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Old 09-25-2013, 06:49 PM   #1
caelaorn OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: DC
Oddometer: 30
2 Up, No Prenup - Love, Mountains and BBQ on America's Finest

“So what do you want to do for our honeymoon?” I ask my wonderful bride to be.

Fearing the worst, a montage of images from Sandals resort commercials starts flashing through my head : Buffets, Spas.. dolphins.

“How about a road trip? Actually, why not a motorcycle trip? Maybe hit Memphis, Austin, and Kansas City to figure out which has the best BBQ? And isn’t there some road that heads down towards Tennessee that you’ve been talking non stop about since you started riding? Why don’t we take that” Er…. sure! Clearly someone’s working overtime to prevent any cold feet on my end.

There was only one teensy little problem:

I’d recently traded this:

For this:

While I love it - I bet there are few quicker ways of ending a marriage than forcing your wife to spend more than 30 seconds on the back of a supermoto

Shouldn’t be a problem though! My future father in law is a long time motorcyclist whose done numerous coast to coast rides, and has a habit of not selling his motorcycles - which he had both a ST1100 and ST1300. Both had a few minor problems that needed to be addressed due to sitting for most of the year, but nothing major. Unfortunately, life events and busy schedules meant that the couple of outstanding maintenance items on the two STs weren’t able to be looked at until a weeks out from the trip, and enough other minor issues cropped up that meant neither were going to be ready to go for the trip

So after some hemming and hawing about what to do, I showed up outside fellow inmate Nib’s house and made a scene until he agreed to sell me his bike.

So after a few minor prep items and a kickass route planned, all that remained was that whole wedding thing.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:51 PM   #2
caelaorn OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: DC
Oddometer: 30
Packing and Day 1

So starting with our wedding itself, weather was to be a theme. Despite *weeks* of beautiful weather, including both days before and after our wedding, we were greated by a storm front that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Canada.

But it turns out that you can get married even when it’s pouring out:

Enough of that wedding nonsense, back to the requisite packing photos:

Camping gear and clothes for two people, toolset, questionable decision to bring along a Zune tab to document things? Good to go. All packed up:

We got a fairly late start due to needing to take care of last minute errands, but finally around noon we were ready to rock:

Despite this being the first time I’d done the entirety of Skyline Drive, we only stopped at the Mary’s rock since we were trying to make up some time. My lovely wife is still looking reasonably happy with her decision for a trip

Just to make sure she still was having fun, I made sure to tip over both her and the bike trying to do a u turn because I misread a sign. Turns out A) The OEM hard luggage are super beefy - and B) It really helps to have someone else along to help pick the bike up

We powered through the rest of Skyline Drive and snapped the obligatory entrance pic:

Our original plan had been to go all the way through to Peaks of Otter on Day 1, but since we didn’t leave the DC area until noon we realized that was out of the cards. Plan B was to camp at Glen Maury park in Buena Vista.

We get over to the campground fine - As per usual, the road down into Buena Vista was just as fantastic as any of the parts of the BRP itself. Unfortunately, and I wish I had a picture of this, but the *entire* campground was booked as part of a Bluegrass Festival. There wasn’t even anyone at the office just a ‘gone fishin’ style sign saying the entire place was taken by bluegrass aficionados.

So we wound up urban camping at the Buena Vista motel, which looked fantastically like the motel in the att/whatever carrier commercial about cell coverage. It’s the first time I’d seen this explicitly spelled out:

In any event - the bugs weren’t any bigger than those we would have encountered at the campground, so we called it a night.

caelaorn screwed with this post 09-25-2013 at 07:09 PM Reason: Forgot I dropped her
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:43 PM   #3
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Shielded by the power of my intense disinterest

Save 5 bucks when signing up for SmugMug. Enter coupon code: hgeNbdcSOWAXM
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Old 09-26-2013, 03:43 PM   #4
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Interesting way to spend your honeymoon!!!

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Old 09-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #5
caelaorn OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: DC
Oddometer: 30
Yeah - no complaints here on the honeymoon so far - I figure if she still talks to me after 2000 miles on the back of a motorcycle with me at the helm we're set for life.

She has discovered the powerful advantage in arguments of being able to hit me in the back of the head without me being able to reply seems to help her get even more things her way than usual, but anywho - on to day 2:

So since the banned usage of towels had been so clearly laid out, I clearly used a towel to wipe off the bike in the morning.

Apparently one of the mounts for the luggage racks was preventing the passenger footrest from flipping all the way down, so out came the ‘pile of tools wrapped in a towel’ toolkit to make some adjustments

The stretch of BRP between Buena Vista and Roanoke has to be some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve ever seen. Still perfect weather for us at this point, if a little cool. Since we were trying to make up for our lost time on Day 1, we tried to be efficient with our photo stops and take them on bike - but they worked about as well as you’d expect

There was an awesome fairly thick cloud layer well below our elevation that stayed for most of the day. We tried to capture it, but none of the photos really came out all that well, but was able to prove that we’re still together and still smiling

We did the traditional Mabry Mill stop. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting all that much from the food there, but I was pleasantly surprised. After having fried pork tenderloin sandwiches a number of times - I don’t understand why they aren’t more popular. Way better than fried chicken sandwiches. Anyway, still smiling:

Nothing really eventful for the rest of the day. I was kinda disappointed with the BRP around Roanoke, but I guess when it’s close to 500 miles long there’s bound to be some less than stellar parts. Since we hadn’t seen much interesting for a while we stopped at the state line to prove we were there

We ended day 2 at Black Mountain campground in pisgah national forest. I gotta say - I was not expecting it to be so far off the beaten path, and going down the wrong road in the campground resulted in my first ever stream crossing - on a fully loaded ‘adventure’ bike with a 180 rear street tire. But the sites were top notch and had cleaner bathrooms than most houses I’d seen so I can’t really complain.

All set up for the night - and the last time we and our stuff was fully dry for the next few days

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Old 09-26-2013, 06:13 PM   #6
caelaorn OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: DC
Oddometer: 30
So a quick aside about the Ulysses. Given the nature of how things went wrong with the two STs I’d planned on taking, We were pretty close to just doing the trip in the car, but something snapped in me and made me think ‘You know what, I’m not going to let this trip not happen on a motorcycle. My fiancee wanted to do it on a bike, so come hell or high water we’re doing it on a bike.’

So I went looking around at various rental places - and the prices they were charging were astronomical - on the order of $2500 for the trip. I was chatting with my friend and fellow inmate hugeevilrobot and made the statement of ‘hell - for that price you’d be way better off just buying a bike for the trip and selling it immediately afterwards’.

So on that Wednesday, I decided I needed to buy a bike by that weekend at the latest so I could get some solo seat time in before throwing a passenger + luggage on.

So clearly I had about 2 days of deciding which bike to get - and the one that seemed to tick all the boxes of:

1) Not crazy heavy

2) Enough power for 2 up

3) Handles reasonably well

4) A chance I might keep it after the trip

So far I haven’t been disappointed at all. It’s way more comfortable for me than my wee ever was, feels much more engaging to ride, and feels much more confidence inspiring 2 up than any other bike I’ve ridden.

A common thing I keep saying to my wife (we have bluetooth headsets, so mid ride is no escape from my insightful commentary about things she doesn’t care about) is that while moving, the bike really feels like what the Wee/Vee *should* have been. I’m sure some is the whole new bike rose colored glasses, but It’s so much more fun to ride, and I’ve gotten way more complements on it than I have any other bike.

So after around 1100 miles in so far - I’d grab a Ulysses for the trip again in a heartbeat.
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Old 09-26-2013, 08:36 PM   #7
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Location: Western Oregon
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Cool bike, keep the posts coming and congrats to you both.
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Old 09-27-2013, 03:59 AM   #8
Joined: Jul 2009
Location: N. Maryland, Mason-Dixon line
Oddometer: 1
As the new father-in-law, glad to read you are entertaining my daughter in fine style, STill bummed the rodent damage to the STeed fuel injector harness was worse that I reconned to make repairs in time for your trip. Guess we could have mounted you two on my Transalp but you are likely better off with twice the motor in the Ulysses
Keep the wheels turning and the thread spinning, great read!
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:53 PM   #9
caelaorn OP
Joined: Feb 2013
Location: DC
Oddometer: 30
So day 3 was a rough one. We woke up to the sound of rain hitting our tent at around 5am, and trying to sleep through it just meant it was raining harder by the time we eventually got moving.

Trying to be optimistic I convince myself that it’s just raining in the valley, and that it’ll be fine up on the ridge, so I’m able to convince my wife to get moving and start packing up. We concoct a wonderful plan to be able to roll the tent up with minimum exposure to the rain, which I’m sure made a huge difference after the 6 hours we spent riding in the rain with the tent ratchet strapped to the top of the pannier. (hint: it didn’t.)

The last 100 miles of the BRP were really more an exercise in my own stubbornness than any actual enjoyment. It varied between a heavy mist and steady rain all day, and visibility swapped from ‘fine’ to ‘15 feet’ pretty much every 1000 feet or so.

This leads to an excellent place for a gear review.

I have an Olympia Switchback jacket, Airglide 3 pants, Spidi H2Out gloves, and Dainese TRQ-Tour boots. My wife had Joe Rocket jacket + pants, Merrell gore-tex hiking boots, and a borrowed RevIt rain suit.

The only items in that list that really kept rain out were both boots, and the RevIt rain suit.

Despite having both liners in my pants and jacket, I wound up completely soaked up to the elbows, and my entire lower half minus my feet was soaked.

The rain suit my wife was wearing 100% passed the test, and kept her almost completely warm, dry, and not completely miserable.

Given the weather we don’t have much evidence of our last 100 miles of the BRP. The only pictures we were really able to get were at the highest point on the parkway.

Generic photo:

Hard to tell with the helmet on, but she’s not smiling anymore:

So this led us in to my best decision of the trip so far. I figured that since we originally were going to camp the first two nights and since this was our honeymoon we might as well treat ourselves the third night. So we booked a room at the Blue Water mountain lodge outside of Robinsville, NC. I can’t say enough nice things about the folks that run that place - They went the extra mile to take care of us when we showed up half hypothermic from the ride in, and were fine with us using their lodge to dry all of our crap.

We had the closest moment to a crisis yet when we found out that a bit of water/dirt had gotten into the pannier that had our clothes, and somethow only had gotten her clothes wet. Luckily we were able to get the clothes hung up and a bottle of wine consumed before things got too serious.

One room of our drying operation:

And finally proof that after a hot shower, hot cider, and a bottle of wine - things aren’t so bad anymore

The next day held the tail of the dragon, and the start of our couple days of interstate.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:31 AM   #10
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: Lake Havasu City, AZ.
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Your a lucky guy, she sounds like a keeper.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:44 AM   #11
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Joined: Mar 2011
Location: SE Missouri
Oddometer: 1,395
Wet One

Off to a ruff and wet start, hopefully all will end well fifty years down the road.
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:00 AM   #12
Red eyed and Rollin
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Joined: Jun 2010
Location: Windy City
Oddometer: 158

Jones BBQ Mariana Arkansas! What year is the Uly. Looks like you hit the powerball there with your new bride.
"Ride to the bar in your pirate outfit, guzzle some beer, play "Free Bird' on the juke box and then go home. Badass." Soboy-
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:12 AM   #13
canadian chris
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Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Oddometer: 285
gotta love motorcycle honeymoons!
my trip reports:
day trip to Bamfield
circling through the Canadian Rockies
2up thru Mexico
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Old 09-28-2013, 09:27 AM   #14
Joined: Apr 2013
Location: DE
Oddometer: 20
Well done and subscribed. Had a blast at the wedding, keep the updates coming and have fun!

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 4
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Old 09-28-2013, 01:46 PM   #15
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Joined: Aug 2013
Location: NW burbs of Mpls
Oddometer: 175
Congratulations... Your new bride seems pretty awesome, don't ever let her forget that you know that! Ride safe, keep the posts coming.
If a man does something and his wife is not there to see it, is he still wrong?
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