This is a touring bike, right? Taking my TUx to Tennessee (for RDV)

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Prettyboy, May 9, 2014.

  1. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    Last summer, having been riding for a total of two months, I decided to ride from Philadelphia to New Orleans on Sophia, my trusty tu250.
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    Aside from a mishap involving a jump, and a scare involving a small pond disguised as a puddle, it went off without a hitch.

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    I was hooked on mountains, and on touring.

    And days after returning, I started to plan for a coast to coast trip this summer. However, I (un)fortunately managed to book a couple of gigs this summer so that won't allow for that kind of time.


    Then I heard about these clowns (morans? I don't know how we use that word)

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=918277
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    So, I pulled out the maps and started planning a route.

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    Realizing that Sophia lacked the most important part of a touring bike - a surface to mount stickers - I put a pair of small ammo cans on the back.

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    These are for my tools, rain gear, and other small essentials. And stickers, naturally.

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    Right now the route down looks like it'll be out to Frostburg to visit a friend then through WV. The way back up will be the BRP. This is provisional, since I ended up with a bit more time off than I planned (win).

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    Probably going to stay at the New River park in WV on the way down, and keep further west than I originally planned on the way up too.

    Any recommendations for roads, places to stay, things to see on the way, or down in Tennessee are highly appreciated.
    #1
  2. pridemore1

    pridemore1 Rides slow real slow

    Joined:
    May 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    136
    Location:
    Williamstown, WV
    Ive been looking at the TU 250 for my daughter. Ill have to check it out at RDV.
    #2
  3. Paratrout

    Paratrout Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Cackilackistan, Concord Oblast
    I'll see you at RDV bro! Looking forward to seeing a loaded up tux bombing up the road to the party.:wink:
    #3
  4. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    I have too much stuff... Again.


    Today is the final shakedown and prep for my departure tomorrow morning, and so my gear explodes across the living room.[​IMG]

    We've got the riding gear, with the all important keffiyeh.
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    The camping gear, hopefully the new hammock setup works out.

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    Whisperlite int. for cooking
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    And various tools and sundry.
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    And here's the package.
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    We shall see if I change my mind about anything before departure.
    #4
  5. Camarodude

    Camarodude Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2013
    Oddometer:
    319
    Location:
    Oregon
    Will try to follow, I like the humor already. :D
    #5
  6. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    Day 1: Philly to Frostburg.

    I really hope it doesn't start pouring as I write this. That wouldn't be fun.



    Anyway, the start of the day was pretty weak, but it got significantly better the further west I got, no surprise.
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    I got out of the house around eight, which is pretty damn early for a bartender. Sophia was loaded up and ready to play the part of adventure bike.

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    Getting out of philly was a pain, and it was entirely my fault. After taking i676 across town I saw a sign for us30 and decided now was as good a time as anyway to get off the slab.

    Wrong.

    I was still in the middle I the city. I promptly made a wrong turn and lost 30.


    Determined not to stop, I pushed west and eventually found my way back to US30 a bit outside of Westchester.

    Riding was alright, if boring, and I was happy to be out of the city, but then the rain started. By Lancaster it was pouring.

    As good a time as any to try the frog togs I guess.

    That was actually where the day started to look up. The rain stopped by York, and by Gettysburg it was beautiful out.

    After lunch and gas (and coffee, it was still morning in my world), I pushed on, an te road rewarded me with some warmup twisties about 50miles west of Gettysburg.

    I was glad of the easy curves because I am a total flatlander myself, and a city boy at that. I haven't been on a decent road since I dragged that peg on us50 in August.


    I survived some mountains, and really was hitting a groove at 200 miles, and that brings me to where I am now, sitting under a tree at Frostburg State University hoping these dark clouds which have been spitting on my don't decide to open up.

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    I'm staying with a friend from home tonight, but for now I am waiting for her to get out of class.

    Stay tunes tomorrow when I tackle the West Virginia Backwoods, and the twistiest highway i could find.

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Minimal touring at its finest! Good luck man!

    Later
    John
    #7
  8. scout5

    scout5 n00b

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2014
    Oddometer:
    8
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    I considered getting this bike last year. Good to know it can go just about anywhere!
    #8
  9. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    Day 3: West Virginia.

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    West Virginia. That is all. Being from Maryland, originally, West Virginia was always the butt of a bad joke. However, it's rapidly becoming one of my favorite places to ride.

    After going out last night and having a few in the wonderful town of Frostburg with some friends, I started this morning a bit later than planned and a little hazy.

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    I mean I was a little bit hungover. But the fog was like pea soup as I went over Saddle Mountain.
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    But as soon as I got down into the next valley, it was gone, and I had sun for the rest of the day.

    The big standout today was US50. It is a great road, especially the section east of Grafton, WV. You could open a motorcycle resort here and make millions.
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    As I got towards Clarksburg, the road got more boring and traffic picked up. In Bridgeport they were down to one lane because of construction, and I was hot tired and cranky. Then I saw a sign pointing the way to heaven.
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    Okay, it was a diner, but their chili dogs were fantastic, and just what I needed.
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    US19 ranged from fast and pretty but boring, to being a frustrating uphill expressway. However it was totally worth it because it brought me here:
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    New River Gorge National River.
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    It's a stunningly pretty bit of scenery, and the camping is free.

    Sophia handled the gravel access road admirably.
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    And that brings me to where we are now: in a Walmart hammock, having just finished my standard ramen and salami dinner.[​IMG]

    While I was writing this, I for called over to one of the neighboring campsites, to help out jury rig a tent for a drunk, presumably homeless "hillbilly" as he called himself, named Bob. When he found out I was riding my bike and camping places like this out in the sticks, he declared, repeatedly, that, for a skinny feller, I had the biggest balls.


    Tomorrow will bring me to Tennessee for RDV. There won't be cell service there, so I'm not sure when the next update will be. I'll write, and at worst, post when I leave on Sunday.
    #9
  10. White6Romeo

    White6Romeo Because Im Awesome

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    389
    Location:
    New York
    If dudes can run a 250 dual sport to Tiera Del Fuego and back to the states you can sure as hell run a look on yours. Good on you bro!!!!:clap
    #10
  11. Paratrout

    Paratrout Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    Cackilackistan, Concord Oblast
    I'll see you tomorrow bro. Try and stay dry, looks like we're gonna get pissed on. Thanks for the update. You should be able to find wifi around Hampton. The big gas station has it.
    #11
  12. Palms-up

    Palms-up Gearhead

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Oddometer:
    11
    Location:
    Marthasville, Missouri
    Loving it....especially on a TU. :ear
    #12
  13. martin_nj

    martin_nj czesc!

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    right near philly
    cool post, i'm right by philly!

    whats the tank range on that 250?
    #13
  14. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly

    Well, it's 3.2 gal and anywhere from 55-85mpg. I generally try to fill up around 150ish.
    #14
  15. martin_nj

    martin_nj czesc!

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2008
    Oddometer:
    107
    Location:
    right near philly
    150 is a great range for that bike! i had no idea they could go so far, thanks!
    #15
  16. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    Yesterday was miserable.
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    I woke up in the rain and had to break down camp. Naturally everything was a bit damp before I even got out.

    Eventually I got about fifty miles of clear-ish weather in south western virginia. Then, right around here:
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    The sky just opened up on me. I holed up in McDonald's.

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    It was brutal, since there was only thirty five or so miles left.

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    It was worth it.
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    Had a few with the crowd at RDV, managed to get everything mostly dry.

    Took off this afternoon for aimless rambling. It's my first group ride, an Sophia kept up well, except for straights uphill.

    Speaking of hills, as soon as I figure out how, I'll load up a video of my mini hill climb to get out if my campsite.

    Gonna do some gravel next, will report on how that goes.
    #16
  17. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    Friday and Saturday: RDV, or "big f***er on a little bike."

    I neglected my ride report duty, I'm sorry. I was having such a blast at Rick's Rendezvous that I largely forgot to take pictures.

    For those of you who haven't gotten around to going to a rally, I highly recommend it, (at least RDV).

    There's a picture thread going up, and if I find some highlights, I'll post them here later, for now, here's the link. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=979150

    Friday I woke up cold, as the temperature had dropped overnight. There were still some kinks in my hammock set up, but, with a borrowed, larger tarp, it was improving.

    I ended up hanging around the fire for a while, before heading out on a group ride for those too hungover to get out early.

    We ended up going up and over us421 "the snake." It was a fun road, and Sophia had no trouble keeping up with the bigger bikes in the tighter stuff, although there were times when pulling uphill was rough.

    I didn't realize that I was in a destination road until we got to the store for lunch, and was informed I needed to buy a sticker. Nice road, faster ride than Deals Gap, but not as much if a show, for better or worse.

    On the way back (loosely speaking) we went to pick up a tube for one of the dirt riders who had gotten a flat, and we got caught in a bit of rain and hail. That stuff stings, even through my mesh gloves.

    Back at camp, it rained more, and everyone his under the tent at the beer trailer, despite there being big hall with plenty of seating inside. Priorities, I guess.

    Saturday I woke slightly warmer, having bought some pjs at Walmart. Small steps in the right direction.

    I decided not to go out for a big ride, since I was going to be on the road for another few days starting Sunday. So, instead, Saturday became my demo day.

    It's amazing how trusting (or maybe stupid) advriders are.

    PapaLobster insisted I take out his DRZ 400 for a spin up the dirt/gravel road next to the camp.
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    This was my first experience on a bike other than a tux and off road. There's not much of a way for me to describe it other than it put the biggest grin on my face. It's not really a bike that would do well for what I do, commuting and long trips mostly on road, but it was a blast to ride.

    The next bike someone offered me was a 659 husky terra.
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    It was an impressive bike, and a great engine, but it was a little much to be able to have fun and not be arrested, or at least that's the impression I got.

    Next I made a trade, I took a wee strom for a spin, and it's owner took Sophia.
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    The strom was amazingly smooth, and I bet it is great on the highway. However, we just went down the twisty mountain road to the gas station before trading back. Having been on heavier bikes, I really appreciated how easily I could manhandle the tux, and I really wrung it out, and apparently the wee strom owner had to work a bit to keep up with me in the switchbacks.

    At the recommendations of a few riders, I wrangled a ride on a wr250r.
    [​IMG].
    I would buy this bike in a heartbeat. It is very light, and thus has the same fun factor as the tux, however it has a 6th gear, and quite a few more ponies from the 250 plant, so it runs a little better at hugely speeds. Te I took it on the dirt. It was unbelievably fun to throw around on the gravel/mud.

    When I got back from that ride, and was talking about how much more I liked little bikes, I was told I needed to take out one more bike.

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    A husky 400. This was the least comfortable bike to ride, since the race engine buzzed the hell out of me. However, I was grinning ear to ear ten minutes after bringing it back. On the bit of pavement leading out to the gravel, I had trouble keeping the front wheel down. And the I got to the dirt. That bike flew, it was very light, and very powerful. Going over a few humps, I got quite a bit if air, and the suspension soaked it right up. All in all, the husky did the same things, but much better.

    All in all, my demo day was a roaring success. Everyone told me I wouldn't want to get back on my tux after that, but they were wrong. The tux really is a great little bike.

    Saturday night was the "de-noobing" ceremony. Just some questions. We couldn't possibly answer,
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    Some shots as "punishment"
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    And some lighthearted humiliation.
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    All in all, it was a good rally.
    #17
  18. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    Day 6: heading north again.

    I've come to the downhill portion if my trip, figuratively speaking, and it's a bit sad.

    I woke up this morning having finally sorted the cold foot problem (with a black plastic trash bag) and packed up. We all bid each other farewell over a few cups of coffee to ward off the chill and get us going.

    One of the crews out of Asheville invited me to ride with them south for a bit before I caught the BRP north towards home.

    We rode over Mt. Roan and into North Carolina.
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    I wish I could tell you the names of the roads we took, since they were a blast to ride.

    We eventually got to the Parkway about 40miles north of Asheville, at the Eastern Continental Divide.

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    I decided to depart from the group and head north. The parkway is a really beautiful road, and a relaxing ride. The miles don't come fast, but you can pile them on with no stress whatsoever. That and the scenery is pretty good.
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    I ended up doing about 250 miles today, all the way up to Fancy Gap. I was planning on camping, but after one too many cold wet days and nights at RDV, I was badly in need of a hot shower and a warm bed, so I took a recommendation from a rider named Steve I met on the parkway, and looked for a motel at the Fancy Gap exit. I rode down to Hillesville and a found a super 8, which turned out to be a bit to pricey, so I turned around and headed to the Mountain Top motel, literally moments off the parkway. It was much more reasonable, and more convenient for the morning. So, I'm sitting here, watching tv, feeling warm and clean, ready to tackle the rest of the Parkway tomorrow.
    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. Prettyboy

    Prettyboy BFLB

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2012
    Oddometer:
    572
    Location:
    Philly
    Any thoughts for camping at the northern end of the parkway, and where I should go for one more night on the road?
    #19
  20. Eagletalon

    Eagletalon Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Oddometer:
    410
    Location:
    Apopka, FL
    Amazing little bike! I bet you are getting probably over 60mpg? Cool ride and pics

    Later
    John
    #20