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Old 07-09-2014, 02:15 PM   #1
jburroughs12 OP
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Potomac to Pacific, Riding across the US in 10 days

So earlier this year I came up with a harebrained scheme to ship my bike out to Alexandria, VA and ride it back to Seattle, WA. This is the tale of what took place.

My plan was to average about 350 miles a day avoiding interstates as much as possible getting home about 10 days later. I would have loved to ride coast-coast-coast but getting that much time off work wasn't feasible.

I started this journey by buying a 2002 VFR with full hard bags, a Givi touring screen, Sargent seat, and Heli Bars. I thought it was going to be the perfect touring machine.


Comfy, fast enough to be stupid on, good wind protection, and a numb throttle hand after 20 miles.

Shit...I tried different gloves, different jackets, different grips, cramp busters, everything...what I concluded was that 4 weeks before my epic journey of a lifetime the riding position of my perfect touring machine was wrong and I would need to find another steed.

Luckily, when I was at a local dealer (buying grips, gloves, and a cramp buster) I caught this red beauty out of the corner of my eye...


Well hello there, gorgeous...

So, after an evening of convincing Mrs. Jburroughs that this is a worthy investment, the Multistrada came home.

I brought it home, rode it a few times, and shipped it off to the east coast without doing any mods/long term testing on it...this can only end well. An Italian bike, untested, being ridden across the country...

I flew into DCA at 2300 hrs on Wednesday, and was slated to hit the road at 0900 Thursday.

Thursday morning comes around, I'm up at 0530 making coffee, ensuring I have everything, only to find out that the bike is at my dad's buddy's girlfriend's house. We stop by and she is not even close to being awake, we stop by his buddy's house, wake him up, and finally get the bike back to the house so I can pack it around 0800.

I get the bike packed with all my gear and just need to quickly wire up a USB port and hook up a universal throttle lock. Too easy, right?

So we hook up the USB port in about 10 minutes and start attacking the throttle lock. It didn't fit anywhere on the bars because all of the controls on the Multi have little pins in them that slot into the handlebars. So, we had to bust out the drill and make out own hole for the throttle tube to slot into. 1030 and we are ready to go!

We hop on the bikes, turn north on Rt. 1 to hop on the beltway to get to Tim's house and...traffic. Welcome to NOVA, Joe, enjoy your stay! We get to Tim's around 1130, make introductions, and boogie. We grab some quick food at a diner, and hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway to head towards our first stop of Wytheville, VA.

All the pictures are uploading now. More to come.

jburroughs12 screwed with this post 07-09-2014 at 02:30 PM
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:15 PM   #2
andrewgore
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This Andrew sounds like one shifty fella.

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Old 07-09-2014, 06:41 PM   #3
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Well I'll go along for the ride...
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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Old 07-09-2014, 06:50 PM   #5
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oh man, this is going to be good. IN
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:31 PM   #6
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:41 AM   #7
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Too good a start not to be hooked, IN!
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:08 AM   #8
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I'm in. This should be interesting.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:31 AM   #9
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In, though with the reliable reputation of Italian motorcycles, and all the time you've spent dialing this particular bike in, it's surely going to be an uneventful ride.
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Old 07-10-2014, 12:17 PM   #10
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It all started with me looking for my keys back in Washington...

I have about a million pockets in my jacket, three hard bags, a tank bag, a camel back/backpack, and a sneaky little compartment on the Ducati. I have a lot of storage places at my disposal.

I spent the better part of an hour searching high and low for the keys to the bike the day before I left, come to find out I left them in the ignition (which I was xpressly told not to do by the shipper). Awesome, at least they aren't lost.

Then, when I was trying to wire in the USB plug, I shoved it in my helmet and forgot about it. I was looking for another 30 minutes or so the morning we set off, driving myself absolutely mad.

First gas stop in Virginia...where. in. the. fuck. did I put my wallet!?!?!?!??!?

I look for a good 5 minutes, meanwhile Tim and my dad have since filled up and started chatting...then Tim says...did you check your backpack? Well, shit I totally forgot I was wearing it. Sure enough there it is! So I fuel up and we head out.

We buzzed through some nice country roads and finally get to the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trip is officially underway! We pay the gal at the gate and start cruising arguably one of the best roads in America.

Not only is the road in great condition, but there are plenty of twisties, scenic vistas, wildlife, and beautiful forest. If you haven't had the chance to ride it, make it a point to do so. Granted the speed limit is 35, but if you happen to cruise it around 55-60 it makes it much more fun while still fairly safe. Most of the time people are friendly enough and pull out to let you by. If not, just enjoy some of the beautiful scenery.

We made a few stops along the way to get some pictures, but it was mostly just riding to make up time from the throttle lock debacle.






I haven't been back to Virginia for four or five years. Once you get out of the NOVA/Beltway/DC mess, it's really a beautiful state. The Appalachian mountains are gorgeous, the weather is fantastic (I prefer hot and humid), and the people are generally great.

The only eventful part of the ride was when I was following this full dresser Harley. We were cruising along around 45 when all of a sudden a black bear cub comes charging across the road. The guy locks up his brakes and misses the bear by maybe a foot. He then immediately pulled off to a scenic outlook to, I assume, clean his underwear. Other than that, the fantastic Blue Ridge Parkway was a nice ride with no big issues.

We ended up at the Wytheville, VA KOA in one of their Kabins. I love KOAs, they are all clean, well organized, in great locations, and give you just enough creature comforts to make your trip a bit easier.

We offload some of our stuff into the kabin, and head into town for some dinner at Applebee's. Or at least we would have if I could remember where I put my keys...Remember that too many pockets thing? I have a very specific system when I am at home. Everything goes in the same place every time. This trip was screwing with my system... eventually I found my keys in the "wrong" pocket and we headed out. For the rest of the trip we all rode together it was a running joke about all my pockets and sheer inability to remember where I put anything. I was so bad, they didn't even let me hold on to the key for the kabin...wait, didn't I pay for this place? lol, fair enough, guys. I can't blame you.

Did I mention I miss this part of the country? The people are nice and make you feel welcome and at home whether they know you or not.

We get back to the kabin and hit the sack. It was a long day but a good start to the trip.

27JUL14

We got to the Tail of the Dragon on the north side and stop at the Dragon Pit to grab some refreshments and SWAG. Now, I am one of the most anti-tourist people ever. I can't stand the cheesy been there, done that, got the t shirt bit. On this trip, however, I was king zinc nose. At the Dragon Pit I got a t-shirt and a 129 TN sticker. I made it a point the rest of the trip to get something from every state I went to. Sort of a memento for the trip. Looking back, I am glad I did.





They had this awesome Monster at the Dragon Pit, it just enamored me with the place even more.


We all rode the Dragon south, then they stopped at the gift shop on the end and I ran it north and back, again. The road it fantastic. For those of you that grew up in the beautiful flat land that is the midwest and haven't ventured into some of America's mountains, do it. Do it now, quit your job, sell the wife and kids, and go.


This is my dad's new Indian Chieftan. It's not my style of bike, but it's really a beautiful piece of machinery. It's also different than all of the other Harleys out there (sorry, Tim).

Apparently he had that shit eating grin the entire way.

Here's Tim on his Electra Glide. I'm not going to lie, I was envious of their comfy seats and true cruise control, not to mention better wind protection.

On my round trip I stopped at the scenic overlook and snapped a few pictures.




There is one thing I have to say about the Dragon...it is far too popular. Having a bunch of vehicles on the road isn't necessarily a bad thing; provided everyone is on the same page with regards to their expectations of traveling.

I am not Valentino Rossi, I don't drag my knees every turn (plus my center stand drags before anything else) so I am not riding at a nuts pace, but when I am behind your Ford Escape doing 15 MPH and you don't use the pull outs and slow down every turn to 10... This lasted for a mile or two before I just pulled over and turned the bike off for about five minutes. There was no road courtesy there. Oh, well. It was still a hell of a ride.

After I got back, my dad and Tim said they were getting worried about me and were about to hop on the bikes to come find me. But, all's well that ends well. We snapped a few pictures of the Tree of Shame:




And headed out to Knoxville to stay at Tim's parents house. We went via highway 28, which turned out to be almost as good a road as the Dragon, but with significantly less traffic. The less traffic really made up for any shortcomings of the road, and ended up being a stellar ride.

We rode past Fontana Lake which was very cool and eerie. There was a fog on the lake that you could just see through the trees. It was a very surreal experience. We then circled northwest through the Great Smoky Mountains National Forest and snapped some pictures of these guys:



There were these guys just grazing right off the road. This is why I love the mountains, you just don't get these experiences anywhere else.

We stopped in Gatlinburg, TN for some dinner at the Alamo. Gatlinburg is a cool town. Alamo is a nice steakhouse about a mile off the main drag. We sat outside and had a delicious steak dinner. You can't get Yuengling on the west coast so I ordered one of those up. Not as good as I remember, it tastes like a watered down Sam Adams, but after a long day on the bike it was still delicious.

Our server was the greatest server I have ever had...ever. The entire trip so far everyone has been enamored with the Indian that my dad's riding. E.V.E.R.Y.O.N.E. I didn't get the Duc to impress anyone, it does everything I want in a bike, plus it's a bright red Ducati. What isn't to love. Our server, though took a look at all three of the bikes lined up and said, A Ducati, hell yeah. That made my night. It was the first and last time in over 3,500 miles that someone commented on the bike. Turns out she rides a little Ninja 250, it's always great to see people riding.



We made it to Knoxville around 2300 hrs that night. Tim's mom and dad were still up waiting to make sure we got in alright. When I get to my mid 80's I hope I am half as spry as those two.
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:29 PM   #11
duckman44
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Ok, sounds like a great time. I'm in!
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Old 07-12-2014, 04:10 PM   #12
Teckel
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I have to say I like Dad's Indian also. He looked like he was having fun there, no "cruiser face".

Interesting so far.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:09 PM   #13
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Sorry for the delay in the ride report; I started a new job a few days after I got back from the trip and it has been crazy since then.

After a nice nights' sleep at Tim's parents house in Knoxville, we head upstairs to grab a cup of coffee before heading out for the day.

I am pouring myself a cup when Tim's mom walks in threatening to tell me an embarrassing story about Tim right when he walks in. There is almost nothing funnier than seeing a grown ass man blurt out "Oh come on mom, please don't embarrass me!" while his mother walks away snickering.

So, remember that fancy USB charger that we spent all that time on that doesn't work? Come to find out, it arrived broken from Amazon...So we find a Cycle Gear nearby, pick up a new one along with a tool roll (I thought riding a Ducati cross country with the stock tool kit was a grand idea) and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

For those of you in the rest of the country that actually have Cracker Barrels I envy you. No where else can you get a good big breakfast for so cheap. Maybe I'll franchise one up here in the PNW... After breakfast, we go out to the bike to wire up the new charger. Surprisingly it only takes 15 minutes or so, and by Jove it actually works!

Speaking of Cracker Barrel, the previous morning I forgot my phone on the table at, shocker, a Cracker Barrel. I ran to the bathroom before we took off only to come outside to see Frick and Frack giggling like schoolgirls. My dad hands me the phone back and I knew there was something going on. I turn my phone on and am greeted by this lovely image...




We say our goodbyes, snap a few pictures, and I head out for Nashville.




Thanks for the finger in the picture Tim.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:33 PM   #14
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The ride from Knoxville to Nashville was largely uninteresting. I just took I-40 the whole way because I wanted to spend some time in Music City. I ran into the first rain of the day, and what a rain it was. I found an overpass, tossed on my rain gear and on I went.

By the time I got to Nashville, it was sunny and muggy out. Just the way I like it. A guy at work recommended I head to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, so that was the first order of business.

Mother of God it was busy! Around noon on a Saturday, there was barely room to stand. I grabbed a Yuengling, stood around and listened to the fantastic band that was playing a mix of covers and original tunes. By this time I was hankering for some lunch.

I went next door to a small bar because the gal out front said they had pizza. Sold! I sit down at a table, listen to a great blues band for 15 or so minutes, only to find out that they have nothing but liquid meals but if I go next door to Robert's Western World they have a hell of a fried bologna sandwich.

I saddle up to the bar at Robert's and there is a great 6 piece honkey tonk band playing on one of the smallest stages I have ever seen. I'm surprised they fit everyone up there with their instruments. I didn't have a fried bologna sandwich, but I did have a pretty good burger and a coke. By this time I was itching to get back on the road and head out to Sikeston, MO. For those of you that have never been there that's not in Missouri, that's in Missurah.

Sorry for the lack of pictures from Nashville, I was too focused on the music and grabbing food. If you have never been there, and even remotely enjoy music, Nashville should be a stop on everyone's list. Fantastic vibe, amazing music, and beautiful southern-ish weather.



Before leaving Nashville, I put a call into Erico Motorsports in Denver to schedule an oil change and a new rear tire for the bike. Super convenient doing that while riding with the Scala. I don't know how I ever rode without a headset before.


On the way to Sikeston I rode through the Land Between the Lakes. This is I guess a forest preserve or some such. It was a nice ride that got me off the highways a bit before making camp for the night.

I stopped at a campground and grabbed a few pictures.




The rest of the ride to Sikeston was wholly uneventful. Though the bugs in SE MO are horrible at night. It soon became a morning ritual of cleaning the colony of bugs off the face shield of my helmet.

By the time I got in I was starving and ran across a Buffalo Wild Wings. I'm usually not a big fan of bar food, but it was open and I was hungry. I was in for a blast from the past which, to some extent, made my night.

The first thing the hostess asked me was "Smoking or non-smoking?" Well holy crap, I didn't know there were still places that offer smoking sections. You learn something new every day.

I cruise up the road to Town and Country RV park, set up my tent, and call it a night.
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Old 09-14-2014, 01:45 PM   #15
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I guess it's a good thing I put my rain fly up last night...because it is POURING. Well, shit...

Oh well, I brought rain gear for a reason. Might as well pay the owner of the RV park, take a shower, grab some grub and get this show on the road.

I walk over to pay, and this 172 year old man let's me into the trailer that is the office. Holy crap...I think I am gong to get lung cancer from the amount of second hand smoke in this place. Sir, did you just smoke an entire carton before I walked in the door?

Anyways, I ask how much for a tent site and he tells me $15 so I hand over my credit card only to be told that he only takes cash and checks. This morning is getting better and better...

I told him I would come back after breakfast and pay him up. So, I shower, pack the bike, and head out in Katrina 2.0 to get some cash and some delicious delicious...Burger King. UGH, Sikeston can suck a fat one.

After paying up, I decided that I was going to ride north to St. Louis, then head west instead of my original planed route of west through Springfield, then north.

Since it was dumping rain, and I had a crap morning to begin with, I decided to slab it through Missouri.

Luckily, just before I got to St. Louis, the weather broke and stopped raining.

I stopped off at the arch, which I haven't been to in almost 15 years and had some ice cream sitting by the Mighty Mississippi river.

The St. Louis arch is something that should be on everyone's list, as well. You go up in these crazy little elevators that rock back and forth, and when you get to the top there are little viewing windows that face the ground that you lay down and look through. It's very disconcerting, but fantastic at the same time.








After leaving St. Louis I set a course for the KOA in Oak Grove, MO, just east of Kansas City. I splurged and got one of their little Kabins. It was a nice respite from the soaking wet day. There was a little BBQ trailer set up in the common area. Hot damn, I love BBQ! How perfect. I ran out to Walmart, grabbed a 6 pack of Sam Adams Summer Ale and came back to get some grub.

They were all out of pulled pork so what I got was a BBQ Basket. It was a basket of fries with baked beans poured on, brisket on that, slathered in BBQ sauce.




I washed that down with a few Sam Adams, gave the rest away, and turned in for the night.

jburroughs12 screwed with this post 09-14-2014 at 01:55 PM
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