Seems like only yesterday I was first introduced to the concept of Dual Sport / Adventure riding. I was driving out of Zion National Park on my way to Arches when I came across a couple of R1150GS' parked in the welcome center parking lot. I remember the scene well: Aluminum Panniers covered in stickers and dust; gear strewn about on the ground; one of riders fast asleep under a tree while the other was removing his rear wheel. The image was instantly appealing, and I have probably reflected on it every tax refund season since... Fast forward almost five years and I am sitting on a hotel bed anxiously awaiting tomorrow morning's flight and trying to figure out how to write a trip report that A. won't immediately reveal me as a complete n00b and B. has at least some relevance to Adventure Riding (other than the license plate of my new bike). The premise is pretty thin: I'm doing a fly-n-drive from Virginia to my home in Florida to pick up a new (to me) R12GS. A fellow inmate (goes by the name Gastone, and all around good guy) agreed to let me stay at his place for a day while we get the 6k service done. The storyline gets a bit more interesting when the weather man wants to talk about Tornados and Blizzards in the same sentence on Christmas Day... I begin to wonder what I have gotten myself into. A heated vest is one thing, but I definitely didn't bring my snow chains for this trip. First step: figure out how to fly with all of my riding gear without paying a fortune in baggage fees. I used to exploit my active duty military status that would get them to waive the fees, but in the past few years they have gotten wise to that and now only waive the fees if on official orders. The last time I flew and they asked if I was on orders I slowly responded, "yyeeeeessss?" I guess I wasn't very convincing cause I ended up paying almost $300! OUCH. The answer was to use the tank bag off my 92' K75 as a carry-on. My helmet inside its bag fits a decent amount of odds and ends as well, and hopefully prevents me from looking like a complete douche rocket in the airport. You know the type I mean: Red and black Icon jacket, gelled up hair, helmet with No Fear stickers prominently displayed. That's an image I'd like to avoid. I managed somehow to fit five days of clothes, two cameras, rain gear, bike cover, two pair of gloves, neck gator, insulated vest and pant liners, and misc. electronic pieces all into these two bags. Oh, and a toothbrush as well. (Don't want to offend my new host upon arrival with a bad case of dragon breath.) With that accomplished I sought about enjoying the Christmas holiday with my family as we visited in Orlando, then parted ways as they headed for home, and I got down to some well-deserved preparations. Okay so I got upgraded to the honeymoon suite for free and it came with a huge hot tub full of fancy oils and soaps. You woulda too! Tomorrow I fly into what looks like nasty rain to meet my new bike and its current (but soon to be former) owner. From there we will wrench on the bike and load the gear. Then the planned route is south (duh) through whatever part of North Carolina isn't covered completely in snow and ice. I'm planning on stopping in Charlotte for a night, then over towards Atlanta, and finally to my home in Sunny Pensacola. At another time of year I'd rocket through the BRP and camp the whole way, but circumstances are dictating a tad more than usual on this trip. Still, its an adventure to me, and so I figured there has to be a ride report in there somewhere. You guys like pictures of straight and level highways, right? Stay tuned!