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Topic: Four Days with Mother Nature  (Read 15700 times)

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Mr_McBride
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« on: May 27, 2013, 03:00:31 pm »

Ride Report 5/4/2013:

An inmate reached out to me after reading one of my ride reports. Gord, who lives in Canada, would be attending a wedding in a neighboring state and had decided to bring his Vee so that he could spend a week riding in the southeastern United States. Gord asked for my assistance with the selection of the best motorcycling roads in the area. I told Gord that I'd not only be happy to plan some routes for him, but that I'd also be happy to join him for 4 days.



I carved up some routes and a plan quickly fell together.

Gord would be attending a wedding on the other end of North Carolina. His plan was to leave Hampstead, NC on Friday and ride to Clemson, SC. We would meet in Clayton, Ga the following morning.

Here's the route details for those interested in the roads we took.

******
Day-1 My ride to the meeting place in Clayton, Ga http://classic.mapquest.com/mq/2-cakeih0Tj0aR

130 miles, 2 hours 37 minutes through 7 counties

We met at:
Miss Megs Restaurant:
677 Highway 441 N

I left my house in Acrworth, Ga. Gord left Clemson, SC. We met at Miss Megs Bakery ( which has changed it name ) at 677 U.S. 441, Clayton, GA for breakfast.

******
Day-1 http://classic.mapquest.com/mq/7-g4TwfgbxNmqFkbCVF4O*

247 miles, 6 hours and 37 minutes through 9 counties

And here we find the proper beginning of our ride together. Today's route would take us from Clayton, through Helen via 197 and 356, up to Brasstown Bald, the highest elevation in Georgia.

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/BrasstownBald_zps1012efb4.jpg

From Brasstown Bald, we made our way down 180 to Richard Russell Scenic hwy ( 348 ) then over to 129. We stopped for lunch at Turner's Corner. The food was excellent.

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/TurnersCorner_2_zpsebff8413.jpg

After lunch we headed up and over Blood Mountain and turned onto Wolf Pen Gap rd ( 180 ). We made a brief stop at TWO and I was glad to see things are progressing nicely. 60 north was, as usual, a very nice ride. We turned west to take some back roads over to Aska rd for the ride into Blue Ridge. In Blue Ridge we decided to call it a day and forgo Fort Mtn, near Chattsworth, Ga. We topped off the tanks and headed to my place for beer, an excellent dinner, and a good nights rest.

Todays ride was mostly in rainy conditions. The rain was light but steady. I wished I had captured some video when we were at the parking lot near the top of Brasstown Bald. Just as we neared the parking lot we ascended into the clouds. From the parking lot you could see the clouds moving across the parking lot. It was a cool sight to see.

[UFO - Quick edit for front page image display.]
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 06:09:13 pm by UFO » Logged

- rodney

2005 FZ6 ( Blue )      
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2013, 03:01:36 pm »

Day-2 MapQuest Maps - Driving Directions - Map

328 miles, 8 hours and 4 minutes through 12 counties

Day-2 was forecast for heavy rain, so we decided to take a raincheck. As a proper host to my new Canadian friend, I decided to take him to Chattanooga, Tn, where the weather was a little better. My Wife and stepson joined us for the day. We started off riding an old Steam locomotive and then went and then we went to 'See Rock City'.

Chattanooga Train Ride, North GA Train Ride, Chattanooga Railroad :: Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum

Rock City

Steam Engine on the turn table:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/SteamEngineOnTurnTable_zps262cdd93.jpg

Waterfall at Rockcity:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/RockCity_1_zps582318b1.jpg

Gord and I at Rockcity:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/RockCity_2_zpsaec3095a.jpg


The weather on Monday was much better. So, on day 3 we rode the day 2 route. We left my house early and slabbed it north east back up to Blue Ridge, Ga, where we turned due north. Our next stop would be in Ducktown, Tn, for gas, a break, and our first incident. The location i choose to stop at for gas turned out to be a mistake. We stopped at the Couger Express Exxon station on 68 just before the junction with 64. Gord and I both bought gas and then pushed our bikes into a parking space in front of the entrance to the store. I went inside and asked if I could use the restroom. The proprietor handed me a key and stated that the restroom was outside to the left of the bldg. After I finished in the restroom I went back into the store to return the key. I wanted until the proprietor was finished talking to another customer at the counter, handed back the key and said "thank you". Once back outside, I turned my phone on and was just a couple of words into a txt message letting my Wife know where I was then suddenly the door to the stored was flung open and the proprietor said "Gentleman, get your gear back on and get your a$$ down the road. This is not a GD rest stop. Unless you're gonna buy something get the hell outta here." Wow! I was a bit shell shocked at the suddenness of this. I stated that we had both just bought gas. The proprietor apologized and gave us an excuse that he didn't see us at the pumps. However, this was all said with a very poor attitude and with a lot of anger in his voice. Gord followed him back into the store to get the last word. I later found out that this meant that Gord went all gentleman on him. Gord told me that the day before there was a large group of cruisers ( he said about 10 ) had stopped and used the rest room without buying anything and then ( for whatever reason ) cursed out the proprietor. Apparently this guy felt compelled to pass it along. I'll never stop there again. This guy really let his anger control his actions. That was his chosen response. My chosen response was to spread the word in the hopes that I can get as many people as possible to visit his competition in the future. I'm still shocked by this, especially since I showed this guy respect right before his sudden fit of rage.

Ok, back to the ride…The ride up 68 from there was awesome, as always. 68 is such a great rode to ride. Once in Tellico Plains, Tn, I lead Gord directly to Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters. I knew Mike would treat his customers with respect, and he did. I went in hoping to purchase some new riding pants, but Mike didn't have my size. I also wanted to try on a couple of new jackets that were on my short list. At the top of my list was the Firstgear Killimanjaro, but Mike didn't have the right size and color combination I wanted. Mike pointed me to the Olympia AST. This jacket fit perfectly. Also, seeing it in person I immediately noticed how much more protective it was than I had realized from researching it online. Then I saw the price and couldn't pass up such a good deal. Mike packed up my old jacket, a Fieldsheer Adventure ( which had kept me completely dry during all the rain we rode through on Saturday ), and shipped it home for me. I had high hopes that the AST would keep me just as dry. More about this later.

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/CanYouSeeMeNow_zps8e821e9c.jpg

Mike recommended a good place to eat just down the street, Tellico Kats Cafe, and it was excellent. Mike also mentioned that with all of the rain that we should stop my Bald River Falls because there would be a tremendous amount of water flowing over the falls. Here is a pic I took of Bald River Falls back in 2008.

Bald River Falls back in 2008:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/DSCN2468-1.jpg

Here is a pic of the falls from today:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/Bald_River_Falls_zpsc6c12b68.jpg

After lunch and petrol we begin the journey east beginning with the Cherohala Skyway, then up to Deal's Gap, part of the Hell Bender, and then north to Cherokee, NC.

Deal's Gap:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/DealsGap_zps733404b3.jpg

We found this on why 28:

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/MotorcycleHouse_zpsb1982db1.jpg

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/MotorcycleHouse_2_zpse62bfdb3.jpg

In Cherokee, NC, we intercepted the southern end of the Blue Ridge Pkwy ( BRP ).

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/EnteringBRP_zpse8a46a27.jpg

We stopped at one of the overlooks and Gord said take off and I'll take some pics of you as you ride by.

My new profile pic:

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/A_Typical_Corner_zps4affa0af.jpg

We stopped here for more pics.

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/GordAndRodney_TopOfBRP_zps4d0f8646.jpg

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Four%20Day%20Tour%20with%20Gord/WheresGord_zpsbacb2e83.jpg

Then we continued on into Asheville, NC, where we stopped for the night.
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- rodney

2005 FZ6 ( Blue )      
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2013, 03:02:32 pm »

Day-3 MapQuest Maps - Driving Directions - Map

290 miles, 7 hours 50 minutes through 11 counties

Our plan for day 3 ( day 4 now ) was to begin, and end, in Asheville, NC. We headed north east on the BRP to our first stop, Mt. Mitchell.

"Mount Mitchell is the highest peak of the Appalachian Mountains and the highest peak in the eastern United States."

Mount Mitchell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/MtMitchell_zpsddd3ef87.jpg

A little further up we took 80 north up to Micaville, NC. The idea here was to explore some of the more interesting side roads along the BRP and to take us further north so that we intercept 421, The Snake, from the north. The plan was to take 421 south east into Boone on our way towards the BRP for the ride back to Asheville, NC. However, this was not to be. Around lunch time we veered a bit off course into Burnsville, NC, for a bite to eat. We ended up a a neat little place called Lil Smoky's. This is where the locals eat and we quickly learned why. While we were there Gord was approached by a very nice lady. She told us that she used to ride a lot with her late husband. This story turned into a request for a short two up ride. I handed Bobbie my helmet and said you two go and I'll take a pic or two.

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/Bobbie_zpse08c56c9.jpg

We left Lil Smoky's and headed back 80 ( great road, I will be back to ride this road again ). We turned on 261 and his took us through Roan Mtn State Park into the town of Roan Mtn, Tn. 261 is a fantastic road, very scenic. From there we took 19 north. North of Elizabethton we took 11 to 394 to 421, The Snake.

The obligatory stop at the half way point along The Snake:
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/ShadyDog_zps28bdb95a.jpg

http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/rwm0268/ShadyValley_zpscee58579.jpg

Somewhere near Boone, NC, the sky fell. It started with heavy rain then the lightening started. This continued to grow heavier. It was getting late in the day. With the storm and the time of the day, it dawned on me that we are at risk of running out of daylight. I made a command decision to abandon the route and head directly back to the hotel. It was still going to take awhile. We were about 2 and half hours from the nearest interstate. There was no quick way back. I asked Garmin for the shortest time route back. This ended up being 321, another fabulous back road. Somewhere along 321 I pulled into a country store / gas station. I needed a bio break. I walked into a store completely filled with smoke. Everyone inside was sitting in rocking chairs smoking. I bet there wasn't a full set of teeth between the four of them. I asked if I could use the restroom. The attendant grumbled something I couldn't understand and pointed me to an area in the back that appeared to be the stock room. As I walked back there I began to hear banjo music. Back out on the road again I realized that in better weather this road would be fantastic. I'm sure it was scenic, but it was hard to tell. Visibility was down to about 40 feet. Plenty of curves, though. I look forward to riding this road in better weather. We made it to the interstate by dark and slabbed it back to Asheville. I was famished as we pulled into Asheville around 9pm. We quickly found a Subway. After a quick bite we rode back to the hotel for some much needed rest. But first we had to prep for the next days ride. This entailed hanging all of our gear to dry and downloading all pics and video, charging up phones, cameras, mp3 players, et al. Gord did an awesome job of running a clothes line the full width of the hotel room. It was good to have a seaman along to rig a couple lines together and to hoist a sail ( Gord's bike cover is made from a sailboats main sail ). I backed up a chair next to the heater to help dry several items.

We had endured the worst weather and the heaviest rain of our entire route today. Tomorrow would be a brand new day.
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- rodney

2005 FZ6 ( Blue )      
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2013, 03:03:05 pm »

I want to take a minute to discuss my experience with the gear I was wearing. I've already mentioned that I bought a new Olympia AST jacket. This is the AST2 version. This is the best piece of gear that I have owned to date. The temps never dropped below 48F during this ride, but I can tell that this jacket can easily handle colder temps with a proper base layer. The collar on the AST is high enough that no rain ever reached my neck or back. I wore the jacket with the thermal liner, and Warm and Safe ( W&S ) heated jacket liner on top of a long sleeve wicking compression shirt. I had to remove the thermal liner a couple of times as the temps climbed north of 55F.

I took four pairs of gloves with me. These should cover all of the temp ranges during this ride, and they did. For most of the ride I wore Warm and Safe ( W&S ) carbon heated gloves. These gloves work great in the cold. They do have a waterproof liner inside them. However, the liner is not sewn in and when your hands / fingers get wet the gloves become very difficult to put back on, as the liner tends to want to come out when your remove the gloves. My solution to this was to change gloves. I had four pairs of gloves with me and at some point during our ride all four pairs got worn. Besides the W&S gloves, I had a pair of Joe Rocket waterproof / winter gloves. These were my backups to the W&S gloves, but got used several times do the rain and difficulty with the W&S gloves. Also, the W&S gloves, after a couple of hours of pounding rain, eventually began to leak at the seams in the palm. It didn't take too long for the leakage and the cold temps to overcome the heating elements. At these points I switched gloves and had dry hands warm hands again. Glove pair number three were Fieldsheer Highway leather gloves. These are by far the most comfortable gloves I own. They are non-perforated leather and they do not contain any type of insulation. I use these in temps from the low 60's up to around the mid 70's. Glove pair number four are Icon perforated leather. These are my warm weather gloves.

For pants I wore Firstgear HT Air Overpants. I kept the liners in for most of the ride. Since these are vented textile pants I wore Tour Master Sentinel rain pants over the top for anything above a light sprinkle. My base layer of choice was a pair of Nike Pro Dri-Fit. This combination kept me both warm and dry at all times. These are the best pants I've owned to date.

My boots are Alpinestars SMX 5, the vented version. When the date got closer I knew we would be riding in the rain and that these boots would not keep my feet dry. At that last minute I decided that I need some boot covers. I decided to give the Bilt Tornado waterproof boot covers a try. I took my boots in for a test fit as I had done my research and read online complaints of fitting ahead of time. Upon looking over the boot covers, the first thing that I noticed were the non-waterproof zippers. I wondered how long it would take the water to leak in. However, much to my surprise my feet never got wet. I would rather have boot covers that slip over the toe and around the heal. With the Bilt boot covers, your boot is inserted completely inside them. They do have a rubber sole. I never experience any issues with slippage. The soles do seem a bit soft so the grip was good. We'll see how long they last. The fit of the boot covers leaves a bit to be desired, though. They are cut very straight. My A*'s, on the other hand, are not straight. The outside diameter grows wider up towards the knee or top of the boot. The Bilt boot covers I bought were one size larger than what was advertised as needed. I had trouble a couple of times getting the boot covers to zip all the way up. I was just waiting for the zipper tear, but they held out. It's a very tight fit, though. If and when they ever fail I will probably choose to try a different brand, in that covers the top of the boot, but not the bottom.

I did have a wind triangle and a Turtle fur neck gaiter with me, but neither of them ever left the side case.

Ok, back to the ride report.
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- rodney

2005 FZ6 ( Blue )      
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2013, 03:03:56 pm »

Day-4 Segment-1 MapQuest Maps - Driving Directions - Map

181 miles, 5 hours 17 minutes

For me, day 4 was my trip home. Gord, on the other hand, had a couple more days to explore. Today Gord and and I would ride about 2 miles before we turned in opposite directions. We ate breakfast at the hotel and then stopped at gas station 1/4 mile from the BRP. After topping off our tanks we headed to the BRP. Once there we pulled up to the stop sign, did a knuckle bump, and headed in opposite directions along the BRP.

I continued south on the BRP and took 215 into Rosman, NC, where I turned onto 64 and took that all the way into Highlands, NC. I stopped at the Highlands Smokehouse, of I always do, for some much needed lunch. After lunch I carved up hwy 28 all the way into South Carolina.

Once across the state line I doubled back to Warwoman rd for the ride into Clayton, Ga. On 76 just south of Clayton, Ga I caught up to an FJR and a Connie from Florida and a cruiser. It appeared that they were all riding together. I was hoping that they might be going my way and would be riding why 197 along Lake Burton. However, they were riding way to slow for me. I passed the FJR and Connie at the same time but the guy on the cruiser was riding a bit faster. I passed him several turns before the turn off for 197, but never saw them again. Anyway, 197 was a twisty bliss, as it always is. I turned off of 197 on to 356 for the ride through Unicoi State Park just north of Helen. At this point I was ready to get home so I bypassed 348 and took alt 75 down to 129 then up to 19 at Turner's Corner. I took some back roads around the north side of Dahlonega, Ga. This is where the Day-4 Segment-1 route ends.

Day-4 Segment-2 MapQuest Maps - Driving Directions - Map

64 miles, 1 hour 42 minutes

About this time I started feeling warm. I had been watching the temps rise since I crossed the Georgia state line way back on hwy 28. As I approached Dawsonville, Ga, I took a peak at the temp gauge. Whoa, 83F, no wonder I'm sweating. I stopped for a bio break and removed the W&S heated liner. I had already removed the thermal liner. Finally, I opened all of the vents and was looking forward to testing the full venting capability of the new AST jacket. After a quick bio break and quick drink, I jumped back on the bike. I could tell immediately that I would be able wear this jacket 4 seasons. This one is a keeper. Standing up really reveals how much air this jacket can flow. Not show much while sitting, but enough. I made a quick call home to the Wife thanks to my shiny new Sena SMH10 and then went back to listening to music for the remainder of the ride home, as the most interesting of roads were not behind me.


Special thanks to 568v8 for reaching out to me and setting this little adventure into motion. I learned quite a few things from Gord and I was able to teach Gord one little secret about riding in the rain.


Totals:

1,240 miles through 4 states and the heaviest rain I've ever ridden through. But this was still a great trip and given the conditions I would not hesitate to do it again.
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- rodney

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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 02:43:55 pm »


Ride Report 5/4/2013:

An inmate reached out to me after reading one of my ride reports.


Ok, scanned the ride report, but kept thinking back to the second word.  Inmate?  
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Mr_McBride
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 03:55:45 pm »




Ok, scanned the ride report, but kept thinking back to the second word.  Inmate?  


Sorry, I tried to sanitize this report for each forum that I uploaded to. I am a member of several motorcycle forums. It appears that I posted the ADVrider version here. If you are a member of ADVrider then you will know what an inmate is...
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- rodney

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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 05:58:12 pm »


Sorry, I tried to sanitize this report for each forum that I uploaded to. I am a member of several motorcycle forums. It appears that I posted the ADVrider version here. If you are a member of ADVrider then you will know what an inmate is...


Aww, you shoulda let him think you were on a jailbreak.  Lol

Great report, and thanks for the gear review in particular.  I looked at Olympia jackets a few years ago but had heard reports that they leaked, so this is good to hear.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 10:35:34 pm »




Aww, you shoulda let him think you were on a jailbreak.  Lol

Great report, and thanks for the gear review in particular.  I looked at Olympia jackets a few years ago but had heard reports that they leaked, so this is good to hear.


Yeah, I guess I could have had a little fun with that...

I've read the same reviews and have heard the same things about the Olympia gear. It's my understanding that the leaks start after a couple of washes. Olympia recommends hand washing only ( in the bathtub ) but I'm willing to bet others are machine washing. I always machine washed my Fieldsheer Adventure jacket with Techwash followed by a second wash with TX.Direct. That jacket never leaked and it is five years old. I also use Glove Proof and Visor Proof from Nikwax. I've had mixed results with Glove Proof, but the Visor Proof product works great ( just like rain-x ).
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- rodney

2005 FZ6 ( Blue )      
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