For my birthday: 7 days with a naked 29-year-old

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JoeyBones, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    Every man has to live with some sense of inner conflict, right?

    For some, that conflict is between work and play, or between family and time spent alone. For others that conflict, that indecision, manifests itself as a dogged inability to choose between the beautiful and the practical - between what he wants and what he needs.

    For me, the answer is D) all of the above.

    I love the look of a naked sport bike or, in the case of my recently acquired 1979 Suzuki GS850G, a "naked standard". I bought this bike for two reasons - 1) to have something to ride while I figure out what I want to ride, and 2) because it's one of two bikes I loved but never possessed back in the early 80's when I worked at a Suzuki / Kawasaki Dealership.

    So I found this pristine example at a reasonable price down in S. Florida. I had planned to go fetch it, but various hurricanes foiled that plan TWICE so I had her shipped to me. All motorcycles, like boats, are female. Period. This one now has the name "Suzie Foxtrot" for how she handles the gentle twisties with a smooth and steady gait.

    The previous owner had a small aftermarket windscreen bolted on, which was of course removed by me the day the the truck dropped her off. It was a practical windscreen but not a sexy windscreen. My next bike will have a fairing etc but this one will always remain my little roadster.

    My birthday is at the end of October (the VERY end, actually) so I thought I owed myself a little trip. I do like time alone but I also spend time with the wife and her young 'uns so I laid out the plan like this: I would leave Charlotte, head up the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, meet up with Mrs. JoeyBones and our teenage daughter CarlaBones in Maryland and again in Pennsylvania (they would be in the Jeep, visiting friends and relatives), and then cruise back home whichever way suited me - back through the mountains or down the coast, dipping a toe in the Outer Banks of NC if possible.

    Due to CarlaBones' school schedule, we choose mid-October. Might also be a good time to catch one or two trees changing colors.

    So here she is, buck naked on the morning of departure....

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    and here she is later that day, up on the BRP half dressed...

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    Yeah yeah I know the tank bag is on backwards. I like it that way.

    Is the Blue Ridge Parkway pretty? Ummmm. Yeah.

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    #1
  2. Pastor John

    Pastor John Been here awhile

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    Joeybones - great looking bike, and your pics of the Parkway got me all motivated: I'm leaving Atlanta on Monday, heading for Waynesboro, VA and then five days heading south on the Parkway to Cherokee.

    Looks like the leaves are really turning pretty!

    www.OneRideToLive.blogspot.com

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    #2
  3. ADK

    ADK hoof arted

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    That's a beauty.Have you been to GS Resources.com yet?
    #3
  4. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    For those of you with sharp eyes.... YES I turned the tank bag around a couple of times during the trip. I ended up liking it best when it was backwards.

    For this next segment, it would help you to know that there is a town in Virginia by the name of Floyd. Near as I can figure, Floyd is about 30 or 40 miles from where this next picture was taken.

    So here now we have a little mystery. I pulled into one of the scenic overlooks to overlook some scenery, and parked next to two wee little bikes. An XL 185 and CT 110.

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    The late-twenty-something couple riding these machines merely grumbled at my greeting when I parked next to them, and they quickly moved off behind a nearby tree to continue their conversation. I could still hear bits and pieces of what they were saying, and I caught this little tidbit...

    Mr. Late-Twenty-Something: "just remember, if anybody asks, we just say we're going to Floyd"

    Mrs. Late-Twenty-Something: "right, I got it, we just say we're going to Floyd"

    Mr. Late-Twenty-Something: "exactly...that's our story and we just stick to it....we just say we're going to Floyd....we don't say nothing else no matter what".

    They had no luggage to speak of (other than the half full or half empty depending on how you look at these things duffel bag), and they seemed to be a couple, rather than just two people, if you know what I mean.

    So I eased over and snapped this pic just in case there's a reward later from the FBI or the girls family or whatever. Yes, that's how my mind works.
    #4
  5. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    When I lived in Roanoke, VA, people would always have deep deep discussions about the "peak of color" when the leaves were changing. On any given day in mid to late October, 50% of the people would say the peak had just passed and 50% of the people would say the peak was just around the corner.

    Not one person has ever said that the peak of the color was "right now". It was ALWAYS yesterday or tomorrow.

    Here's hoping that you are cruising the BRP on the yesterday or the tomorrow everyone is always talking about! Enjoy and ride safe.
    #5
  6. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    As a fan of the Andy Griffith Show I simply HAD to snap a pic of this sign, pointing to Mayberry and Mt. Pilot.....

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    So at the end of my first day with the naked 29-year-old, I stopped off in Roanoke, VA to spend the night at the home of my friend Phil.

    Well, that's enough about Phil. Let's talk about Phil's wife Susie, who is not only attractive and shares a first name with my trusty motorbike, but turns out to be one heck of a cook.

    Homemade-from-scratch fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans and angel food cake. The potatoes even came out of their own garden.

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    Sorry. The Angel Food cake vanished before I had a chance to snap a pic.

    Sleepy. Stuffed. Bedtime.
    #6
  7. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    I've been to that site briefly and intend to spend more time there. I just got the GS two weeks ago and this is my first trip. The previous owner was pretty fanatical about taking care of her (and the bike was in his family since new), so I felt good about heading out for a seven-state, 1,500 mile trip on a new-to-me 1979 motorcycle.

    When I got her, she had 13,800 miles on the clock. Garage kept, fully maintained at all times, etc etc. If you're going to buy an old bike, look for one like this!
    #7
  8. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

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    :thumb :thumb
    Nice!!

    I love them old bikes. :D
    #8
  9. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    On Monday morning, the sun rose as it is prone to do in those parts, so I bundled up and prepared to head off for day two. Phil did his little mother-hen routine, helping me check the oil and making sure my gloves and scarf were on properly, etc. If you actually KNEW Phil you would find this hysterical.

    I think he really wanted to fire up his nineteen-seventy-something Honda 750 and come along. Maybe next year I'll talk him into it - he'd be a GREAT riding companion and we could always start our trip from his house. Right after Susie cooked another fabulous dinner.

    I left Roanoke and drove north to Buchanan. Contrary to all that is holy and right it is pronounced by the locals as "Buck-Anan" not "Bue-Can-An". In any case, when I got to Buck-Anan I turned south on Rt. 43 for the sweetest and twistiest little four-mile section of pavement in Virginia (look for Rt. 43 between Rt. 11 and the BRP). Then I turned north on the BRP.

    I finished up the BRP and then covered all of Skyline Drive. The speed limit on the BRP is 45, which means 50 is safe and fun. On Skyline Drive, the speed limit is 35, which means you find yourself doing 40 to 45 - not quite as much fun and made me a little more nervous re: law-enforcement-types.

    But it sure is pretty....

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    I liked this one sign so much I almost killed myself turning around to go back and take a picture of it.....

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    About 30 or 40 miles from Front Royal and the end of Skyline Drive I met up with a guy on a KLR (he's a lurker here and let's hope he joins up and posts his own stories for us all to enjoy). We cruised into Front Royal and I took the secondary road (Rt. 55) towards Northern VA. I spent the night with an old college roommate and his Ukranian-Hottie-Wife, then Tuesday AM headed for my old stomping grounds of Washington DC.

    Oh, for dinner Monday evening, college-buddy Chuck and Ukranian-Hottie Mrs. Chuck and I had pizza. I didn't take pics since most of you have seen pizza before. There IS however a pic somewhere of Mrs. Chuck on my bike and I if I can get that from Chuck I'll post it here.
    #9
  10. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    At the risk of dispelling any suspense that may lie in the hearts of those reading this ride report, let me, ummm, REPORT that the bike performed flawlessly over 7 days and 1,538 miles. Well, six days since one day it just sat in a garage next to a beautiful red Porsche S4 Cabrio. Whether lugging along in 4th at 35 or cruising on the slab at 75, she seemed pretty content.

    It used about a third of a quart of oil but that's because of a very small weeping leak in the valve cover gasket. There's a very slight valve tap now that I'm back home that wasn't there before I left, so I guess she's due for a valve adjustment - which will mean a new valve cover gasket too. See how things work out?

    I can tell that the forks could use a rebuild (after 29 years I guess that's a "given") and the rear tire is about ready to be replaced. But after these couple of things are done, I'd happily hop on her for any trip that comes to mind - especially on secondary roads. This thing is a dream on winding, 50 mph two-lanes...
    #10
  11. Foot dragger

    Foot dragger singletracker

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    Man! that home made cooking looks great! The fall colors are just getting going here on the west coast at altitude anyways. I traded a clapped out Datsun pickup for a Suzuki just like the one youve got,the catch was I only traded it for a week.I spent that week going up the cali coast from nor cal to Portland Oregon and back again.Had a blast and rarely let it get much under redline,drug hard parts and figured out the technique for keeping the revs up in the corners so the shaft effect wouldnt cause things to drag more then they should. Really comfortable bike and sounded great with the 4 into one header the owner had stuck on it. I came back from Portland all the way on the coast,13 hours of winging around corners with a police escort at times.
    #11
  12. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat

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    Yo, Joey, great story and great report. I'm in love with your machine. I started on an early 80s naked...I love the look. Mine was a GL500 Silverwing, 82...I like yours more better, because you have it.

    Best wishes pal, stay safe. Glad also to see you found a way to have your Kate and Edith too...trips with family and MC...been thinking about these things myself.

    Be well, friend.

    B
    #12
  13. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    I'm generally a pretty early riser so it was tough on Tuesday morning waiting for traffic to ease up - no sense hitting the road into Washington DC just to sit in traffic.

    I headed out about 10 AM and STILL had to endure several miles of stop-and-go, but made it to one of my favorite spots, Gravelly Point, right at the end of the runway at Reagan National Airport. Yes, Reagan National Airport only has one runway.

    Here's the view toward the airport....

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    And here's the view toward Washington....

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    These planes look a lot closer when you're standing there in person....

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    I cruised through DC, stopping to take only two very touristy pics....

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    I saw a handful of couriers as I tooled around town - mostly on bicycles but a few were on SCOOTERS. No motorcycle couriers only scooter couriers. Sigh.

    I guess the wild days of motorcycle couriers flying around town like maniacs are officially over. Unless I just missed them. Maybe that's it. Maybe I just missed them.

    I hit the slab towards Annapolis and crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge....

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    I met up with Mrs. JoeyBones and CarlaBones to spend a little time and see how their trip was going (they were hanging with a couple of different sisters-in-law, brothers-in-law, nieces, nephews and family friends). Tuesday afternoon I found myself rolling through Maryland's Eastern Shore (the OTHER Flatistan) and into the historic riverside town of Chestertown.
    #13
  14. East Coast Rider

    East Coast Rider Just Me...

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    Joey,

    There are several guys over at www.thegsresources.com who will be valuable sources of info for that Ole Suzi. I pop in there every now and again, as I have an 82 GS1100EZ. The tech, performance & appearance mods, and 'tips & tricks' forums are FIRST RATE. Good luck!! May she give you many happy miles!! I know my Ole Girl has. :D

    That is a very nice 850...looks all original, too! Even better!!
    #14
  15. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    good to see those old bikes still rolling... :thumb

    And it's always good to see pics of the BRP..

    :lurk
    #15
  16. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    Once in Chestertown I stopped by my parents to drop off the luggage and then, Suzie Foxtrot fully naked once more, rode over to see my friend Marian.

    The minute I set foot inside Marian's house, I was presented with her famous homemade chocolate pie....

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    Me: "no Marian really I can't I'm still very full from lunch"

    Marian: "are you sure?"

    Me: "ok I'll need a glass of milk please"

    I visited another friend and then stopped to make one attempt at an artsy-fartsy picture....

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    Less than two hours after the chocolate pie I was stuffing myself with my mother's excellent lasagna....

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    There was birthday cake too, but no evidence exists other than the fact that I stumbled off to bed in a food-induced coma-like state. In the morning I walked down to the Chester river to snap a couple of pics....

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    By mid-day Wednesday I loaded Suzie back up and headed north toward PA.
    #16
  17. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer Supporter

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    Ya gotta love it. I just ran "The Void IV" rally (http://www.rallythevoid.org) last weekend and two of the Bonus locations that I hit were Mabry Mill on the BRP (LOVE that road!) and a Historical marker in Floyd, VA.

    Coincidence?
    #17
  18. MoBill

    MoBill Smiles when says dat

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    Joey...been holding this file photo...just because I'm in love with thing...I'm trying to hold back from seriously looking--it's like crack.

    I've been dreaming of the shaftie version...this one is a bit gaudy, but hell, I'm in love:

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    Again, great bike and great tour...sorry to hijack, just wanted to "share" obsessive behavior (right now just contrained to clicking this photo several times a day)...I'm commited to another dual sport, but I can always dream about 3 bikes, eh?

    Happy trails brother.
    :photog
    #18
  19. JoeyBones

    JoeyBones Encouraging Entropy

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    Leaving Chestertown, I rode up the Eastern Shore, to and through Delaware, and hopped off the interstate at Philadelphia. I decided to ride right through Philly for the entertainment value and found myself in city traffic (but it was still better than the interstate). Practicing my camera technique, I actually managed to remove one glove, pull the camera out of the tank bag, take a picture, put the camera back and once more don the glove before the light turned green - TWICE.

    Once in downtown Philly....

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    And once on Broad St leaving Philly, where I spent 30 minutes behind a Lamborghini in really bad traffic, inching along. It was only tolerable because I just KNEW that this guy was more miserable than me....

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    By late afternoon I met up with my family once again at our friends house about an hour north of Philadelphia. These friends are part of the "jet set" so it's a big house with many people constantly coming in and out in a party-like atmosphere. I parked Susie Foxtrot in the garage (next to the aforementioned Porsche), put the camera away and had a very enjoyable 36 hours.
    #19
  20. southforkspeedster

    southforkspeedster koolaidless

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    Very nice, love them old zuks and the BRP, tooled around that area for a few years of my life on a beat up 86 gixxer, and then a 85 vulcan.........always loved the fall.........man......im gettin old:lol3 :lol3

    Brought back memories, thanks:norton
    #20