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Old 09-04-2012, 06:31 PM   #16
b dash rian OP
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 42
Alright, time to type something up.

Day 1, Monday, August 28th

Golden, CO to Great Salt Plains Lake State Park, Alfalfa, OK
570 miles

Met up with Rick at his warehouse in Denver to pick up the bike and do the paperwork business, after stopping by the Redverz shipping/fulfillment wearhouse to pick up a dry bag my dad had ordered.

Turns out Rick is the father of a guy that I worked with before he moved on company wise. Small world, considering i just found the bike on Craigslist Denver, and gave him a ring!

Also turns out Rick has a spectacular collection of vintage motocross and trials bikes... that i did not get a picture of. He also has another GSPD (94 i think?). So upon completion of paper and what not, we went for a little spin, up to the Mt. Evans road. Man, there are a lot of turns on that road! Made for a great shakedown ride.

Back to my friends house, helped changed the oil on another friends R32, and pulled the plywood off the back rack. I love how this bike looks 'naked.'

Next morning, got myself packed up and hit the road East.

Tires came with the bike, along with the front air dam. I was showing my friend where the air dam goes, and forgot about it when i was loading up the bike. But luckily, i stopped for gas on my way out of Golden, and found the air dam bumping into the headers and had melted/burned a bit. That smelled. Bad. Also, upon burning, it seems that the plastic turns into some sort of gooey, liquiedy, petroleum like product. that makes a mess
Got that tucked under the tires for the rest of the trip, and worked quite well there!

And off i head, down 85, and out East on CO 86 to Limon, then southeast on US287 and onto Lamar. From Lamar, out US50/400 into Kansas. Where i found some construction.

Sat there for long enough to get off the bike, drink some water, walk around, and consider taking the grassland route around the the construction (since i'd already tried the gravel roads heading south... that promptly ended at a closed, and very locked gate. Bummer). Then rode behind the pilot car for a few miles, past the blast furnace of a road paving machine they were running.

A few miles outside of Pratt, KS, i cut south on a whim towards "Croft, KS." Good luck with google maps... you have to been zoomed southwest of Pratt, KS before GMaps knows where it is.

Had a bit of an "Oh !@#$" moment, when the nice, hardpacked dirt turned into 6" deep sand with little or no visual change... a few big wobbles/tankslappers, and i came out of it Ok, though a bit shaken. COntinued southeast through Sun City, KS, and eventually to Great Salt Plains Lake, OK, where i spent the night. Got a bit lost in OK, but found the campground eventually, and even chased an armadillo around a field on the bike for a few minutes! No pics here. i should have though, it was pretty rad looking, and smelled very oceanic. A bit strange to wake up to that (and a school bus?) in western Oklahoma.

b dash rian screwed with this post 09-04-2012 at 07:40 PM
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Old 09-13-2012, 08:19 PM   #17
b dash rian OP
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 42
Maybe one of these days i'll finish writing this up...

Day 2: Great Salt Plains Lake to Ozark National Forest, AR

Miles 570-1040 (470 miles)

Woke up to a school bus, rolling through the campground, picking up oilfield children... a bit different...

Beat feet across OK... didn't miss a whole lot here. Took almost all back roads, certainly no Interstate. That being said... a lot of back roads are in OK are 4 lane anyway. Oh well.

I cut south around Tulsa, since I've been there for long enough that I know i didn't want to ride through it. I did ride through some "classic" oilfield towns, including past a "dealer" that I found out later buys old equipment from our company and sells parts back to us at exorbitant prices... shady business at its best! He had a whole fleet of our old equipment there, including tractors/chassis that they don't even make anymore, like cabover dual steers!

Anyway, nothing was missed until far eastern OK. OK route 80, to be exact. It follows (roughly) the south east edge of Fort Gibson Lake. Spectacular road... (sorry, no pictures, i think i have video somewhere)

Then, into Arkansas:

I came into AR and headed directly for the Ozarks. This is why I came here. And my goodness, what a reason it was! AR 16 across the north end of the Nat'l Forest is beautiful! Picturesque woods, gorgeous pavement, and most of all: NO TRAFFIC. Honestly. 100+ miles of spectacular roads, and I saw maybe 20 other vehicles the whole time!

Somewhere in there i made my first 1000 miles of the trip

I cut South on AR 7, which is a "scenic Arkansas Byway," or something like that.

I stopped at a "natural bridge" site. the last natural bridge i've seen was in Utah, so it was neat to take a short hike and see another!

I camped at a nice little National Forest campground, i guess with some ATV trails around (Which i wanted to take a short spin on, but it was dark...). While OK had basically no cell signal across the state, i had 3g service sitting in my tent in Ozark National Forest. A check in with some friends and family brought me up to speed with what Tropical Storm Isaac had in store for me the next day:

(this was an early prediction of Isaac's path, so not quite what it did)

Basically, New Orleans was getting pounded, and i needed to make a more northerly plan to blast East the next morning
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:14 PM   #18
b dash rian OP
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 42
Day 3: Ozark National Forest to Athens, AL.

Miles 1040-1540 (500 Miles)

Isaac, Round 1

Got up early, knowing that i needed to beat feet across AR or ride through a Tropical Storm. Figured the first was a better option.

a few miles from the campsite, the storm began to show its colors for the first time

Beautiful, though incredibly daunting. A few back roads to avoid Little Rock, but, unfortunately, a fair bit of highway in the morning. There are only a few places in AR to cross the Mississippi River, and since i really wanted to stay as south as i could (but still avoid Isaac), i headed for Helena-West Helena area to cross on US49. Found out later that i was lucky to make it through when i did, because they has some significant flash flooding there.

Riding the last 30 or so miles to the river was absolutely BRUTAL. The crosswind made it all i could do to keep the bike upright, and tree lines, where the wind wasn't as bad, had me swerving as much as 3/4 of a lane before i could get the bike straight. Luckily (?) there wasn't much rain until i cross the river.

Into MS, where my phone/gps tracker worked the best of the whole trip.

Basically, i took MS 4 all the way across the state. Nice piece of road! Really, one of the best "put some miles on, and enjoy the whole thing" roads i was on the whole trip! Into small towns, out of small towns, through fields, into pine forests.

I love this picture. When i came into the area, i knew that was the photo i needed, so i waited for some cars to pass, and pushed the bike in the middle of the road and snapped a few.

I got on the Natchez Trace around Bay Springs Lake. Interesting, though i don't think the whole 444 miles of the Trace is something i really need to do. I crossed into AL on it as well:

and got a picture of the MS sign too, since stopping on the bridge was a bit unrealistic

In AL, i took US72 along the north side of Wilson and Wheeler Lakes. Looking back... it sucked. I was tired, dehydrated, and hot, and stop and go shopping center and state park tourists' traffic was about the end of me... But i made it to a hotel in Athens, AL safely. A hot shower, numerous bottles of water, and a steak at the roadhouse chain next door made up for the ride there at the end of the day. Did some laundry, and called it a night
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:48 PM   #19
b dash rian OP
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 42
Day 4: Athens, AL to Cosby, TN

Miles 1540-1909 (369 miles)

A day of Turns.

I got up early, though after unpacking my whole bike in the hotel, it took longer to get packed and moving in the morning. The comfy bed didn't help motivate either.

Again, US 72 through AL, and up to I24 with a quick jaunt on the highway around Chattanooga. Onto US64 in Cleveland, and off towards NC and the Dragon. That was the destination here!

I took very few pictures this day, but simply took in the sites, sounds and smells, and most of all, the roads.

I did ride US129 from Deal's Gap

and it was AWESOME. I have some video, that will maybe eventually get uploaded to something somewhere...

I got stuck behind a suburban for a while that would not let myself and a Harley by. I finally stopped at a wide spot (the only significant wide spot?), and got off the bike. Got to talking a couple there that were waiting for the tow truck to come pick up their bike. Not because they wrecked, but rather, had been pulled over.

The comment was made that "It turns out they tow your bike when you get stopped with no motorcycle endorsement." Really? Here i thought if you were stopped with no endorsement, they'd just write you a ticket, and send you along on your way - on you motorcycle that you're not allowed to ride. Only seems reasonable to me .

After US129, i headed North along the Foothills Parkway, then into Townsend for some much needed fried catfish, grits, whitebeans, and more water. Rode from there through the park to Gatlinburg. Wow. That is... something else. Come out of the woods into a mini Vegas, complete with traffic, Tourons, and more neon and T shirt shops than should be in one place... Needless to say, I didn't spend long in Gatlinburg. Only long enough to talk to an employee at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, who recommended Cosby Campground as a slightly cheaper National Park Campground (at only $12... i long for the BLM/National Forest Land in Colorado from my college years).

Anyway, rode along the edge of the park, and camped at Cosby. Wicked tired, slightly dehydrated (i really noticed how much the curves were making me sweat here. Hard work, hot, and humid), and ready for some off-bike time.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:10 PM   #20
I like everything.
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: SLC area, Utah
Oddometer: 889
Makes me homesick. From the Ozark Mountains. Looks like the r90 is going to have to get there so I can recreate your sojourn there.
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:00 PM   #21
b dash rian OP
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 42
ok... i'll finally get around to finishing this write up... 12+ hour days at work have been eating my free time to nothing

Day 5: Cosby, TN to Seneca Rocks, WV

Miles 1909 - 2352 (443 miles)

Seeing old friends and new places, and new friends in old places

Got up reasonably early, and headed north. Nothing of any major awesomeness as far as roads in the morning. some surprisingly windy 4 lane through northern TN and southern VA.

I headed for Blacksburg, VA to see a friend from elementary school who is finishing up at Virginia Tech. Made it there for a late lunch, where i had the BIGGEST slice of pizza i've ever seen. It was like a 36" diameter pizza, cut into 6 slices. it was AWESOME!

From Blacksburg, i was looking to camp at a old favorite of mine, Yokum's Campground in Seneca Rocks, WV. I rode a motorcycle solo for my first time at that campground, on my dad's 1971 BMW R60/5 when i was all of 12 years old. That was the start for me, so what better places to "finish" my journey than there. I knew the last day was going to be mostly highway, since the WV-PA-NY route can take 3 days on back roads, or 8 hours on highway (and i was getting low on time), so this was the last real day for me.

Anywho, the route:
From Blacksburg, head back out of town on US 460 West. Not far out of town, i hopped on VA 42 towards New Castle. AKA, Cumberland Gap Road. WOW. The last part of this road, coming into New Castle, gives the Dragon a run for its money. just as many turns, but with serious hills to boot, perfect pavement, and NO TRAFFIC! At the bottom of the hill in New Castle, there were 4-5 crotch rocketeers in full race gear. I was jealous. A quick wave, knowing i had to continue on, and onto VA 311 towards Paint Bank, and eventually, White Sulfur Springs, WV.

Now, having rode the dragon (US 129), and now Cumberland Gap (VA 42), i had some pretty solid twisty experience on this trip. VA/WV 311 would test that above and beyond what either of those roads did to me. This road is seemingly ENDLESS (actually, just shy of 40 miles) of up-the-ridge down-the-ridge riding. Maybe not the concentration of turns that US 129 has, and certainly not the quality of road, but OMG, it puts that to shame.

20 miles in, i had to stop and get off the bike. My concentration was completely shot from the turns and the tar snakes (they are a-plenty on the road). Easily more challenging that US 129. The tar snakes take a little extra concentration to pick clean lines turn after turn after turn, and the intense climb, and immediate descents actually caused some brake fade in my single front disc, rear drum braking system, which i had not experienced until now.

By the time I popped out onto I-64 in WV, i was welcoming some easy turning highway. Fueled up in White Sulfur Springs, and North i went on WV 92, and connected with WV 28 to take me to Seneca. 92 and 28 are two more WV favorites of mine. They are the classic "follow the edge of the valley, because the valley is for farming" type roads. That also means that anytime the valley edge squiggles, the road does too. Relatively fast flowy sections give way to quick, tight climbs, a hairpin over the crest, tight descent, and back onto flowy valley floor roads.

Seneca Rocks is just up the street from a place called Greenbank Radio Observatory. Here, they listen to space. In the middle of 13000 square miles of radio silent West Virginia, is this:

(not my image)

If you get a chance to sample the roads of eastern WV, make it a stop. They will take you for a tour in a diesel bus (they can hear your spark plugs if you get too close) and tell you all about it.

Anyway, i made it to Seneca, got checked into the campground ($6, cheapest camping of the trip!), and walked over the the only restaurant, wait, only anything in town. Walked upstairs and ordered some pizza, then walked back downstairs to by a cold Yuengling at the general store (buy the beer downstairs, bring it up the the pizza shop upstairs). Then sat and enjoyed an evening of live music, and was regaled by stories of the climber of "Trad Fest" that was happening the same weekend. I've climbed here in the past, and it is one of my favorites, in fact, is even considered by some as one of the "Classic Climbs" of America.

A light rain fell as i walked back across the street to my awaiting tent. If only it remained "light" rain...
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:02 PM   #22
b dash rian OP
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 42
Day 6: Seneca Rocks, WV to Chautauqua, NY

Miles 2352-2708 (356 Miles)

Isaac, Round II

Woke up in the middle of the night to heavy rain, though when it was time to actually get up, it quit for long enough to pack up, and hit the road. But not for long. 2 miles from Seneca Rocks, if started raining. Hard. I took US 33 over to WV 32, the Appalachian Highway towards Canaan Valley. Just south of Canaan, i cut out WV 72.

Wikipedia says this about WV 72:

WV 72 consists of a single paved lane with narrow gravel shoulders. Trucks are prohibited on this stretch by prominently-posted signs
They aren't lying.

Here i am, stealing some else's pictures again (sorry if they are yours, it was too rainy for me to take any, and they captured the road well. Just imagine gloomier, and raining cats and dogs)

I think this road would be a blast if dry. But it rain so hard it was like throwing 5 gallon buckets at myself, it was less-than-ideal. There were lots of 1st gear corners, and you could see the road exiting the corner before you could see the corner numerous times. I was cold, soaking wet, and tired, so this'll have to be re-done on a return trip for me.

From Parsons (the end of WV 72), i beat feet up US 219 (as much as i could, in more torrential downpours) to US 50, then across to Grafton, where i tried, quite unsuccessfully, i might add, to use a payphone. Yeah. A working payphone. That didn't want to accept my money. (My cell phone was dead, and i was trying to touch base with family, to see if i should stop in Pittsburgh or not). Oh well, it was worth a shot.

I boogied up US 250 and hopped on I-79 for the long slab ride north, through PA, and across I-90 through Erie, PA, and onto I-86 to my family's lake house. This was really the end of the trip for me. The next day was an uneventful ride back to Horseheads, NY, only 182 miles, and roads i travel on all the time.

Total mileage door to door: 2890.6

I didn't think about it before the trip, and in fact, didn't even realize it during the trip, but spending that much time alone with one's self in a helmet makes for a whole lot of thinking time. The week or so after the trip really had me thinking about all the thinking i'd done during those 7 days, 2890 miles, and 12 states.

No Control, by the band Pepper come's to mind:
i've been thinking about
thinking about
some things i thought
i'd never be thinking
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Old 10-09-2012, 07:10 PM   #23
b dash rian OP
Joined: Jul 2012
Oddometer: 42
OK, now that thats done, i can starting on my bike updating:

I got new boxes:

They are boxes made by a guy in the 4Winds BMW club out of Pittsburgh, PA. I think he made 4 sets, and each set was different. I think these were the only "two big" boxes he made other than the ones for himself (which got painted/PC'd black). They were made years ago too, and i know where 3 sets are, all still in use today! Mine measure 10" wide x 18" long x 16" deep, for about 47L each.

I mounted new tires (K60's)

I got new head gaskets, along with all the required crush washers for regular maintenance, though i haven't found the time to do any of said maintenance.

And my dad stitched me up a new cover for the PD, and is working on one for the Ugly Duc.

Family Photo:

Under the tent on a Saturday "Motorcycle Maintenance Day"
The KTM locked up on me at the last WNYOA Hare Scramble for the its in tear down mode now. The Ugly Duc needs tach and speedo motors. Italian spaghetti wiring...
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Old 11-16-2012, 03:42 PM   #24
Briar Rose
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Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ithaca is Gorges
Oddometer: 235

Hi Brian!

I really enjoyed reading your ride report, especially all of your road recommendations! Rob and I have ridden around WV for the past three summers, and look forward to testing out a variety of other roads you and others have recommended, so I am happy you've shared your observations.

We played hookey Monday and spent the day looping through the Adirondacks! (You can see a bit of Rob's handiwork on the NY Dirt Tag-o-Rama thread ) The wind really picked up late in the day, and was also gusty and variable - there were a couple of uncomfortable moments for both of us on the trip home. That said, we still played hookey on motorcycles all day!!

It was really great to meet you last weekend! I hope our paths cross again. In the meantime, ride safe!!

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Old 11-17-2012, 11:29 AM   #25
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Joined: Sep 2012
Location: Aylesford, Kent, UK
Oddometer: 150

That was a good read and reminded me of my 2002 and 2006 East Coast to West Coast and back again ride on my Pan (ST1100). When you were in Denver you should have ridden up Mount Evans (14,260ft), America's highest tarmacced road, and Pike's Peak (a mere 14,130ft) and very scarey on a heavy tourer. Deal's Gap was memorable and I've been three times now. We just don't get roads like that in the UK. You did some high daily mileages on that PD (I have one) so how comfortable did you find it? The soft suspension is rather good and they are much lighter than a Pan. But 500 mile days on a near naked bike must have been tiring? No?

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