutes before they were able to get ‘er on a lift. About thirty minutes later, they told me they had replaced the valve stem core as it the little rubber seal was broken. I said goodbye to the friendly folks at the dealership and rode a short 12 miles over to Prospect, KY, confident that I would have no more tire issues. That proved to be the case on Sunday morning when I headed back home. I spent the next couple of days with my wife, visiting friends and catching up on old times.

Sunday morning was clear and quite cold. As our friends packed the car as I said goodbye to our host and hostess for the weekend of fellowship. When I urged my mount into first gear, the bike’s thermometer registered a balmy 28. I cannot say enough about the quality of Mr. Gerbings best efforts. My only regret was that I didn’t have my socks or gloves but that was my fault!


I negotiated my way out of the Louisville metro area with ease and found I-64 east. I notice the 70+ mph speeds did little to keep me warm so the heated pants and jacket got dialed up a notch or two. The BMW Comfort Shell was really helping seal up cold air leaks so was okay. Negotiating Kentucky’s Route 15 was scenic and took me quickly to the Old Dominion State where 43 felt pretty good. Refueling in Abingdon, I was relegated to the Eisenhower System the rest of the way home. Even still, it had been a good week on a motorsickle!

Mike




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mikegc screwed with this post 11-28-2010 at 02:40 PM Reason: Increased the size of the photographs
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Old 11-28-2010, 07:17 AM   #2
ClearwaterBMW
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hey, mike
great ride report
love the pictures
can i please ask you a favor?

can you go back and edit your ride report, INCREASING the size of your SMUGMUG IMAGES by AT LEAST ONE SIZE?

i surely hope so
yes, you can CLICK on each one and see the bigger picture, but that isn't going to allow most folks to enjoy your photography

these images are TOO GOOD TO SEE THIS SMALL

no offense intended
thanking you in advance

i appreciate that you shared this with us
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'11 R1200 GS Adventure with a DMC M72DX Sidecar
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Old 11-28-2010, 12:10 PM   #3
mikegc OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClearwaterBMW
hey, mike
great ride report
love the pictures
can i please ask you a favor?

no offense intended
thanking you in advance

i appreciate that you shared this with us



Hi Greg,

No offense taken at all. In fact, thank you for the compliment! I got a new computer and my settings in Smug Mug must have changed. By the way, I used to look at your photography over at iBMW.com with envy. You know your way around a DSLR.

Mike
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Old 11-28-2010, 12:26 PM   #4
GB
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Gorgeous ride! Thanks for the report and pics. Moved to Day Trippin'
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:53 PM   #5
ClearwaterBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegc
Hi Greg,

No offense taken at all. In fact, thank you for the compliment! I got a new computer and my settings in Smug Mug must have changed. By the way, I used to look at your photography over at iBMW.com with envy. You know your way around a DSLR.

Mike
i'm honored by your words, mike
thank you for remembering me over at I-BMW... a great site, for sure

your pictures are very nice... thanks for enlarging them for all of us to enjoy
i can't wait to see more

combining photography and riding is something we BOTH love
thanks again for your response
have a great week
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Greg
'11 R1200 GS Adventure with a DMC M72DX Sidecar
'14 R1200 GS & '14 R nineT (march, 2014)
Live life like you mean it... but take your family and friends (and DOGS) along for the "ride"
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:59 PM   #6
thisguy72
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Great Pictures. I used to live up in northern Maryland and the landscape takes me back. Thanks for sharing.

Ride safe.
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Old 11-28-2010, 07:06 PM   #7
rockinrog
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Nice RR and pics thx for sharing.
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