Eighteen Years In The Making

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by BluRidgeRider, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    Year One - 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.)

    Year Two - Three day trip riding in the mountains of NC, TN and SC.

    Year Three - Eleven day trip from Charlotte, NC to ride the Rockies in CO departing Aug. 13, 2015.



    Numa
    #1
  2. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    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.

    [​IMG]
    <?xml:namespace prefix = "o" ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    <ND jr on K75S photo><o:p></o:p>
    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 didn’t 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 didn’t have any good places for off-road riding near where we lived so we never seriously explored making a dirt bike purchase.
    <o:p></o:p>
    When he turned 16 he told me that he wanted to get his motorcycle license as quickly as possible after getting his regular driver’s 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.

    [​IMG]
    <o:p></o:p>
    <NUMA photo Jr. XT225><o:p></o:p>
    The Motorcycle Safety Foundation Beginner’s 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.
    <o:p></o:p>
    A move to the Charlotte area for work last October has limited our opportunities lately to ride together and even to hang out. He’s 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. – now 18 years old – 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.<o:p></o:p>
    #2
  3. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    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 – along with some fog thrown in for good measure – while up in the mountains on Rt 276 headed up to Brevard. It stayed overcast the rest of the way into Robbinsville, but we didn’t 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.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]
    #3
  4. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    On Saturday, it was raining hard in Robbinsville in the early morning, but cleared up by mid-morning and we were able to ride Deal’s 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 Deal’s Gap and other roads in the area with friends who joined them from Florida.

    Like father, like son.

    [​IMG]

    Great form!

    [​IMG]

    Getting diagonal on Rt. 129 at Deals Gap.

    [​IMG]

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

    [​IMG]

    A requisite stop by the Deal’s 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.

    [​IMG]

    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 “ride his own ride” got him back on track.

    We continued on and shortly after we got on the Skyway – while between areas suitable for pulling over – 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 hotel’s clothes dryer so we wouldn’t 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.
    #4
  5. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    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.
    #5
  6. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    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 I’m hoping it’s just the first of many motorcycle trips we’ll take together. As for Numa Jr., on this trip he experienced many firsts – 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 I’m very proud of how he has worked to develop his skills. He’s still got plenty to learn and experience on two wheels, but he’s off to a great start!

    [​IMG]

    And I experienced a first on this trip as well. Although I’ve been riding for close to forty-eight years, this was my first overnight motorcycle trip with my son. I’m 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, I’m already starting to think about where we should head on our next ride.
    #6
    aftCG likes this.
  7. NitroRoo

    NitroRoo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    362
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    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 :clap
    #7
  8. XCRider803

    XCRider803 Loftin' the wheel

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    921
    Location:
    Charlotte area
    Nice report Numa. That's one you'll always remember. :D

    Thanks for sharing! :clap
    #8
  9. Vinbowie

    Vinbowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    408
    Location:
    Maryland
    My son is 24.
    He does not ride however.:cry
    This is a huge blessing in your life.
    I enjoyed the report. :clap
    #9
  10. iBiker

    iBiker ADV Pirate

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    340
    Location:
    West Virginia at the confluence of US Rt 50 & I-79
    +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.


    :clapGreat Job DAD!:clap
    #10
  11. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    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.

    [​IMG]

    BluRidgeRider/Numa Sr.
    #11
  12. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    I know that it's an overused cliché, 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.

    Yeah; That ride will always hold a special place in my list of great rides.

    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.

    I'm hoping that he's hooked. Am looking forward to many more rides with him.

    Numa
    #12
  13. GTV630

    GTV630 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2010
    Oddometer:
    126
    Location:
    Concord, NC
    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!
    #13
  14. acejones

    acejones Long timer

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,394
    Location:
    MS. Gulf Coast
    You're a very lucky man !
    #14
  15. Koolranch

    Koolranch NCADVR

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2014
    Oddometer:
    517
    Location:
    Mint Hill, NC
    :clap 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.
    #15
  16. patmo

    patmo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    871
    Location:
    butler, ky/Franklin, tn
    it was at the same point in my son's life that he and I did our first "tour", although we had done some overnights to Mid-Ohio when he was younger, those where only 2-3 hour rides. The "tour" the summer he graduated from HS and turned 18 was much longer, and it also included spending some time riding Deal's Gap and roads around there. I still have a picture of him going through there hanging in the workshop. Since he is away in the USAF, we don't get to spend much time riding together anymore, but still look forward to the times we can. Glad you enjoyed your trip and hope you get to take many many more together.
    #16
  17. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    It was a great time and well worth the wait! I became a grandfather a few weeks ago. The first time I got a chance to meet him, I asked my daughter and son-in-law for permission to teach him how to ride when he gets older and they said yes. The eighteen year clock begins ticking again.

    [​IMG]

    Numa
    #17
  18. cyberdos

    cyberdos Easy Bonus Loop

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2005
    Oddometer:
    28,252
    Location:
    Queen Creek, AZ
    Beautiful stuff, Grandpa. :thumb
    #18
  19. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    Please pass along my thanks to your son for his service to our country. Our service men and women make possible our freedom to move about on two wheels at our leisure. That should not be taken for granted.

    I am starting to shop for a second motorcycle -- most probably a KLR 650 -- so that we can take another trip this summer. I hope that both of us are able have many more two-wheeled adventures with our respective sons.

    Numa
    #19
  20. BluRidgeRider

    BluRidgeRider Long Rider

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    996
    Location:
    The Monroe Republic, NC
    It's coming up on one year since my son and I took our first overnight motorcycle trip together. We were discussing possible dates for a trip for this summer and I decided it was time to start shopping for a second bike.

    Last December, a guy who lives near me -- one who did not yet ride motorcycles -- on advice from a friend, bought a new 2013 KLR 650. Because he didn't have his license, he asked the dealer to deliver it to his house where he put it in his garage. He waited until May 2014 to take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation New Rider Course and then decided the KLR sat too high for him. Without having ever ridden it, he went to another dealer and traded the KLR in on a bike that sat lower. The second dealer picked it up on a trailer and, when he rolled it onto his showroom floor, the odometer turned to 3.0 miles.

    I was lucky enough to stumble upon it shortly thereafter and I purchased it for $4,500.00 with only 3 miles on the odometer and a factory warranty that's still in place until December 2014. Numa Jr. was here in NC with me when I found this great deal. I bought it on the spot and let Numa Jr. take my V-Strom back with him to Maryland so he can keep his skills up in preparation for our upcoming August ride. Before he left, we purchased him a new Shoei helmet and Frogg Toggs rain suit.

    Here is Numa Jr. standing with both bikes as he is headed back to Maryland. I rode with him to Asheboro where we had lunch before he started his solo ride north back to Maryland.

    [​IMG]

    We have decided on a mid-August three-day weekend for our next trip in the mountains. This year's ride will feature some off road -- dirt and gravel fire roads -- so that Numa Jr. can continue expanding his riding skills and see some of the great views from these remote spots.

    In the mean time, I will be posting my progress as I work to set up my new KLR and I will also let you know some about my riding experiences in the past.

    Numa
    #20