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Old 05-17-2015, 05:20 PM   #1
RocketMan OP
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Thumpin down the Blue Ridge on an air-cooled single

Took some time off work starting mid-week in May to ride my SR400 down parts of the Blue Ridge including all of Skyline Drive and the first 180 or so miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

First day out it was a bit on the chilly side, temps in the 60's with a brisk cold wind blowing and mostly overcast skies for the main part of the ride. Got to the north entrance of Skyline Drive around 1 PM and headed down to about midway to stay at the Big Meadows Lodge. Not much traffic and took it easy, stopping often to let my hands warm up a bit and enjoy the views.











Got to Big Meadows, checked in and headed down to the Pub for a drink. Nice Hot Toddy while sitting out on the lawn enjoying the view with my travelling companions, Ali Gater and Dr. Duck.



The room I got was on the top floor in eves, and was actually two rooms with a small connecting door, Munchkin Size.



Room was nice, very rustic as are all the rooms in the main lodge but watch out for that ceiling!



Nice views though from my small private veranda.











After dinner in the pub, I spent the evening enjoying to long sunsets from the great room before retiring for the night.
End of day One
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:49 PM   #2
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Day Two

Day 2

Day started out pretty cool with temps in the high 40's but quickly warmed into the 60's and by around 11AM I was packed and ready to roll. Did the remainder of Skyline then headed down The Parkway to the Peaks of Otter where I was planning on staying the night. Not a lot of miles but the ride wasn't about making any distances, rather simply to enjoy the views, stopping often and just taking my time and NOT BEING AT WORK!

Along Skyline and the Parkway

















When I got to the James River crossing which is the lowest point on the Parkway I decided to walk down the path that take you across the river to an old restored lock once used to navigate around some of the rapids along the river.


















Then it was back up to the Parkway to continue to the Peaks of Otter Lodge





Arrived at the Peaks of Otter Lodge around 4PM, checked in, unpacked and got a cold brew to take back to my room. I did see a pair of old Triumph twins but didn't get any photos of them, one was a 1965, single carb and the other one a more modern twin with twin carbs.

Then I took the walking trail around Abbot Lake and headed in for dinner.

The Peaks of Otter



Along the Trail



The Lodge from the far side of the lake




one of the several feeder streams



last light and time for bed.



End of Day Two.
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:08 PM   #3
B10Dave
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Really nice pics RocketMan. Looking forward to rest of the report...Dave
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Old 05-17-2015, 06:32 PM   #4
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nice RR

Nice pics and I like that bike.I bet it handles well.
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:35 PM   #5
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Day Three

Each day was a bit warmer than the last and this day temps were in the 60' by the time I got up.

After breakfast I decided to walk the trail leading under the parkway up to the site of the old Johnson Family farm. I was not expecting anything other than a nice trail walk which started out thru a nice meadow with a stream to one side and perhaps an historical marker or two showing where the farm once was..






Trail got steeper as it turned up-hill and I had half a mind to turn back as steep, rocky, uneven trails can be a bit of a challenge for me due to my loss of balance and arthritis but with the help of my trusty folding travel cane I decided to persevere.
Turns out the hike was well worth the 300 or so foot elevation change and 1/2 mile climb up the trail for as just as I was coming out of the wooded area I came across a clearing with the old farm house and a number of out buildings.
Had a nice long chat with the caretakers about life back in those days and how I had developed an interest in those times over the years having wandered so much of the Virginia countryside and surrounding states that are so rich with historical sites.



The meat house











The spring house





The trail back down, this was in fact the harder trek than the walk up since maintaining my balance going downhill over rough terrain can be even more challenging for me.



and a water crossing



All in all a nice 1..5 mile hike and after packing up the bike it was time to ride some more.

Heading south again along the parkway to my final destination, the Woodberry Inn just off the Parkway near the famous Mabry Mill.








A stop at a small mill pond noted for the fact the dam was built by hand by a single individual and that he started something a trend by allowing the locals who came to have their grain ground at his mill to fish in the pond while waiting for the floor.










And some more parkway views















Mabry Mill, probably the most photographed mill in the entire east coast













The mill not only ground corn and wheat but also had a saw mill for cutting planking




and a jig saw among other tools











After wondering around the mill for a while I headed a mile back up the Parkway to the Woodberry Inn.

Pictures from my stay last spring, sadly Barney is no longer in residence since losing his mate last year, he too has flown the coop.



















Early Morning with mist blowing off the pond





End of Day three
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:17 PM   #6
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Day four, the ride home

Since I had to book home in one day I got up early and had some coffee while enjoying the early morning by the pond, packed up the bike and headed out around 8 AM. Day was warming up nicely and I really wanted to get in a few more miles on the parkway before heading down into the heat of valley so I headed north from the Inn to RT460 about 80 miles back up Parkway then headed back down into the lowlands and took 460 to RT. 29 and home, around 270 miles for the longest ride of the 4 days. Pretty much had the parkway all to myself being so early in the morning and the mist was still hanging in the eastern valleys.

But before parting here are a few early morning shots as I headed north.













Total miles around 670, total elevation changes nearly 29,000 feet over 4 days, with a little over half on the parkway and Skyline Drive. 105 miles of the Drive, 180 miles down and 80 mile back along the Parkway proper.

Here is a link to total route.

https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?m...w.kOaPPvZAJRu8

Thanks for coming along and sorry about some of the pics not coming thru in the proper orientation my photo processor software seems to be having problems maintaining the right rotational parameters and it takes a while for the forum software to clear the cache once a picture is loaded after I have corrected the image and reloaded it to my storage site.

The SR400 is the perfect bike for such roads, light, nimble and amazingly comfortable for a big single with relatively low bars. The medium size tunnel pack I got last year was just the perfect size for the trip and attaches with just three tie-down points and goes on and off in under two minutes, and still leaves plenty of room on the seat so I wasn't crammed into just position.

Hopefully next year I'll be able to do the whole parkway on the SR400, up and back plus 440 over the Smokies, or maybe even on my 1975 CB125 once I rebuild the engine this winter. Now, That would be an epic ride!

Enjoy

RM, Thumper Rider.
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:25 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by B10Dave View Post
Really nice pics RocketMan. Looking forward to rest of the report...Dave
Thanks, these were all taken with a FujiFilm X10, very much like the SR, it has just the right mix of classic/retro looks while incorporating the best of the latest technology and is one of the best in its class of Micro 3/4th rangerfinder style cameras but with a slightly bigger sensor, a fast 2.0 lens and a real optical viewfinder. No image stabilization, but a very nice fast processor and takes really excellent photos. Its a real joy to use.

RM
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:38 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by mark2wheeler View Post
Nice pics and I like that bike.I bet it handles well.
Thanks. Yeah the bike is a real joy to ride, each ride it just seems to get more and more enjoyable. Handles really nice for what it is, considering that its based on a 40 year old dual loop tubular frame geometry with a dual shock setup. it helps that its light, at just around 360 LBs but its not a real screamer with only 23~25 horses so it take a lot of work to keep it rolling, esp. on road with so much elevation changes but I've been able to keep up with some very good riders on much more powerful modern machine on similar roads. Riding a big air cooled single is a unique experience and I love the torque and feel of the machine as it whispers its encouragement to push forward just a tad faster. Its definitely the most photogenic bike I've ever owned, it looks likes its flying down the road even just standing still. Wouldn't trade it for the world!

RM
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Old 05-18-2015, 05:50 PM   #9
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Excellent! Great report and photos!

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Old 05-19-2015, 05:56 AM   #10
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Nice ride. Certainly some cool old structures out there.
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Old 05-19-2015, 08:15 AM   #11
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Great ride!
I have done it end to end on vintage Triumphs in the past, and can not think of a better bike to do that trip on then the SR400.

A few easy mods and it makes plenty of power, handling and braking are very good, its a comfortable bike.

Wish I could do it again, you are lucky to live close.

Not sure if its the riding or what, but I had some of the best food down in that area, breakfast and dinner.
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Old 05-19-2015, 11:29 AM   #12
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Thank You, Sir!

I'm just in the planning phase of my trip along the same route!
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Old 05-19-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
i4bikes
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Thanks for the report. That area is one of my favorite rides.
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Old 05-20-2015, 05:55 AM   #14
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Nice RR as always, RM. I appreciate that you took the time to "smell the roses" by checking out some of the sights along the BRP that I always want to stop at but just end up passing b/c I'm always in a rush for some reason. It sounds like the SR400 is the right kinda bike for enjoying the scenery. I was out in that part of the country recently - also stayed at the Peaks of Otter and made the trek to the Johnson Farm. What a neat little place! I'm glad I made it up the hill Did you happen to spot all of those millipedes that were on the run? They were all over the roads out there. Anyway, thanks again and looking forward to your next adventure.
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Old 05-20-2015, 06:43 AM   #15
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Thank You, Sir!

I'm just in the planning phase of my trip along the same route!
Thanks, if you do it best done during mid week or before or after the summer vacationers. I've also found its better to do it south to north, always seems to be less traffic north bound. I think its because we have more big metro areas on the northern end and people head south on the Parkway then book home on the interstate. I'd also try to get in 440 over the Smokies then head up the parkway. The south end is much higher, climbs to just over 6000 feet. In Little Switzerland there is cool little Inn right off the parkway called the Alpine Inn, small, fantastic views takeout beer and sit down food within a half mile.

Enjoy the trip however you do it.

RM
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