Been to the Mountains on a Horse With No Name

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by Horsehead, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Horsehead

    Horsehead Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Never been very good at naming vehicles, bikes, etc. Though I did have someone name the 1973 Toyota FJ40 "Sherman" because they said it was built like a sherman tank.

    So here's my catalogue for ride reports which will take place around the piedmont of North Carolina and who knows where else.

    My iron steed is a new to me 2001 Bandit. It just turned 9000 miles on the way home from picking her up.

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    I used to ride a 1997 Honda Shadow ACE, but couldn't be happier with the new machine. WAY more fun to ride.

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    #1
  2. Horsehead

    Horsehead Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Pleasant Garden, NC
    Last week I rode from Greensboro, NC to Lewisburg, PA for a conference. Took me about 8 hours to cover 431 miles with a couple of stops to stretch my legs. I didn't get any pictures from this leg of the journey, as the goal was to just cover as many miles as quickly as possible. Someone told me the best route was hwy 81. That someone was wrong! It was a nightmare of bumper to bumper traffic. But I survived and learned a lesson.

    After the conference in Lewisburg ended I headed down to Gettysburg to spend a day touring the battlefields and surrounding areas.

    There was a war there between these guys

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    and these guys

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    We can argue later about who was in the right.


    While looking at my options for how to tour the battlefields, I came across the possibility of doing a guided horseback tour. In my opinion there is no other way to see the battlefields. It doesn't take much imagination to smell the powder and see the advancing soldiers when you're seeing the fields from their vantage point.

    My trusty mount. Who knows, maybe he was a relative of ol' Traveler?

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    We rode through the original trails blazed by the farmers from more than 150 years ago. The guides told us the reason they constructed "snake fencing" as opposed to other types was generally because they were too poor to afford nails.

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    Many historic buildings are still on site, and a few still bear the scars from those fateful days in July so many years ago.

    A confederate shell is still lodged in the brick work of this out building:

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    And this barn still bears the hole from a cannonball fired a century and a half ago

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    We rode through the very fields where Pickett and the other generals obeyed Lee's fateful orders to charge the union line straight up the center. Only a few confederate soldiers broke through the union line before being forced to retreat. Imagine marching straight into hell. They stepped out of this treeline after their artillery division pounded the unions with 150 cannon for rough 2 hours...

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    At night time, the soldiers would wash their wounds in this small creek. Eventually it flowed thick with their blood and earned the moniker "Bloody Run"

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    Here at Little Round Top, the confederates suffered another devastating loss. Who knows how many small variables led to the outcome of that fateful day, the costliest battle of the war... some 51,000 casualties.

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    Whatever your opinions are about the Civil War, it behooves us all to go to these historic sites and consider the courage, bravery, honor, and sacrifice of our ancestors who fought and died on these fields. They believed in something and were willing to fight, and if necessary die, for it. They were real men with hopes, dreams, and a bright future planned for themselves. And yet, they were willing to give it all up for the ideals they believed undergirded all of those hopes and dreams. They did so valiantly and we do well to remember their legacy.
    #2
  3. Horsehead

    Horsehead Adventurer

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    Knowing I had a long day ahead of me, I got up early and left Gettysburg at 5:45 a.m. I took the highway to Front Royal, VA and the beginning of Skyline Drive at the entrance of the Shenandoah National Forest. I didn't stop to get any pictures of the trip there, as it was still mostly dark out, but I can honestly say that the countryside of northern Maryland was some of the most beautiful I have seen. Watching the moon set behind the mountains to my right and the sun rise over the fields to my left was an absolute delight. I will not soon forget it.

    I arrived at the entrance to the park around 8:45 A.M. after a long breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I was pleasantly surprised when the park ranger told me there was no entry fee being charged today. Saved myself $10!

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    The scenery was breathtaking...

    Passed through this neat tunnel.

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    More incredible views...

    Saw this rig at a campground along the way:

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    See this thread for more info

    There was no lack of amazing views from the overlooks...

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    Another panorama...

    Finally I started to run low on fuel in both my stomach and my gas tank. I took the next exit I came to, which led me off the mountain top and down to Vesuvius, Va. If you're ever in Vesuvius, do yourself a favor and stop at the best restaurant in town and try their made fresh daily bbq.

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    How do I know it's the best food in town? Simple. It's the only food in town!

    A couple more overlooks worth stopping for on the way home....

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    Got all turned around near Roanoke, but finally managed to figure out my way home.

    I pulled in the garage and checked to see how far I'd rode from home to Pennsylvania and back.

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    If only I'd known... Maybe I would've gone 11 more miles! But then again, maybe not. By now it was almost 7:30 pm and I'd been riding since 5:45 am. It was a long day, but a good day. I hugged my wife and boys and we all got some good sleep that night (though I'm willing to bet mine was better than theirs!)

    Looking forward to many more miles on the Bandit. She didn't hiccup once on the whole trip.
    #3
  4. Burnt Toast

    Burnt Toast Slingshot: engaged.

    Joined:
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    Great write-up and pics. Take that one line in folks...51,000 casualties!!! In one battle!!! Seeing that battlefield has to raise the hair on your neck.:cry



    Good on ya Horsehead!
    #4
  5. tastroman

    tastroman Long timer

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    Enjoyed your report. Makes me want to do the horseback tour of g-burg.
    #5
  6. Horsehead

    Horsehead Adventurer

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    I would highly recommend it! As you ride around, you can't help but notice every other tourist is forced to view the battlefields from the road.

    Most are either doing the auto tour where you buy a CD at the museum and listen to it as you drive yourself along a designated route.

    Others pack themselves onto giant tour buses and a battlefield guide up front on the p.a. system tells them what they're seeing outside the bus.

    Only the few who choose to mount up and do it the old fashioned way get to actually meander through the very fields where the battles were fought, where the cannons roared, where the fighting raged, and where men of the north and south alike bled and died. It was a sobering and humbling experience.
    #6
  7. KingJarhead

    KingJarhead Long timer

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    Sounds like you had a great trip and made the most of it.
    #7
  8. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider a certain something

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    Nice!

    But yes, 81 can be a real nightmare- I've been up & down I-81 so many times, I couldn't begin to count. If I had to sum it up in a single word? Ugh.
    Last November, I had a great ride from Roanoke, going north (to my home kinda near Gettysburg). Late Sunday & Early Monday. It was beautiful....and deserted.

    Your pix recounted that sweet ride. Thanks for posting
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator

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    Enjoyed your trip down history lane and congrats on your new ride :thumb
    #9
  10. Ladybug0048

    Ladybug0048 Bug Sister

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    Very cool ride report. I love it when people add bits of history about the places they ride. Thanks for taking the time to share. :thumb
    #10
  11. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

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    I've always wondered the why behind the snake fences. I like them. Seeing them for real didn't change that: I found them even more attractive. But why? Investigating resulted to something along the line: "Huh, it was like that before I came."

    Nine years later you made my day. Many thanks. :1drink:1drink

    Visiting Gettysburg was an impressive experience. The size of the terrain and its state of preservation. With a tiny bit of imagination one can step into time.

    :clap
    Good report. Make more rides. :wink:
    #11
  12. Horsehead

    Horsehead Adventurer

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    Suzuki Demo at Kevin Powell in Greensboro

    I went to the Suzuki demo this afternoon to see if the V-Strom was light years better than my Bandit. I also wanted to try out a dual sport, but they didn't have any.

    Lots of bikes to try, just sign on the dotted line!
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    Took the Strom out first.
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    Honestly, I like my Bandit more. The Strom was almost too upright, and although it would still scoot along pretty good, the engine just felt kind of, we'll, boring... Several times I dropped back from the group and would really try to hammer it and it would go, but it just didn't have any oomph. Even my old Shadow had more seat of the pants fun factor. Now it was very comfortable, and I'm sure it'd be great for touring, but it just wasn't at all what I'd expected. That made me really happy, as I almost didn't even want to go to the demo for fear that I would fall out of love with my newly acquired bike. Definitely not the case.

    Next up was the Hayabusa 1300
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    Believe it or not, right before the lunch break, one of the Suzuki employees dropped it trying to do a u-turn in the parking lot! He scratched it up pretty badly and even busted the clutch lever and chewed up the clutch cover plate and exhaust. The main guy in charge of the demo truck was pretty livid. The bike isn't even a week old!

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    Thoughts on the GSX-R1300: incredibly powerful but also a very very smooth delivery of that power. It wasn't hard to ride at all, and really wasn't that uncomfortable, though I wouldn't want to spend all day on one.

    Next was the GSX-R750
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    It was a lot smaller and thus more nimble than the 'busa. It also seemed a lot less forgiving, more of a raw power. The exhaust note and engine noise made for a rather obnoxious growl (at least to me). Again, the riding position was not intended for comfort, and it wasn't comfortable! But man was it fun.

    I had no interest in trying one of the many cruisers, so after the GSXR I went home. The ride back was fantastic as I thought about how the Bandit really is the best compromise between the three bikes I rode. It's not as comfortable as the Strom, but much more than the GSXRs. It doesn't want to scream like the sport bikes seem to urge you on to do all the time, but it doesn't want to just putter along like the Strom. The Bandit 1200 has gobs of power that make the Strom feel anemic and a riding position that makes he GSXRs feel unnecessary. Suffice it to say, I'm a happy camper. Very glad I took the chance to go try out some bikes I probably otherwise never would've tried.
    #12
  13. ShiftHead

    ShiftHead the f is silent.

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    Well said.
    #13
  14. Honkey Cat

    Honkey Cat Tailights Fade!

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    Great pics
    #14
  15. Dark

    Dark Been here awhile

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    Charlotte, NC
    Nice report, Gettysburg just became one of my "must see" places this summer.
    Your report & being in the middle of the book "The Killer Angels" did it. I highly recommend the book if you haven't read it.
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    #15
  16. Horsehead

    Horsehead Adventurer

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    Not really a ride report for me, as I was in the car, but saw this on the highway yesterday and had to post it somewhere! Not quite ATGATT...
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    Jogging shorts and chuck taylors... Surprised he wasn't wearing flip flops!
    #16
  17. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    ENJOYED your RR. I've got family in pleasant garden...i was raised in chatham county nc (bennett). I had a 1200 bandit like yours...love it so much, i bought the 1250. loveD it too but sold it and bought a goldwing for the wife... which has been replaced with a miata and a weestrom. i camped last july at gettysburg and it is a moving experience. after touring it in a bus, i realized just how ignorant i am about my heritage. there is just too much to say about that place! ORB?
    #17
  18. Horsehead

    Horsehead Adventurer

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    Thanks! I'm reading Killer Angels right now and it's hard for me.... The closer I get to the story the more I wish that somehow it would end differently, but I know that just can't be.

    Pardon my ignorance, but what does ORB mean?
    #18
  19. kitesurfer

    kitesurfer Long timer

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    ORB is a ghost :) too funny...i camped at a park east of gburg where the old iron furnace is. it is a very nice campground! rode/walked to all the 'haunted' places...sat for very long times just meditating, watching, listening. Nothing! so 20 days later, i'm riding back through from new england and camp in the same campground. waking up at 0400, i took a stroll to the showers and coming back, there was this flashlight 'bouncing' along 100 yds ahead of me. i assumed it was a camper. not until i was a couple hours down the road did i realize that i was the only camper there! the camp host was in a $200k motor coach with a full hook up...probably not him going for a 0415 pee break. coming home and researching this place, i found this furnace was the site of a big battle and the ridge line where i saw the ORB was a strategic point.
    #19