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TAT/MABDR 2021, 12 Riders Take Their Chances

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ibafran, May 29, 2021.

  1. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    Damn. I need to edit the title to '12'. Anybody tell me how? (I see that it has been done. Thanx to whomever did that for me.)

    Alternate title:
    “CRBMW MABDR Expedition: Doing a thousand miles the hard way.”

    Disclaimer: I am just the guy that took some notes for myself and shared with my budds and subsequently tried to hash this thing together. AFAIK, nobody else compiled anything worth a damn and I am the default scribbler despite not ever really knowing what the hell was going on. If there are 2 ways to understand any of this and one is Kind & Funny, that is the one I was trying for. Several of the riders are inmates and may chime in. Multiple voices and POV can only add to the fun and confusion. One of us has agreed to insert pix/vids as might be possible. There's gonna be lotsa editing. For a while. When I get done, I will edit some sort of 'finito' after Day 11.

    And on with the show...

    This is not all my fault. The stuff found under "Day 1,2,3..." is what I compiled and sent around to the ride participants. Several of them thought that this crapolla should appear here. Dear Forum Readers, do not kill the messenger.

    Sometime back in January of 21, Mike and whomever he was in cahoots with (Kevin?) posted to the Chicago Region BMW Club Forum info on this ride scheduled for April/May. Riders who had done the 2020 TWAT (Trans. WI. ADV. Trail) were told that they should damn well show up for this one. Mike and Kevin as well as some others had seen me ride and still pestered me to go. i wanted to go. I wanted to have fun. But. I was a feared. That my dirt chops were not up to spec.

    Mike had a pre-ride meeting in his pretty nice garage despite it not having a coffee maker (wtf?). Kevin who had ridden some/most(?) of the route assured us that it was do-able by us. I had my doubts about me. Patrick got a tire swap to knobs on his new-to-him 1200GS which he kinda got just in time for this trip.

    Persona Dramatis:
    (developed post-ride)

    Patrick 'Duct Tape'
    Mike 'Ice Cube'
    Kevin 'Mother Hen'
    Fran 'Gandalf' (Not being a Tolkien reader, I had to look up this character. I am not a wizard nor possess wizardly powers. But I am fucking old enough to know better than to do this ride.)
    Andrius 'Road Runner'
    Todd 'Colossus'
    Jack 'Swiss Cheese'
    Darius 'No Knobby'
    John 'Cigar Guy'
    Depin 'tba'

    These 2 did pavement. And took 'naps'. And provided great company. Without whom the trip would have lacked a great deal. When I get trip names for them, this will get edited for the better.
    Thierry "tba"
    Bruno "tba"

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Day one: Chicago-land to Athens TN.

    Disclaimer: you are getting this crap because it is believed that you want it and/or know somebody who desperately wants it. You might have requested it. Check to see that riders on this trip are getting this crappolla. I don't have everyone's e-ddress info as yet as you can tell by the Cc line. Please send me your pix and videos as possible. No, I am not joining some wacko pic sharing site that wants all my personal info to see your evidence of our silliness. Eventually, this fun might end up on ADVRider and/or the CRBMW Forum. If I post something in this private mailing list Ride Review that you don't want to see in those semi-public places, please let me know. PLEASE, do not post this trash to public media like FB, Twit, and the like.
    MAILING LIST: If somebody should be on this list and isn't, let me know. Participants should feel free to post their stuff to this list. I am not THE SCRIBE of the trip. Rather we should have this place to share our fun

    Riders who have pix/vids are welcome to insert them in my posts and sent them around via 'reply all'. Please mark all posts that have any gory pix as 'gore' in the subject line as there is at least one rider who prefers not to see those. Just because I can respect a rider's sensitivities doesn't mean that I will in all cases. Personally, I like gore and have a few pix of some personal bruises that I am proud to have acquired in such an honorable way.
    Beitknown: If there is more than one way to understand something that I have written and one of those ways is kindly funny, that is what I was striving for.

    DAY ONE, Ap 27, Tuesday
    After swapping out my street hoops for knobbys and suffering tremendous angst packing clothing and gear the previous few days, I left my garage 4 minutes ahead of my scheduled 5am. My plan to save money was to camp and I had just under 30lbs of camping gear and a list of nearby campgrounds for each night. Start odometer reading was 117269. 65F degrees with a stiff headwind out of the south. What could possibly go wrong?
    Mike and few riders were meeting at a Shell station at 5;30am. That seemed a little late for my tastes? I detest the congestion on the I-94/80 traffic corridor around the bottom of the lake and getting thru there before 6am was high on my preference list. Being bogged down at a Shell station while facing traffic hell is not the way to start an expedition. Rumor has it that Mike and the guys got out of the station in pretty good order with only one rider having to return to his nearby home to retrieve his forgotten phone. I already had about 80 miles of fuel gone from my tank and hoped to buy cheap fuel in Indiana rather than expensive city gas.

    The Bottom of the Lake Traffic was bad enough to make me glad that I was alone to deal with it. It was bad enough to make me wonder why I hadn't left at 3/4AM and scheduled a terrific breakfast in the middle of farm country? Ambient traffic flow was near 80mph and the high headwind had my GS wandering around like a knuckleball. I had a long way to go and not all day to get there. My mpg was going to take a big hit despite any aero advantage of a camping duffle and a Kermit chair. It took me a while to find a semi hauling at my desired speed so that I could slip into his dirty air and enjoy his cruise controlled pace.

    First fuel was in Remington IN and the severe aero drag gave me a 37.21016mpg, ugh. I was glad for the stretch and the timed stop including bladder relief took 9 minutes.18secs. Back on the Slab and I was already sick and tired of it a little past Indy and decided to get off for some country highway short of Cincinnati. No, I don't know what I was doing 'over by dere?' My gps just routed me that way instead of south on I-65. I was glad to be traveling slower on US52 and seeing towns and stuff.
    It is my habit to do a "100 Mile, 2 Minute Get Off" which co-insides with about a half tank of fuel minus any reserve. The idea is to stop in a safe place without distraction. Get off the bike and stretch, maybe have a drink, nosh some trail mix. Remove helmet for a brisk head stritch? The 2 minutes are choreographed to some degree in an attempt to maximize the relief. The same dance is done at fuel stops. Thus a long day in the saddle ends up being not so terrible. The clock is necessary to keep from wasting time and overstaying to not that much better relief. This is a good example of "going slow to go further" as per thee Iron Butt Assn. Archive Of Wisdom. https://ironbutt.org/25tips.html

    Second fuel was in Harrison OH and took my maximum of 12 minutes although I didn't note why. Slowing down a little without the advantage of dirty air did nothing for mpg. I still got 37.48540 mpg. But the scenery improved. I got passed by a hot biker babe on a hardley with big apes. So, I trailed her at a comfortable distance and enjoyed the eye candy for about 25 miles. Occasionally, high gusty winds would hit her and make her bars shake giving her a little wobble. 2 roadkill deer seen. And the temp had climbed into the 70's making me open my Stich vents for some really nice riding. (N.B. Part of the fuel time is spent taking notes. If I remember a lot, it takes a little longer?)

    Third fuel was in Williamsburg KY getting 36.688493 mpg and lasting 15 minutes. The black side cover to my gas tank had popped loose and required extra time to get it to fit properly. The temp had climbed to a deliriously happy 84F. I am out of the flatlands and enjoying hills and valleys. Horse country starts. So does road construction. I split road construction lanes. I have 2 adages for comfortable bike travel. 1- Don't make me put my foot down. And, 2, Don't make me stand up. If I have to stop and put a foot down for road construction, I am annoyed.
    Saw a sign "Rocky Top 31 miles" and immediately had the song playing in my ear, here's the original although you might like Dolly's better. Temp had climbed to 88F and I am starting to self-baste in my Stich. First self-baste of the season so I am enjoying it. Enough bikers are out riding that I am tuning up my waving skills. Even though I know intellectually that knobby's hold well on pavement, their initial feel makes me leery of deep lean angles on them. By now, I am much more comfortable carving curves with them. This is a good thing as the curvy streets are rarely flat anymore and little grades are everywhere.

    Arriving at the Comfort Inn in Athens TN at 3;48pm local, there was no sign of other riders. I left a message for Mike to call me and went looking for a camp site. Unbelievably, to me, all the nearby campgrounds were either closed or did not accept tent campers. This info was not found on any of their websites. The guys arrived about 8pm and there was a scramble to get to dinner at the Cracker Barrel which closed at 9pm.

    And we have our first collection of Dramatis Persona assembled for dinner. And it is a magnificent seven. Some of whom I did not know. I took the dinner revelry to ask each for his memorable moment of the day.
    1- Mike said something about 'Versailles" which my shoddy notes did not capture any better than that. (Reminded later. This was a discussion on the French pronunciation as opposed to the local pronunciation. Same for Marsailles IL.)
    2- Thierry liked the Rocky Top scenery.
    3- Kevin got a day's worth of amusement out of Andrius who forgot his phone.
    4- Bruno was glad to get to the hotel and enjoyed the 'KY bluegrass and houses that reminded him of Normandy.
    5- Andrius was disappointed that a distillery was not open to get a tour and provide a taste.
    6- Patrick enjoyed the horse farms which reminded him of Ireland.
    7- Fran enjoyed ridding in the HEAT after so much cold riding over the winter.
    Preparing to Stealth Camp, Patrick came to my rescue. He had twin beds in his room and kindly offered to let me have one for a split of the room cost. Thanx, Patrick!
    Final fuel for me in Athens KY was 40.96675mpg. Didn't bother to time it as no further riding happened on the day. I like to fuel before bedding down as my elders always seemed to be prepared to 'bug out' at any moment and trained their progeny to do likewise. It took with me.
    Thus ended the first day,


    ps: I do not have contact info for Darius. Somebody send me a complete and accurate list of contact info for the participants of this fun. I don't wanna leave anyone out.
    - - - - - -
    Day Two: to Maggie Valley, NC.

    According to Kev's info during the Riders Meeting in Mike's garage, the TAT (Trans America Trail) is supposed to be tougher than the MABDR. Exactly what crucial info was disseminated is lost to the mists of my aging memory and the Mists of Time. This is a good thing because if I thought about it, I would be too scared to ride it. My personal bliss has always been based on ignorance. Nothing else seems to last or work so well for me as ignorance.

    The previous night, it was agreed by all that the side stands would be up (SSU) at 8am. Everyone was supposed to be fed & fueled on their own and inline to depart. For myself, this is the only time target of the day that might actually be met. If a group can't pull out together on time, what fun teasing might ensue? We are not the precision team like the Rockettes or the June Taylor Dancers. But we ought to be able to get out of the parking lot on time with grace and élan? We are not kids and we have a lot of biking experience, right? It was 62F, overcast, and calm. No. I didn't note exactly how late we were.

    The motel provided a sort of breakfast and coffee to take outside or back to a room. I had a banana and some sort of cold burrito and all the coffee possible. Not exactly the breakfast of champions but it was better than nothing and it was free. I figured to lose a few few pounds on this trip anyway. Getting on my 'minor starve' with the advent of a difficult ride should be the best way. There were a few early riders. I like to see the sunrise from my bike saddle so I was up anyway. The early risers enjoyed the motel breakfast together and socialized. The was an Iron Butt backer plate on a bike not with the group. I made sure to meet Iron Butt member Rich (Old Kid license plate on an FJR) and trade contact info on the Iron Butt Forum.

    We had a short but glorious ride to Telico Plains. Can't remember who led but the pace was a perfect 40-50mph on the narrow country lanes. There were a lot of curves and hills to keep sightlines short. It had been so long since I had ridden such roads that I could feel how rusty I was at picking smooth lines and trying to gaze at the great scenery. One grand moment for me was topping a hill to see all the bikes lined up before me as we approached the tree covered mountains. Yea Verily, I was choked up with Joy to be out with such a great group of riders in a great riding area. I was so gladdened that it came natural to sweep open my arms in a grand jester of appreciation just to be there. I can ride no-handed and such gestures have long been part of my riding repertoire.

    Telico Plains visitors center was not yet open for the day. And the riding leg had been long enough to make creative peeing mandatory. The bikes were lined up for a group pic. And Thierry had the honor of the first tip-over of the trip. If one is going to tip-over eventually anyway, Thierry got it done first and in a good spot for it. It was a nice clean tip-over. Many times later in the trip, I would wish for a cleaner place to fall down and more riders to help me pick up my bike and on occasion myself. 'Old Kid' and his budd on a Silver Wing scooter rolled in. Thierry and Bruno had decided not to ride dirt but enjoy the pavement bound scenery while meeting us at the end of the day. Thierry's self-restored older beemer was a delight to see and hear. Bruno's bike had dirt tires but I never did find out why he passed on dirt? We waved them off and headed to the TAT.

    The TAT was indeed challenging to me. My dirt riding chops were pretty much atrophied. Trying to have skillz come back to me mid-challenge was pretty scary more times than I would have predicted. Upside for me was having so many riders willing to come back and help me pick up my bike. Or note the location of my demise and carry off any gear that might prove useful to them in the future. Some of the gravel was loose and challenging for me. The notebook says that Patrick tipped over right in the middle of the trail after having failed to make a RH hairpin up a steep hill.. Some riders took the time to air down a few pounds. I aired down 12% from a stock 36F and 42R. Go ahead and do the math. I will wait before you start reading again. If the 12% made any difference, I was not keen enough to appreciate it.
    DUST! I hate dust. I can't see in it and I hit holes and rocks and ruts. You know that you are riding in a lot of dust when it suddenly clears because you missed a turn and are imminently leaving the roadbed. Breathing dust is annoying. I stayed far to the rear hoping that everyone would not be put out having to wait so long for me at scenic and not so scenic rest points. Sometimes the dust largely abated because we had fresh gravel. Or conditions were so challenging that we didn't have enough speed to raise dust. Or we had a nice cross breeze to whisk it away. Great Fun!
    We came across a pickup with Grand-dad out with 2 grandsons at the Stewart Cabin (need pix as wife's family are Stewarts). We got a group photo and I went to work on the kids offering candy and letting them sit on my bike of pix. Thge older kid was 16 and too-cool for words. The younger kid (12?) alias Butter Bean, was more fun and offered me fresh plucked shallots from the natl. forest which I politely declined. Although, I was tempted to eat one raw. Onion, not the kid.

    Somewhere after this the road got more difficult. I screwed up a steep RH gravel climb and crashed. My dirt chops were still not warmed up. A decorative harley hi-way peg mount got ripped off the LH valve cover pulling a valve cover bolt out. As the bike was laying on its left side on the downgrade, most of my oil was pouring out of this bolt hole. Mike who was right behind me was soon at my side. We tried to pick up the bike cross-trail and uphill as quickly as possible to save oil. We couldn't get it all the way up and had to lay it back down. Quickly, we grabbed the bike and spun it on the crash-bar/valve cover till the bike pointed downhill and picked it up. We rolled downhill to the flattest spot possible and assessed the damages. My Jesse can had popped a hanger but was easily repositioned. My left ankle hurts but not so bad as to make me want to take a look at it. The bolt was found and pushed back in and secured with good ol' trusty duct tape. Mike had a quart of oil that went into the motor. No oil leaked out. I started my motor and eagle-eyed the oil pressure idiot light. The light went out immediately and did not flicker. After a bit of idling engine to make sure that all the oil was in the sump and circulating, the throttle was mildly blipped to see if the light would come back on. It didn't. And high idle was sustained and the light still did not flicker or come back on. I declared to whoever was present that I seemed to be good to go. I believe the Kev had parked his bike on top and walked down to render assistance to the fool of the moment as possible. Mike kindly packed the empty quart as we are not litterers having long heeded the psalm of Arlo. I attacked the gravel incline with the purpose and alacrity that I should have applied the first time and easily made the top. With no oil light showing for the effort. My riding gear is now officially dusty from a fall rather than the mere dint of passage.
    Patrick tips over again, kinda. He rode into the LH ditch and pinned himself and the bike up against the hillside. Can't remember who got off his bike to help him? Whoever it was was faster to help him than me. Pat didn't look like he was hurting all that bad and I saw no arterial blood spurting. I yelled at him not to move so that proper pix could be taken for hilarious documentation. I think there is video of this? Somebody who was keeping track told me that we continued 70 miles from my crash to get to Maggie Valley. No idea how much of it was dirt. But I was glad to ride pavement when we got to it. Was it tough? Not that much. My dirt skillz were far from tuned up and that made it seem harder than it should have been. I should have been attacking a little harder instead of trying to see more scenery.
    Maggie Valley was hot and I was grateful for it. Pat kindly offers to split his room with me after I discover all my campgrounds closed. Pat needed oil and I needed to replace Mike's oil and get some for myself. The not so local AutoZone was fun. The place was full of old coots just like me. My bike took 3 qts and I bought a spare for myself. A rider on a Wing and his budd who I had briefly met at the motel showed up as I was preparing to leave. We traded some stories in the parking lot and the Zone counter clerk came out just to hear them.

    Sights seen from the pavement: kayakers and float fishermen.

    I got back to the motel in time to enjoy some of Mike's jet-boil coffee and sit in rocking chairs. I did my best to regale my budds with Tales of Alaska. I did it so well that they were soon teasing me about it. Mike makes great coffee...compared to that stuff found in the motel rooms. Some guy named Al coming north from FLA texts Mike and will join us for dinner and maybe some of the trip.

    We went to a BBQ place were the service was slow. The drinks were slow. The conversation was lively. Thierry and Bruno joined us and I have zero notes as to how their day went. I hope that they will fill in this blank? Coming out of the diner I suffered a sneezing attack and had no idea why? Somebody complained about the weather. I mentioned that I was in charge of the weather for this trip and all complaints could be lodged with me. Somewhere in all this revelry, we toasted our 'survival' of a great day riding.

    We did a Best Day at dinner:
    Mike- liked the pristine waterfalls. (I think he has pix to prove it?)
    Andrias- enjoyed Patrick being pinned against the hillside and hoped that he got it on video
    Kev- liked Butter Bean on my bike
    Thierry- liked rounding the profile of his squared tires at the Dragon
    Bruno- liked the lunch coffee and his nap (apparently these 2 riders scheduled naps. This is a new idea to me and I might have to try it.)
    Patrick- liked finishing the day and feeling that his skillz were improving. (On the other hand, this is the kind of trip where if your skillz don't improve, you die.-fran)

    Al-? We had Al contact us mid-ride via Face Book. He joined us for dinner. Anybody got any more on this?

    I had several pretty good moments. I got a nice compliment from Mike who noticed that I rode the rough stuff sitting down and starting following my line to discover my lines are pretty smooth. He was the first to mention my big red 'diaper' pin on my tank bag since I had put it there many years ago. While one could view it as a 'diaper' pin and think of it as a polite reminder not to be a whiner, it is actually a 'blanket' pin. Many moons ago in my youth, I read adventure stories of the Far North. Blanket pins were regarded as essential survival gear. When I 'found' my first blanket pin, it immediately went into my bike kit if only as a talisman to ward off evil.
    Before returning to the motel, I fueled and noted 40.966754mpg for the day. Slower speeds in lower gears do not increase the mpg as much as I had hoped.
    Food For Thought: After a taxing experience in the wild or remote places, I maintain that the Acme of Civilization is the hot shower. Hygienic plumbing has been around for centuries. But the Hot Shower is the pinnacle of progress to date. A hot shower after a day like Day Two is pretty damn nice. Too bad we didn't have any hot biker chicks on this trip to share the shower?

    There you have it. Insert or add-on your fun and send it around.
    1oldsickle, MotoRana, ejm4 and 2 others like this.
  2. tcroullier

    tcroullier I ride old bikes so I can hope to fix them myself

    Nov 22, 2011
    Chicago IL USA
    Some pics for the trip including taking naps

    Attached Files:

    MotoRana and Romet like this.
  3. rio13

    rio13 Adventurer

    Jan 11, 2018
    Riders meeting at MWG

    Attached Files:

    Romet likes this.
  4. rio13

    rio13 Adventurer

    Jan 11, 2018
    Was everything closed on Tuesday?!

    Attached Files:

    Romet likes this.
  5. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    Day Three: Maggie Valley 'Rest Day' and bike museum tour

    Not included in Day Two...the TAT was sooo rough ("How rough was it?" -Greek Chorus) that a screw cap on a wide mouth 30oz plastic container of 'survival rations' (trail mix) came loose and about half the contents filtered through the top case contents. I make a lot of odd notes on scraps of paper and retrieving these bits is largely hit and miss. Also, it was noted that everyone was fully loaded on this tough day.

    Day Three was billed as a 'rest day'. "Easy Day" might have been a better title. Not having to pack up for a day and unload at the end makes for light riding. It was 61F in Maggie Valley town. The ride on the Blue Ridge Pkwy would see the temps dip to 51F and rise to a balmy 78F at the Tail of the Dragon. My notes are kind of sketchy and I hope yawl y'awl will fill in a lot of memories? THE PLAN was to ride to the Dragon and get back in time to visit the Wheels Through Time bike museum. SSU time was 7am and we were late again. No note about how late we were? But there is no note exclaiming the joys and wonderment of pulling out on time either? Zero dirt for this day unless somebody missed a turn. Clear skies too.

    Motel had some instant oatmeal of which I had 2 helpings. If I had known what was in store for pandemic motel breakfasts, I would have swiped a few extra packets. I think that I am going to add the oatmeal to my 'survival rations' list. Hydrated the hell out of myself on motel coffee. Can't remember what else was offered but I am sure that I ate it trying to save money on lunch. I did luxuriate in some of Mike's coffee. When Mike ran out of grounds, Kev provided some more. I think Patrick had the coffee in our room? FYI: Patrick can really serenade the sheets. The one night that he didn't snore I laid awake wondering if he died? The upside is I never wondered if I was disturbing him. Very considerate of him if he had to fake some of it to make me feel comfortable.
    No idea where Thierry and Bruno went? Insert your stuff here if you please, you guys. And send it around.

    We rode a lot of fresh asphalt and it was glorious. The scenery was spectacular and I wandered and wallowed all over my lane trying to see it all without hitting a hillside or plunging off into the abyss. As wondrous as this was, I had a lot of heartache about not being 2-up with any of the co-riders of my dreams. I had forgotten about tunnels. Nothing like diving into an unlit tunnel while wearing dark glasses. I was very glad for the reflective stripes even when I couldn't see them very well against on-coming traffic. Managed to flick on my driving lights for the last 2 or 3 tunnels.

    As terrific as the road was, we managed to catch a cuppla cagers loafing along well below the posted limit. I would have passed on the double yellow where the sightline was good. As long as our leader was happy to follow, I did my best to suck in scenery. Hallelujah, we hit some road construction and had to wait for a pilot car. I dashed around everyone and the 2 cagers and went right for the flag person(girl). Thankfully, all riders followed. She was surprised to see us all up near her. I did my best 'flag girl' flattery and acted like I knew everything there was to know about road construction. I dragged out the root beer barrel hard candy and did my best to schmooze (technical touring biker term) any of her concerns. We had a nice conversation and I made sure that she had enough candy to last a while and to share with her friends on the job. IF...a rider had come up to us to join the fest, I would have left him to her and walked back to the previously offending cage and offered candy there too. Note to self: have some sort of note to pass to cagers with the candy suggesting that it might not be christian to block traffic? There has got to be a bible verse to cover that. My notes say that I was unhappy that I did not get a 'American Gothic' type pic with the flag girl.

    When the pilot car came, we got out in front of the cagers. For a while. Till we caught another set. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. I had to give up looking at scenery for a bit and carve some deep lines. Deep enough to make me put my toes up on the pegs. Riding knobbys. Lets put some knobbys on those MotoGP bikes and make them ride an unknown road and we will see how good they are? Tight blind corners at 60mph will make a rider pay attention. I got left for dead by the fast riders anyway.

    At the Dragon, I had a better time than I expected. The first wayside had v-twin riders remarking on my "Clowns & Jokers" Jesse can glyphs. We got the traditional group pix at the Tree of Shame and at the Dragon sculpture. Group stickers might have been applied to those structures. I had most of the 10 miles to myself. Managed to pass a trike, Rune, and a Wing as a group right after their very slow RH hairpin. I waved to the photogs. I can't believe that I am at the Dragon on knobbys, wtf. Best sight for me at the Dragon Resort was an old time traditional lean chopper with the striped serape blanket/bedroll strapped to the sissy bar.

    We rode to and saw the top and the bottom of the Fontana Dam. The reservoir looked low by 20-30 feet. The old stone 'free' showers for the Appalachian Trail Hikers has been replaced by a modern facility. I hope the water is now heated as the old showers were ice cold. No hikers seen.
    Leaving the Dragon, we had so many rapid elevation changes that my ears popped a lot. At various rest stops riders reported seeing wild turkeys and an elk. We slowed for a loose hunting dog as if the dog wasn't smart enough to stay out of traffic. Riding was brisk.
    I don't recall where we had lunch. But ordering lunch was done completely online via phone. My flip phone was incapable of doing that. Somebody must have helped me as my lunch notes read that the variety of BBQ sauces was delightful.

    The ride back to Maggie Valley was scenic including kayakers and float fishermen. Some sort of Mini-Cooper event or club event had a lot of Mini's coming toward us in a spritely (not Austen-Healey) fashion. Thanx to their traction control and other fancy electronics, none of them drifted over the line into my lane.
    I expected the Wheels Through Time to be lame and was thoroughly disappointed that I had such a great time. The upper floor had some antique harley clothing that was very dusty and old looking. I have some of that stuff and it is still in my service. In particular, I have a pair of fleece lined, winter leather mitts with gauntlets that I still use every winter since about the mid-60's. Some of the posters and big photos on the 2nd floor captivated me. Museum staff made the day with great stories and starting a few old bikes. It was great to listen to a guy who has actually raced on clincher tires talk about the experience. Now that I have been there, I would schedule time to go again if I was in the area. I almost bought the 'kick start tee' https://wheelsthroughtime.com/gift-shop/mens-tees/kick-start-tee/ because I am old enough to have kick started a lot of bikes. I have a gimpy knee after many kick starts and a story about a bike that kicked back and threw me over its handlebars. Back in the day of manual ignition advance, leaky carbs, manual choke, manual decompression release, and odd tunings, getting a bike started was a dark art and being able to read sheet music was a plus. Watching the museum staff start those old bikes was like watching the Bolshoi Ballet do its thing.

    Later, one of our group was fueling when a museum guy rode in to fuel an old bike. I noted that the gas station was well uphill from the museum. Thus, if the bike suffered a flame-out before getting fuel, it was an easy coast back to the museum. There is a reason that pilots, commandoes, and old bikers conserve elevation whenever possible. I fueled after the museum and was delighted to get 45.027442mpg for the day. That is a rate more commensurate with scenic touring.

    Back at the hotel for the night after a walk-to dinner, we were serenaded by harleys arriving for some sort of weekend event (Thunder in the Valley?). Did I mention how much I hate loud bikes? FACK! I hate loud bikes. Nothing like having to pause in conversation while waiting for a loud bike to get far enough away to continue speaking/hearing.

    Thierry noted that he had lost a bolt on this day and that one of his header pipes had turned blue. Personally, I find blue pipes on a bike to be a sign of real riding. Only single wall pipes turn blue. Why riders have to have pristine chrome pipes is beyond me? The first Cycle World magazine that I bought back in the 60's had a beemer on the cover with several inches of blue header pipe achieved during a long trip. Since then, blue pipes have always been a sign of accomplishment to me.

    Best Moments: (This is what my notes have. If I forgot somebody, please fill it in.)
    Patrick liked the Dragon and the BRP (he was a first-timer)
    Mike like the Dragon and the Museum
    Bruno liked the country culture.
    Thierry liked having his bike attain 6000 feet altitude on the BRP
    Andrias liked catching Mike on the Dragon
    Kev liked the personal contact with Dale's son at the Museum
    And I liked my fun with the flag girl.
    Our motel had some sort of wedding party residing this night. It was entertaining to see the wedding people checking out the bikes and bikers. I didn't engage any of them to ask what they were thinking of us.
    With the promise of more dirt riding tomorrow, I retired at 9;30pm wondering if I was up for more challenge. Tomorrow's SSU is 8am and the MABDR is supposed to be easier.
    ps; If anyone is sharing this Ride Review with a spouse, girlfriend, SO, main squeeze, or dominatrix; comments from them are welcome.
    - -- -- - - - - - - - -
    Day Four: to Abington VA

    SSU: 8am It has rained overnight and is now 48F degrees. I have come to believe that there are riders on this trip who think of temperature in degrees Celsius. Degrees Fahrenheit are a finer/smaller specification. I have been so uncomfortable for so long over my riding career that I can distinguish a degree of difference in Fahrenheit. And there is a therm-o-meter handily placed on my bike to prove me correct often enough. And there is a famous book titled "Fahrenheit 451" .which I read and it sort of cemented my preference for that scale over Celsius. Riding in 'below zero' temps has its own exquisite threshold of agony that I suspect Celsius users just don't appreciate. After all, the First Rule of Motorcycling states, "If one wishes to become an accomplished motorcyclist, one must first learn to suffer." (My lifetime personal best/worst on the bike was minus 11F wherein I frostbit my knees, sigh.)
    We were only 8 minutes late getting out of the motel parking lot to ride maybe a mile to fuel. I, of course, fueled the night before. Some riders 'aired down' in anticipation of the fun or, maybe, the rigors of the day?

    We are finally on the MABDR. The rain has slicked it just enough to keep our pace around 35mph. (Makes me wonder if our continental riders habitually think in KLMs?) Upside to this is that there is no dust. Downside is that the rider ahead may crash and the following rider who wished to appreciate the skills of the former and maybe pick up a few pointers and see a line that may or may not be better will crash into the fallen rider. One takes chances riding fast or slow. The paved transit road to the dirt fun was pretty twisty with real short sight lines. It was so tightly curvy that I believed that I recognized my own backside ahead of me in several places. Dirt roads have an infinite variety of ways to describe their traction co-efficient. None of them are standardized as far as I know? We have some loose gravel over hard packed grit. This gives the delightful feeling of riding on loose marbles. Lots of riders stand up for this. And I would too if I wasn't so old. I save my 'standing up' energies for more difficult crises.

    Thankfully our mountain roads like to take long transverse cuts in the hillsides to gain/loose elevation. Some places in the world the dirt roads are just bulldozed straight up/down regardless of grade in an effort to economize the building. Trying to get up a slippery one can be exhausting only to be followed by sheer terror sliding down the other side and unable to slow. If there is a curve involved, all bets are off. Our MABDR road grade is mostly fun as slowing is possible for the switchbacks and climbing traction is predictable. Usually there is a creek at the bottom of the vales with a single lane bridge. A nice stout bridge with very stout timbers to ride on. Sometimes the timber runs with the direction of travel and sometimes it is crosswise to travel direction. Approach to the bridge can be a vert tight turn on both ends. Because it is down in the valley, it is usually shaded. And damp if it has rained or there is a heavy dew or fog. The traffic will drag dust onto it which mixes with the moisture to produce a fine slime only a little more tractive that a greased pig.(makes me wonder if our continental riders ever had to deal with a greased pig or experienced the slickness of deer guts on a doorknob?)

    Our leader of the moment/day, Kev, rides onto described wet wooden surface and crashes. According to nearby observers, it was a spectacular crash. The bike slid out from under him nearly instantly. It went down so fast that Kev was at a loss for words to describe the hoary but enlightening details. As I was able to piece together, Kev added some slight throttle expecting some straight line modest acceleration. And KAZANGO! The rear wheel came around nearly instantly due to some very slight lean coming off the dirt and onto the wood. And the bike was down and spinning on its crash bar. And Kev had some minor rotation on his butt. Fortunately, the bridge had some low timbers acting as guard bumpers and there was slight possibility that the bike would have slid off and ended up in the creek. As it was, the bridge was so slick as to require several riders to pick it up. The tires had to be keep from sliding and the riders feet had precarious traction. Kev gingerly rode it off the bridge and into a wide area where it could be parked and assessed for damage control. The rest of us took great care in crossing and there was no further crashing incidents there. Kev needed to straighten a pannier mount and some nearby rider handed Kev a convenient rock with which to beat upon it. Kev had the mount straight before I got to see him do the job. A few picture takers might have captured the moment? I encouraged Mike to capture the slimy scuff on Kev's riding pants butt/hip. Patrick who saw me playing 'movie director' called me Ansel Adams for that suggestion. Rumor has it that Kev was discernably more careful of wooded bridges for the rest of the day.

    For the rest of the riding, we had some slimy conditions and some wondrously dry hard-pack to rip over. Backroads repair consisted of loose gravel spread in the worst road places. Some of this loose gravel was hard for me to ride as I slithered about while wondering which tree I might hit or if I would just disappear into the abyss or slam into the hillside? And then ricochet into the abyss. My long rusty residual dirt riding chops had not improved to make such riding traction transitions autonomous, yet.

    Patrick and I sorta teamed up and were looking out for each other. There is a concept for this called the "Expedition Mindset" wherein the members of the sojourn take great care of each other mentally and physically. Watching each other's back and being quick to help at every chance. It is a soft science. If one is on a guided tour where a lot of stuff is taken care of by the organizer and staff, this mindset does not appear in all members. It is early in the trip and signs of this mindset can be seen coming together. And it will only get better. A lot has been written about it. Here is a start for those looking for catch phrases and language on topic https://blog.theclymb.com/out-there/expedition-behavior-what-it-is-and-how-to-foster-it/

    As much fun as the dirt was, I was glad to get back on pavement going to lunch or transiting from one dirt road to another. We passed some white(?) trail horses. And we saw some trail horses unloaded from trailers and tacked up in a wayside. IF...I had been solo, I would have gone in to engage them and take pix... and offer root beer candy to both the riders and the horses. If we had been hiking as a group, we might have met the horse people. As bikers we travel too fast to make a group decision to stop and do such things. The riders' meeting might have addressed this idea? Just because I am not in charge does not mean that I don't know what we should be doing. Riders who travel a lot together usually adapt to each other at moments like that.

    On this day, we have riders joining the fun. Darius, Todd, Dipen, and John are adding to action. Todd I had met during the Trans. WI. Adv. Trail ride. Darius is on a large GS sporting street tires. Everything I have ridden I know to be possible on street tires albeit slowly. Darius is impressing the snot out of me by riding it quickly up front with the fast guys. So fast that I am not willing to sustain that much personal risk to follow him and see how he does it? At lunch when I ask him what psi he is running, I am told that he is on stock pavement psi. My only possible response is to toast his skillz.

    Sights Seen:
    Mike- old barn with wrought iron over the windows
    Empty 'drying' barns which I have no idea what crop is dried in them? Agriculture in the mountains does not lend itself to large fields of anything.
    Kev- Little church next to the road. There are a lot of little churches. Some are way more photogenic than others. There are so many little churches that I wonder how big their congregations are to sustain them?
    High Point of Day if not the whole trip: Andrius gets a nice note from the waitress suggesting that they take a 'hike' together. Some of my immediate thoughts about this are: Frame the note with selfie pic of the girl. . Immediately abandon the trip for at least a little while. Award Andrius the trip's "Chick Magnet" award. Wonder why this has never happened to me while I was on a bike trip? Congratulate Darius on doing a fine job of parenting. (No. I am now so old that I didn't have a condom to pass to Andrius at that moment as an award and gesture of good will. Makes me wonder exactly when I ceased to have that minimalist care?)

    At this point my notes look and read pretty garbled. Here's what I can sort out and others can add, expand, and clarify all they want.

    Andrius leads us on pavement to get us to our end-of-day destination. I doubt that I could have done it as well if I had a note in my pocket from a waitress?

    Patrick leaves the road (dirt/pave is not specified) for bladder relief. I assume we all took advantage of the moment although there was no toast later to this fine instance of leadership that we all inspire to.

    Thierry and Bruno leave the trip this day. Thierry suffers a tire puncture. By the time that I find out about the puncture, I am miffed that it is too late for me to respond and fix it. I do not have a smart phone and had no clue. I have everything on my bike to do punctures including tubed tires. Apparently, the big sticking point is breaking the bead to access the tube. There are so many easy ways to do this on the road that it should be a non-issue. On top of that, Thierry gets his bike knocked over by a cager while Thierry was not on it. I heard that they settled the matter by check to some $700. I hope that the check didn't bounce. Although, in this digital world maybe that is a non-issue too? We do need the whole story on this. What punctured the tire? Where was it fixt? What did that cost? How was the remaining trip home? What happened to Bruno?
    At the end of the day's ride, Patrick takes a nap. And he ain't even French.
    Some of us hung out in the motel lobby to BS and figure out dinner.

    I believe that we made one (1) u-turn during the day? A GPS turn was missed somehow and we had to go back. While the Nav error is no big thing to me as I do u-turns all the time, I did enjoy watching riders make their hugh-ies. Some riders have no problem making a feet-up, full fork lock, idling u-turn. And some riders specialize in the feet-down, paddle-walk, 47-point turn style. Some riders like to show off their trials skillz with a stand-up dab or two. I like to do the full-lock thing as possible as it is very clean looking, balletic almost, eh? In my MSF BRC classes of olde, I always encouraged my students to learn to do the tightest, feet-up, u-turn possible and learn exactly how much room was required for each of their bikes over their riding careers. It would stand them in good stead and be very useful in the dirt.

    There is a specific note that no Best Moments were collected on Day 4. Anybody got any, they should post'em around.
    Yes, the MABDR first day was easier than the TAT. Even with the intervening 'rest' day, I was tired at the end of this day. But, my dirt chops were improving and I was now less anxious. Patrick's riding was improving greatly every day if not hourly. Note: Patrick needs some taller bars. He has nearly zero rise and could use 3 inches (insert your jokes here.) If anybody has got an extra set of bars dusting/rusting away in their garage, donate or work a deal with Patrick. If you have always wanted to change bars, now is the time to do so and pass your old bars with decent rise on to someone who needs them.
    No, we didn't fuel at the end of this day. Considering the recent hack of the pipeline in that area resulting in fuel shortages and remembering the longstanding Wisdom of the Iron Butt Assn to get fuel whenever possible, fueling at the end of the day might take on the aspects of Ritual during ensuing rides? So much so, that it would be done as a group assuring one and each other that we are always prepared like good scouts. Patrick, check beemerboneyard.com for cheap(er) bars and other parts.

    And there you have it... to kick around,
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  6. rio13

    rio13 Adventurer

    Jan 11, 2018
    I thought we may have to bail you out with the old candy trick! 1934A23B-01BA-4E57-9880-D79DF15BCAD6.jpeg D358672C-A1E1-4E43-A127-6AD6853F2955.jpeg 254E0083-7B31-4FD1-8CCE-DB35A5BF4CED.jpeg 8B8BCE36-A209-46FD-AD87-DC2E5F5A777F.jpeg 0DF42A17-5904-448A-9EFD-30661D7DF406.jpeg 698A3288-9A29-4A0C-8AC3-316DAF5E7D16.jpeg 5423C915-9B75-4788-BBC6-768CFF23571E.jpeg 903E2691-CE82-4DC7-8902-2ADED07D6587.jpeg 196D0C9D-2F76-4F40-BE88-AB88161B116D.jpeg 1934A23B-01BA-4E57-9880-D79DF15BCAD6.jpeg
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  7. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    Day Five: to Covington VA

    SSU: 8am, 44F. That the day warms up somewhat makes suffering 44F first thing in the morning no less annoying. One of the joys of being a biker is never having to get a weather report that needs to be longer than 8 seconds. Walking out to the bike is about all I ever need. Take a look at the sky (today's has pink edged clouds in a mostly clear blue sky indicating a dry day.) Smell and taste the air and note the humidity and atmospheric pressure on one's skin. With some practice, that ought to be enough info for the day. I think that I still have enough dust from the TAT giving me a slight cough and less than clear nose. Assessing the day's spirit of the group, I tell a joke. There is still some polite smiling. The group has yet to shed all humor. There is no note to say how late we were. Nor is there a note celebrating that we were on time.

    My Garmin V is a little loose. The little hole in my windscreen to reach the mounting screw is too small for most screwdrivers packed on bikes. All my screwdriver shafts are too thick causing a note to self to enlarge the hole or pack the right tool. Mike's leatherman fits thru the hole aaaand is just long enough to reach the screw. Thanx, Mike. My bike is holding up pretty good for the lifetime beating it has taken so far. As much as I hate my bike, it has started and run as per usual everyday. My fuel receipts show that I fueled last night but can't remember if I was solo or with everyone? Mpg was a more reasonable and expected 47.916127. I have cracked 50mpg for a full tank of fuel on this bike several times. Anything over 45mpg makes me feel good. There are 10 of us today. That's not an expedition. That's a Hoard. Huns did less damage with more riders. But we now have German bikes.

    Today's dirt has a lot of 'stutter bumps' on the inside of the corners. And some of the corners have large but fewer bumps, 2 to 5 possible. I know this because they are large enough to count individually. I might loft the front wheel and miss one or more impacts. The rear wheel counts them all. Maybe the fast guys up front go around or sail over some of them? I wouldn't know. Occasionally, there is a narrow smooth line to the inside of them if one can set up for it.
    Darius has a tip-over in a hard-pack gravel uphill switchback left. My suspicion is that he didn't have enough momentum and spun out his rear tire with just a bit too much power. Its a fine and delicate thing to ride street tires in the dirt. I am still very much impressed that he can do it so well. He may have done it on purpose to prove to me that he was still merely human after all? Or that he could fake human skillz if he needed to do that.
    My notes record seeing a crane but not if it was standing or airborne. Seeing a crane is always a good omen.

    Patrick has mounted up his Go-Pro on a suction cup to his windshield and added some duct tape insurance. (Haven't seen any of his go-pro vids as of this writing.)

    COWS! COWS IN THE ROAD! Cows running in and along the road in front of us. No danger to me. But it is rare to see that from my experience. Whoever was upfront did a nice job of shoo-ing them along to a gate where they got off the road. Later, one of the more knowledgeable riders properly identified them for the rest of us saying that they were 'eastern short haired yaks'. Looked like cows to me but not the kind one milks. Hamburger on the Hoof was my best guess.

    We pass thru small towns having hikers. I would luv to stop and talk to a few of them. Too many Moons ago, me and a college budd were slated to do the Appalachian Trail as a present to ourselves. Real life and girlfriends got in the way of that. I still have the pack frame and pack for that trip and might do some of it yet. Wonder if hikers accept root beer candy in trade for a little conversation? By contrast, we didn't see many touring bicycles on this trip as mountains are typically tough to tour on bicycles. Ask any of those French riders about that.

    My notes read that we took a "Bee Break". But it might have been a misprint.
    Our famed street tire rider took his 2nd fall. This time in much the same conditions but to the right hand side proving that he can do it both ways. Very kind of him not to overwhelm us lesser souls with his mad skillz. The following bikes quickly stacked up behind him. Patrick rode into the ditch on the wall side as there was no other room available to him. I am admiring Pat's ability to crash but not actually have the bike laying on it's side. Very thoughtful of him to make retrieval so effortless for the rest of us. Hope that he got video of that including the fallen GS mid-trail?

    Somewhere, one of the guys lost a red tool box cover (Mike?). This was noticed at a 'rest' stop. Another rider had time to ride back some ways looking for it. No mention if any tools/gear was lost? Alas, the cover was not found. Don't remember where it was when Mike mentioned that his rear brake had failed. I must remember to ask him how he handles a steep, mud covered, downhill with a hairpin at the bottom without a rear brake? My hard-learned advanced technique for this is to pick a nice soft place to crash near the bottom so that the turn could be taken slower.

    Sometimes there are puddles. And these puddles can be easily avoided if one has medium skills and an alert mind. Depending on the puddle, one will get more or less wet if it is possible to do so. Some riders have waterproof boots and gear. I do not. I finally hit a puddle deep enough to get wet. Water splashed across my boot ankle-high. Enough water with enough force that it ran up my Stich leg and down into my boot. I hate that. Somehow, my GS is more likely to do this to the right boot only. I have yet to figure out why. IF...I had been thinking about this before the trip, i might have packed an elastic pants cuff strap like bicyclists used to wear to keep chain grease off their cuff. Maybe next time. If so, I will prolly have the straps neatly packed in my gear at the moment when I need them.

    Imagine my surprise and delight to find 2 other ADV riders (separate occasions) going the other way? I waved as is my habit and got waves in reply. Both had light dirt bikes and seemed to be moving right along. Somewhere else in the trip, a young dirt bike rider was met going the other way and he and Kev stopped to talk. I do not have a record of this conversation and failed to collect one later. Kev can post up any significant fun about it. If I was the kid, I would have said, "Turn around now as you will never get through." That would have been my opening line just to get the reaction before saying, "Just kidding. The valley is only lightly flooded after you get thru the forest fire."

    I stopped to greet an older hiker with a light looking pack. After asking if he was ok and had enough water, I learned that he was only going 7 miles for his desired section. He seemed so hale and hearty and in good spirits that I didn't think to offer some candy until well after we parted. He was going the other way. It wasn't necessary to ask him to keep an eye out for lurid motorcycle slide marks in the dirt leaving the road and into the abyss that might match my motorcycle. Its not a real adventure unless you have strangers looking for your mishaps as well as you looking for theirs.

    LUNCH: The desired spot was closed. The masters of the digital universe conjured up 2 possibilities. The Dairy Queen was selected by an unknown but still mysterious and arcane manner according to the Rites of Digitalis. DQ has its advantages. Mostly speed and known cuisine some of which leans toward healthy. Considering the risks of our type of travel, why healthy is important to some riders escapes me? I consider most of my off-road trip meals to be my last and enjoy the hell out of them. Granted my skills and speed may be greatly enhanced by me losing 50lbs. But not enough to make that a serious option in my case.

    The ten of us ride into a largely empty DQ parking lot. Our salubrious leader makes a very nice large loop thru the lot. Following riders trail him like good little ducklings. One by one, each riders slows and parks in a near perfect line next to the previous rider. The level of precision can only be matched by nationally known college marching bands. Later, Mike had his camera out and got a pic of the perfectly aligned bikes. We can do this on the spur of the moment and cannot get launched on time in the morning? Of course this happened only once on the trip and required near idyllic conditions to make happen.

    This DQ is not located in a major metropolitan area. It runs on rural time. One gets one's food usually before the season changes but not always before the sun goes down. I could see that there was going to be plenty of time before I could place my order. So I took down a bunch of chairs and aligned tables for us to sit as group. When I did get in line for food, I met an Appalachia Trail Thru-Hiker and his budd who was going only part way. As slow as DQ was, I didn't get a lot of info. Prolly because I couldn't shut up long enough to maximize the interlude. I did find out that he had budgeted $6000-8000. He was northbound. And he expected to finish in mid-August.

    The DQ pop machine was behind the counter and I didn't get a free re-fill. The burger was good. My hydration was weak.
    My notes died after this lunch. No idea how the trail/road was after this? WE/me fueled at 3;34(?) in Abington garnering 41.620111mpg. We must have done some riding as I have another fuel receipt. at 3;22pm at a Mobil station giving me 45.846417mpg. Fuel receipt times are notoriously erroneous which is why the IBA highly advises checking the accuracy in certification rides especially around midnight. Be careful joining the IBA as it changes one's thinking about how riding might be done. Some of the changes are hard to deprogram.

    We arrive at our motel which is located downwind of a sanitation facility. Maybe there was a nearby open sanitation ditch? No idea how close we were but I was grateful that we were no closer. The hotel desk clerk walks around in an open and billowing light trench coat like you see detectives wearing in 50's TV cop shows, Joe Friday? He reminds one (some?) of the riders of the character Howard Hughes in that bio movie of recent vintage. We have the dining room to ourselves and the conversation rolled with the beer. The next morning's take out bag of courtesy breakfast is better than nothing. Two of the items require a spoon which is not in the bag. Somebody responsible actually felt bad for selecting the place and said so. For a guy who intended to camp, I thought it was ok. The price was right and riders could have moved if they so desired. Of the campgrounds that I looked at, two were so bad that stealth camping or sleeping on the bike in a Wally World parking lot would have been better.

    No Best Moments were collected.
    Anybody got anything to add? Did anybody other than me take notes? I would hate to think that awl y'awl are relying on the likes of me to have anything to show to the home-front as proof of a good time?

    - - - - - -- - - - -
    Day Six: to Morefiels WV

    SUNDAY! Turned out to be a big day for a cuppla us.

    42F degrees and F stands for you-know-what. But, it is clear and pretty.

    Considering the motel comp breakfast, I was hoping somebody would (dare I say it?) bitch and want to hit a McD's? This is what happens when a blanket pin is confused with a diaper pin in the eyes of the riders. Apparently Napoleon was wrong and not all armies move on their stomachs. At least not our army. After a DQ, I would figure that a survival crawl into a McD would be viable? I did not see Mike doing his coffee in the motel parking lot. If he was out of grounds, I would have gladly gone to the nearest store and resupplied him. Note To Self: When traveling with Mike, bring emergency grounds and pack extra water.
    First order of business is to get the group fueled. Ten bikes can be problematic to get fueled. As a group rider/leader/organizer, I have made notes on which stations might be better than others. On this trip, I noted that large stations near big intersections with lots of pumps work better for our large group. Unless there is a good reason to fuel a lot of bikes at smaller stations. Another thing I noticed in our mountainous riding area is that very few places have large areas of mid-western plains "flat". A rider is parking on a slope nearly everywhere. And merely standing in place often has a slope requiring attention to bike control all the time. Finding a wide spot on the trail large enough and flat enough to hold 10 bikes can be a rarity.

    We ride into a smallish Shell Mini-Mart on a hillside. The concrete pads next to the pumps are pretty flat but nothing else is. Because I am the last rider, all the pumps are occupied. I circle looking for a good place to wait my turn and decide to stop with my back to the mini-mart and its parked cages. I got my mirrors to see if any nearby cagers need to get out. The longer that I wait in place, the worse/unsafe I think my situation is. I have decided to move and improve my chances and am looking for a better place. And WHAM. I am knocked over. A cager has backed out of a place 2 spots away and turned into me. I have sustained worse hits playing hockey and crashing the bike. The cage do not actually touch me as the Jesse can took the hit as I was sideways to the rear of the cage. Fortunately, the driver stopped. The guys ran over and picked me and my bike up after I asked her to move her cage and give us room. A mature ER nurse was driving. She immediately asked if I wanted to go to the hospital as she was an ER nurse. I bit my lip and didn't ask her if she was out drumming up business? Big Thanx to those who took pix. If I had needed pix for court, I would have had good ones. Internally I felt pretty good. And my bike seemed to have zero damage. Mostly I felt totally embarrassed that I had been so dumb to have been caught being as dumb as I usually am.

    As everything seemed to be ok on my side and she wasn't complaining about her vehicle or anything else, I did my best to put her at ease and send her on her way. She would not go away. I had to figure out how to get closure? She was too worried to go away right away. Seeing as how she was a nurse, I asked if we could hug and get on with our day? I got a nice hug. And she still would not go away. I asked for another hug and got that one too. She finally got in her cage and I got to an open pump.

    When the bike went over, the hit was from the bike saddle to the inside of my thigh. A lifetime of falling down has trained me to go 'rag doll' and roll with it if possible. Other than a large subcutaneous bruise, no tendons or ligaments were damaged. Joints all worked good with zero pain. My ankle still hurt from a previous fall but no worse for this one. I expected the day's riding would keep me loose rather than if I lay around and just get locked up. All in all, a non-incident. Halle-eff'n-lujah! Great photo opp and great story.

    Long term effect was the weirdest black&blue mark I ever had. All the little creases and folds in my Stitch and jeans made different pressure points. The bruise is healing up in stripes according to these creases. The bruise extends around to the back of the thigh and I don't know why. A few years ago I sustained my first pulled hamstring and was amazed how much that hurt and what a hell of a bruise it produced. This bruise was a lot like it but without any pain.

    The FB pix make it look pretty bad but it didn't hurt like it looked. Thank You, Geebus!

    Big Moment of the Trip: Patrick crashes hard. And doesn't die.
    Its Patrick's story and I don't want to spoil it. But I have to write it up for myself and share what I got as some sort of personal sense of duty. I got no details of Patrick's side. Perhaps, he will do one and share it around? Here's my side of the experience...

    Patrick was in front of me as I like to be the drag rider. If he is going to be the last rider, it could be some time before he is missed. I was glad to be in position to be the first responder if he should need one. In turn, Patrick kindly waited at the end of long sections to see my headlight coming and taking off as soon as possible so that I would not have to eat so much of his dust. In the middle of a long straight downhill laying in the ditch on the hill side was Patrick's bike. Patrick was already separate from the bike and I didn't know if he was freshly crawled out from under it or was already away from it when the bike went over? I soon discovered what did him in. The area's roads were steep and the storm rains had washed large clumps of leaves and sticks out into the roadway. The water would run down the ditches and wash everything out. In low spots the water would cross the road to continue down the hillsides. When the water crossed the road, it would carve a channel that could be quite deep and have sharp sides. Imagine taking the curb out of the end of your drive way and crossing that with your bike at speed? Patrick had hit such a place at enough speed to upset the whole bike and himself. As a rider, it is a difficult call as to how to get past such an obstacle. Carrying a lot of speed, a rider hopes that the bike will absorb the impact and carry thru if the rider is on the pegs and can let the bike do the work. Getting on the throttle to lighten the front end is often a good tactic. Slowing to near nothing and bopping thru it works well too. Its that mid-speed range that is often the most problematic. After seeing this cut thru the road, I wondered how the fast riders had handled it? None of them mentioned how bad the hit was? But all remembered seeing the place.

    I got past it and found a good place to park to assist Pat. Walking over to Pat, I noticed that he was up and moving which is always a good sign, shock or no. He was mentioning some pain but was more concerned that the bike damage had ended his trip. He didn't look like he was going to pass out or keel over. He didn't look like he most wanted to sit or lie down. I judged him 'good to go' as any injuries might let him. I turned my attention to the bike and indeed there was a lot of damage. But it looked all cosmetic to me. Forks looked straight and still inline even as the bike was on its side. No fluids were leaking. Back end looked good too. By the time I get through all this (several minutes?) 2 (Kev and Todd if my memory serves?) riders have come back to see what's up. We get the bike up and out into the road and parked. I suspect that the leaders stopped soon after that obstacle just to see that everyone got thru? When Pat and I did not show up quickly, they sent two back to check on us. Kev and I did our best to align the pieces and Todd and Patrick did their best to get duct tape in place. Todd was a great help everywhere. Zip-ties came out and a few got strategically placed. There was some sort of fancy and shiny baling wire used too. The job went so well that we didn't have to stop to re-do it before we got to the end of the day. The ride out had Patrick riding at 10-12mph initially. As he started to feel better and sort himself out, his speed increased to 20-24mph. I took that as a great sign that he was comfortable on the bike. I was prepared to stay behind him at any speed for as long as it might take to reach a safe(r) place. Like a hospital. The distance to a paved road was long enough that Jack had to do a cigarette break after I had finished what was left of the motel's grab bag. Some sort mystery raisin breakfast log? He waved us past and I was glad to have him behind us if we needed 2 riders to help with Patrick. Patrick's injuries were severe enough to make him start for the day's end motel as soon as he reached pavement. His foot hurt so bad that upshifting was nearly impossible. I asked him if he wanted to be escorted to the motel and he waved me off. Much to our surprise, Patrick showed up a short time later where we were having a coffee&nosh break. I don't know how this happened but it might have been made easier/possible with digital comm? I was glad to see that he was still moving and not laying in a wayside 'resting'. After this coffee break, Patrick motored off to the Warm Springs Lodge for some serious R&R. Patrick's instrument panel is loose and he is riding by Visual Flight Rules. The ceiling might be unlimited but the ground is pretty close. 'Touch&Go' landings are not mentioned.

    The coffee break was a loooong break as it should be considering the the events of the day. I have no idea if the leaders trimmed the route due to time but I suspect not. There was a guy at the coffee stop who wanted to talk about GSs. We did our best to be enlightening. I did my best to uphold the 'anti' side.
    As we get going again, Depin notes that he is going to try and get some practice at standing and shifting without the clutch. This is standard dirt bike skill. But every bike feels different when doing that.

    Andrias gets water in his boots too.

    Somewhere I ran off the edge of the road but didn't crash. Can't decide if I got lucky or an old autonomic dirt skill kicked in just when I needed it most?
    Early in the day we were on a Natl forest road that had a LOT of roadside trash? One rider called it the Trail Of Trash. Especially tires just like they got hauled out there to be purposely discarded but not thrown off an edge so that they could easily be picked up? WTF?

    I noticed places where the redbud trees added a lot of color to otherwise drab green hillsides. And there was some sort of tree with white petals/flowers on them (dogwoods?). The white flowers had an ethereal look to them. And made the forest look more mysterious by reliving some of that "Dark and Deep with miles to go..."

    Late in the day, my thigh sorta hurt and the leg was weak and didn't want to balance the bike on that side. Getting it up off the side stand was not easy. I expected something like this and was glad that it wasn't way worse.
    I got a nice rest and a chance to loosen up when Todd got the only puncture of the dirt riders. It was an easy and successful repair. Todd's mini-pump put a lot of psi into that tire in a hurry. Superior pump that. Downside was that I just had to tell a few puncture stories and they just had to grit their teeth and endure them. Red gummy worm plugs are better than the black ones.

    We had water crossings. Exact count not known by me. 5 for sure. Maybe as many as 7 depending on one's definition/specification of a water crossing. My specification would start with both wheels have to be wet at the same time. I stopped for one hoping to get a sign from a rider as to which tire rut/lane was best. Finally one guy signaled 'right' and I did that with no unexpected silliness. Thank you, budd!

    Late in the day coming off the dirt, I get to a tee intersection and there is no rider waiting for me nor one a long way down the paved road in either direction. This is not my first rodeo and I pick the best and most obvious place to wait for someone to come back and get me. After a timed 10min, I figure that it may not happen and I should do something to improve my condition. I got out my list of the trip's motels and figured to program this day's motel into my GPS. Before I could get that done Keven kindly came to see me thru. When I rejoined the group, I let it be known that if this only happens 2 or 3 times for the trip then that would be a great accomplishment.

    It was good to see Patrick at the Warm Springs Lodge. His bruises looked pretty bad and he was a hurtin' cowboy. But he was still game to ride pavement each day to finish out the trip. Medical advice from the internet said to soak the injuries in cold water for 30-45min(?) and then start soaking them in hot water to prevent scar tissue.

    Everyone goes to dinner at Cheetah B's. Patrick's spirits are good.

    Best Moments as I have them
    Patrick was most impressed by the Trail of Trash wondering who and why would be so inconsiderate of a Natl forest?
    Andrias enjoyed Todd's ride thru a bush exiting one of the water crossings.
    Depin enjoyed his standing to ride and clutch-less shifting self-taught session. I have no idea if he continued to do that for the rest of the dirt riding?
    Darius "liked it all and didn't fall all day."
    Jack liked the lake at the 3000 foot elevation rest stop and the smell of the flowers there.
    Kev was amused by all the stupid jokes bandied about during Todd's flat repair.
    Mike liked that Patrick was still alive (I think we all were at the moment but picked other stuff so as not to dwell) and that I seemed so gracious at my knock-down.
    I liked all the water crossings even if I got wet boots for the fun.

    The Warm Springs lodge had no AC nor cell reception. Some riders checked in via the place's wi-fi. I could not. Patrick offered to let me us his phone to call home but I politely declined. She Who Must be Obeyed can go a day without yanking my electronic leash. Besides one of my favorite blessings of a bike trip is to uncouple myself from the TV, phone, computer and as many unnecessary digital connections as possible. I grew up when we didn't have all that stuff as well as running water and electricity. I liked it. And as posted earlier, an on-demand hot shower is still a minor miracle to me.
    One of the quarters I had been carrying for the toll bridge crossing was found in my boot. I guess that my knock-down shook it out of my pocket and my Stich guided it into my boot.

    Pat snored normally and there were no pain noises in the night. I was glad that he had someone in the room to call for if he had to.

    After a day like today what can be said?
    "Thanx." In a lot of different ways and for a lot of different things and for a pretty good bunch of guys,
  8. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    Day Seven: to Harper's Ferry
    56f and the remains of an overnight rain. BUT. It was not actively raining when I loaded my bike.

    As per usual, Kev was up before me and outside enjoying the day. Unlike camping, one cannot tell when others in the motel are awake. Although the Warm Springs Lodge had the thinnest walls of the trip. Neither Patrick nor I could hear Todd yelling at us to be quiet last night. Sure we could hear stuff but it wasn't loud enough to annoy us. Like either of us wasn't so knackered from the preceding day that a brass band would keep us awake.
    First blessed event of the the day was Kev giving me some motel coffee. An act of kindness so genteel as to choke me up if there wasn't hot coffee to sip. Thanx, Kev.

    There was enough rain to make all the dust on my bike turn into muddy splotches. I hate dirty instruments and mirrors. Everything else on my bike might be a filthy mess. But I like to start every ride with clean clocks and mirrors. If they are dirty enough to be unsafe, I will clean the headlights and taillights.
    For wet boots, I pack garbage can liners. My sox stay dry and warm for a while. If it is cold, the evap of the wet boot may suck a little warmth away. If it is hot, my feet will self baste in sweat. The idea is to get the boot dry while riding. When I put a hot air hair blower in my boot, it usually burns out. This works for others but not for me. We left the Lodge as it started to rain. Fortunately, the rain was light and spotty. I didn't get wet in a leaking Stich.
    Notes accumulated read mostly like the following:
    Amazing how many little rocks on the pavement pop up and hit my boot? Gravel and sticks on the dirt road I can understand. I run over a lone pebble on the street during this trip and it hits my boot?
    50 cents ready for the toll bridge.
    No Amish seen despite all the signs warning of the possibility. And I was hoping to trade a little hard candy for something Amish.
    60F with knobbys on wet pavement just doesn't feel good.

    Quote of the Day: Jack says, "The things I am learning from you guys, I will never be the same." Make of that what you will.

    Somehow, my helmet liner shifts and blocks my sight. I have to stop and take my helmet off to reposition it. When I do, I screw up and didn't select a good spot and tip-over. Being lazy and a general pain in the ass, I wait for help. Kev politely showed up and got me sorted. Ok, I tried twice to right it but was juuuust short of success on my own.

    The damp red clay and rocks looked very slippery but weren't. Still, it was hard for me to trust that the traction wouldn't dissolve in a moment. It was noted that someone really liked the twisty roads of the day. The whole riding area was pretty nice.
    Todd paid the toll bridge for all of us. I was grateful but wished that I could have demanded a receipt as a significant souvenir (French word. look it up.). We took a rest at the toll bridge and I schmoozed the toll lady with candy. She had no stories for 40yrs on the job. She did tell me that the strangest sight was a young couple driving across with an old man in the back seat masturbating while they paid the toll. I had nuthin' after that. The bridge was wood and wet. Everyone got across safely and with no incident. She doesn't keep track of how many bikes cross in large groups. I told her there was 10 in our group. She now has a wider focus for the rest of her life. We moved on when it started to rain.
    Darius is riding slower. I don't know why? Sometime during the day's ride a turkey buzzard nearly hit Darius. I have several bird-strike stories and didn't tell any of them.

    When I am following Patrick, he points out stuff like miniature horses, wild turkeys, whatever he sees that ought to be shared. Thanx, Patrick
    Lunch was at BuddyLou's in Handcock. Depin went straight at a turn in town but soon came back due to seeing no following headlights. Kev waited at the turn while Patrick made an effort to chase Depin down . The book says that the Best Moments of Sunday were collected at this lunch. Mike got a 'nasty-gram' on his bike in the parking lot. It was decided that the note-leaver was way less than significant to anything.
    A crazy cager passes us with very close margins. No idea what might have set him off or if he was just having a bad day or if he was a full service, full time asshole?

    We walked around Harper's Ferry a little bit. The drone took pix which I have yet to see. Maybe Andrius is channeling Cecil B. DeMille and is putting together an epic video? I climbed High Street and descended the stairs on a gamey leg wondering if it was going to heal up sooner rather than later? Patrick was getting around pretty good. Somehow he figured out a pad for his foot that allowed him to upshift without searing pain. We met a dog walker wearing 40lbs of weighted vest in an attempt to lose weight. At the time he was going downhill. No idea if he still had to go uphill to get home?
    Late in the day we had a rest stop with group pic at Shepard University. I never did find out why that place might be of note. It was hot enough to make me seek shade.

    This day's note doesn't seem very much or very good for the day? Those with better recall and/or notes are welcome to fill in details as possible.
    The Best Moments collection is not complete. It must have been a tough day for me to fall off my notations?
    Todd liked the toll bridge.
    Patrick misses a pic of a girl in the lobby wearing boots and Daisy Dukes and carrying a bird. Maybe it was John who missed the pic? The note is less than clear.
    Waitress Tiffany asks Jack if he is Swiss because he has an accent and ordered swiss cheese on his burger.
    I don't even have a note-to-self for best moment.
    Three Ride Reviews in one day. Composition-wise, I am tapped out. The last 2 fuel receipts show 39.970355mpg in Covington and 44.420746mpg in Petersburg WV.

    Whoop, there it is,
    ps: If I was going to research a 10 day trip full of motels, I might be looking for places with large communal hot tubs. Good place to soak out the kinks while telling stories of the day.
    - - -- - - - - -- - - - -
    Day Eight: to State College PA

    Tuesday must have been an exceptional day in an unknown way? My trip log failed to note the temp and general weather conditions of the morning. My trip log failed to note the SSU time and how late we might have been. I may have been so deliriously happy that such data had become so unimportant to me that even the habit ceased to exist? I doubt it. Patrick had a 'no snore' night making me think that he might be dead every time that I got up to use the can.
    This day's log opens up with Andrius' tip-over. It happened on pavement. The corner was a slight switchback, steeply uphill, right-hander with armco on the right. ( Sometimes I feel like a golf announcer describing a challenging Green. But that's how it is in the mountains. Putt-Putt golf layouts don't have this variety of slope.) If we had made bets on who was least likely to tip-over as opposed to crash, my big money would have been on our youngest and most hale&hearty rider, Andrius. The bike came to lean on the armco and sort of trap Andrius making it difficult to pick up by himself. Somebody got parked and dismounted to help him. Perhaps a mirror got knocked out of alignment? We had bikes all over the roadway with riders stopped trying to keep them upright. Sure as shit, a cage was coming the other way and several bikes had to move to clear a path for it. I noted Patrick making a supreme effort not to put much weight/force into his bad leg. My own carcass was feeling beat up and not performing as per my best wishes. I can only imagine what Patrick was dealing with. Kudos to that man for hanging in there. If there was a medal to be awarded to Patrick for intestinal fortitude, I would submit the paperwork.
    Scanning my log notes in an attempt to get a grip on a timeline, there was some sort of overnight storm. Reports of a nearby tornado circulated making me glad that I did not have to pitch a tent nor strike it during a heavy rain. The motel parking lot as well as nearly everything else that was paved had zero puddles anywhere due to the ubiquitous slope. It was cool enough for me to wear a fleece while sitting in a rocker by the motel lobby door sipping comp. breakfast coffee. I would have stood out in the parking lot BS-ing with Mike, Kev, and Depin for a much longer if my carcass hadn't hurt so much as to make me look for a comfy seat in the shade. I think Todd joined in an adjacent chair for a little while? Sadly, my Garmin Nuvi GPS was not removed from the bike and it died in the rain. I am now entirely w/o good local digital NAV. My Garmin V still works but is too old for precise NAV. It will do compass points and major US routes. For our purposes, its cursor will be alone on a screen devoid of streets. Will the adventure ever slacken even a little bit? The sky was a cloudless blue and it looked to be a nice warm day. My dust-induced hack was still with me.

    Shortly after getting on the paved road littered with slick storm-wetted leaf debris and to the site of Andrius' tip-over, we got on some dirt. Amazingly, the dirt was not all that slick from the heavy rain. Maybe so much slope made it quickly shed the worst of the wet and dry off pretty fast?
    There was a loooong, bumpy, loose gravel downgrade that was so steep as to make me very leery of gaining speed. Even with the bike dragging in first gear, I felt that I was descending too fast for the bottom corner. Other riders remembered that particular decent too. Perhaps they enjoyed it slightly more than I?
    For maybe the second time we had no rider waiting for us at a turn. But there was enough disturbance of the dirt by preceding bikes that we figured it out and guessed correctly.

    I had my 2nd tip-over at our first rest stop while we all waited for Todd to come back to a missed turn. It didn't take him long. I was grateful for the riding respite but my toes barely touched on one side. Just another example of how challenging it can be to park a bike in mountainous wilds.

    Making a transit on pavement between dirt fun, we come to a road closure due to a fallen tree from last nite's storm. The tree crew was on the job. A woman from the crew was stopping traffic sans 'flag'. We were at the bottom of a vale with a bridge over the 'babbling brook' that one hears or reads about so often. Even so, the road is so crowned and the shoulders so tenuous that I am parking challenged. There is no shade on the pavement and it is now hot and humid and devoid of breeze. I ride into a nearby farmyard and park on a nice flat area under a nice big leafy tree. Schmoozing the traffic control woman (Brea, and there is a pic somewhere) with root beer candy (politely declined, sigh), I ask her to radio up to the work site and explain that 10 bikes would like to pass and and need only a 4 foot lane to do so. She actually relays the request and we get denied. This must be when I pulled out my trip log and noted that it was 77F at 9;40am and took off my early morning fleece. Someone spotted a tortoise near here?

    After some time waiting for the tree clearing, our Illustrious Ride Admins decided to do a 'Ride Around'. It was pleasant to be moving again and cooling off in the breeze. Sights seen during this transit include: several hi-vis, flaming red bushes in front of a house; old stone building walls covered in vines having no roof or windows/doors; fields with those picturesque stone walls that are more long piles than fitted masonry. When we do leave the pavement, we have the finest hard-pack that a rider could dream up. There was one section of nasty, tore-up, rutted, loose topped downhill but it was blessedly short. Crashing there would have been brutal and getting going again very challenging. Kev, again, took very good care of me and Patrick making sure that we got thru there safely as he did nearly everywhere else for the whole trip. I'll never be able to thank him enough for all that.

    Somewhere about here. Patrick bails out for the pavement for the rest of the day. His foot/leg was killing him and the constant shifting / standing of dirt riding had become too onerous to continue. Our dirt continued to be pretty nice and smooth, dust free. When we did hit some short slimy sandy mud, the middle between the ruts had packed gravel with good traction if one could stay on it and not drift into a slimy rut.

    There was an old coot on a red tractor who didn't seem too happy about us riding past?

    I didn't see it but the report of a porcupine road kill came to my log book. Another report said that a semi backed up to a poultry farm building had big lettering on it reading, "Babies Are Us." Nobody knew what it really meant but jokes were concocted anyway.
    There was a section so sweet lasting for 20-30 miles that I was a little choked up with joy while riding some of it.
    John missed a turn but Kev saw him and waited till he came back. Good man that Kev.

    Saw an ADV rider going the opposite way. Looked to me to be on a Triumph. Gladdened my heart for the moment. We exchanged waves.

    LUNCH was had in Penncy-Tucky. I ordered lemonade sans ice as I wanted more -ade than water and it usually comes out of the machine chilled enough for me. This time the lemonade must have been made from a powder with 80F water.. Last time I had hot lemonade there was alcohol in it and it was in a winter long ago. Todd had a Hog Maw. Its a Penn Treat consisting of sausage, cabbage, and diced potatoes. Penn-sy people must be very staid if that is their idea of a treat? Move it south and put some BBQ sauce on it and it might become popular world wide?

    APRES LUNCH we had a nice pretty straight section of great hard-pack whoops. I didn't see anybody take them. After the first couple, I got brave and decided to get 'air born!'. No knak-knaks or anything fancy. I had yet to get my GS aloft on purpose. This looked like a good chance. Roadside trees and ditches be damned. It went ok. The suspension didn't bottom out. I didn't wallow all over. And the center stand swung down on impact and prolly gouged 2 short ruts in the road. The bike was fully loaded too. Somewhere we had a cuppla on-coming bikes and cages.

    All the dirt after Patrick bailed was pretty good and I believed that Patrick could have ridden it with minimal standing/shifting and enjoyed it well enough. Mostly nice, hard-pack gravel and dust free. At the time I did not know that he had developed a nice sized and very tender blood blister right where the shift lever engaged his foot.

    Late in the day with the temps falling and the shadows getting long, we had an 'in the trail' rest stop. I swear that I was getting skeeter bit and biting gnats were joining the fun.

    We rode thru an Amish community. There were at least 3 buggies with high-stepping horses. One of the buggies stopped for a red light. Like ships at sea and trains, I would have thought that the buggies pre-dating red lights would have right of way like pedestrians? Many Amish couples were walking to some sort of gathering. Some carried musical instrument cases. All very cool to my senses.

    DINNER: While waiting outside for a table, I engaged some college kids in fun banter. No Best Moments collected as it was too loud and too busy to get it done. Kev is delighted to announce that we had 'completed' sections 5, 6, and the important bit of 7 on schedule. Thus we would have no dirt to get to our trip's northern-most end point for pix, etc.. Kev gets a 'luv note' from a big burly guy at dinner. After the shenanigans', we learn that Patrick set it up and it only cost him $20. ( I bet that I could have got that done for merely several root beer candies?)

    The ride back to the motel in a heavy rain was scary as I had a hard time seeing anything. Upside was that the ride was short enough that my Stich didn't leak before I got to the motel. And it was lights out pretty quick for me. My leg strength was returning. And I would be too shy to pry into Patrick's condition for the log. If anyone else had any aches or pains, I didn't hear about them.

    Fuel at 8am in Purcellville VA gave me 44.288449 mpg for Monday. And fuel at 5pm in East Waterford PA gave me 47.76923mpg for this day.
  9. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    Day Nine: to Wellsboro PA

    I keep forgetting to include mention of Andrius' drone. At a rest stop in the hills yesterday, he got it out for some fun. Has anybody seen any footage?
    Today...50F and raining. Nobody mentions this rain to the trip's participating Weather Witch? Either everybody is happy in their rain gear or everyone is pretty damn tough? We ride a short distance for fuel at 8am in State College PA. The fuel depot has a large canopy and we dally with some munchies hoping for a lull or serious decrease in precipitation. The motel coffee was pretty weak. Some riders may have gotten gas station coffee? Some emergency vehicles made a lot of noise responding to a need nearby. After a while, we 'buck up' and head out into it. I had garnered 45.63492mpg since our mid/late afternoon fuel yesterday. We needed to fuel to make yesterday's last 80 miles.

    As a group, we got out of the gas station pretty well to make a left at the intersection. Somehow, Jack missed the light for the left turn and got intervening traffic. But...Jack has the route in his GPS. What could possibly go wrong? The rest of us roll merrily along in the significant rain. We come upon the crash scene where a cager is in the median of a intersection where lane changes are crucial. We get past all this and carry on with only one or 2 cages separating our group. We assemble at a turn and wait for Jack. It is raining distinctively. But compared to riding in it, it feels like the rain has quit. Several times I thought that the rain had quit and surprised myself checking that it was still raining as hard as it was. Through the magic of cell phones and GPS tracks, Kev and Jack contact each other and not long after we are grouped up. Rumor has it that Jack turned a different way at that crash site. His gps track may have had something to do with that. That all digits on all gps devices may not be aligned does not surprise me. All in all at this time, the riding is still interesting. The fields and farms are still nice to view.

    When we do get off pavement, the rain has turned much of the surface sand into slime. Its bad enough to make me stand up. It is bad enough to make Kev, leading our sub-group of 4, ride slow enough that I could keep up. Or he was politely waiting for me at my pace and getting some daily meditation? Apparently, eastern mountains where we were do not generate big/deep mudholes. I was waiting to hit one but it never happened.
    There was supposed to be a 'Pro' section with a ride-around if one didn't want to do it. Described as embedded (as opposed to 'loose') baby-head rocks and steep downgrade but short. I hate rock gardens but might do it if I could see it first. In the Far North I rode 13 miles of the worst rock garden I had ever done, fully loaded with gear. As it happened, Kev missed the turn for the Pro section. We were in the midst of a slimy sand section that goes around when he announced that he wanted to go back and ride the Pro section. I opted to do the sand. Kev told me that there was a campground at the bottom of the ride-around where we would meet up. I can't miss it.

    First thing that happened was that I got down to some good dirt without falling in the soup and being unable to pick up my bike solo. 2nd, The bottom of the ride-around ended at a Tee and I had no idea which way to go. The work-around was heavily favored to go to the right which I did. I came upon a hiker and asked about the campground. There were 2 with one in each direction from the work-around. I continued on looking for where the Pro section might might join my dirt road and saw nothing before a reservoir lake with a really nice campground. Riding the whole of the campground, I found nobody and left for the other campground. 3rd, I met two fishermen and asked if there were any bikes looking for me? I left my name with them in case someone asked. I got to the second campground but didn't ride the whole thing and saw no bikes. If the Pro section ended in that campground there was no sign enlightening me? 4th, the other campground looked nicer and I went back there to wait. My phone had no cell service at either one. If the guys were in trouble on the Pro section I might never know unless a medi-vac chopper came over my head? 5th. Kev finally tracked me down and we went back to the crappy campground. It had started to rain again and I wondered if we would ever ride out of it or it would move away or quit? Apparently the 'shorter' pro section took much longer to get thru than my longer distance? I never heard any narrative about how bad/fun the Pro section was and didn't ask. No tip-over tales came to me from that section. Somebody should write that section up. No photos emerged from the Pro section.

    I had another fall/crash. The road had been covered in a sort of amalgam of sand and rocks to who knows what depth. The rain had mixed with this to make it smoo'shie (technical dirt bike term) not unlike freshly poured concrete. It wasn't deep but it gave away. I made 2 lurid slides on it and was headed for the trees as my best option. My line of escape was aimed right for a rock culvert in the ditch. Attempting to avoid that rock pile finished off my lurid slide and my hopes of escaping unscathed and riding to recovery. The dirt sure was messy and I filled a boot with enough gravel to make me take it off and empty it out before picking up the bike. There should be pix? Jack was following me at a distance and I had time to get up and wave him to a careful stop. Kev had come back to help with my rescue but went way back looking for a good turn-around spot away from this slime. He tipped over at his turn due to some wet grass. So we got to pick up 2 bikes for one crash. No money had been placed on the likelihood of this type of scenario. There was no exterior hose at the lunch diner to rinse this mud off my Stich. (N.B. Far North calcium laced mud does not rinse or wash off from textiles as my Stich proves.)

    There were a lot of intersections devoid of waiting riders pointing the way. But Kev had thoughtfully goosed his throttle at these corners leaving a kind of hashmark pointing the way. Some were easy to see and figure out. Some less so. If other riders added their hashmarks, we could start a trend?
    Lo and Behold! A 2nd rock garden appeared with no work-around. According to the riders of the Pro section, it was worse due to loose baby-heads and it was longer. No mention if the slope was about the same? Much later 2 riders told me that I had 'missed nothing' of the Pro section as the 2nd garden was just as bad but longer. Thanx guys that makes me feel so much better about wuss'ing out of the Pro section. As far as I know, no rims/wheels were dinged and no bikes had stuff shaken loose? None of my dental fillings were swallowed and it only took about 20min for my eyeballs to quit bouncing after we cleared the garden. Yep, it made me stand up for almost all of it. While not hard riding, it did max out my annoyance scale but not so much as to trip my 'swearing' trigger.

    We meet the Durty Dabbers. Look'em up. They were fun guys.
    Lunch is at an outside roadside stand. A thru-the-wall air conditioner quickly collects soggy gloves and gear in its warm condenser flow. Four mature moto-campers whom Patrick had met several days before rolled in. Stories were traded. They had camped in that heavy overnight rain. One of them had suffered major leaking tent fly. The group was pondering giving up the camping for the rest of their trip. I suggested a tarp sealer from any marine supply as that has worked very well for me. Did I mention that these guys were older and fully packed and none had fallen yet doing basically what we were doing? I couldn't summon the courage to ask how fast they traveled or how many miles/day they were logging? I didn't buy any lunch. But I ate leftovers. What kind of upbringing do riders have as to leave left-overs makes me wonder? There was no water hose to rinse my Stich.

    No idea when the rain quit? It remained overcast for a while. And cool-ish. Or maybe that cool was just the damp in my Stich evap-ing away?
    Somewhere after lunch we had amazing gravel 2-track with greenery between them. It was damn straight and pretty level. The fast riders went fast. They were faster than me. But not by a light-year. Realizing that I was near 60mph, I goosed it at little for the 60mph bragging rights. Rumor had it that the fast guys were doing 70+mph. Conditions were near perfect and no dust was raised.

    A few (3 or 2?) solo adv riders came our way and we exchanged waves.

    The cagers that came our way all stopped politely to let us pass. Or they were stopped by the time that I passed.
    One bicyclist was out on the dirt. He wasn't packed for touring. Prolly some sort of crazed exercise freak? He was churning up a long incline and I didn't bother to break his rhythm buy trying to talk to him.

    HOLY CRAP! An on-coming semi! In the middle of nowhere! Essentially filling the whole dirt road! Not Stopping for bikes! Zero 'wide spots' in the road for me to hide in! My side of the road has a narrow but deep ditch! The kind that no rider wants to drop into! I gave the driver a quick flash of fingers signaling 3 riders are following me! At something a little less than a walk, he moves right over to his edge and continues. I get maybe 2 feet to work with for the length of his rig. At maybe 15mph riding my edge, I get past. At the next long straight, I wait to see that the rider behind me got past the semi without issue. Everybody did.

    Leaving a rest stop at a concrete damn where it was sunny if not particularly warm, Kev stops to pick up a pair of sunglasses that someone has lost and put them on the concrete wall to be found. Unknown to us, they are Darius' prescript sunglasses. Much later, Andrius and Todd find out about this and make a mad dash back via paved roads to retrieve them. Perhaps a 45min trip each way making them late to dinner. Alas, success was denied them. Hell of an effort tho! Rumor has it that Darius took them off and set them on the back of the bike to do something. And rode off forgetting that they were there. If it makes him feel any better, I have only done that same thing maybe hundreds of times while losing a wide variety of stuff. It hasn't happened much lately. Mostly because I have little left to lose anymore.

    Todd donates some moleskin to somebody. My notes include no further details? Maybe it was to Patrick for his foot?
    Fuel in McElhattan PA at 4pm gave me 44.574468mpg.

    At dinner, we find out that John has to abandon the trip due to his spouse's imminent birthday observance and celebration. He is a compassionate and understanding spouse. If it had been me in his place, I would have relied on my 50yrs of wedded bliss based on clear and complete communications between us over many years. And I would have dutifully made the call to say, "Fuck you, I am finishing the ride." But John didn't do that. Although it might have been suggested by several riders at the time? As long as we were going to have to ride with his decision and without him, I offered his spouse a biker dinner-table toast of congratulations. We didn't sing the stoopit song. But everyone's heart was in the right place. John may have captured this moment on his cell phone? Thanx for letting us have John for a while, young lady.

    Mike mused at dinner why no riders of the female persuasion had joined this trip when invited? As a group of riders of the male persuasion, it came as no surprise that we had no clue. Thinking about it, I missed Hellen most of all. Of the 2 that were invited, one had ridden the Trans WI last year.
    If Best Moments were collected, the notation was lost.

    The 50f temp after dinner sure did make that hot shower in a warm motel room feel good.

    - - - - - -

    Day Ten: to Harrisville PA

    42F with blue sky...mostly. Our motel has zero comp breakfast and its lobby is locked. The comp coffee in the rooms sucked. We drank it anyway and were grateful because that's how we roll. We wander a block away to one of those diners made out of a railway car or made to look like a railway car. Somebody who knows about this type of diner looked it up on his smart fhone to be sure that he hadn't confused himself and was proved correct that he did know whereof he orated. Self doubt does not behoove an adventure-type dirt biker. This might have been the first real, sit-down breakfast of the trip? Greasy griddle food first thing in the morning always make me feel good. By the time I had ambled back to my bike, I had proved to myself that I had not gotten ALL the rocks out of my boot from yesterday's crash/fall.
    Fuel in Wellesboro PA at 8;53 netted 43.428988mpg.

    We had some minimalist dirt. To us dirt bikers, "A day without dirt is like a day without sunshine." The dirt was supposed to be 'easy' and not long. Pat felt well enough to join us on the dirt. The idea was to ride up to the New York state line and get a group photo before starting for home. Get a cuppla hunnert miles enjoying local roads and small towns so that the last leg/day would be a shorter 400 miles of Slab. Route was supposed to go along Rt 6 and Rt66 and Rt666.
    My notes read that my bike saved me in the dirt. If I recall correctly, I ran wide turning at a sandy intersection. Wide enough to get down into the far ditch and it didn't look good. The crash looked imminent and unavoidable regardless of my efforts to 'save it'. And, mirabili dictu, the bike dug in sideways, righted itself and me; and I powered up out of the ditch like I had been doing it all my life as a matter of course.
    After getting off the last of the dirt, we took a long rest stop in a paved vacant park. Pix were taken. The drone went up. Somebody (Patrick?) tipped-over taking one for the group in a final gesture to appease the gods.

    A short paved ride to the New York state line for a pic and to put a ride sticker on the sign. And we started homeward. The small towns with their old architecture always captivated my interest. Some cagers politely let us thru as a group. Some cagers were oblivious to our group and had no trouble sticking themselves between bikes. And motorvating at their sedate pace of choice. In the national forests, the road had interminably long double yellow lines and the cager lethargy annoyed me greatly.

    Somehow we missed Rt666. Oh well.

    LUNCH. We hit one of those desolate roadside BBQ places. Walking inside, the odors were intoxicating. I brought my notebook inside. Nobody saw anything of note, sigh. The owner was part of the local volunteer fire dept and the place was decorated as such. I had 2 hot dogs covered in some sort of onsite BBQ sauce. The dogs themselves were special made for the place. There were several BBQ sauces offered including Carolina Creamy (mayo/horseradish/spices), Carolina Tangy (vinegar based), and the molasses-based stuff that I chose. Lemme tell'ya, If I was an astute businessman ala Ray Kroc; I would steal this guy's BBQ dawg recipe. No chicago dawg comes anywhere close. I told the guy how good it was and that he ought to protect his rights to his formula. Rumor has it that the other riders thought highly of their orders. Brisket was mentioned as especially tasty. The owner took a liking to us and gave us 'free beer' that was given to him when he responded to a wreck early in the day. I don't drink and think that winning the 'chick magnet' award would be better than free beer. BUT! I don't remember ever being on a bike trip and being gifted with free beer! Maybe a rider or two had a beer with their food. The 'leftover' beer was 'harvested' by Jack for day's end consumption. Good man that Jack. The owner gave a tour of his smoker to those interested.

    Back on the little paved back roads, we had a dog run out into the road coming really close to two of the riders. These riders politely swerved so as not to nick the dog with a side case or something. By the time that I got to the dog, it had run out of energy and didn't come close. Several dogs chased us along the roadside during the trip and were no bother. Why this one decided to come into the street was a mystery to me?

    One of the more congested towns had an Amish buggie amidst traffic. I am always amazed that a horse will stay composed with so much going on.
    No idea why we fueled in Kane PA at 1;47pm? I recorded 45.130315mpg. Maybe it was just a handy 'rest stop'?

    And I got nuttin' for how we spent the rest of the afternoon? One notation with no idea if it happened early or late had Todd jumping off his bike at a red light. He dashed around to all the rest of us in a chinese fire drill manner giving each a fist bump. Later I learned that he was mostly cold and needed to warm up a little with some quick exercise. I enjoyed the humor for several following miles.

    At dinner, Kev recaps the trip noting that all points were reached. He noted that of all the states we had been in that he liked PA best. Dinner was in a Rest/Brewery combo with a glass floor viewing the brewery section. Two of the glass floor sections had shattered glass and were scary to walk over. I assumed it was safe as they were not blocked off from people traffic. I posed on one and Patrick took the pic. Our Waitress was a new hire with an instructor. She did real well considering how unruly we had become over the course of the trip.

    As we were in no hurry to get home, we all enjoyed the local hwys and were grateful that we were not on the Slab. For myself, I was not looking forward to all the Slab riding the next day especially the traffic corridor around the bottom of L. Michigan. Someday, I will examine google maps closely and figure out a few alternate routes for that traffic corridor.

    Was the trip hard? Depends on how one measures that? I had a hyper-lite fail. It takes a lot to beat one of those things to death.
    The remaining beer was consumed in the parking lot of our mostly empty motel. Stories were told on this last night together. Rain was predicted overnight and for the next day. The motel had a lot of overhangs and sheltered places. I parked my bike under an overhang on the sidewalk right next to the window of our room hoping to be able to pack up in the dry if it was raining in the morning.

    Getting to the end of it,

    - - - - - -- -

    Day Eleven: Sweet Home Chicago

    Our last day together. 46F and overcast. My parking under the overhang must have kept the rain away. Plenty of motel lobby coffee assured that I wouldn't doze off on the Slab. If the motel offered some sort of breakfast nosh, I failed to note it nor remember if it was any good? I wore my electric vest hoping that I wouldn't need it all day. Rain was forecast and those riders who had raingear that fit over their riding gear were suited up. Todd appeared so striking that I reassessed all the other riders' rain suits and came to the conclusion that we should make a calendar of us so clad.

    And... it started to rain lightly as we were forming up to depart. I had reconnoitered the motel layout when we arrived and noticed 2 covered exterior hallways. One hallway was wide enough to park several bikes out of the rain and leave plenty of room for pedestrian travel. It had a nice ramp to the parking lot too. Prior to leaving, I rode around the motel and came thru the narrow hallway and parked undercover while waiting for everyone to finish packing. I waited snuggly and smugly in my dry spot while others finished packing and prepping in the light rain.

    And we were off in a light drizzle. About 8 minutes late which may have been as close as we ever got to SSU? 127 miles to the first fuel and rest stop. I was essentially wet as my Stich is not entirely rainproof. Others reported to be happily warm and dry. The Slab has not been congested. Average traveling speed is 67.11mph according to my Sigma. 40.094191mpg at 9;18am in Amherst OH.

    About the time that we arrived at the Ohio Turnpike, the rain was heavy enough and the traffic got tight. Jack pulled a ticket and the gate went up. The gate didn't come back down and I rode thru hoping that my e-z pass in my top case was doing its job (Like I cared.). What with the rain and the traffic, I had no idea where I was in relation to the other riders? Coming out of the toll gate, I rode slow for a while and looked for bikes behind me. Seeing none, I proceeded to creep along just a bit faster than ambient traffic. Maybe 20 minutes later I rolled up behind Patrick who seemed to have been waiting for me. Thanx, Pat! We both wicked it up a bit and caught the rest of the riders. I fell into the last place. After a bit Patrick sped up and passed everyone disappearing into the traffic glut and rain mist. I never saw him after that.

    The Turnpike exit was jammed too. I had to get my e-z pass out of my top case to make the gate go up. I wouldn't have bothered but there was a gate attendant present. There was enough room for me to ride around the end of the gate and be gone. But I didn't need the attendant to call a cop on me.
    Initially I thought that we would need to only ride about 100 miles to get out of the rain leaving some 300 miles to dry out. It was longer than 200 before the rain quit.

    2nd fuel stop at West Unity OH after 119 miles of high speed into a slight headwind gave me 38.372467mpg at 11;17am. I now had enough fuel by guesstimate to get home. Patrick has been in comm with others via FB? I learn that that his headlight, instruments, and elec grips have flamed out in all the rain. He has pulled off to a Walmart(?) to personally dry out, get some better gloves, and hope that his bike's electrics dry out and come back to life. The bike runs. He will limp home as he can. Tough rider that Patrick. My gauntlet gloves are soaked. I don 2pr of lighter gloves and turn my grips on high.
    The 2nd fuel stop has free air where we happened to be parked in a line. I still had not air'd up and decided to take advantage of the air hose. My back tire was as I had left it at 36psi as I air'd up to stock 42psi. My front tire had dropped from 32psi to 22psi since day 2. It was air'd back up to a stock 36psi.The ambient 56F assured me that imy tire wasn't going to get hot on the Slab.

    Before our pristine 'parked bike' line left, pix were taken. And Kev just had to celebrate with the trip's Last(?) Tip-Over. Somehow he was leaning on Mike's bike having a tough time getting righted and Andrius came around to help him as Mike's leverage was not enough. It would have been hilarious if the remaining 5 bikes and riders would have domino'd! There are just some theatrics that I can't compete with. And that was one of them.
    The sun eventually came out and warmed the 51F air up to 56F. When it warmed up to 58/60F, I shut my vest off as it didn't seem to be working anyway.
    Last leg home and I did my best to continue waving to cops and road workers. I bailed out of the pack nearing the IL line and mentally shifted into Urban Combat Riding Mode. The closer I got to L.Mich, the more I wondered if the Skyway would be prime? 80/94 construction slowed to a creep just before the Skyway option. There were no shoulders to ride. After 15 miles of this traffic hell, I got onto 294 which was jammed but moving. Traffic was so bad (greek chorus- 'how bad was it?"), it was so bad that I never thought to break out in my traditional song for coming home, Sweet Home Chicago. I usually let it run as an earworm and sing along for however long it lasts, Enjoy this 7min version to get a feel for it.
    I-90 from 294 out to Arling. Hgts. Rd. was much more open and I wailed it for that last bit. Last fuel was a half mile from my home at 2;42pm giving me 40.131112mpg.

    I arrive home with cold and tender hands and feet from so much wet. Bar vibes have made my wrists a little achy. I had told the spousal unit last night to except me about 3pm and I was right on time. Obligatory Smooch administered and I moved directly to the hot shower. Luxuriously warmed up and appreciative of warm, dry clothes, I enjoyed a sammich and warm libation before unpacking the bike and parking it in the garage. I sent Patrick email saying that I would get rescue equipment and go back to fetch him if he had broken down completely.

    My body weight did not change by an ounce making me think of the trip as a 'moveable feast' on that score. My survival rations were not needed. I still had root beer candy and hot cinnamon candy left making me think that I hadn't tried hard enough with the flag girls, kids, and everybody else that I had met. My elec vest tested continuity but I didn't plug it in and try it on to check for heat.

    If I was going to try to write an epilogue, it might include what?
    I note that I failed to mention all the stops we made for waterfall pix.
    "Just for the record, I had a pretty good time, thanx for inviting me."
    Thanx for taking so much good care of me, awl y'awl.
    I have French written on my Jesse case from this song, Maybe Andrius will use it as a soundtrack for his vids? Or somebody will take all the stills and line them up with this song?

    you guys need some Alaska,
    23103a likes this.
  10. KYMike

    KYMike Been here awhile

    Feb 21, 2010
    Elizabethtown, KY
    I normally don't read too many reports this wordy and with few pics, but I enjoyed your writing style. It kept me coming back for more.

    Thanks for taking the time to report!
  11. UncaBuddha

    UncaBuddha Well, Okay then.

    Oct 13, 2008
    Luavul, Kaintuckee
    KYMike is correct! For a minute I could swear I was reading Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods)! Bravo!
  12. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    Yep. The rider who is supposed to insert the pix/vids is slow to the job. Maybe he will get on the stick this week? Another rider posted dome loose pix. They need to be inserted in the story in the correct places. If nothing happens this week, I will do my best to get on my co-author's case. One of the great parts of doing this kind of thing on ADVRider, is being able to send the link to friends and family. I am waiting for the pix to get inserted so that I can do that. Come on. Mike finish this thing off! I also asked the other riders who are inmates to add their own POVs. Nuttin on that fun neither, ...so far.
  13. ibafran

    ibafran villagidiot

    Apr 16, 2007
    My co-author is supposed to insert the pix and vids . Why that has yet to hit escapes me? Check back every so often to see if anything happened. I want them up as I like to send friends and family the link. I just got back from a weekender with this inmate. Imma gonna hold of on that Ride Review until he gets this one done.

    edit: hmmm? double post and no idea how I did that, oh well.