What a year of riding it has been. I experienced some great things this year on two wheels. I thought I would share another ride with all of you. I met my friend Steve, who rides a BMW R1150R, a few months ago. He and I have been riding together here in the Southeast. He has a few thousand more miles under his belt than I do, and since I have only been riding for a couple of years, I learn a lot from Steve. Steve and I had been talking about taking a trip together, but families and jobs had kept that to just talk - until recently. It ended up that we both had a 4 day window to knock out some miles. I had been wanting to ride the <st1:street><st1:address>Blue Ridge Parkway</st1:address></st1:street> from one end to the other for a long time. After reading about others doing it, Steve and I decided that this would be a good time to try it. Other than a setting a date to depart, and knowing that our goal was to ride the entire BRP, we had no real plans or itinerary. On a Wednesday evening in August, we hit the road! <o></o>Wednesday: After work, Steve and I met up. We decided that going through <st1lace><st1:city>Lake Lure</st1:city>, <st1:state>NC</st1:state></st1lace> would be a nice way to get to <st1:city><st1lace>Asheville</st1lace></st1:city> for the night. With the temperature around 98F, our plan was to not stop riding, so we could stay as cool as possible. An hour or so later, we were in <st1lace><st1lacetype>Lake</st1lacetype> <st1lacename>Lure</st1lacename></st1lace>. As we were riding in, there was the smell of smoke in the air and we could see a forest fire above us. It was strange going through <st1lace><st1lacetype>Lake</st1lacetype> <st1lacename>Lure</st1lacename></st1lace> that evening. Normally the place is packed with tourist, but we were lucky to catch the town on an off evening. As we were riding through, we saw a helicopter flying at eye level going up the river to collect water to dump on the fire. I must say that is quite a sight! <o></o>Now if you are heading north to <st1:city><st1lace>Asheville</st1lace></st1:city> from <st1lace><st1lacetype>Lake</st1lacetype> <st1lacename>Lure</st1lacename></st1lace>, you will find the road has several switch backs as you descend off the mountain. Well, this is where the F800st shines! That bike loves roads like this, so of course I took off to play a little. <o> </o> I downshifted into second gear and opened it up. As I entered the first turn, the bike really felt planted and sailed right through it. As the instrument needles climbed the next short straight was over and before I knew it, I was taking full advantage of the incredible Brembo brakes! Looking through the turn, a slight push on the left handle bar and the bike laid over with no effort at all. Again the needles climbed as if they were dancing. Using the low end torque to pull me through the turn, the engine howled as if it was screaming! I could feel the front tire come off the ground for a second as the bike became upright. At that point the trees started to become a blur, and I almost forgot that I was on a bike. It was as if the road and I were having a conversation, and my communication tool was the bike beneath me. The road seemed to give me a list of challenges and I gave examples of ways to over come them. Before I knew it, I arrived at the bottom of the mountain. The f800st is very nimble and makes roads like this an absolute blast to ride! <o></o>So, after a great evening of riding, we landed in <st1:city><st1lace>Asheville</st1lace></st1:city> for the night. Thursday, the second day: This is the first pic of the trip, Thursday morning with the bikes loaded up and ready for the road. As we left <st1:city><st1lace>Ashevillle</st1lace></st1:city>, the temp was 71F and we took Hwy 74 to Cherokee, NC. The ride was great, it was cool and traffic was light. Welcome to Cherokee! This is the main road. As you can see, gas was 3.99 a gallon. There was not too much going on that Thursday morning. This is a shot I took on the way out of town, heading for the southern entrance to the parkway. Finally! The beginning of the parkway! Just to give you the GPS view of the <st1:street><st1:address>Blue Ridge Parkway</st1:address></st1:street>, it looks a little bent up. Well just a few miles into the Parkway and we hit a wall of fog. The temperature had dropped and we could hardly see ahead of us. We stopped to take a breather and put on some liners. This is a pic just to give an idea of what we were up against. Here is the f800st with some riders in the back headed south. They had warned us of what was ahead, as they had been in the fog for a couple hours. The fog had let up and here is a shot of what we were looking at for a few miles. It was hard to believe that this was mid summer and we were in a total fog in 62F weather. Still in the fog, here is a shot of the Steve with his R1150R. Not that we could see anything, but here are the bikes at the highest point of the Parkway. We were hoping as we started to go down in elevation that we would drop out of the clouds. We were still having a blast! Our bikes were running flawlessly and our gear was doing a great job. We were also running into riders here and there, everyone was nice and seemed to be a little extra careful that morning. Just a close up of the bikes. Finally at <st1:time hour="11" minute="0">11am</st1:time>, we were getting clear of the fog and the views started to show up. The temps had risen a little, the electric grips were off, and it was nice to take in the views. The bikes taking a little rest. More Soon!