Jammin thru the American South

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Jammin, Jul 29, 2020 at 6:54 AM.

  1. Jammin

    Jammin Integrating back into society

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    Howdy, folks! It's been a while but I'm getting ready for a little sojourn across the American South. Not on a dual sport this time, but a super sport motorcycle.

    sanDRina, my trusty DR650, is back in India and enjoying a new lease on life with my friend Santosh there. When I get to India next, whenever long distance flights are feasible again, can't wait to ride sanDRina.

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    Santosh, sanDRina's current guardian, looking after her in southern India.

    In the meantime, now based in Austin, I've got myself a DRZ400 and a BMW K1200S. Before I got into dual sport adventure riding, I was all about sport-touring on a Suzuki GSXR-600. Crazy young people! Now, I've upgraded to a more, shall we say, gentleman-ly sport bike, the amazing K1200S.

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    Jammin with this BMW K1200S

    I've lusted over this bike ever since it was launched in the mid-2000s and luck be told, when I was living in Chicago, riding that gixxer, a good riding friend, Andy, bought this very K1200S. Me, him, and a bunch of other riding friends, put some miles down sport-touring our way across the US, from Kentucky to Montana. I would ride right behind Andy, enjoying the view of this K1200S as it twisted and leaned through long and sharp corners. I was most mesmerized by its single-sided swingarm and how the rear wheel looks like it's just spinning with no attachment to the bike.

    When I got back to the states in 2017, Andy reached out. He still had the K1200S but wasn't riding much and was looking for a new home for her. He didn't want to sell her to just any old schumk. I was drooling as I realized what Andy was leading to. Yes, I would take her and promise to treat her well.

    In 2018, I flew to Chicago, reunited with my old riding friends there, picked up the K1200S and rode her down to Austin. Along the way, she got a new name, Kassya ;)

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    Andy parting with his beloved K1200S.

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    Saying goodbye to my old haunt, Chicago, with Darren on his Tiger.

    Andy probably had some premonition as very sadly, a year later, he passed away from a freak accident. We were all very saddened and now every time I ride Kassya, I remember my riding buddy, Andy. Rest in peace and hope you're smiling whenever you hear Kassya fire up, because I know you're watching over us and riding along.

    So, this tour.

    We are living in strange times. Covid has changed us, forever. Borders are closed, people are afraid of strangers outside their bubbles, and hugs and even handshakes are not in vogue. But, we can still travel, at least for now, within our borders, while practicing good social distancing and wearing face masks to reduce spreading Covid until we've nullified this threat.

    I've been holed up these past months with my wife or as we like to say, life partner, and we're getting itchy feet! Her family planned a little getaway in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and while they'll be driving over on the slab, I figured this was a great little opportunity to head out on Kassya for a little tour of the American South.

    Over the past few days, I've been getting Kassya ready for the trip.

    If you know me, you know that I love wrenching on a motorcycle but this BMW, I still have a lot to learn. I don't even have torx bits! And she has a shaft drive that needs its oil changed and she's got a whopping 39,000 miles on her clock. She was overdue for a full servicing and I thought best to leave it to a professional for now. I'll acquire the tools and know-how for next time. That's how I did it with sanDRina, too. I sat with experienced mechanics who showed me how to wrench on her before I got comfortable with an engine job. Haha, remember that?

    Kassya got some new boots last weekend - Dunlop Sportmax RoadSmart III's. CuznBob's in Austin is a well-regarded BMW mechanic and he said he even maintains some of the police BMW bikes in the area and they ride on these Dunlops. Sounds good to me.

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    New Dunlop boots for Kassya.

    The old Continental Road Attack tires that came off were well past their change-by date and the rear even had a mushroom plug in it. I had a look inside to see how well it was seated and look at that, a pretty perfect seal on the inside. This gives me confidence in using mushroom plugs.

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    Mushroom plugs doing their thing.

    A little shake down ride with the new tires, trying to wear down those chicken strips.

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    Austin sure is a beautiful place to call home.

    Kassya getting dropped off at CunzBob's yesterday for her mega service: engine oil and final drive change, valve check, brake fluid change, new spark plugs, radiator check and new air filters. There are two air filters. After that, I'll give her a wash and mount some electronics for the trip.

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    CuznBob, taking care of BMW's and other bikes in Austin.

    This is the rough route map I'm thinking about for the journey there. No Interstate :D

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    Any suggestions on the route?
    #1
  2. dave6253

    dave6253 GCBAR Explorer

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    Count me in again. Howdy Jammin.
    #2
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  3. Sidney

    Sidney Adventurer

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    Can you drop down further in MS and pick up the Natchez Trace Parkway?
    #3
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  4. Jammin

    Jammin Integrating back into society

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    Awesome, yes, can do. Thanks for the excellent suggestion! I love parkways. Hoping to ride the crown jewel of parkways further east :ricky
    #4
  5. Sidney

    Sidney Adventurer

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    Yes...The Blue Ridge Parkway is amazing...on a week day! I'd also try to avoid the Dragon on the weekend also...way too many "over the center line" riders/drivers. Cherohala Skyway shouldn't be missed either. I'd route the Natchez all the way to Nashville, hit a couple night clubs for live music, then ride down into the Smokies from the north. Ride as much of the BRP north as you can while visiting family then head back on Foothills Parkway, the Dragon, Cherohala, then whatever 2 lanes take you back to Texas.

    Sidney
    #5
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  6. Ginger Beard

    Ginger Beard Instagram @motopossum

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    Hey, another Jammin report and this one on a street bike? Let's do this! :lurk
    #6
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  7. RedDogAlberta

    RedDogAlberta High Plains Drifter

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    I'm in.
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  8. steved57

    steved57 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Hey Jammin
    I'm in keep it coming
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  9. Ganjora

    Ganjora class A bollockser

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    loved your last ride, unfortunately missed you when you came through africa.
    will be following along again.
    #9
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  10. Pathfinders

    Pathfinders Long timer

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    :lurkI will be following this one.
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  11. bomose

    bomose Long timer

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  12. dano619

    dano619 Long timer Supporter

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    All Aboard!!
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  13. Jammin

    Jammin Integrating back into society

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    Thanks a lot for that, Sidney. You've jogged my memory. I've ridden these roads way back in around 2006, on a GSXR-600 :nod I had forgotten about Deals Gap, oh yeah. Will hit it on a weekday. And good to know about Foothills Parkway.

    So I'm going to swing by Huntsville (space fan). What's a good route from there to the southern start of Foothills?
    #13
  14. Jammin

    Jammin Integrating back into society

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    Welcome aboard, everyone! :beer Can't guarantee this RR will be as epic as my past ones :lol3 I think instead of country borders crossed, I'll keep track of state borders crossed :wink:

    I haven't been there and am jonesing to visit. Thanks for that.
    #14
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  15. Jammin

    Jammin Integrating back into society

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    Washed Kassya, my helmet, and riding gear. So satisfying to see all the grime wash out :D Packed and ready to hit the road!

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  16. Oh2RideMore

    Oh2RideMore Long timer

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    What kind of loose stuff are you gonna take the bmw down? any gravel or fire roads? Mostly 2 lane paved?
    Still using that soft luggage on bike?
    #16
  17. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Are you planning to explore the twisties in the Ozarks on the way back?
    Check out the Butler Maps for all those areas and Barber Museum.
    #17
  18. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Let's go Jay! Tuned in. :wave
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  19. mojoguzzi

    mojoguzzi Adventurer Supporter

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    Awesome idea! Hope you have a great time.
    I'd recco visiting FAME studios and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios for the music history of that area, when you're in Huntsville.

    Barber's is at least a four-hour stop...but certainly well worth it. Jay and I spent the night at the hotel by the museum, visited the museum on two subsequent days (here's just Day 1: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mojohand/albums/72157715086834951 ), and also went to Vulcan Park in Birmingham (very cool!). Here's a way to do that and also to hit New Echota State Park, which is fascinating:
    https://goo.gl/maps/Yd8Fu3imCA6WJCmA9

    If B'ham isn't in the timeline, I'd consider hitting Lynchburg, TN, and going through the great Jack Daniels tour. Then head through South Pittsburgh and hug the Tennessee River, head up on Lookout Mountain (my old stomping grounds), then wind through the Chickamauga Battlefield on the way to New Echota, then through Suches and spend the night at the great TWO Motorcycle Only resort (lodge room is only $75, including linens, towels, and AC ;) ). Then have a nice ride in the North GA/Western NC mountains.

    https://goo.gl/maps/vWXERgg4fp6NDMpP8

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    #19
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  20. Jammin

    Jammin Integrating back into society

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    Trying to stick to the black top with this bike, with its 190 fat rear and 169 horses :brow

    Ozarks are a true gem in this world! I rode them on this bike back in 2018 and on my gixxer back in 2005 :bmwrider But maybe not on this trip. We'll see...

    Hola, amigo! Vamos!

    Sweetness! Thanks for the great info. I'm aiming for Barber on the way back.
    #20