How I spent my summer vacation, or 6000 miles on a WR250R

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by skierd, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,037
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Its been a long time since I had a voluntary vacation from work and school, 10 years this summer to be exact. I had been planning a long road trip off and on for the last few years, but always ended up having to cancel due to lack of job, lack of money, or lack of suitable vehicle. This year, no such excuses. So grab some popcorn, pour yourself a drink, and settle in.

    My last summer class ended at 10:30am on August 6th and my first fall class starts on 8/31 at 11am, so I had just over 3 weeks to spend on the road. There was a basic itinerary for at least the first 2 weeks: ride Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Deal's Gap, and the TransAmerica Trail from the beginning in Jellico, TN to Salida, CO. After that, ride home on whatever route looked appealing.

    A note on gear... what I wore reflected the trip. Just under half was dirt and just over half was pavement. As such, I wore street gear on my upper body (Shoei RF-1000 helmet, Rev'It Air jacket, Joe Rocket leather gloves) and dirt gear on my lower body (Klim Baja pants, Alpinestars Tech6 boots, EVS knee guards). Everything worked perfectly and was comfortable to the point that I mostly forgot that I was wearing it during the trip, especially the helmet.

    Day 1 - Towson, MD to the Blue Ridge Parkway

    Loaded up to go, goodbye Towson University!
    [​IMG]

    I got moving around 11am. I wanted to be the hell out of the Baltimore/DC metro area before rush hour even thought about starting, so it was time to slab it. On the Baltimore Beltway...
    [​IMG]

    ...and the DC beltway
    [​IMG]

    ...to US 29.
    [​IMG]

    Time for the first, but certainly not the last gas and food stop of the trip:
    [​IMG]
    :dg [​IMG]

    As I was sitting there eating, this guy pulled out and walked into the store. We're not in the city anymore... :rofl
    [​IMG]

    Not too much later, it was time to get the trip started for real:
    [​IMG]
    A quick note about the setup: Side bags are Dirtbagz Scouts. Tail bag and tank bag are Wolfman Enduro models. I planned on camping most of the way (more on that later...) and stored my Hennessey Hammock, sleeping bag, stove fuel can, and camp shoes in the left side bag. In the right bag was rain gear and clothes. In the tail bag was everything else (tools, a few spares, food, notebook, first aid kit, toiletries, and some other odds and ends) with the big ass REI camp pad out in front making a nice back rest for the road portions of the trip. The tankbag There is also a 2gallon rotopax gas can on the left side. I had a 1gal water rotopax strapped to the rear rack when I started (in the first pic), but I hated the extra weight and added difficulty of strapped everything down securely so I ditched it at my Mom's house as I went by. More on it all later...


    Anywho... Skyline Drive didn't take too long getting to the goods.
    [​IMG]

    First of several tunnels over the next few days
    [​IMG]

    There's not much to be said for these, the pictures speak for themselves.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Motoring
    [​IMG]

    And before you know it, its over.
    [​IMG]

    The road itself was wonderfully curving and twisting, and being a Thursday it was fairly empty. Its hard to say which was more fun, the views or the road. As nice as it was though, the first hundred miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway simply blows it away:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    One of my favorite road signs of the whole trip :lol3
    [​IMG]

    Another tunnel
    [​IMG]

    And as day faded into night, I made it to Otter Creek Campground, ~60 miles in on the BRP and ~300 miles from home. Cooked up a quick dinner, set up the hammock, and got some much needed sleep with a plan to be up near dawn.
    [​IMG]
    #1
  2. Krabill

    Krabill Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,077
    Location:
    Tulsa, OK
    Great start :clap



    :lurk
    #2
  3. SnowMule

    SnowMule [angry moth noises]

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    20,312
    Location:
    I LIVE IN A GIANT BUCKET
    :lurk

    Looking forward to the rest of this RR.
    #3
  4. bash3r

    bash3r I ain't no DingWeed

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,779
    Location:
    Wentzville, MO
    rawk awesome!!
    #4
  5. code

    code advcurious

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    669
    Location:
    Sykesville, Md
    Been awaiting this for awhile now. Almost called ya to make sure you were still with us and not broken down in the boonies. Ya missed the damn camp out too. We'll do it again next year. Looking forward to the rest! Now get to the good stuff:evil
    #5
  6. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2007
    Oddometer:
    14,020
    Location:
    NJ
    Wooooot!!! Ride on!

    Or...since yer done...Post on!!
    #6
  7. Jaynen

    Jaynen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2008
    Oddometer:
    618
    Location:
    Oceanside CA
    Welcome back!
    #7
  8. Kyler

    Kyler Confused Hack Nut

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,666
    Location:
    51st State - Western MD
    DAMN - I'm in! :lurk
    #8
  9. Dave37

    Dave37 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    256
    Location:
    Statesville, NC
    I can't wait to read more, I've been lurking in the WRR thread and wanted to read this report since you left. My next bike has got to be a WR250R!:clap
    #9
  10. Kath

    Kath 2wheelmom

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2008
    Oddometer:
    322
    Location:
    Sykesville, MD
    Awesome! :clap I'm in!
    #10
  11. HighFive

    HighFive Never Tap-Out

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,061
    Location:
    Okiehoma
    :lurk :lurk

    HF :thumbup
    #11
  12. Hakatan

    Hakatan quality > quantity

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,041
    Location:
    Perusing my Colorado Benchmark...
    Yes, yes, and yes.

    My older brother and several of my good friends went to Towson -- back when it was still TSU :gerg. Boy, I sorta remember a few epic parties there while visiting from UMCP :1drink

    Keep writing, keep writing, we want more!
    #12
  13. Cycletroll

    Cycletroll Catastrophe Specialist

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,084
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    I'm in!

    Used to live of the BRP (South Toe River Valley off Mt. Mitchell).
    I have a WR also and am putting together a fall trip so I'm excited to see how your setup works.
    I have the Safari Tank so my fuel range is ~200mi.

    Thanks for the photos; they bring back memories of NC. Of course back then I was riding all those roads on my bicycle.:D

    Looking forward to the next installment.:evil
    #13
  14. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,037
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Give me a few minutes, I'm working on day two while I enjoy some whiskey.

    [​IMG]
    Aparently this stuff isn't supposed to exist anymore. I've got bottle 84 of 211, distilled 4/29/83, bottled at 23 years old, found it at a little shop on the way home, more on it later...

    Best whiskey I've ever had, period. Its damn near perfect, smooth as a baby's butt even at that proof. Two fingers worth, neat, in a rocks glass, it's gonna be a good night 'tater...
    #14
  15. Cycletroll

    Cycletroll Catastrophe Specialist

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Oddometer:
    1,084
    Location:
    Northern New Mexico
    Hot Damn! Looks tasty!

    I'm just sipping some Glenmorangie Sherry cask finish myself. I guess ride reports about the Appalachians require Single Malt.:freaky

    Forge on Brave Young Man!
    #15
  16. txxr

    txxr Big gulps eh?

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    Oddometer:
    903
    keep going, i like your style
    #16
  17. skierd

    skierd Wannabe Far-Rider

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Oddometer:
    3,037
    Location:
    Fairbanks, AK
    Cycletroll - If you can remember that far back, I live in the Colony. :evil Towson's been fun so far. :rofl

    Day 2 - More Blue Ridge Parkway, mostly.

    Someone forgot to tell the mountains it was August as it got down to about 50 degrees that night and I damn near froze in my hammock. I left the camp pad on the bike since it was hot when I went to bed, and with no insulation under me when the temps finally dropped over night I woke up cold. The pics of camp didn't turn out, put I have more later.

    One of the interesting bits about the parkway... there aren't any gas stations on it once you get off of Skyline Drive. I pulled into Otter Creek just as the reserve light popped on, and the closest Garmin listed gas station was 25 miles off the parkway... I could have made it, but it would have been very annoying so I used the big green gas can to give me some extra range for the first time.

    Time for the first annoying bit of the trip: the rotopax can was leaking from the corner opposite of the vent cap. There wasn't an obvious spot, just a tiny weep hole near where you can lock two rotopax's together. Some JB kwik weld over the hole and it was fine for the rest of the trip. Getting the can off the bike with the dirtbagz was also annoying, but less so than wasting an hour wandering around for a gas station. An inelegant solution at best...

    No worries, time to motor. :ricky First thing of interest was this little pond

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    and not too much later I stopped for breakfast at one of the Inn's on the parkways and ran across my first herd of Harley riders.
    [​IMG]

    Nice people, took a bunch of pictures of the group for them on their cameras, pretty sure they were on a memorial ride but I can't remember now and didn't write it down.

    No worries, lets get moving!
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Somewhere around mile 100 on the parkway (campground was around 60) I took notice of two things. 1) The parkway had gotten decided less scenic and less on the Ridge 2) there were miles and miles of nice gravel roads paralleling the parkways. Hmm.... time for a dirt detour!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Pretty soon I came to the first route decision for the trip. I had two maps routed in my Garmin, one followed US 58 west to Jellico from where it crossed the BRP, which was my original plan. See, I only had a rough idea of how far I thought I could comfortably go on the bike each day and a hard date I needed to be back in Towson for class to start. The original route plan had me 265 miles to Jellico...
    [​IMG]

    ... the second route had me finishing the Blue Ridge and heading to Deal's Gap before cutting north to Jellico to start the trail.
    [​IMG]

    It was an extra day on the road guaranteed (or so I thought), and as amazing as it is looking back it required some serious thinking... Ooooh look, water! Lets ride while we think!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    You have chosen... wisely.
    [​IMG]

    There's no simple way to put it, the parkway in North Carolina is one of the most beatiful roads in the country.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Made it to another campground about 60 miles north of Ashville, another 300+ mile day on the bike. I thought this thing was supposed to be uncomfortable? Fuel range was also hovering around 60mpg and I was by no means taking it easy.

    Tomorrow would debatably be the most scenic day of the trip...
    #17
  18. asheville thumper

    asheville thumper Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    124
    Location:
    Asheville, NC
    :lurk Great report so far...now you're getting to my neck of the woods!
    #18
  19. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,746
    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, Illinois
    Amazing trip skierd,

    All WR riders are glued to this story---mainly because of the big mileage you did on this ride----as everyone is curious as to just what these little motors that could .............can do.

    Riding solo----yep--you can go where you want --when you want. Just purring along on your quiet little bike with a big smile your face.

    Thanks for taking the time to tell this story---I'ts a lot of work--but a labor of love.

    Less is more :D Thanks
    #19
  20. Lion BR

    Lion BR I'd rather be riding

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    4,625
    Location:
    Oregon
    Indeed. Bring it on.
    Lion


    #20