Fast-forward 2 weeks. In that time, I became unemployed, put my shit in boxes, and crammed a 26-foot Penske truck with all my stuff, and then jammed my ZZR, my KLR, and Kate's SV behind it all. Aside from the KLR molesting my (until then pristine) ZZR's gas tank with its brake lever, and 4 New Jersey state police cars treating us like criminals for parking a car in the truck section of the NJ Turnpike rest area, we made it to Pennsylvania. I rode my bike in the mornings, painted the house during the day, and worked on GPS tracks in the evening.
The plan was for me to ride from Philadelphia to North Caroline, meet Owen near the Tail of the Dragon, ride to Tennessee, and begin the TAT. This time, as amazing as it was, the bike had no problems. None. Of course, the same wasn't true for me. I had set out a GPS route that would have me spending about half my time on I81, and half on some fun roads on the blue ridge, including the BRP. On day 1, I rode 400 miles, ending the day at Peaks of Otter. On day 2, I awoke to pouring, torrential rain. Until this point, I had not experienced the joy of rain at 70 mph into an open-face helmet. I rode that day's 400 miles in the rain, proceeded to get lost several times, hit some nasty detours on the BRP, and finally showed up to Owen's promise of burritos as night began to fall. The real adventure was about to begin.