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 06-14-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Two Yankees on Britbikes explore the South

Foreword

Before we even embarked on our Trans-Lab trip in fall of 2010, my friend Jason and I had discussed doing an epic trip to Alaska in the early summer of 2011. Unfortunately, it became clear over the winter that Jason would not be able to get enough time off work, so I scaled back my planning to a two-week trip. I came up with a route that would have us heading down south, then west to New Mexico, north through the Rockies to South Dakota, and homewards through the Michigan Upper Peninsula and southern Ontario.

With the trip shortened to a time frame that can be reasonably requested as vacation from work, several other friends expressed interest as well, among them Keith and David from last year's trip down to North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia, and our friend Adam. So planning went into overdrive (I've mentioned in previous ride reports that I'm full-blooded German and therefore can't help myself), and equipment purchases were made.

And all the while, I waited anxiously for my shiny brand-new Triumph Tiger 800 XC to show up. The one I'd been pestering my Triumph dealer about for a year, and officially preordered as soon as Triumph started taking orders in November.

March rolled around, and my bike still wasn't here (which didn't really matter as winter was resolutely refusing to end). David had to drop out of the trip because he'd started a new job and couldn't get enough time off. Jason warned me that he might have to drop out too because two of his coworkers were thinking of quitting. And Adam was busily house hunting.

But Keith and I were confirmed and excited. I'd developed a terrific route for the trip.

April rolled around, and Tiger 800s began to trickle in to US dealers. Mine showed up on April 15, and I immediately began breaking it in. Keith and I were pretty much set for the trip gear-wise, though of course both of us did a certain amount of second-guessing. Jason confirmed that one of his coworkers had quit and the other had gone part-time, so there was no way he'd be able to get away from work even for two weeks. And Adam confirmed that he was concentrating on buying a house, so he wouldn't be able to make it either. Crap.

What's more, the weather around the entire country was spectacularly awful. Tornadoes were terrorizing everywhere east of the Rockies, and floods were inundating huge swaths of countryside (including here in the North -- Lake Champlain was at its highest level in recorded history, swamping part of our calculated route). My German planning gene took control, and I started looking at the maps and working out a Plan B for the trip. And then a Plan C... and D, E, and even F (yes, really).

May finally rolled around, and Vermont slowly dragged itself into the most delayed springtime I've experienced in 14 years of living here. I test-packed the Tiger (on which I'd quickly accumulated over 1300 miles), picked up the last few odds and ends, uploaded all the trip files to my GPS, and watched the weather forecast.

Turned out it wasn't good. Our projected departure date was looking very wet. So Keith and I agreed to leave right after work on Friday, May 13, when it was still supposed to be dry out.

So Thursday night I packed the bike, and in the morning I locked up the apartment and headed off to work on my trip-prepped Tiger.



4pm rolled around, and after dealing with a last-minute request (of course), I met Keith in the parking lot behind my work, and we headed off, aiming for a campground south of Lake George to get a jump on the next day, and get out of the rain that was forecast to hit the northern half of Vermont overnight. We ended up at Moreau Lake State Park, which has a nice campground.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day (fully interactive -- zoom in as much as you like; also note that using the toggle menu in the upper right-hand corner, you can change the type of map that's displayed):
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 01:55 PM   #2
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Chapter 1
In which we ride from upstate NY to Leesburg, VA

May 14, 2011
On this first "for real" morning of the trip, we packed up camp and set out south past Albany, then picked up Rt 209 from Kingston, NY, down through the Delaware Water Gap.

Keith is an alum of Lehigh University, and since we were going right past there, we stopped off so he could get a few things from the campus bookstore.



Apart from that, this was a rather boring in-transit day that featured occasional drizzle and fog, uninteresting roads, and surprisingly cool temperatures. I think Keith wore his heated vest the whole time. I didn't wear mine, but did pull my fleece vest out of my tail bag. Apparently Vermont wasn't the only place where spring had made a very tardy appearance.

I didn't bother to take any other pictures -- in part because the weather was too iffy to hang my point&shoot camera around my neck for on-bike shots, and also in part because I've done this ride many times and long ago lost any interest in documenting it photographically.

We made it to my parents' house in Leesburg, VA, in good time, and spent the evening chowing down on steaks and chatting with my parents while warily watching the weather forecast. It did not look good.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 01:56 PM   #3
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Chapter 2
In which we ride the Blue Ridge Parkway

May 15, 2011
Sunday morning we went out for breakfast with my parents and were surprised to find the weather dry, though overcast. After breakfast we checked the radar and the forecast for the next few days, and decided to take our chances. So off we rode, and a short distance southwest of Leesburg, the sky actually began clearing and the sun even peeked out.

Our good fortune continued all the way down to Front Royal, VA, where we could see that the mountain ridges were reasonably free of clouds. So we ventured to the beginning of Skyline Drive and were informed that while there were a few patches of fog, overall it was fairly clear. We had been expecting to find the entire ridgeline completely socked in, so patchy fog was good enough for us.

Skyline Drive is a beautiful road whose only fault (before Memorial Day) is its low 35mph speed limit. Still, it's worth it. The views are spectacular.





A little more than halfway down Skyline Drive, it began raining, so we turned off on Rt 33, descended into the valley, and continued south in slightly drier weather. Keith and I agreed that since rain was a possibility in the direction we were heading regardless, it didn't make any difference which road we got wet on, so we may as well take a nice one -- so in Waynesboro, we headed back up to the ridgeline. Skyline Drive turns into the Blue Ridge Parkway at this point, and we proceeded south on the BRP. In the dry. After a short time, the sun even began poking out again. We were glad we'd decided to chance it up here.



We continued south and decided to call it a day at the Roanoke Mountain campground, since the sun was shining and we could reasonably expect a dry evening.

We selected a nice wooded campsite.



That fuel bottle Keith is holding would play a role later in the evening.



That role being that we needed it to get this going.



All the wood here was very damp. We tried and tried to get a fire lit without petrochemical assistance, but we failed miserably. In fact, even the first couple of times we tried dribbling some gas on the wood, it just went out again as soon as the gas had burned off. So Keith gave the pile of wood a good dousing, and I reached over to light it with a burning stick. WHOOSH! The fireball was big enough to singe the hair on my arm and much surprised laughter ensued -- but the damn fire did finally start burning properly!

We enjoyed our hard-won fire and grilled up some steak and bratwurst my mom had given us, then called it a night.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 16, 2011
Monday morning we continued south on the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoying the view of the parts that had been completely obscured by dense fog when we'd been here the year before.





Furthermore, during discussion the previous evening, we'd agreed to abandon Trip Plan A, which had us looping out west. We realized it would be very hard to accomplish the daily mileage averages we would have needed to maintain, especially given the very uncertain weather. This meant that we could relax a bit and do fewer miles each day.

This was a good thing, because we ended up riding through some patches of serious unpleasantness that reduced speeds to well below the 45mph speed limit. Luckily none of these patches lasted for hours on end, but a few of them were nevertheless enough for a thorough soaking.

Riding over Mt Pisgah, the weather decided to be picturesque. We were treated to a view of the sunlit valley, with a canopy of cloud hanging just barely over our heads.





Seeing the sun down there, we decided to abandon our plans to camp at Mt Pisgah, and instead headed down to the Davidson River campground we'd stayed at the year before. Good choice -- it was sunny and dry down there, and at least 10 degrees warmer.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 06-15-2011 at 07:04 AM
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 02:00 PM   #4
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Chapter 3
In which we finish the Blue Ridge Parkway and ride the Natchez Trace

May 17, 2011
Next morning we awoke to dry conditions, but by this point we'd stopped trusting the weather and just automatically put on our rain gear before setting out. We rode back up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway and continued southwest.

The weather continued to produce dramatic scenery that demanded photo stops.













Spaceman Keith. He came in peace for all mankind.



The Blue Ridge Parkway may have frequent weather issues, but it's a truly phenomenal road. Personally, I think it's one of the best motorcycle roads in the East. If you've never ridden it, put it on your list.

Unfortunately, it was over all too soon, and we descended out of the mountains into Cherokee, NC, had some breakfast, then headed onwards to the Cherohala Skyway. Not quite halfway over, we rode into a fog bank, and unfortunately it continued all the way down the Tennessee side, so there was no point in stopping for pics.

We emerged from the fog once we got into the valley, and we headed west towards Nashville, aiming for a campground just east of the city that we weren't entirely sure existed -- I had it in my GPS as an Army Corps of Engineers campground. We were half expecting to find a rusty gate and an abandoned-looking gravel lot with a couple of dented 50-gallon oil barrels full of trash... or even nothing at all. But the GPS guided us through some Nashville suburbs towards the large reservoir east of town, and out onto one of the peninsulas to the Anderson Road Public Use Area -- where we found a very nice campground with hardly anyone in it. We chose a campsite, rode back into the suburbs to get some takeout Chinese food, and battled the spiders that were threatening to take over our tents. Keith and I both hate spiders.

As the sun set, we began noticing that the sky was turning a really interesting color, so we walked down to the lakeshore and began trying to capture the weird light reflecting off the clouds -- I think it came from Nashville International Airport (note the airplane taking off just above the horizon).



Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 18, 2011
This morning was the first in several days that we felt safe setting off without donning our rain gear. It was getting warm quickly, and rain was unlikely. We hopped on the slab to bypass Nashville and made for the start of the Natchez Trace Parkway.

We figured that after the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Natchez Trace would be boring. But it's actually a really beautiful ride in its own right. The start even throws in a few fun sweepers.

Keith.



The scenery is less spectacular than on the BRP, but still very nice.





We took a break at the point where the Natchez Trace crosses the Tennessee River (in Alabama, funnily enough).





We rode on down the Trace.



It was getting hot, and we were getting thirsty, so we took another break at a rest area along a lazy creek.



We got moving again and soon crossed into Mississippi.



We stopped for gas and lunch in Tupelo, MS, where we lucked out and found a little BBQ shack called Eli's. Really tasty BBQ with a very unique and delicious sauce. Definitely check it out if you find yourself in Tupelo.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is full of historical spots, including a number of areas where the Old Trace has been restored and preserved. This is what travelers might have encountered on their way down to Natchez in the early 19th century.





Wondering what the Natchez Trace was? The National Park Service explains it better than I could.



We kept heading southwest, and soon came to an area that had obviously been hit by a tornado in recent weeks. And it kept going on. And on. And on. For at least ten miles.

I'm not struck speechless by much. But when we took a break soon after passing through the tornado-damaged region, I took my helmet off and had no idea what to say to Keith. I have never seen anything like it. The forest on either side of the road was completely destroyed. Trees had been snapped off like they were matchsticks, and all that was left was ragged bits of trunk pointing naked at the sky. We passed by one house that had part of its roof torn off. I rode through this area so goggle-eyed that I never even stopped to get out my camera. I think Keith got some pics though; hopefully he'll post some.

We stopped for the night at a campground a short distance south of the tornado-ravaged zone. There was storm damage evident in our campground too, but not nearly as severe.

We northeastern types may be used to dealing with snow and ice and even the occasional damaging ice storm, but those are nothing compared to the destruction that nature can produce. It was with those thoughts that I went to sleep that night, hoping to never encounter that kind of situation myself.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 19, 2011
By the time we got going in the morning, we could tell it was going to be a very hot day. I was feeling grungy -- no showers at this campground (but the campground was free), and I hadn't showered the previous morning because the showers at the Nashville campground were spider-infested, and, well, I hate spiders (especially when I'm naked -- that could have resulted in a Situation, so I thought it best to cut my losses and move on). Fortunately I had brought some camping body wipes along, and those things really work surprisingly well when an actual shower is not possible.

We continued south on the Trace, passing by the Barnett Reservoir outside of Jackson, MS (yes, I had the Johnny Cash song going through my head).





Around lunchtime we completed the Trace and rode into Natchez to grab lunch at Fat Mama's Tamales. Yum!



Of course we also had to get a peek at the Mississippi River, which was well past flood stage. Note the inundated opposite bank.



From there we headed east and made our way to Lake Mary Crawford just outside of Monticello, MS. There's a nice little campground there -- and it had a wonderful, spider-free shower.





As we were sitting there, an older gentleman emerged from the RV at an adjacent campsite, walked over, and invited us to join him and his wife for a dinner of bean soup. We politely declined since we'd only recently stuffed ourselves with tamales, but I felt bad turning down his hospitality. We had a conversation with him instead, during which he told us of some of his motorcycle adventures when he was young -- he used to ride a suicide-shift Harley. Really nice guy; we were finding there's definitely something to the stories of Southern hospitality and friendliness.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 02:05 PM   #5
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Chapter 4
In which we visit Birmingham, AL

May 20, 2011
Next morning we stopped off for breakfast in downtown Monticello, MS. I figured there had to be a diner or something, so we rode into this very small town, and sure enough, found a diner.

We sat down, and soon found ourselves in a conversation with the gentlemen sitting at the next table. One of them said, "Vermont?! I didn't think you could get here from there. What on earth brought you to Monticello, Mississippi?" The other told us about a good friend of his who'd grown up in Vermont and moved down to Mississippi -- lived there the rest of his life, but never did lose "that funny accent."

After breakfast, we slabbed it across Mississippi and into Alabama. Since we were on the superslab, we didn't stop for pictures, just took occasional hydration breaks. It was very hot out again. Having just emerged from a long, snowy winter and cold, wet spring, we weren't used to this kind of heat at all, and it was exhausting. Riding in 90+ degree heat with high humidity just feels like someone is blowing a giant hair dryer at you all the time. Unpleasant.

Our destination for the night was Birmingham, AL, where my friends Robin and Paul lived. Robin was one of my riding friends back home in Vermont, and is one of my co-organizers of the annual Bennington Triumph Bash, but a few years ago she met Paul, fell in love, and moved to Birmingham to marry him. Since Robin is a woman of good taste and intelligence, she naturally picked a great guy, and they make the yearly trek up to Vermont for the BTB.

When Keith and I had abandoned Plans A through C and decided to head east from Natchez instead of west, I had emailed Robin and Paul to ask if it was okay if we dropped in on them. They graciously invited us to do so, hence our destination this evening.

We ended up getting to Birmingham in good time, and I followed my GPS's directions to their house. As we rode along the street trying to figure out exactly which house it was, Paul emerged and directed us around back to park the bikes.

He greeted us as we got off our bikes and pointed to his dog, Chip, warning us that Chip was a rescue, had a skittish nature, and didn't like most people. I'm still wondering if he was putting us on, because Chip came right up to us, tail wagging, and proved during our stay to be one of the most affectionate dogs I've ever met. (Paul, witnessing this, shrugged his shoulders and said, "Strange, I guess he likes you guys -- must be the bikes.")

I have to publicly thank Paul and Robin for their hospitality. Keith and I each got our own room with actual beds to sleep in (nice after a week of camping), Paul had beer in the fridge, and also some amazing locally-brewed ginger ale that I've forgotten the name of -- much stronger and spicier than usual.

Robin got home from work a short time later, and the four of us went to a nearby BBQ joint, Dreamland BBQ, which had absolutely awesome ribs.

God, I love being on vacation!

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 21, 2011
Next day was a Saturday, and Paul rode with us over to his dad's house to fix an issue Keith was having with his Sprint (Paul and his dad are longtime Triumph guys too).

Bike taken care of, we all rode over to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum. This place is a must-see for anyone who loves motorcycles. George Barber has a collection of over 1200 bikes, with about 700 on display at any given time (the collection rotates). The best part is that the bikes are not roped off, so you can walk right up and scrutinize them up close.

The museum is designed so you start on the top floor -- and the very first bike that I rushed over to look at was one of the most iconic bikes in the world, the Britten V-1000.











They have several Hondas that look like they just came off the assembly line.







I'd love to get a GB500 like this one.



Puch 250 SGS, almost identical to the bike my dad rode from Vienna to Istanbul when he was a student



Pics from my dad's trip:





1967 Triumph Bonneville



BSA Gold Star Clubman



A couple of Tritons





Manx Norton



Norvin



1938 Brough Superior SS100





Egli Vincent. I love Vincents.





Vincent Rapide



Vincent Black Shadow (have I mentioned I love Vincents?)







A pair of Ducatis, old and new



This Sport Classic has been lightly breathed on. Just a little.



While we were wandering around the museum, a vintage race was going on outside on the track (yes, they also do track days here).



The museum is a large, modern concrete structure designed specifically for showing off this collection.



Tower of bikes.



Downstairs in the basement is the restoration area.



Last but not least, Mike Hailwood's Ducati. (Note the Desmosedici tucked unceremoniously behind it.)



If you ever have a chance to visit this museum, do it. It's absolutely stunning.

After visiting the museum, we had dinner with Robin and Paul and spent the evening chatting and watching "On Any Sunday." Gotta love motorcycle friends!
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 06-15-2011 at 11:20 AM
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 07:20 PM   #6
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Chapter 5
In which we overheat

May 22, 2011
We slept in a bit Sunday morning, then had breakfast and hung out with Robin and Paul. And kept hanging out. It was hot, and we were very relaxed, and we just didn't feel like moving. But finally around lunchtime we motivated ourselves off the sofa, loaded the bikes, and got underway. Our plan was to slab it away from Birmingham, then branch off onto surface streets and head into Georgia.

To my surprise, the border between the two states was almost visible. The landscape underwent a noticeable change as we passed into Georgia.

We stopped for an early dinner in Rome, GA, then continued, stopping every hour or so for water. It was in the 90s out, and we just couldn't get used to the heat. It exhausted and dehydrated us, and frequent water stops (occasionally accompanied by ice cream) were the only way to combat it. I don't mind riding in 30-degree weather, but 90+ just wears me out.

But as the afternoon wore on, the temperature dropped a bit, and eventually the straight roads began to get some bends in them. And then we found ourselves passing through a town and riding toward mountains. I had spotted a couple of bikes behind us in the mirror as we were riding through town; I looked again as we got out of town, and suddenly there was a whole pack of bikes back there. The road got twistier and twistier as it began to gain elevation, and I understood -- this road was, with good reason, the local sportbike road. The pavement was perfect, the curves tight but fast with excellent sight lines. This was an easy road to ride fast. I found myself scraping the toes of my boots -- despite having the balls of my feet up on the footpegs. Keith also remarked later that he'd never gotten his Sprint that far over before. Super fun road. We got to a pull-off near the top, and the sportbikes pulled in behind us. Much conversation ensued, and one of the guys looked over our planned route and assured me it was a great ride.





After chatting for a bit, we continued up the road to the state park we were planning to camp at that night, and found its entrance a few corners further on.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 23, 2011
One of the sportbike riders had advised us the previous evening that there was a good Cajun restaurant in Ellijay, GA, further along our route, should we need lunch or dinner. We didn't, but we did need breakfast this morning, and I figured Ellijay would be a good place to look for it. I was right. We had our best breakfast of the trip at a little place called the Cornerstone Cafe in Ellijay. The country-fried steak was excellent, and the prices were astonishingly low.

This day consisted of lots of back roads and lush green countryside.















We rode some insanely tight, technical twisties as we headed back into North Carolina, but eventually the road straightened out as we headed east to find someplace to camp. We ended up camping in a municipal campground by Kings Mountain Reservoir, where we were befriended by a local guy cruising around on a scooter. We chatted a bit, then he continued on his rounds.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 07:52 PM   #7
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Chapter 6
In which we get sand in everything we own

May 24, 2011
This was another transit day -- our destination for the evening was the North Carolina Outer Banks, so we just got on the superslab to crunch some miles. I didn't bother taking any pictures, and there's nothing worth saying about riding a couple hundred miles of highway other than that it's boring. And it was still really hot out.

Eventually, though, we got close to the coast and got on some nicer roads.





We rode to the town of Swanquarter and got in line to take the ferry to Ocracoke Island.



The ferry eventually arrived and we loaded up... and were told we needed to stay with our bikes because there were no tie-downs. So I had plenty of time to notice how dirty the Tiger was getting.





With all the arrow-straight roads on parts of this trip, my rear tire had developed a good-sized flat spot.



Leaving Swanquarter.





Keith set up his camp chair and relaxed.





The crossing took a couple of hours, but eventually we approached Ocracoke.



We had dinner in Ocracoke, then rode out to the National Seashore campground and set up our tents. The mosquitos were absolutely vicious, so I didn't last long before fleeing into my tent. Shame, because we were camped on the other side of a dune from the Atlantic Ocean.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 25, 2011
I awoke early the next morning to dry conditions, to my surprise. There had been a thunderstorm to the west overnight, resulting in an impressive light show and quite a bit of wind, but no sound of thunder could be heard. I emerged from my tent and found that the mosquitos weren't as bad anymore, so I walked up the dune toward the ocean.



View of our campsite from the dune.



I walked down to the beach and mused over having been from the Mississippi River to the Atlantic Ocean on this trip.







We broke camp and rode up to the northern end of Ocracoke Island to take the ferry to Hatteras.







I expected Cape Hatteras National Seashore to be more like Ocracoke Island, but it's actually just one small town after another. So I didn't take any pictures.

From the Outer Banks, we worked our way up to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is a combination of bridges and tunnels crossing the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.













Once across the Chesapeake Bay, we rode north along the Delmarva Peninsula and headed for Assateague Island, stopping for dinner along the way (all you can eat steamed crabs and fried chicken -- I couldn't even come close to finishing the first enormous helping put in front of me). Assateague Island is well-known for its wild ponies, and there are indeed many of them. On the sides of the road, in the campground, everywhere.



Once again we camped on the other side of a dune from the sea.





The mosquitos weren't bad here, so Keith and I walked over to the beach.















We walked back to our campsite and watched the sun set behind our bikes.







Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014

markbvt screwed with this post 06-14-2011 at 07:57 PM
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 08:26 PM   #8
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Chapter 7
In which we head homeward

May 26, 2011
Today was my birthday, and I started it early in the morning with my feet in the Atlantic Ocean. It was very relaxing.

After breaking camp (during which process I tried to extract as much sand as possible from the various places it had accumulated) and repacking the bike, I noticed just how detrimental the salt air is. My front brake rotors had rusted overnight.



There were spots of rust appearing on the Tiger's exhaust too. It's a wonder people can keep anything metal in reasonable condition near the ocean.

We made our way north to Ocean City, MD, and rode along the coastal highway into Delaware.







As we got a bit further north, we began occasionally passing concrete observation towers from World War II.









From Rehoboth Beach, we headed west, crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and rode past Washington, DC, back to my parents' house in Leesburg. It was once again extremely hot.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 27, 2011
Our original plan for this day was to head up to the Finger Lakes region of New York (we'd stopped at Keith's alma mater on the way down, and I liked the symmetry of stopping by mine on the way back), but unfortunately the weather forecasts showed miserable weather in that region. So we simply headed back towards Vermont. We were feeling lazy and didn't much want to do a 530-mile day, so we stopped to camp in the Delaware Water Gap. This was better than heading all the way home anyway, as the weather in Burlington was awful but in this area it was dry, and it was forecast to be better the next day.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:



May 28, 2011
And finally, the last day of our trip. It was just the usual homeward slog. We got rained on for the last 40 miles or so, which was probably fitting as it had apparently rained in the Burlington area nearly every day the entire two weeks we were gone. I suppose this was Vermont's way of welcoming us back home.

Stats for the day:


Track for the day:
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-14-2011, 10:49 PM   #9
russbryant
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Tucson, AZ
Oddometer: 1,048
Nice report Mark. Glad you and Keith had a good trip. I've settled back into life in the desert here in Tucson. I'll be sure and make it out to Bike Night next time I get back to Vermont.

Russ
Tucson
russbryant is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 07:53 AM   #10
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Epilogue

Total mileage for the trip, according to the Tiger's trip meter, was 4344 miles.

There were no incidents, no accidents, no Performance Awards, and no issues aside from the one Keith fixed in Birmingham. The Tiger ran flawlessly and proved itself to be a fantastic road bike. The 21" front wheel isn't just an advantage offroad; it also helps the bike to roll over bad pavement and potholes. And it doesn't stop the bike from handling beautifully in the twisties. The Tiger is a very easy bike to ride, and the 800 triple is a wonderful power plant. The only complaint I had with the bike was the seat -- the foam is just a little too soft, and over the course of several days of riding, my butt became tender enough to find the seat's overcompression really uncomfortable after an hour or so of riding, so I'd have to take a break or at least stand up for a bit. The seat will be going to Renazco Racing over the winter.

It was a shame we didn't do the loop out west as originally planned, but in retrospect it was a very good decision. The Rockies got snowed on significantly, so we would have needed to bypass them, and that would have taken a lot of the fun out. Also, our riding season got off to such a late start this year due to the extended winter that both Keith and I felt that maintaining a 400-mile-per-day average for 16 days was just not feasible without lots of superslab, and we wanted to minimize highway riding as much as possible. It wouldn't be as difficult later in the season once the ride endurance has come back, but for now, especially in 90+ degree heat, it just wasn't going to happen.

Ultimately it didn't matter, because it was a fun trip. We met some great people, ate some delicious food, and rode some outstanding roads.

--mark
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 11:57 AM   #11
matts1050
Tiger Rider
 
matts1050's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Newtown, CT
Oddometer: 299
Nice report & Pic's Mark. One of these days i'll do such a trip.
__________________
'08 Triumph Tiger
'09 VSTROM 650
matts1050 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 12:45 PM   #12
sevenpointsixtwo
Newb Extraordinaire
 
sevenpointsixtwo's Avatar
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: The 802
Oddometer: 198
Awesome RR Mark! Looks like you guys had an amazing time.

I'm bummed I missed out on the trip this year, but I suppose I take a little schadenfreude in the fact you guys turned around at the Mississippi because the Southwest was the part of the trip I was most excited about!

That just gives us an excuse to do a west coast trip next summer, right?
sevenpointsixtwo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 01:04 PM   #13
markbvt OP
Beastly Adventurer
 
Joined: Sep 2007
Location: Georgia, Vermont (that's one town, not two states)
Oddometer: 2,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by sevenpointsixtwo View Post
That just gives us an excuse to do a west coast trip next summer, right?
Works for me.

--mark
__________________
'11 Triumph Tiger 800 XC / '03 Honda XR650L / '01 Triumph Bonneville cafe

My ride reports: Missile silos, Labrador, twisties, and more

Bennington Triumph Bash, May 30-June 1, 2014
markbvt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 02:26 PM   #14
soph9
Bike Addict
 
soph9's Avatar
 
Joined: Nov 2009
Location: Maple Ridge, BC Canada
Oddometer: 2,285
looks like a great time...glad to hear your Tiger ran well! Thanks for the RR!~
soph9 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-15-2011, 04:19 PM   #15
KeithTurk
Studly Adventurer
 
KeithTurk's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2008
Location: South east corner of lower Alabama
Oddometer: 737
Easy read...nice pictures and a laid back attitude.... perfect... fun stuff
__________________
200 mph club ace
Race director ECTA
Honda 550x4 to Mexico - ADVrider
KeithTurk 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 04:46 PM.


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