Coast to Coast (and back?) with an Italian Supermodel

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by AntiHero, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    no, I got it....I meant that if you hear stuff like that and it's not around Hallowe'en it could be coyotes or loons...sorry...I wasn't clear. Digging your report, as always. Where might you be off to next?
  2. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    After a warm Virginia sendoff by Ken and Deanie, I set off for Knoxville. It was a little bit cold and a little drizzly, but the scenery made up for it.

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    I arrived in Knoxville on Saturday and I only planned on staying a night. When I arrived there was another Ducati parked in the entrance to the hotel. Turns out one of the guys on staff was a huge Ducati enthusiast, so I got front row parking, too.

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    I'd never been to Tennessee before (unless you count the airport)--and I think most of us have images of what it--and the people--are like. Wow, was I wrong. Everywhere I went people were friendly and polite. I even heard a 12 year old kid address a woman as "ma'am". Even more shocking was I found a Malaysian restaurant close by. Malay/Singaporean/Indonesian food is difficult to come by even in big cities. The owner had only been in Tennessee for a year, but was doing his best to be an ambassador of some of the best Asian cuisine you can get. Take the aromatic flavors and spice of Thai, the richness of Indian and the diversity of Chinese cuisine and there you have it. So damn good.

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  3. gregdee

    gregdee Motocampist

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    All I can say is Thank You! You inspire me. This site in general has changed my life but this RR has been fantastic. Keep it coming.

    If you eventually come through Albuquerque, NM and are after some tasty Asian cuisine try the green curry at Tara Thai. You won't regret it.
  4. erockmapquest

    erockmapquest Adventurer

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    :drif
  5. iyaoyas98

    iyaoyas98 Bored Silly

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    I got a spare bed and room in the garage if you swing through Nashville. Loving the report!
  6. sunset_ryder

    sunset_ryder aka "toots"

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    Last night in the harbor:

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    I' m thinking a spare room over the gay-rage is not quite the accommodations our Antihero is accustomed to:deal

    But awfully nice of you to offer.
  7. CaliforniaKid

    CaliforniaKid n00b

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    Tennessee is awesome. Very friendly folks and great roads, beautiful scenery. I would be pretty happy retiring there.
  8. musicman

    musicman Been here awhile

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    There is a family-owned small chain called "Panang" with small restaurants all across the country. Every one of them them is owned by a relative. They are quite good... and quite authentic for someone who has visited Malaysia a few times.
  9. iyaoyas98

    iyaoyas98 Bored Silly

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    I know it. He's living the dream. :D

    Just tossing it out there.
  10. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Thanks, guys--I'm unfortunately out of Knoxville now and won't make it back to Tennessee. Too bad, because I really enjoyed the short time I spent there. Just had my TN to SC portion all written up, but I lost it due to a submission error (I waited to long to hit send). Starting over....
  11. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    I left Knoxville on the Sunday Sandy rolled into town, bringing 40 deg. temps and lots of rain.

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    A Ducati guy in Asheville offered to take me on some of the best roads the area had to offer and fortunately when I called him in the morning he said it was sunny and the temps were in the 60s where he was. Excellent. So I headed off for the Tail of the Dragon knowing that the further I got the warmer and drier it would be. Only it just got colder and wetter. And I kept getting lost. To make matters worse, I couldn't just pull my phone out and check how far off I was due to the rain. I'd check my phone, memorize three turns, then take off. 20 minutes later I'd check the directions again and the little blue dot indicating my location would be far away from the blue line indicating my intended route. But the trip time would remain the same, as if time was stopping just so I could enjoy the gifts mother nature showered me with. I have no idea how I kept getting so far off base, but that's the way the morning went.

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    The doc in NY gave me a set of winter gloves (thank god) and believe it or not I had 3M waterproofed my boots. Both kept me protected for about a half hour. The winter gloves turned out to not be waterproof (doh!) and the 3M treatment probably extended the water protection of my Doc Martins for exactly 14 seconds longer than had I not treated them. In short, I was soaked. My hands and feet were painfully cold and I still had at least an hour to go before the Tail. (Ah yes, and my Sidi 1 piece rainsuit somehow allowed water to leak into my crotch.) The one adjustment I could make, (turning up the Ohlins steering damper up to deal with all the shivering) made zero difference on my dropping core temp.

    (At this point of misery I could also hear all of the ADVers who right now reading this are saying, 'uh huh--you should have taken our advice and prepared better, buddy. You're an idiot! Heated jacket doesn't sound so bad now, eh? Yeah yeah yeah.)

    Leading up to the Tail of the Dragon, the roads were fantastic (other than the road being covered in water and wet leaves of course), but I could only care about 5% of the time. I crossed over into NC where my GPS was telling me was the start of the Tail...

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    ...ad it was the start of the Tail--had I been going in the other direction. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was only after your pruney narrator had completed 318 curves in 11 miles that he realized what road he'd been on. C'es la vie.

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    I had no cell phone coverage and couldn't get a hold of the dude I was going to meet up with in Sylvan(?). I headed that direction anyways (after strongly considering heading back to a hotel in Knoxville). When I finally got a hold of him he relayed that the weather in/around Asheville had turned ugly, too, and that there's no way we could do the rides he'd planned. At this point of the journey I was envious of kids in the back of warm minivans--riding any more than I had to was not high on my list of priorities, but that the weather was only getting worse the farther east I rode was a bit crushing. I finally succumbed to the cold and pulled over so I could remove my boots/wet socks and heat my feet with the exhaust. I've been cold before, but I was seriously concerned that there could be a chance of frostbite. (70mph + 41 dec = windchill somewhere between 12-25 deg F).

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    I had to be very careful because my feet (and hands) were so numb I wouldn't have even felt nails being pounded into them. Sticking them directly into hot exhaust with no nerves to relay messages back on just how hot it was could have easily burned me before I knew it. The thawing process was exercise not unlike being starving, but having to eat very very slowly. But once blood was gushing again I realized no matter how bad things got in the future (today or later) that low slung exhaust could spare me physical damage. Adaptation!

    When I reached the Ducati dude in Asheville I was greatly relieved--until he explained it was another half hour to his place. Gotta love it. 6 hours after I'd begun I reached my hosted home for the night.
  12. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    hey man, the RRs here are rife with stories about how "waterproof" gear turned out not to be, or usually, that it was only waterproof for water trying to get OUT again! You just got caught out a bit, but look...you recognized the danger and you adapted...took action.....and overcame the problem at least to the extent that you were able to get to your next hostelry, right? Using the Duc's exhaust to warm up was brilliant. Once again though...you made me start thinking....this time about ways to improve waterproof gear. I also got a kick out that shot of the signs entering North Carolina.....they really like to stack them up: State sign, County sign, demand that bikes have lights on, demand for helmets, and then more signs right behind those. A person would have to come to a complete halt to read all that! I'd love to be able to goof on the "motorcycles burn headlights" sign over the use of "burn" but I have to concede that it just may be the shortest message you can put on a sign that tells bikers to turn their headlights on.
  13. RingGap

    RingGap UK Expat

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    Lucky your not in the UK then those wet roads would have nice white painted caution / chevron lines on all your braking zones for the nice corners.

    Great rr stay warm.
  14. RhinoVonHawkrider

    RhinoVonHawkrider Long timer

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    Anti - I feel ya

    I think we've all been caught out like that

    But heated grips & Gerbings go a LONG way

    Function over Form:clap:clap

    Stay Safe & KEEP GOING
  15. mmonce

    mmonce Been here awhile

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    AntiHero,

    Welcome to NC. I have been following along with your ride report.

    A colleague of mine recently left the US to head back to his home country, Italy. He is a huge Ducati fan.

    I stopped by the new Ducati dealership here in North Raleigh. I told the sale man (Mark) about your journey on the 1199. He thought that must be one hell of a trip on a Panigale. I finally saw a 1199 Panigale at the dealership. Nice choice on a bike. The sale mans also talked about the female appeal.

    Enjoy our great state of NC. Hopefully mother nature allows you to have dryer and warmer rides.

    Happy trails,
  16. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Thanks for the welcome, mmonce. I'm actually in GA now (Savannah). Just uploading pics of the rest of my stay in the Carolinas before I'm out of the South altogether!

    Funny that you mention all those signs in NC, Blader. I was thinking the same thing when I was there--and those "Burn Headlights" signs sure are oddly worded.

    After the Tail mishap I finally found the only thing that's ever worked for waterproofing for me.

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    You heat your gear up with a blowdryer and then cake the stuff on (then hit it with the blowdryer some more). It's just thick wax, but it soaks into leather and actually works. Used to use it all the time when I rode everyday in SF. Only issue is when you cake it on your gloves you have to remember not to wipe your visor or you'll smear a light coat of wax all over it.

    After a quick shine they look as good as new.

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    I intended to stay in/around Asheville for a couple nights, but the forecast called for two days of snow. So I got up early in the AM and headed east for Columbia. The bike read 39 degrees, the sign at the bank read 38 and my skin and bones confirmed the effects of windchill.

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    That there's frost inside my helmet.
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    On the way to Charlotte I saw the first cotton field I've ever seen:
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  17. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    That night I got a message from inmate NitroRoo asking if I'd be interested in dinner. His messages to me didn't seem to indicate he was an axe murderer, so off I was. Very good call. His wife is from Venezuela and I was treated to homemade Empanadas! Like an ass, though, I didn't think about taking a picture of the baskets of 'em she made. Got to meet his whole family (their kids and his parents) and, in addition to the great food got to enjoy an evening of great conversation. Muchas gracias, amigo!

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    Spent an uneventful Halloween in Columbia, SC. Well, almost an uneventful Halloween. On the way I stopped to grab a bite to eat and saw this nondescript looking deli called Groucho's. I've had a lot of meals on this trip--and a lot of sandwiches. And this one stands out among my top 5 meals (ok, maybe top 6). But definitely the best sandwich I've eaten thus far. If you're ever even close (looks like they're only in NC and SC), pay these guys a visit. http://www.grouchos.com/ These guys deliver a death blow to any other franchised sandwich shop in the world.

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  18. bk brkr baker

    bk brkr baker Long timer

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    Well, now that you've gotten you boots sorted, what about the hands ?
    The best , no fail solution I've tried is Gore-Tex over gloves. I used some on loan to cross the U.S. by sidecar in '02 then in '06 bought my own pair of "Spock gloves" from Areo-Stitch. I take them everywhere , because you never know when the liquid sunshine will happen.
    I have never had wet hands while wearing them.
  19. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Got some proper snow gloves from REI. They're definitely not going to hold up in a crash, but at least they'll stay warm and dry.
  20. AntiHero

    AntiHero Long timer

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    Around Charlotte I started thinking again about how long this trip was and how far I'd come. Sometimes I imagine that everywhere I travel, invisible needles follow behind me, pricking the landscape with beacons implanting and imbedding the coordinates of my existence. At first the silvery slivers seems quite extensive until I begin thinking of all the parts of the earth I haven't seen. Fortunately (or unfortunately) a lot of places are nearly identical to other places. Though I never seem to tire of seeing rows of cornfields (which I haven't seen in quite some time), but a lot of places seem to be near replicas of other locations. Same strip malls are filled with the same stores, people drive the same cars and wear the same clothes, urban planning makes one city like another and television and media regularlize opinions and outlooks. Independent experiences are also starting to feel the same. Points of interest and local attractions in one location have begun to converge with previous locations. Privately owned coffee shops and hole-in-the-wall restaurants are starting to homogenize; individual, distinctive characteristics seem to be morphing into a unified whole.

    My normal life was fairly devoid of cookie-cutter-experiences and this trip was going to be no different. There was no purpose of going city to city, state to state if all I was going to do was hang out at Starbucks during the day and order the same items at night off the menu at Chevy's. But if unique experiences are to be devoid of novelty, what will become of the momentum and energy needed to propel me further and further? That nervous, anxious apprehension that accompanied me to each new place I visit has become a quiet lull; the stimulating, excited vulnerability, a vapid, monotone occurrence.

    Thankfully, the Panigale is as merciless, raging, brutal and fierce as ever. The law of diminishing returns might apply to most endeavors or efforts, but fortunately the experience of piloting a Ducati is never unexciting, uninspiring or dull.
    Fred Oliff likes this.