Two Ape supermotos take on the Dragon

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by lookaught, Jun 1, 2013.

  1. lookaught

    lookaught Loner Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Lander, Wyoming
    Intro shot:
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    Hi yff,

    My only real ride report was a solo adventure to Alaska on an F800GS, but I thought I'd share some pics and thoughts from a recent trip to Deals Gap aka the Tail of the Dragon aka the sweetest muthafvckin road I've ever laid rubber upon. I trailered down my Aprilia supermoto from Pittsburgh, met up with my good friend Mike in WV, loaded his Ape Dorsoduro (similar to a Ducati Hypermotard), and we headed south.

    Before I hear any complaints about trailering and not riding... imagine riding a motocross bike 600 miles. The seat is 3" wide. And the bike would need two oil changes along the way... so it goes in the back and we ride in the car. :freaky

    I recently bought an awesome Thule enclosed trailer, but it's a smaller trailer and a tight fit for two bikes, so first I had to get my two bikes in, test fitted, and drilled for chocks and anchors.
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    My Ape: The most fun you can have on two wheels on pavement
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    The Dorso and Mike:
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    Day 1: Pittsburgh to the dirty
    12 hours, ~600 miles

    ENGAGE!
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    Hit the road, here's WV. Yes, I am a professional photographer obviously:
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    Met up with Mike, who rode out from DC and met me just south of Morgantown. We squeezed his bike and gear in the car, which is a huge SUV (borrowed from my parents, thanks mom and dad!) packed to the gills with all the necessities for ultimate car camping, and hit the road:
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    Pit stop at the New River Bridge:
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    Mike:
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    Me (Jon):
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    While driving, we passed this. I'm not sure what to make of it, other than to acknowledge that its fucking sweet, and my trailer was jealous:
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    It was hot, humid, and outside Knoxville about 1.5 hours from the campground we hit a serious storm. After riding to AK through 2000+ miles of constant rain, I was very comfortable in the dry car, with dry bikes in the dry trailer.
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    While driving into the dirty, it occurred to us that to yankees showing up in the deep countryside in a Mercedes towing two finicky and odd looking Italian supermodels might immediately label us as outsiders, so a plan was hatched. We would stop at walmart for food and supplies (fuck yeah, car camping FTW), and while there we'd grab some authentic southerner apparel to blend into out surroundings. This meant camo hats, some 'merica (fuck yeah!) shirts, a case of budweiser, burgers, and a tank top. It's all about tactics:
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    And finally got to the campground around 10PM. We drove the dragon on the way to the campsite, and it had us STOKED. It also had my one trailer bearing clicking... serious turns. It was dark, just starting to sprinkle raindrops, so we set up an elaborate car camping compound, drank moonshine and buds, and went to bed.

    More to come in tomorrow.
    #1
  2. murdock84

    murdock84 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    584
    Location:
    Elizabethtown, PA
    Nice bikes!
    #2
  3. lookaught

    lookaught Loner Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Lander, Wyoming
    Day 2 - rain :cry

    It rained most of the night. Not hard, but not light, just constant rain. By morning it had pretty much stopped and while the sky was dry(ish), the roads were wet. We took our sweet time getting ready. Coffee, breakfast, shower and shave... no wait, I haven't shaved in four years and Mike's beard would dull a titanium razor. :lol3

    I somehow didn't take many photos of camp, but here's a short video. We stayed at The Simple Life Campground, which is about 13 miles east of the dragon along a 55mph single lane road. It's very close to Robbinsville, which is the closest town to the dragon. Great campground, the owner was nice, there is wifi, power and running water at each campsite, and a covered area to park bikes up the hill. For three nights it was like $45... a steal!
    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PQKgJ7svV_k" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    After waiting until 10AM so the road could dry some, we hit the road. I was in my trailer getting something when Mike started his bike about 50 feet away... after taking out the exhaust baffles... and I actually thought "JFC, is that a massive thunder I'm hearing right now? WTF!". No, it was just his atrociously loud exhaust. It's so loud I can't hear my own engine when I'm within 20 feet of his bike.

    Anyway, it was a wet ride through the dragon on our first run, so we took it REALLY easy. My tires are super sucky in the wet, and I was sliding all over. Mike seemed to enjoy pointing out that I should have bought new ones, but that was not an option on a Sunday in rural NC.

    Here's a few pics from the scenic overlook that's about 2 miles into the dragon when coming from TN... basically it's where you turn around to head back for another run. Notice the hydro dam lake below. TVA.
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    After a brief 25 miles detour looking for gas on the TN border, we got some and rode back through to the Motorcycle Resort, which is in the perfect location just into NC at the end of the dragon. A word of wisdom: Get your fuel there. Just plan to get gas there, and only there. It's not expensive, and its convenient. All other gas stations are miles out of the way.

    As we pulled up and decided to get lunch, some lady warned us hail was approaching in 15 minutes. :eek1 Time to get the bikes under cover and wait to see what happens:
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    Not raining yet:
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    We walked around and looked at the Tree of Shame, where the fallen attach the bits of bike that come off in a get off. Mike would add some to this in a couple days :evil
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    Aaaaand... then it was raining. And raining hard:
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    Some nice bikes:
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    An unbelievable hand made dragon across the street. It's all car and bike parts except for the scales:
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    See the eyes?
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    Me with the baby dragon:
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    More rain:
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    Other riders started pulling out and braving the weather. We didn't. Soon enough it was just the two of us under the pavilion... so I bought a few beers and we hung out for about three hours:
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    ...yup...
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    And finally, with no end in sight for the rain, we caught a break in the falling drops and high tailed it back to camp. With a brief stop for a photo op:

    Fist pump:
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    Back at camp we met our neighbor Tony from Ohio. He joined us for dinner on the grill. Notice the excessive amount of smoke? And then notice that towel hanging up under the tent? That's my towel, which is now smelling quite a bit like burgers. Of course, this is what you want in bear country... to sleep in a tent adjacent to a grill, while smelling like a burger: :wink:
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    We then all retired to the deck up the hill and streamed the Penguins-Ottawa game. God, camping is rough.
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    The motto of the evening was "tomorrow will be 75 and sunny". If you say it enough, it will come true. Well, it didn't. It was 85 and sunny. Stay tuned for more videos and pics.
    #3
  4. Ponzerelli

    Ponzerelli n00binator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Yinzburgh, PA
    Figured I'd bump this since I was there and the report remains unfinished...

    I'll leave the storytelling to Jon, but here are some pics.

    My Italian princess:
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    Action shots:
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    :clap
    #4
  5. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,933
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    Nothing wrong with trailering to get somewhere great to ride. I think that supermotos are about the ideal ride for the paved roads in that area, but they would suck on the interstate going down. The roads in that area are some of my favorites.
    #5
  6. Vinbowie

    Vinbowie Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    433
    Location:
    Maryland
    I know this is old now but I found it at a good time.
    I'm just wondering...when are we going to see the rest of your report?
    Did you wreck on the dragon? Hope it wasn't bad.
    I was there in Sept... in the rain, and loved it.
    Camped at Deals Gap.
    #6
  7. lookaught

    lookaught Loner Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Lander, Wyoming
    Yeah I got a new job and moved across the country... kind of forgot to finish this because it's mostly videos that I haven't edited.

    And yes, Pontz wrecked. I wish I could tell you an epic story of ripping it hard through a bend and swerving to dodge a baby deer or maybe a puppy that was in the road, but it was not quite so exciting. But he did ride 30+ miles back through the dragon and to the east to our camp with a broken hand on a damaged bike and I even got a shot of him with mud all over the bike still rippin it. Notice the muddy chicken strips on those tires? Neither do I, cause there aren't any!
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    #7
  8. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,580
    Location:
    VA
    Hmm I think I was in front of you on 129 for a bit. We were stuck behind a minivan.

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    #8
  9. lookaught

    lookaught Loner Extraordinaire

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Lander, Wyoming
    Yup that's definitely our ugly mugs!

    Great riding those two days after it quit raining!

    sent from my banana phone.
    #9
  10. Ponzerelli

    Ponzerelli n00binator

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    9
    Location:
    Yinzburgh, PA
    Yep, got bit by the dragon. If you look closely in the video, you can see the wildlife that distracted me :rofl (sorry for crap quality, thanks youtubz).

    Mental error after a couple days of pretty hard riding. Not surprising, but certainly something that could have been avoided. Needless to say, both myself and my bike cleaned up nicely :wink:

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    #10
  11. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

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    Location:
    VA
    Yikes! Glad you didn't hurt yourself much worse. That was scary to watch.
    #11