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Old 08-13-2013, 06:00 PM   #1
BluRidgeRider OP
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Eighteen Years In The Making

Three day ride from Charlotte, NC to Robbinsville, NC to ride Deals Gap and the Cherohala Skyway with my son on his first overnight motorcycle trip.

I am expanding this thread to add subsequent multi-day rides with my son.

Numa

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Old 08-13-2013, 06:04 PM   #2
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Year 1 - Prologue

In the summer of 1994, I bought my first BMW motorcycle. I had owned a wide variety of motorcycles before then, but had been bitten by the sport touring bug and had to have a BMW. Shortly after I took delivery of my new 1994 BMW K75S in Mystic Red livery, I found out my wife was pregnant with our third child. My son, Numa Jr., was born on June 4, 1995 and the photo below was taken when he was still a just a baby. My wife was standing just out of the picture ready to catch him if he fell, but he showed wonderful balance on the motorcycle even as an infant.




Since that date I have been looking forward to the day when I might get a chance to take a multi-day trip with my son. In his younger years he didnít express a whole lot of interest in looking at various motorcycles, but he did enjoy hearing about my adventures and looking at the pictures I took while touring around the country by myself and with my brother. We didnít have any good places for off-road riding near where we lived so we never seriously explored making a dirt bike purchase.

When he turned 16 he told me that he wanted to get his motorcycle license as quickly as possible after getting his regular driverís license. I encouraged him to get some driving experience in a cage before taking the next step. When he was doing well with the cage, he approached me again about getting his motorcycle license. My brother was kind enough to loan us his Yamaha XT225 and the lessons began. Numa started out in a small grass/dirt field and worked on clutch release, balance and shifting. When sufficient progress was made, we headed for the Charles County Fairgrounds where he had more space to practice shifting and riding at higher speeds. The fairgrounds was a great location because it offered pavement, dirt, gravel, sand and grassy areas.




The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Beginnerís Course came next and then many rides on the back roads around Southern Maryland. With his skills still progressing nicely, we headed for the large paved parking lot of a minor league baseball stadium where he rode my Suzuki V-Strom 650 for the first time. Next we returned to the back roads, but this time he was on the V-Strom with me on the XT225. After his first taste on the V-Strom, he was reluctant to trade back with me. He loves the V-Strom and it is now his preferred mount.

A move to the Charlotte area for work last October has limited our opportunities lately to ride together and even to hang out. Heís still living back in Maryland working for the summer and getting ready to start college at the University of Maryland in a few weeks. We decided the time was right to take our first tour, so I made arrangements with Dean at Carolina Adventure Cycles to rent a Kawasaki Versys 650, made a reservation at Phillips Motel in Robbinsville and blocked my calendar for three days of motorcycle riding. Numa Jr. Ė now 18 years old Ė drove down from Maryland in his cage on Thursday and we stopped by Carolina Adventure Cycles that evening to pick up the Versys. The plan was for me to ride the rented Versys and for Numa Jr. to pilot my V-Strom 650.

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Old 08-13-2013, 06:09 PM   #3
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Year 1 - Day One

Friday morning we loaded up the saddlebags on both bikes and headed west. We took secondary roads including SC 11, Rt 276 to Brevard, Rt 64 from Brevard down through Highlands and into Franklin and then Rt 28 from Franklin up to Rt 74 before heading southwest into Robbinsville. The weather on Friday started out nice, but we experienced some heavy rain in the middle of the day Ė along with some fog thrown in for good measure Ė while up in the mountains on Rt 276 headed up to Brevard. It stayed overcast the rest of the way into Robbinsville, but we didnít get any more rain after we left Franklin. The tarmac was dry and the traffic light on Rt. 28 after we left Franklin and Numa Jr. got to experience the joys of riding in the twisties.

Cullasaja Falls, just off of Rt 64 west of Brevard.



Numa Jr. taking a break at roadside near Cullasaja Falls.


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Old 08-13-2013, 06:15 PM   #4
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Year 1 - Day Two

On Saturday, it was raining hard in Robbinsville in the early morning, but cleared up by mid-morning and we were able to ride Dealís Gap over into Tennessee and back on dry tarmac. While at a scenic overlook in Tennessee, Numa Jr. struck up a conversation with a very attractive young lady who was also on her first mountain ride. Erica had come down from Richmond, VA with her father and they were riding Dealís Gap and other roads in the area with friends who joined them from Florida.

Like father, like son.



Great form!



Getting diagonal on Rt. 129 at Deals Gap.



Numa Sr. and Jr. at a scenic overlook in Tennessee just after Numa Jrís first pass of Dealís Gap on only his second day of mountain riding. (Photo taken by Erica.)



A requisite stop by the Dealís Gap Motorcycle Resort gave us a chance to stretch our legs, check out the bikes and purchase a t-shirt. Erica and her riding party also made a stop by the Resort and the conversation with Numa Jr. continued. Her party was also staying at Phillips Motel and they made arrangements to hang out later that evening.



The weather was still sunny and bright so we made the decision to ride along the Cherohala Skyway. As we headed west on Route 143 towards the beginning of the Skyway, we got into a right-hand, decreasing radius turn and Numa Jr. ran a little wide on the exit and crossed the centerline. I pulled over at the next opportunity so that we could talk it over. He was following me too closely (for the twisty road conditions) and it made it difficult for him to see far enough in front to accurately judge the appropriate entry speed. A gentle reminder for him to allow a larger gap between us, focus on the road and to ďride his own rideĒ got him back on track.

We continued on and shortly after we got on the Skyway Ė while between areas suitable for pulling over Ė the skies opened up and we got soaked. There was no sign of it slowing down anytime soon and our clothes were thoroughly soaked, so we headed back down into Robbinsville to get dry. Reba, the owner of Phillips Motel, was kind enough to let us use the hotelís clothes dryer so we wouldnít have to pack wet clothes when it was time to head home. Her employee monitored the dryer, folded our clothes for us and even brought them back to our room. Great service from a family run, motorcycle friendly motel!

When Numa Jr. left to hang out with Erica, I spent some time talking with other riders who were staying at Phillips. Erica and her party invited us to join them for dinner and the conversation-filled evening was very enjoyable.

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Old 08-13-2013, 06:17 PM   #5
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Year 1 - Day Three

I had to be back at work on Monday and Numa Jr. had work on Tuesday, so we checked out early Sunday morning and took a more direct route back to Charlotte. Routes 143 and 28 out of Robbinsville got us back to Rt 74 where we headed east up to Asheville. We jumped on Interstate 40/Rt 74 east and then headed southeast on Interstate 26/Route 74 down to Columbus where Route 74 breaks off and heads east back to Charlotte.

We got lucky with the weather on the final day of our ride and only experienced a little fog in the mountains shortly after we left Robbinsville. The skies cleared progressively as we rode east back to Charlotte and our rain suits remained in their respective stuff sacks for the duration. Numa Jr. wanted to ride through the city so I took him through Uptown Charlotte for the final miles of the ride.

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Old 08-13-2013, 06:18 PM   #6
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Year 1 - Epilogue

Monday morning we returned the Kawasaki Versys to Carolina Adventure Cycles and then Numa Jr. started the long drive back to Maryland in his cage. Even though our motorcycle trip was only three days, the ride was fantastic and Iím hoping itís just the first of many motorcycle trips weíll take together. As for Numa Jr., on this trip he experienced many firsts Ė his first overnight motorcycle trip, first riding in the mountains, first riding in the rain and fog, first time riding in the city and first miles riding on an Interstate. He handled it all with aplomb and Iím very proud of how he has worked to develop his skills. Heís still got plenty to learn and experience on two wheels, but heís off to a great start!



And I experienced a first on this trip as well. Although Iíve been riding for close to forty-eight years, this was my first overnight motorcycle trip with my son. Iím so proud of how he handled himself in such a wide variety of riding conditions. It was eighteen years in the making, but worth every second of the wait.

A special thanks to my brother for loaning us his XT225 so that Numa Jr. could learn the basics and begin getting in some dirt and street miles before graduating to something bigger. I would also like to extend thanks to Dean and Jeff at Carolina Adventure Cycles for providing us with the Kawasaki Versys and some route tips. The Versys performed flawlessly and was a close match for my V-Strom in the areas of power and handling.

As I sit here finishing this missive, Iím already starting to think about where we should head on our next ride.

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Old 08-14-2013, 01:33 PM   #7
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Fantastic report Numa! My son is halfway there (9), and I can't wait to do this with him someday. Good job setting aside some time to spend with your son. This is one of those memories you'll look back on fondly for years to come. Sure wish I could go riding with my pops
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Old 08-14-2013, 01:57 PM   #8
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Nice report Numa. That's one you'll always remember.

Thanks for sharing!
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:07 PM   #9
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Cry

My son is 24.
He does not ride however.
This is a huge blessing in your life.
I enjoyed the report.
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They just stand back and let it all be." Springsteen
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:19 PM   #10
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+1 for the complete awesomeness of passing your love of two wheels to the next generation. No doubt in my mind he is officially hooked.


Great Job DAD!
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Old 08-27-2013, 06:07 PM   #11
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Downloaded one more photo of Numa Jr. from US129Photos.com. This was taken on his second pass of Deals Gap -- headed from TN back into NC.



BluRidgeRider/Numa Sr.
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Old 09-07-2013, 01:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NitroRoo View Post
My son is halfway there (9), and I can't wait to do this with him someday.
I know that it's an overused clichť, but kids do grow up quickly and it seems that it accelerates with each passing year. Can't believe Numa Jr. -- the youngest of my three children -- is already eighteen and his first day of classes at the University of Maryland was Tuesday.

Quote:
Originally Posted by XCRider803 View Post
That's one you'll always remember.
Yeah; That ride will always hold a special place in my list of great rides.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinbowie View Post
My son is 24. He does not ride however.This is a huge blessing in your life.
I hoped for years that he'd grow up to enjoy motorcycles as much as I do. This is surely a blessing. Just hope he continues to develop into a skilled, safe rider.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iBiker View Post
+1 for the complete awesomeness of passing your love of two wheels to the next generation. No doubt in my mind he is officially hooked.
I'm hoping that he's hooked. Am looking forward to many more rides with him.

Numa
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:22 PM   #13
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I've been through all those areas several times - great stuff! My son and I are sitting together reading your post. Hopefully we can do that together someday. Might be a while...he's 7 and riding a fiddy!
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:48 PM   #14
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You're a very lucky man !
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Old 04-14-2014, 05:06 PM   #15
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I clicked on your signature and your story is great! I hope to have a similar experience with my son as he grows older. He is only 5 now.
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