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Old 06-03-2013, 07:57 PM   #46
Skyclad OP
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Working on the next post right now.
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Old 06-03-2013, 08:27 PM   #47
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Days 7 – 10, Rick’s Rendezvous @ black Bear Resort (331 miles / 1920 total)

Woke up Wednesday morning and happily laid in my bunk knowing that I did not have to pack up the bike this morning. It is good to actually stop every once in a while and spend a few days in the same place. I would have four such mornings, and I was looking forward to it.

Rick’s Rendezvous was the excuse for this ride. I definitely took a scenic route and enjoyed it immensely. I got to ride great roads, see places I had never been and have good stories to tell. Now I would get to see friends that I only get to see once or twice a year, and make new friends as well.

But the first thing on my agenda was to get new pads for the rear brakes. One of the local riders took me to a shop in Mountain City Wednesday to order the new pads. Only a single riding picture for the day.


Thursday, I headed back over to the shop to get my new pads installed. The ride there and back was enjoyable, but again, I did not get many pictures. Just two from the ride on Thursday.


It would appear that this area has been receiving quite a bit of rain.


I got my new brakes at an independent shop called Motorcycle Powerform. Dan is certainly a good ol’ boy, but his shop doesn’t look like much, but he did me right. Got the brakes overnight, and when the UPS driver didn’t show up on time, Dan installed the pads free of charge. I also learned how to do a pad swap without pulling the rear wheel. Thanks, Dan, much appreciation.

Oh, I did get full value from this set up brakes…

(photo by boojum)

The camping area was starting to fill up. Lots of inmates rolling in through out the day and it was good to see the line up forming.


May not look like many folks now, but the crowd grew to about 175 riders.


The party was outstanding, and each night was memorable. For pictures of the festivities, you will have to go to the Rick’s RDV picture thread. I am going to keep this report about the ride.

Friday and Saturday, I went out by myself, like I usually do. I just prefer riding solo, and not having to worry about keeping with the pace of a group. I can explore side roads at random, stop and take pictures or just ride. Of course, I do miss the shared experience that a group ride provides. Who knows, maybe next year I will do a group ride.

Anyway, I was able to find nice roads, interesting sights, a few old cemeteries and a pretty waterfall. Now I will just shut up for a while and let you enjoy some of the things that I saw.

Friday’s Pictures


















































Saturday’s pictures


























Good friends, good roads and good riding; what else can an adventurer ask for?
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Old 06-04-2013, 05:03 AM   #48
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Thanks for sharing your trip... enjoyed your RR... some of your pictures certainly show how the scenery in that area can be so amazing to ride through...

Thanks again, Safe Travels

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Old 06-07-2013, 05:39 AM   #49
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Day 11 – Hampton, TN to Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground, NC (231 miles / 2151 total)

All good things must come to an end, and Rick’s Rendezvous is one of them. It is time to start pointing towards home. Not in the most direct route, of course, but since when do I ride much of anywhere in the most direct route?

Sunday morning broke cool and more than a little damp. Knowing that I had a relatively short ride, without much off pavement riding, I took my time getting the bike packed up and ready to go. By the time I got on the road, the weather was clearing. It looked like I was going to have a nice day of riding ahead of me.



One of the things that I love about this area is that it is pretty easy to find pleasant roads to ride.




A couple of years ago, I was chasing a tag, and attempted to ride through Max Patch. When the road turned to sheet ice, I decided to turn around.


Since I was in the area, I pretty much had to go back and do it again. I kind of doubted I would run into the same problems as last time I was here. I was right…I ran into problems of a different sort. But I get ahead of myself.

As usual, there were beautiful vistas to be appreciated.


In the random encounters category, this Chad. He just picked up his 990 a couple of weeks before we ran into each other. Not sure if he is a member here yet, but he knows about the site.




Now, I mentioned something about finding new difficulties. Let me tell you about that little adventure. One of my rules for this trip is that I would use no interstate highways. I was successful in that goal, my wheels never touched an interstate the entire ride.

While plotting the route for today, I didn’t notice that it took me on I-26 for a few miles. When the GPS said to go there, I stopped and did a on-the-fly reroute. Quick look at the map, and I was on my way. Easy-peasy. Hell, the GPS even rerouted and agreed with my little detour. That is a strange thing with my GPS. Even when I tell it NOT to reroute, it will sometimes do so when I make a U-turn. This was one of those times. I didn’t think to check what other rerouting it did in the process…

After riding through Max Patch, 78 miles after the reroute to avoid I-26, the GPS says, “Turn right on NC-1175.” I didn’t remember a NC-1175 on the route, but I looked at it and it didn’t look too bad. Just another muddy road, I have done stuff like this before on this trip. No problem, right? So off I go on NC-1175. It wasn’t until after I dropped into the first rut that the GPS revealed the name of the road.

Wesley Creek Road…oh shit…I know about this one.

Wesley Creek Road is the east end of the famed Hurricane Creek Road. It is also not a good place to be on a fully loaded 990. Especially not when riding solo. But I was there, I am somewhat stubborn and I wasn’t sure I could have made it back up to Max Patch Road even if I did try to turn around.

It was interesting, and I was once again learning what my bike is capable of going through. Lots of ruts, sookie holes, mud, rocks and the such. Good fun. I was almost to the bottom of the descent and the road was getting easier. Just an off-camber section with a rut to the right. Knowing that there was a good chance that I would end up there, I chose to ride in the rut to begin with. Not sure what I hit, but the front got knocked to the right, then tried to climb the left side of the rut. It didn’t go well.




2024 miles into my ride, and I finally went over. No big, it was a slow speed drop. I took a the required pictures, had a smoke and took a break. I wasn’t exactly worried about blocking traffic with my bike laying in the road.

You wanna know something? That bike feels really heavy when you are trying to pick it up. Especially with all the gear strapped on.

Quick damage check revealed that I know now have matching dents on the side cases. The right bag came pre-dented.

After the drop, I had a mildly challenging rocky climb back out from where Wesley Creek Road crosses Hurricane Creek. It was there that I made the decision that I was ordering a side stand safety switch bypass when I got home. I was up on the pegs, and my heel bumped the side stand and killed the engine. I hate it when that happens, particularly when climbing a rough and rocky hill.

While I did not intend on riding Wesley Creek, I am kind of glad that I did. Adventure happens when things don’t go as planned; I think this falls under that statement. Besides that, the views afterward that I would have missed were worth the difficulties.




I once again rode into Maggie Valley. It is the second time this trip being here, so I figured fate was trying to tell me something. Since I had plenty of time, I stopped at the Wheels Through Time Musuem. If you have not been there, go. I only spent a little over an hour there, but I will be going back. You could spend four or five hours poking around and still find neat stuff to check out. Here is a sampling of what is there.






























































I also had the pleasure of meeting Dale, the owner of Wheels Through Time. They were just returning from another scavenger hunt and he saw me by my bike. He said that he tries to meet and shake hands with every through rider that stops in. Offered to put my bike up on the lift to clean and adjust the chain, as well as offering a tent site for the night. I might have to take him up on that next time. However, this day’s ride was not yet over, so I bid him farewell and headed on down the road.

I was shortly on the Blue Ridge Parkway.


My words can not add much to the scenery, so I will let you enjoy without distraction.







One mile above sea level










And the winding road carries me on my way.




I spent the night at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground. Had a quiet night, sorting through pictures and sitting on the porch, sharing smokes and stories with the other riders. Not a bad way to finish a day. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.
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Skyclad's Wanderings
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The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go

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Old 06-07-2013, 07:02 PM   #50
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Great pics
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Old 06-08-2013, 04:59 AM   #51
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Thumb Great report and pics.

Thanks for taking the time to post the RR and the ton of great pics. Nicely done.
Now I'm wanting to hit the TET again!
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Old 06-08-2013, 08:18 AM   #52
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Thanks. The report still isn't quite done. I still have a couple days of riding to finish up. Still plenty of good pictures as well.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:10 PM   #53
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Thank you for a great ride report! Makes me want to move home to western MD/WV.
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:53 AM   #54
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Again, great pictures and report.
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Old 06-10-2013, 07:01 AM   #55
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Day 12 – Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground to Laurel Spring, NC (192 miles / 2343 total)

Easy day of riding; not even 200 miles and all paved. I did get to see a place that I have never been before and even provide a short impromptu flute performance.

One stop that I made was at the Blue Ridge Craft Center. No photography was allowed inside the building, so no pictures. However, I still earned a story to tell. While I was looking through the gift shop, I found some Native American flutes. Those that know me know that I love playing NA flutes, so I had to give them a try.

One of the folks working there was just putting a couple of flutes on the rack, so I asked if it was OK for me to try them. She pleasantly gave me permission, but you could tell she was thinking this big, somewhat dirty biker had no clue. I picked up the first one and started to play. Her eyes lit up and she said, “OH, you DO know how to play!” All I could do was smile and continue to let the music flow. After I was done, she complimented me and admitted that she was not expecting much.

Unfortunately, I left without a new flute. I think that the wife would have killed me if I brought another flute home with me.

The day started cool and sunny. This is the kind of weather that reveals why the Smokey Mountains are called such.




If you like tunnels, the southern portion of the BRP has plenty to offer.








I have been by Mt Mitchell a couple of times before and never took the time to go to the top. It’s time to correct that problem.




I even stopped at the restaurant for lunch. I do have to admit, the restaurant is where I got the name for this ride report. “The mountains are calling, and I must go,” is a quote from John Muir, and the restaurant had shirts with the quote. I figured it would be appropriate.

This was the view I enjoyed while eating a good bacon mushroom cheeseburger.


The elevation at the top of Mt Mitchell is 6684ft. They make you walk the last 100.




The grave of Elisha Mitchell is on top of the mountain.


The view ain’t bad.


I was not the only person on two wheels that day. There was a bicycle race called Assault of Mt Mitchell. This folks start in Spartansburg, SC and ride 102 miles, finishing with climbing to the top of the mountain. My hat’s off to them, but I think I like my way better.






Now, back to your previously scheduled program.




A little hiking is a nice way to break up the day, though I really have to think about taking better walking boots with me.










Nice XJ, and a neat meeting of two different types of overland vehicles. However, there is one that implies “Capable of doing”, while the other says “DOES”


Did you know that the planners of the Parkway even included the bridges in the visual planning?


And the best example of the amount of planning that went into the Blue Ridge Parkway is the Linn Cove Viaduct.


It doesn’t look like much from the road surface. Let’s see if I can find a better picture. Ah, this will do.


There is more to see along the BRP than mountains.


But the mountains really are the main attraction.


I stopped at Freeborne’s in Laurel Spring for the night, and spent another quiet evening chatting with other riders. I looked at the maps and decided that this was going to be my last night on the road. My next planned stop would only be a few hours from home. I am missing the wife and just want to sleep in my own bed again. I love riding and exploring, but it will be good to be home.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:31 PM   #56
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you seriously make me re-consider my vacation plans.... dammit!
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Old 06-11-2013, 07:25 AM   #57
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Day 13 – Laurel Spring, NC to Home (475 miles / 2818 total)

This will be my last day on the road. I had originally planned on spending one more day riding, but the call of home was getting to be too strong, and the area I would have been riding is within easy weekend distance from my place. I know I can make it from Freeborne’s to home in one day, as I have done it twice before. As I discovered, it is a much easier ride when the night before was not the last night of the Rendezvous. Gee, imagine that!

Just because I am heading home does not mean that there is not time to get some nice pictures.














Nor does it mean that I can’t stop to look around.


Marby’s Mill is another place that I have driven by several times without ever stopping to look at. This seemed like a good time to do so.


One of the sluices used to bring water to the wheel of the mill.


The blacksmith shop




The waterwheel is moving continuously, but it is not desirable for the millstones and other equipment powered from the wheel to always be moving, so Marby’s Mill has a clutch. Looks to be fairly stout.




There are two streams feeding the waterwheel to provide enough power for the mill.






And I do have proof that I sometimes stop to smell the flowers.


OK, flowers smelled, mill investigated, time to ride.






My last photo taken on the Parkway.


Shortly after that photo was taken, my low fuel light came on. I dropped off the mountains to find a gas station. It took 4.8 gallons to refill; the 990 holds 5.3. I have never ran it that low before. I also noticed that I had about 190 miles on the tank! Damn, that is over 39 mpg. Best mileage I have seen ever with the 990.

I was on US 340, so decided not to go back up onto the mountains. Pointed the bike north and started heading home. Still, I could not keep the camera in the case.


I hit Waynesboro and was rapidly reminded why I much prefer to stick to the back roads. Rush hour and 90 degree heat is not a pleasant combination. Big trucks, everybody in a rush to get somewhere, idiots pulling out and changing lanes without a care for anyone around them…yeah, welcome back to the real world Skyclad. Fuck!

The riding was not bad after I cleared Waynesboro. I was able to go into cruise mode and start to think about the ride I have been on. Just letting it sink in a bit. Elkton, then Front Royal went by without much though. The heat was serious, but my gear had good ventilation and a bottle of water down the jacket at fuel stops kept me cool enough.

Frederick was soon in my rearview mirrors and I knew that I would soon be getting hugs from the wife. It has been a great ride…two weeks…good roads…good friends, both new and old. I have enjoyed it immensely. Still, this was a good sight to see.
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Skyclad's Wanderings
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The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go

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Old 06-11-2013, 08:44 AM   #58
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Great report, thanks!
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:42 PM   #59
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Nice report.
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Old 06-12-2013, 02:58 PM   #60
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Thanks for the good comments. It is nice to know that folks are reading and enjoying the report. But five stars? It just ain't that good.

I have great respect for those that do the live ride reports. Between photo selecting, editing and uploading, and the actual writing of the report, I would have had just a couple of hours of sleep each night. It will be nice to go back to the blog updates when my wandering keeps me closer to home.
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