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Old 06-22-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
BSUCardinalfan OP
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Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Wisconsin
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Turned 40, went to go visit old friends

So this year I turned 40, somewhat of a milestone birthday, and as a present, I took my first 'motorycle trip'. This trip was mostly about visiting good friends that I don't get to see nearly enough any more (and miss dearly), and a little about getting to ride my Street Triple on roads that are more interesting than those here in Wisconsin. This report will be about both, but really, the trip meant more to me because of the people involved.

The trip was timed to coincide with the rally at fontana. I attended last year on my SV, but trailered down, this year I was riding my 11 month old street triple. Note: Some pictures will be from my phone, others from my 'good' camera, and some from the go pro. You can tell which is which!

When all was said and done I covered 2991 miles in 10 days. My right hand is still a little bit numb.

Friday, June 1st. Got up early and had a good breakfast and coffee. Got a hug from the two most awesome daughters in the world

Finished loading up the bike

and hit the (wet) road.

Luggage is from nelsonn-rigg, plus a cortech magnetic tank bag. Airhawk seat cushion for the long days, and I'm wearing kobe leathers and frogg toggs, with olympia gloves and a shoei qwest helmet. I have a go pro and my canon rebel xs along with the phone for picture taking, but I'm no artist, as you'll see!

My goal for day one was to get from my home near Milwaukee to my father and step mom's place near Muncie, Indiana. Along the way I had to deal with gloomy weather and chicago traffic:

Triumph Street Triple

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Old 06-22-2012, 07:21 PM   #2
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The weather was not really pleasant, temperatures in the 50s with intermittent rain. After about four hours, I made it to my first stop, lunch at Noa Noa in Warsaw, Indiana

I was meeting an old coworker, boss, and friend at Noa Noa. I first met Van when I graduated from Ball State University and went to work in Huntington Indiana for an automotive supplier. A few years later I was working for him in Shelby, North Carolina for another automotive supplier. After corporate greed killed that company (more on that later) I went to work for Van for a short time again near Warsaw. I didn't fit well there, and moved on after just about a year, but I've kept in touch with Van as he is a great guy and we've had some fun times along with some not so fun ones.

Van and I at Noa Noa. Great food at that place, too!

Leaving lunch, it was only two and a half hours down to my dad's place. After I arrived, got out of the wet riding gear, showered, and changed, we were off for dinner at a central Indiana staple, Pizza King!

greasy, and awesome!

Look for this sign. there are imitators out there!

this was extra awesome because my wife HATES pizza king. but then, she's weird when it comes to food. but it means I don't get it much when we visit my hometown.

got back to dads, told them bye, (dad was working the next day and gets up at 1:30 am) and went off to bed.

my father, my step mom Rita, and their dear, precious BMW Z3.
Triumph Street Triple

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Old 06-22-2012, 07:27 PM   #3
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Have fun! I turned 40 last November, it'snot so bad .

What's your screen name on SVRider? I am "Coop" on there. I don't visit much since selling my SV but I was a pretty active member from 2005-2009.
2010 Gas Gas EC250 - 1999 BMW F650 - 1992 Gas Gas GT25 - 1982 Suzuki PE175
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:37 PM   #4
BSUCardinalfan OP
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Originally Posted by ADVCoop View Post
Have fun! I turned 40 last November, it'snot so bad .

What's your screen name on SVRider? I am "Coop" on there. I don't visit much since selling my SV but I was a pretty active member from 2005-2009.
Same as it is here. I didn't join over there until 2009 and I don't post much at all nowadays. 40 is just a number. a kinda big number!
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Old 06-22-2012, 07:59 PM   #5
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Day two - the real adventure part starts!

Day two dawned with terrific weather. It would also be the first day I can say I had an 'adventure' - at least that is what I decided to call it when things did not go as planned!

I made an early start and was on the road before 7 am.
The bike makes a great sport tourer in my opinion.

My plan for the day was to avoid the interstate as much as possible, but still get to my stopping point of Buckhorn Lake state park in Kentucky. I took back roads and highways south through indiana until I got near Cincinnati, then jumped across the mighty Ohio River on I-275.

I then took I-75 south to Lexington, then a short westward run on I-64 dropped me off onto the 'Mountain Parkway'. It was here that I started to see actual mountains, and the smooth, curvy, undulating roads that run through them.

In my excitement, I may have been covering more ground than I had planned, because I got to Buckhorn at about noon, maybe even 11:30 am.

Deciding that it was WAAY to early to stop, I checked my "map" and picked out Hazard, Ky as my next stop. I had asked on here a few weeks before about hotels in the area and did find a couple there.

I say "map" because I was using my phone to navigate, and for reasons as yet unknown, my phone decided not to recieve any cell signal, 3g or otherwise, from Lexington on throughout the state of KY. My backup was a 'mad maps' motorcycling map that covers most of KY, VA, TN, NC, SC, and GA, but as I would learn soon, was not exactly 'detailed'.

I made my way to Hazard, but arrived around 1:30 or so. Still too soon to stop. With my phone still not working (and at this time suspecting that my wife would be worried, as she was tracking me on google latitude but with no cell signal, no google tracking) I decided to pull into an Applebee's for some free wifi and a water.

Hazard is in the heart of coal mining country in Kentucky. Even trying to use their wifi, my phone was basically a shiny brick and I decided to press on to Kingsport, TN, which looked to only be a couple hours away. I wasn't really tired of riding, yet, but I could feel that too much more and I'd be ready to get off of the bike!

This is where things went a bit sideways. Somehow, I managed to get terribly lost leaving Hazard, and didn't really realize it for over an hour. Then another hour backtracking to find my way (again, not having a thorough map was a pretty basic rookie mistake) through small coal mining towns and the people who live there. I'm sure they are all really nice, I'm equally sure they were eying me suspiciously, as these are close knit communities.

Finally, around 4 pm, I made it to cumberland, Ky. Still no cell signal, and a quick look at my map showed me taking highway 160 over a mountain before I could get to Kingsport. Normally a road that was that squiggly on the map would have excited me, but I was just about ready to be off the bike at this point, and somewhat worried about not checking in with anyone for the last several hours. but there surely wasn't a hotel in cumberland, Ky, so I pressed on. Then things took a turn for the better, for sure!
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:06 AM   #6
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Highway 160 south from Cumberland is a lot of fun, but I was getting concerned about how long it was going to take me to get to Kingsport, and a hotel. I still hadn't had any cell service for several hours, but was using my phone to listen to music as I made my way over the mountain. Finally, I rounded a corner and saw this:

and my phone started beeping like crazy as I suddenly had signal and messages were updating. I pulled down between the two trucks in the pull off and enjoyed a pretty amazing view of a mining operation down below.

While I was checking my phone and taking stock of the situation, I heard some vehicles coming through the woods. Hoping not to end up in a 'Deliverance' scenario, I was relieved when a family of four with a couple teenage daughters came up on four wheelers. They told me I was only an hour or so from kingsport, which was a relief. While talking to them I noticed a sign on the other side of the road, seems I had stumbled upon the highest point in Kentucky!

I picked out a Days Inn in Kingsport, and had one of the teenage girls take my picture at the overlook.

The ride DOWN 160 was even better than the ride up. I can't emphasize enough how awesome that road is! When I reached the hotel in Kingsport I noticed there really wasn't any place to eat within walking distance, and I really wanted a beer, so I pressed on and took the freeway down to Johnson City, TN, and checked into a Red Roof Inn.
both the manager of the hotel and the Hooters waitress asked me if I was in town for the "plum festival" of which I of course knew nothing. So after a couple beers and some wings, I took a cab ride downtown, not really knowing what I was going to find at a Plum Festival. turns out, I found a great time!

Seems the "Blue Plum Festival" is the annual music/food/beer/etc festival in the college town in the mountains. The cab driver on the way down told me that "the music goes until 11, the bars stay open until 3, and the food places are open until 5 if you are hungry afterwards". I spent a few hours down there, getting back to the hotel around midnight. Downtown Johnson City was fantastic, with great bands, Blue Moon beer (obviously the primary sponsor), and lots of....scenery to enjoy.

here is the website, I recommend a stop at the festival if you are passing through this part of the country when it is going on.

I had a few more beers than planned, but I took the taxi back to the hotel and checked on the bike, safely tucked away for the night, and went to bed and slept GREAT.

Finding this festival accidentally was an amazing part of this trip. Just experiencing things somewhat randomly, talking to people from all over, and just enjoying the experience of being in a new place really set my frame of mind right from the part earlier in the day when I was lost, tired, and maybe getting a bit concerned. The rest of the trip would be great, and I think part of the reason why was due to experiencing this day the way that I did.
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Old 06-24-2012, 10:30 AM   #7
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Day Three

I woke up a bit later than planned after having REALLY enjoyed the Blue Plum Festival. Rode over to Starbucks for breakfast (not a single BMW in sight!) and decided to take the direct way to Concord, and my next stop.

Even the scenery on the freeway is great down here.

I was passing through Shelby, NC, where I used to live, and took the opportunity to have lunch at an old favorite, Yamato Express.

Hibachi shrimp!

I then rode on over to Concord, and met up with my great friends Andy and Angie, and their kids Mya and Jonah.

Andy and Angie are old friends from college. I owe a lot of being a rider to them, as Andy has been riding for a few years longer than me and I really believe it was Angie who finally talked my wife into the idea of me having a bike several years ago. They recently relocated from Indiana down to the Carolinas and are loving it. Who wouldn't? I was planning to base myself out of their house for the next few days until Andy and I headed off to the SV Rally at Fontana.
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Old 06-24-2012, 12:17 PM   #8
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Great report! Subscribed
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Old 06-24-2012, 03:39 PM   #9
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Day 4 - Monday

This was a day I had been looking forward to for a long time. I mentioned earlier that I used to live and work in Shelby, NC. I had arranged on this day to visit with friends from there. I have great memories of my time in Shelby. My first daughter was born there. I bought (and subsequently lost my shirt on) my first house. And I made these great friends. I think I took for granted how great a group of people I was working with at the time. Our company was eventually purchased by Honeywell, and through a mixture of mismanagement and corporate greed, Honeywell eventually closed the facility, and we went our separate ways. I ended up back in the midwest, where I don't really like it (I hate snow and winter) but most of the others managed to stay somewhat local. This would only be the second time since the closing that I had seen most of them, and they have all started families since I left, so I enjoyed getting to know thier kids a bit as well.

It is amazing to look back at the great friends I made down there, but it is also depressing, as after having spent six years in wisconsin, I can only name one person that I consider a new friend from here. The cliche about southern hospitality might be true, or maybe I'm getting to be less personable, but I find people here to be friendly enough, so long as it is at a bit of an arm's length. I think it sucks, and adds to my desire to move south again.

enough of that, on to some pictures!

first, I went to visit Bekah. I worked with Bekah's husband Greg, and she would not be able to make it to our dinner tonight, so I stopped by to have lunch with her and meet thier two kids. I helped get Greg and Bekah together back then, and was able to be in their wedding, and consider them good friends to this day.

Here is Bekah and Laney

And because two little girls can't be held by one person, a separate picture of Bekah and Lexi

I had a great time and spent longer than I anticipated visiting. Bekah made me a great lunch, and I hope she enjoyed the visit as much as I did. It was fun to catch up and play with the kids a bit as well. I then made my way over to Shelby, hoping to stop by and visit my former neighbor, but he no longer lives in the same house. I did notice that the new residents of my old house are really letting it run down, which sucks. We spent a lot of time and effort trying to improve it, and then spent the better part of three years after we moved away trying to sell it! I couldn't make myself take a picture of the place, it was so depressing.

I left the house and went to visit with one of my best friends in the world, another former coworker also named Greg. Greg's son Troy was immediately drawn to my motorcycle, it seems he is a bit of a budding gear head, which makes sense, because his dad is a very good mechanical engineer that tends to have copies of Popular Mechanics around the house.

Here's Troy, showing me how strong he is

And a shot of the family, with Greg and his wife Miranda.

We hung out at Greg's for a while and Troy showed me how he can hit a wiffle ball (well almost) and then we took Greg's car to meet some other friends (including Bekah's husband Greg) at another favorite restaurant of mine from days past, Mi Pueblito in Shelby.

I had the same thing I always get, carnitas

And we spent quite a bit of time visiting while we ate.

From left, Greg, Miranda, Sarah, Joe (holding Emry), and Greg (Bekah's husband) Troy and Joe and Sarah's daughter Mae were off plaing somewhere already.

I managed to get Joe and Sarah to grab their kids for a quick shot before they left for home

It was just like old times, only with more children. A big thanks to all of them for making time to come out and see me. I wish we could have spent more time together, and I wish a few of the others from the old gang had been able to make it. But this one evening was worth every penny this trip cost and I'd do the whole thing again just to visit with them, never mind how great the riding is down there.

I had a tremendous time, and eventually Greg and I stayed out WAAAY too late catching up and I didn't hit the road back for the ride to concord until about 11:00. My phone had gone dead sometime earlier in the day, and when I powered it up on the bike I had a message from Andy saying he needed brake fluid for his SV so we could go riding the next day. I went off to WalMart at around 11:30 or so and managed to buy a couple small bottles of brake fluid and fit them into my pockets of my cargo pants. (My tank bag was full with my rain gear and camera).

On the way back through Charlotte I got to meet one of the local state police, but I was just given a verbal warning to look out for animals (after he investigated the bottles of brake fluid for some reason) and sent on my way. I finally got back to Andy's after midnight to find him working on his bike. I snapped this very unflattering picture of him which I'm sure he will appreciate being posted here!

Tomorrow, we ride "the snake". with video! (and someone has a minor crash.)
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Old 06-24-2012, 09:50 PM   #10
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Nice RR

Nice Report, enjoyed reading it.!
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:56 AM   #11
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Very cool....thanks for sharing. Always nice to ride and see family and friends along the way.......and good eats too
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:27 PM   #12
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Nice report. Seems like you really needed this ride to finally live those 'memories' of your past and bring them back into the present.

If any of that makes sense what I just said.

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If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough - Mario Andretti
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Old 06-26-2012, 12:36 PM   #13
Joined: Jun 2011
Location: Fife , Scotland
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Thumb Well done

Lovely report..great photos ..

Enjoy your family / life

And a PLAN already in the making for your 50th ?

Ride safe

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Old 06-26-2012, 04:24 PM   #14
Summer 2 short.
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I'm in...great pics so far.
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Old 06-26-2012, 06:45 PM   #15
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thanks guys. It was great to combine the visiting old friends with a riding trip. and speaking of that...
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