October 2019 Tour and Shopping Trip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by EMTNEK, Jan 12, 2020.

  1. EMTNEK

    EMTNEK Crash Test Dummy Supporter

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Martha's Vineyard and NEK Vermont
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    It was late October and past time to ride the motorcycle. One friend, Duncan, was signed up for a 1 day off road course at the BMW training center in Greer, SC. He and another, Dan, were going to trailer their motorcycles from Vermont to South Carolina and ride the mountains there. One can only ride a few hours at a time so riding down was not an option and 1,100 miles of interstate is no fun anyway.

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    I decided to meet them in South Carolina and take a coastal route to get there. I would see some areas I never had and some that were very familiar. Leaving on a Tuesday in late October from Martha’s Vineyard my goal was eastern Long Island. Rode interstate from Cape Cod to New London, CT where I would pick up the ferry to Orient Point, NY.

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    On the ferry I met Clyde and Vera traveling by Harley. They were 28 days out from home near Los Angeles and seeing everything they could. Clyde had no schedule except to be back around November 4 for work. They had seen the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, Sturgis, the Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Bar Harbor, ME, were on Long Island now and were on their way toward to Blue Ridge and unsure of whether they would go for food in Memphis or New Orleans. They were traveling light, Vera said she had 5 layers on during the cold parts of the west. They were getting along well for such a long trip and having fun.

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    We were on the smallest New London Ferry and due to sea conditions they advised us to stay with the bikes. It was not that bad.
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    Orient Point Light
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    Third of four ferries for day one (Martha's Vineyard, New London - Orient Point, Greenport to Shelter Island, South Ferry Shelter Island to Sag Harbor)
    Riding to Greenport, New York and crossing the ferry to Shelter Island.

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    Crescent Beach Shelter Island. This is where I learned to swim 60 years ago from a Red Cross instructor that gave classes every summer.
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    Brander Parkway, Shelter Island, NY
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    The house my father built on Shelter Island. He sold it to a successful guy that lives in Brooklyn. I stopped in to meet him a few years ago and he had just arrived from Brooklyn on his 1200GS.
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    I crossed another ferry to the south fork of Long Island and riding to Montauk Manor, Montauk, NY. I hit rain which was a damper on a darkening day.
    The staff there was very friendly and concerned that I was on a motorcycle in the rain and this time of year. Off season pricing made a cost reasonable stay in a hotel / condo that was designed by the same architect that did the Breakers in Palm Beach. I found a local bar / restaurant for dinner.

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    Day 2

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    There was a heavy rain overnight and the next morning brought a stiff breeze that was drying out the wet landscape with a temperature in the high 40’s but promised to rise.
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    Old Montauk Highway
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    In Amagansett the local Methodist Church is for sale. Apparently there no longer are Methodists in Amagansett.
    A gas station was advertising gasoline with 15% ethanol as if that was a good thing. Ethanol is not a good fuel but they are making hybrids that can use it. Ethanol is energy intensive to make, takes huge amounts of water to make, is bad for engines and creates more air pollution than gasoline. But don’t let facts get in the way of something that seems politically correct. It was a stark contrast going south to NC where there are well attended churches everywhere, fishing poles and trucks and a lot of gas stations sell non-ethanol gas because it is better for the environment, motorcycles and your boat.

    Meanwhile in Westhampton Beach, NY
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    Main Street West Hampton Beach. I bet that was good for foot traffic this year.

    In West Hampton Beach the modest summer homes on Dune Road on the barrier island have been replaced by trophy homes. The small ranches that were adequate for the affluent summer people have been replaced by expensive, elaborately built homes in harm’s way for weather and about 9 months of the year are generally only populated by the landscapers and tradesmen upgrading their homes to keep up with the others, who are not there either.
    The old and the new type houses
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    Some houses seem to have been cutting edge in terms of windpower. I did not see any other newer ones adopting such a green approach. [​IMG]

    The least pretentious building in the area was the Shinnecock Yacht Club. It houses the one thing needed by all yacht clubs, a bar.
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    I had never been to Fire Island or Jones Beach. Of course one cannot visit Fire Island by auto as they are not allowed. But the concept of a 30 mile barrier island free of vehicles is lovely and the brainchild of Robert Moses, as were most of NY City and western Long Island’s roads and causeways. Which of course makes him controversial then and now, but people still go to Jones Beach, they still use the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Northern State Parkway, the Robert Moses Causeway, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, the Belt Parkway and the West Side Highway.

    Robert Moses Causeway
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    Lighthouse Fire Island
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    The brick lighthouses and the elaborate bath houses on Jones Beach are a testament to a vision for public spaces that has long been lost.

    Lido Beach
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    I had never seen the area along the coast of Long Island near JFK airport. It is a world of its own Lido Beach, Atlantic Beach a part of New York, but very apart. How apart you ask? The Atlantic Beach Bridge from Atlantic Beach, NY over to Far Rockaway, NY is a toll bridge, $2.00 for cars or motorcycles, and THEY DON’T TAKE EZ PASS. I am in New York, right? I have a NY State Thruway issued EZ Pass. NFG. I had to stop and find $2.00 to hand a toll taker.

    Storm Sandy had a big impact there as it appeared that it wrecked a lot of houses, and they are all being built elevated now.
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    What was there, and what is replacing it.
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    Storm Sandy had a big impact there as it appeared that it wrecked a lot of houses, and they are all being built elevated now.

    Atlantic Beach
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    And the traffic is cramping up my hands from clutch and brake. On to Staten Island.

    After that it was late enough to have to balance through slow traffic over the dang Belt Parkway across the Verrazano Bridge, Rt 440 across Staten Island to Outerbridge Crossing, Garden State Parkway south rather than get to the NJ coast.

    New Jersey. I grew up in northern New Jersey, I learned to drive there, I know something about it. I can’t stand most of the state although I grew up in a very pretty part. The Parkway has express lanes and local in sections south of Perth Amboy, 3 lanes each, 6 lanes north and 6 lanes south. I was riding in the right lane of the express three lanes doing 81 mph and getting passed by both of the other lanes. Is the state full of drivers that are better than all other states and can handle almost bumper to bumper 80 mph driving? Insurance statistics say not. Eventually they all get off into their crowded suburban neighborhoods and I kept on running down into the pine barrens of NJ until the highway ended at Cape May.

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    In Cape May I found a cheap motel near the water, a bit musty, probably been flooded more than once. I found Hemingway’s, a local popular restaurant with early bird specials, and I was an early bird. Expecting to eat at the bar at 5:45 I found it fully occupied and that it appeared to have a minimum age for sitting at the bar of about 70 years old. Perfect. I had the $20 prime rib special since I had not eaten since the pancake shop in Montauk that morning, about a 300 mile day.

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    Lovely sandy beaches and a sunset shot toward the Cape May light.
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    My not so great room at the Jetty Motel. But it was cheap.

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    Day 3
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    Low 40's in the morning, full base layer.
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    Day three heading for Kill Devil Hills via Cape May- Lewes, Delaware ferry, Rehobeth Beach, Chincoteague Island, Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel.
    I was up very early, around 4:30. The musty hotel room was something I was looking to leave.

    I wanted the 7am ferry and made a reservation on line around 5:30am, glad I did. I did not know about the Cape May ferry process. I live on an island so I ride a ferry constantly. I arrive in the cold (mid 40’s) and dark around 6:15am. I am checked at the gate to the facility, that is different. Then in line two security officers make you open trunks and bags and check for bombs under the car with mirrors? Really?? Mirrors under the car, this is not a US consulate in Tunisia. Oh wait, they don’t do that there.

    He said he was supposed to have me open my strapped on bags but he was not going to, he had already done a background check on me. The bags held clothes and camping gear. I was a bit put off by the security and he said he used to be in nuclear plant security and recognized it as overkill. I used to work for federal government agencies in secure buildings and had been thoroughly vetted multiple times. Where is the terrorist threat to a car ferry from the butt end of NJ to nowhere in Delaware? Cape May ferry has had its own police force and bomb sniffing dogs since 9/11. Security theater.

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    I talked with the fire chief of Tisbury where I live on Martha’s Vineyard as we made a ferry crossing together and he made comment about the bomb sniffing dogs that sometimes work that ferry.

    “If the dogs are checking for explosives and the only way to the island is by car, then how come there are so many people with fireworks on the island around the Fourth of July?”
    The fire chief would know. Security theater. The TSA fail rate when tested is 86%.

    Dawn on the Cape May ferry
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    October Dawn Cape May ferry
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    First at the bar with the breakfast of champions
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    Calm day
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    Looks like a ferry was a bit off on an approach to the slip
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    Down through Rehobeth Beach, to Bethany Beach. Rehobeth is full of the funky shops that have to make a living in 4 months per year. [​IMG]

    Like everywhere else on the coast the housing is now very large and expensive. In part the US taxpayer has subsidized flood insurance allowing all of us to pay for some having homes where they are likely to be damaged.
    Just outside Rehobeth
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    Poodle Beach is nice.
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    Ran down the barrier beach a bit toward Bethany Beach.
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    I got on Rt 113 and for no particular reason ended up in Berlin, MD which lists itself as one of America’s coolest small towns. They wouldn’t say if it wasn’t so. It was pretty and the Rayne’s Reef Soda Fountain and Grill in the center of the village is a good lunch spot.

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    Down the eastern shore to Chincoteague Island.
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    Less prosperous Stockton, MD.
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    #1
    popscycle and ejm4 like this.
  2. EMTNEK

    EMTNEK Crash Test Dummy Supporter

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Martha's Vineyard and NEK Vermont
    On toward Chincoteague
    Causeway
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    Downtown is off season quiet

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    Note the Halloween decorations have skeleton horses which is appropriate for the island.

    Wild ponies have inhabited Assateague Island for hundreds of years. While some have suggested that the wild ponies on Assateague Island trace their origin to horses released to forage on the Island by early settlers, the circumstantial evidence suggests that they are indeed the descendants of the survivors of a Spanish galleon which wrecked off the coast of Assateague. A fence along the Virginia/Maryland State line separates Assateague Island's ponies into two herds. The Maryland herd is owned by the National Park Service. The Virginia herd is owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The US Fish & Wildlife Service allows the Fire Company to maintain a herd of approximately 150 adult ponies on Assateague Island.
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    Shallow water makes for long docks

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    Out of Chincoteague and on down the eastern shore which is a long ride to the Chesapeake bridge tunnel, a marvel.
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    Push on in urban traffic in Virginia Beach toward Kill Devil Hills and dinner at a local joint and a motel on the water. Since I was on a budget I did not spend the extra $10 for an ocean view room. I had just ridden hundreds of miles along the ocean after all. The contrast in views is clear.
    Ocean view
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    My view for $10 less
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    Day 4
    Heading toward my brother in law in Newport, NC.
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    One local with his morning priorities aligned. Beats ice fishing.
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    I had to go out a ways onto Hatteras to see the OBX experience and why people would want to try to have a house where every hurricane is an adventure about is what is going to be left and what is driftwood.
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    In planning I looked at running down to Hatteras and then ferry to Ocracoke Island on Rt 12, then ferry to the mainland at Swan Quarter or more likely Cedar Island. However Hurricane Dorian beat the heck out of that area and the clean up was running from early September to November. I stopped at the visitor center just out of Kill Devil Hills to ask the conditions. There were signs telling me the ferries were for emergency traffic only, island closed to others. All my questions answered before I got to the information desk. The NC DOT was cleaning the roads and the island is closed to non emergency traffic 8 weeks after the storm. So much for taking a ferry back to the mainland.
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    I guess the sign does not refer to having a house on the dunes.
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    Bodie Island Light House
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    Beautiful roads at Oregon Inlet. People are serious about their fishing and clear in their (deplorable) thinking.
    Serious fishing needs serious boats and serious boat trailers. I find this more interesting than the 15% ethanol types in the Hamptons.
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    Oregon Inlet is a break in the barrier island between Bodie Island and Pea Island. It is a major opening from Croatan Sound to the Atlantic Ocean and a charter fishing area. It is spanned by a long bridge that is being rebuilt.
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    The road, Rt 12, is under constant maintenance because the Atlantic Ocean washes over it constantly. It is a less than ideal area in which to inhabit or have roads. But people like it and the North Carolina DOT spends a lot of time taking care of it.
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    I have a brother in law who lives on the water in North Carolina I visited that night. He told me that the US auto fleet needs to change to battery operation. As I look at the piles of sand being moved by front end loaders and roads being built in places that are guaranteed to flood with cranes and diesel power vehicles I just laugh. Imagine a battery powered 3 yard rubber tired loader. Your kid’s toy battery will last about an hour. People need to become familiar with the laws of thermodynamics and energy.

    Let’s move this with a battery operated loaders and battery cranes.
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    Not that it makes much sense to have a road here. But I understand why people like it.

    Pea Island area October 26, 2019
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    Same neighborhood November 16, 2019
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    Rodanthe, NC October 26
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    November 2019
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    Raise the road bed. That will stop it from flooding. Or at least give the sand someplace to go.
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    Ran back up from Rodanthe where people build houses where houses don’t belong really.
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    But it's beautiful
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    So back over Roanoke Island and toward southern NC. Took a ride along Rt 264 in the Alligator River preserve, a road less traveled.
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    Until I got to the not so touristy spot, Stumpy Point, NC
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    Aptly named
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    More beautiful miles of not much.
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    To Englehard, NC
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    With a different creek
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    People repaint their churches here, they don’t sell them.
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    Toward Swan Quarter, NC
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    Made it to my brother in law’s house
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    He lives on the water and has a pretty hurricane resistant home. He is a brilliant software engineer and the one that thinks all cars should be electric. But he is installing a natural gas powered generator for those times when the power is out and he needs the air conditioning. I sensed an inconsistency. I suggested he should be putting in photovoltaic or wind turbines for his AC when the power is out. He did not think that would work.
    No kidding.

    But he has a nice sunrise view
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    For about an hour my wife and I discussed buying to lot next to his for a retirement location. Then dismissed it as too expensive, too much weather and geographically impractical.
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    Saturday, Day 5

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    After a nice stay and swordfish for dinner I left in the morning for a long crossing of NC and SC.

    Off to Greenville, SC to see my riding mates meeting see how Duncan survived the one day BMW of road course.
    I ran past cotton fields and some not very bustling towns like Fair Bluffs, NC, one of the poorest downtowns I have seen riding around.
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    In Lake View, SC the local constable was escorting a team out of town for a game. There were a few cheering people watching them.
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    Near Dillon there was a real estate business opportunity.
    It appears that the Party Stopped rather abruptly.
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    Quiet roads
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    I am not in Massachusetts anymore ;)
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    I stopped for lunch at a local hot dog place in Darlington, SC which is home to a race track. There were businessmen in for a quick lunch that all knew one another. They all had pretty new pickup trucks that made me a tad envious. I may have to go for a full size truck next time.

    Rode through Spartanburg and into Greenville where I met Duncan just hitting some rain at the end. Tomorrow Duncan would meet with Dan and trailer bikes to Hiawasee, GA and I would ride.
    #2
  3. EMTNEK

    EMTNEK Crash Test Dummy Supporter

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Martha's Vineyard and NEK Vermont
    Day 6

    Sunday, October 26
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    Heavy thunderstorms overnight. Being in a hotel was nice.
    Heading for those mountains.
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    I took off avoiding interstates and ran past Furman University.
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    Unlike the Hamptons in NY church is well attended.
    Service started at 9:00, it is 10:14 and they are all still there.
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    Stopped briefly along Old Old Highway 11.
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    Rode up Geer Highway, Caesar’s Dome, along the narrow roads that climb up. There was weekend traffic and there had been a big thunderstorm overnight so the road was wet and covered with leaves and pine needles, slick riding. Following traffic one would come to a climbing lane and very carefully pucker around the corner and pass on a straight because traction was not assured.

    Yes, I do have ASC on my motorcycle but I figured leaning on wet road with wet leaves and pine needles was not the way to rely on that electronic assist.
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    My wife works for a YMCA so I photographed any YMCA I came across, just did not post them here, but this camp is in a scenic spot.
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    It is after 11am and folks are still at church here in Dunn's Rock Baptist Church
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    It's a beautiful autumn day and God is in His house.
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    I rode toward Brevard and into the mountain towns that are vacation home places, Cashiers and Highlands, NC.
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    People in Highlands seemed to be trying to have fun. Lunch outside, guitar playing and singing, walking things that look like dogs only smaller.
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    Men following women into stores that held no interest for the men.
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    It had rained 5 hours ago so of course you needed to have on your knee high Hunter boots.
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    I surveyed the town. I did not feel the need to have a lunch outdoors people watching so it held no interest whatever. The planned exit route however did appear to be more interesting.
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    Georgia on my mind
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    Another contrast with the northeast behavior. Near the SC / Georgia line the state highway went from two lanes to one lane and there was a warning of the merge a half mile before. One quarter of a mile before the merge people had fallen into a single lane to make the process faster. No one used the unused lane to pass everyone. The contrast in behavior I found very pleasant.
    I made it to Hiawassee
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    Duncan and Dan posed for a photo. I offered to let Duncan ride the GT but he passed on it. Proved to be a good decision the next day.
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    Dan had visited his son in Charlotte, Duncan had taken the off road course at BMW.
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    The next day they made coffee and we decided to take the roads more traveled and headed toward the Tail of the Dragon and Cheroholla Skyway.

    Day 7
    Monday

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    After a breakfast at Huddle House we headed toward Robbinsville. The following day a former member of our Yankee Beemers BMW motorcycle club in Massachusetts, who was now in Georgia, was going to show us roads that locals knew and were unknown to us.

    So the decision was made to go to the known roads, Tail of the Dragon and Cheraholla Skyway.
    An unfortunate thing happened on the way to Robbinsville. Duncan smelled gas as he followed my bike. Upon arrival it was apparent that my bike was dripping gasoline. Day was done for me.
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    After a bit of puzzling on logistics Duncan volunteered to ride back and get the truck and trailer returning with his bike. Dan would go ride. Duncan would join him after he returned.
    It was Monday and the Asheville BMW dealer would be open Tuesday. Meanwhile I looked at their inventory as I waited for Duncan.
    Duncan returned, we unloaded his bike and loaded mine. I headed back to Hiawassee and gathered the firewood, appetizers, beer and other things for comfortable camping.
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    They returned having ridden fun roads including the Dragon.
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    Day 8
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    The next day I headed early to make the dealer by opening time. They followed the transplanted local and had a great time.
    I went to Asheville and back.
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    The Danger Zone
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    They could fix it. Fuel pump leaking, it could take a couple days to get a fuel pump.
    Or I could buy this one, for reasonable money
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    and ride it home and the guys would haul my bike back to New England. This was a 2009 K1300GT with 31K miles, very well cared for. The owner had a fleet of 14 bikes and traded with with 3 others.

    They had no interest in a trade given the year and mileage on my K1200GT and my title was in Vermont anyway.
    I had wondered what I would do for my next bike as my 2007 had 83K miles and was due for replacement. I was not sure I wanted an RT and I think the K1600GT is too big having ridden a K1600GTL. They had just sold a used 1000XR which is something I had been considering.

    So...
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    That's one way of making a repair.
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    Back to Hiawassee
    They had a great day of riding and that night we loaded a pickup with Duncan’s R1200GSA, the trailer with Dan’s K1150RS and my K1200GT.

    In the fading light I swapped my GPS mount and heated vest lead from the old bike to the new, very important. As it was late October a heated vest would be important.
    Rain was predicted for the following day.

    Day 9

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    We woke at 4AM because three nights on the ground was getting old and we felt the rain coming. We packed while it was still dry before dawn. Dawn was not until 7:45, it was dark and raining by 7AM. Duncan and Dan headed out expecting to take two days to drive to Vermont. I expected to ride home in three.

    I headed to Huddle House for breakfast and to wait for daylight to ride. With the rain it was not until 8AM.

    The rain let up, I ran Rt 64 again toward Asheville stopping for the same photo, different day.
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    I turned off at Balsam to get on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit. It was not raining, but it soon started up again. It was a long stretch to get off the Blue Ridge from there and of course it was raining, foggy with wind thrown in. Think I have had that weather on the BRP more times than not.

    As I passed Richland Balsam, the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I thought I should get a photo. However it was raining hard enough I didn't want to take my phone out, I pulled off my Aerostich 3 finger gloves but decided not to fish the camera out of the pannier in the rain and remembered I had a small Go Pro in my pocket which was weatherproof, but it was dead.

    Back to riding, the pinlock was working just OK. Visibility was about 100 yards. I made it to Asheville and the interstate and ran that in the rain until north of Roanoke.
    The next two days were just interstate home.

    Dan and Duncan proved themselves iron men and drove straight through from Georgia to Vermont.

    Day 10
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    Weather was 70 degrees to start, predicted for heavy thunderstorms, high winds moving in, gusts up to 75mph.
    I decided to make as many miles as I could ahead of the weather and to stop when it got close. Planned on Winchester, VA, then Gettysburg, PA but made it to Quakertown, PA but had to run that ugly I-81 Harrisburg section in rain.

    The storm hit that evening, Halloween, but I was buttoned down using Marriott points.
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    Day 11
    And home. Making some miles the day before made the last stretch bearable.
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    Dan was kind enough to take my bike to a local repair shop. They put in a pump and the bike runs better than it had before, and it was not bad before.
    About 2,700 miles exactly per the GPS.

    A long shopping trip. With good company. Now to put some miles on the K1300GT in 2020 and sell or run the wheels off the K1200GT. I am thinking early season Cape Breton, despite the cold ocean in the spring.
    #3
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  4. wobbly one

    wobbly one Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2010
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    Billings, MT
    Nice report EMTNEK - I like the way you roll. Well done.
    #4
  5. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,078
    Location:
    Kingsmill Corner Ont.
    Thanks. Enjoyed that...a lot.
    #5
  6. daslipper

    daslipper Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2015
    Oddometer:
    14
    Location:
    right coast up high
    Nice report ,way to adapt.you might want to demo an xr1000 just cuz.
    Clear some garage space just cuz
    #6
    EMTNEK likes this.
  7. EMTNEK

    EMTNEK Crash Test Dummy Supporter

    Joined:
    May 12, 2010
    Oddometer:
    42
    Location:
    Martha's Vineyard and NEK Vermont
    I think I would like the 1000XR. I do like the weather protection on the GTs though. I notice the less protection on my 800GSA, though that bike isn’t bad. Next long trip is June, trailering my 800GSA and Duncan’s 1200GSA to Edmonton, then 4 weeks in Yukon, BC, AK and maybe NW Territory. I am ambivalent about Tuktoyatuk or Deadhorse, will settle for a photo at the Arctic Circle in US or Canada. That could be blasphemy here on ADVrider not doing the entire Dalton or Dempster but those long last sections seems work with modest reward. But we will make the call based on situation in the field. He did AK solo in 2010 and knows the long ride cross the US is wear and tear.
    #7