Trans-Am 500 - the seven year itch

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by JMo (& piglet), Apr 29, 2015.

  1. _anatic

    _anatic Plated

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    It was great to meet you last night! Looking forward to a bit of riding today. :ricky:ricky

    Pics later, stupid phone's smarter than I am.

    edit:
    Last night at the Wedge Brewery:

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  2. ShenandoahRider

    ShenandoahRider Been here awhile

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    It's been bizarre weather here in Virginia this week: feels more like Seattle! But I'm glad you got to experience the great, beautiful roads here. I feel very fortunate.

    I wish I could have seen you and your bike while you were here. Oh well. On the bright side, tomorrow at 9 am I will be picking up my own brand new, fresh from the factory 15 CBXA. How exciting is that? :clap Quite a step up from my old school Rebel I've been on for 3 years, I think!
  3. J&K

    J&K Been here awhile

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    How's the raiden gear holding up in the rain and chilly temps?
  4. Cruz

    Cruz Lost but laughing.

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    Was just going to ask the same question!:ear
  5. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Then there's a double reason to answer the question!

    I really am impressed with the Raiden gear so far, with a couple of provisos which I'll highlight below...

    Jacket

    To recap, I've got the ICON Raiden DKR jacket (to give it its full name), which is a really nice lightweight all-weather jacket, with D3O armour in the elbows, shoulders and back, and has a zip out qulited/thermal liner which I have left at home since it really would be overkill at this time of year.

    Instead I have brought with me a North Face zip through windstopper fleece, which I wear under the jacket if it is especailly cold - the combo works well as you can unzip the fleece for more venting, but leave the front of the jacket zipped up against the weather.

    The jacket appears to be properly waterproof, even in torrential rain - and the venting - top of the chest, under the arms (Like my Klim Traverse, ahem) and across the back of the shoulders works well enough unless you are riding at slow/technical speeds in the mid 80s F or higher, where I find it's more comfortable to unzip the front too.

    It has loads of pockets too which is nice, and Ive got my routine down now with a dedicated pocket behind the storm flap for my phone, another for my note book (yes, I'm an old school nerd ;o), plus an easy access waterproof chest pocket for my iPod and sunglasses... etc. etc.

    The two front lower pockets are also the perfect size for my wallet in one and my camera in the other, again offering easy access as required.

    I really like the fact the collar of the jacket isn't too tight - keeping you vented, or alternatively not choaking you if you wear a Buff or have a turtle neck sweater on underneath.

    It also has a really neat stirrup style cuff in each sleeve to stop the arms riding up, and also to stop drafts (effectively creating a sandwich seal with the cuff of your glove, with the outside of the jacket over the glove if you see what I mean?) However, in really hot weather, this jacket cuff can prove a bit too snug - and I know that Ray from ICON has cut these out of his own personal jacket, and I have subsequently done the same on reaching the east coast.

    I really can recommend this jacket as a great lighter weight all-season item - it seems really well thought out and well made - essentially a properly waterproof version of the old Alpinestars Venture jacket I always liked to use for travelling, but with built-in armour that doesnt feel clumsy either.


    Pants

    The pants are the Raiden Arakis (rather than DKR, which are fully waterproof) - and these are more of a mesh enduro style pant, but still with built in D3O knee armour, and a couple of hip pockets which are big/deep enough for me to slip my Montana GPS into if I need to leave the bike unattended for a while.

    These pants are by no means waterproof, although they hold up well enough in a brief shower, and correspondingly dry out quickly of course.

    When it's been tipping down, I have used an additional pair of elasticated waterproof over-pants to keep my legs dry - and as with the jacket (liner), I personally prefer this modular format as it means I have some nice light vented pants for the warm weather, and can supplement them with an additional waterproof layer as required, that is light-weight and easy to stow otherwise.

    I really do like the high waist on these pants - the waist band does up properly over my hips, which means it doesn't start to dig in during a long ride. They are very comfortable - in fact I'm sitting here in them now typing to you all!


    Gloves

    I have two pairs of gloves with me - a vented mesh pair (which are essentially summer street gloves although very much MX style) that are called Anthem; plus a pair of their all-weather Raiden DKR gloves, which feel very similar to my old Alpinestars winter gloves. In that regard, the DKR glove is a cordura material, with a waterproof lining (which means in heavy rain the outer of the glove does get wet, but the liner keeps your hands dry - or that's the idea...) They also have a nice snug fleecy lining to them which means they are very comfortable and insulating - although conversely that means you can feel a bit remote from the bar grips in comparision to a regular glove. Basically they are nice and thick and chunky. The palm (and a dedicated strip on the forefinger) is also nice and absorbant for wiping your visor - a nice touch.

    My only gripe with them - and it happens with my Alpinstars ones too - is that when they get wet, and in turn your hands are a bit wet if you've been taking them on and off, is that the seperate lining inside the glove can make it difficult to get your fingers back in, as it can bunch up when you initially remove them... On the whole they are fine, but there have been a couple of times where I had to resort to using my toolkit T handle to push the lining of each finger back into place!

    So that's the clothing covered. My boots (the shorty Patrol model) have been excellent both on and off road, and indeed both on and off the bike itself. They do seem very water resistant too - although unfortunately I did have to wade the bike through a creek crossing in Colorado, which meant the water got in over the ankle, so they no longer have that 'new shoe' smell unfortunately ;o)

    At least they seem to dry out quickly and properly infront of a radiator overnight!

    So all in all, I'm extremely pleased with my choices so far - they are essentially an updated version of what I was always comfortable riding in - and a modular system that compliments each other, offering a wide range of personal item stowage together with warm, cold, wet and dry weather protection.

    More soon,

    Jenny xx
  6. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 20: Evansville IN to Richmond KY

    So what on earth happened after the Iron Butt you might be asking - yes, it has almost been a full week since I embarked on the marathon journey from Colorado to Indiana, and I have to say it really feels like a lifetime ago already!

    While it was a personal challenge for me, and also an excellent test of the long-distance ability (and comfort) of the CB500X; it was also an ideal opportunity to get a lot further east in a short space of time - helping to keep me on schedule for the overall trip, and not least to give me a little margin for any bike maintenance prior to my return journey west.

    Although I didn't drop off to sleep until nearly 3am on Friday night/Saturday morning, I didn't feel all that tired when I woke with just enough time to grab a cook-your-own waffle from the breakfast bar before they stopped serving at 9am.

    Indeed I momentarily considered knocking off another 500 miles that day (my destination of Roanoke VA was 538 miles away according to the GPS), and thus cementing a "Bun Burner" ride of 1500 miles in 36 hours - but quickly considered that I'd actually had enough of flogging both myself and the bike on endless interstate and major highways, and that it was time to ride some twisties again.


    Cruisin' Kentucky...

    Fortunately Kentucky, just over the Ohio River boarder with Indiana, is full of delightful rural roads, and very reminiscent of south-western France I thought? I tapped in a few via points and let the Garmin Montana guide me diagonally eastwards on the minor roads, in glorious sunshine!

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    photo. This was the last bit of main road I would see today - and the weather in Kentucky was sunny, hot and humid...

    I have to say, there were some very impressive and undoubtably expensive houses south of Evansville as I worked my way eastwards towards Fort Knox (with half an intention of visiting the military museum there) on old hwy 60. However, on reaching the edge of the huge facility, I was both conscious of a huge dark storm cloud that was hovering overhead, and coupled with the fact that I was starting to feel a lot more tired than I had first imagined, decided to press on and try and find a hotel in good time that evening.

    Again, simply relying on the GPS to provide an interesting route (with encouragement with a few via points manually inputted where I saw an interesting road), I quite by chance happened to pass through Hodganville, which is where Abraham Lincoln was born!


    Day 21: Richmond KY to Roanoke VA

    Sunday scratching...

    It had turned out that by staying on minor roads, that Roanaoke was a lot further away (both in time and mileage) than I had imagined, but still I intended to make the most of this glorious weather, and almost traffic free roads though the Appalachian mountains - perfect!

    I can honestly say I can't remember a time I've ever had more fun on the road on a bike - and that includes riding my Ducati Monster in the Swiss Alps! Virginia really does have some world class riding, and the little CB was in it's element here, carving corner after corner, with enough drive to constantly keep a smile on your face, but not enough that might get you out of shape on unfamiliar roads.

    I was deep in the rural heartland of Virginia (a dipped in and out of West Virginia too), and not only were the roads mercifully traffic free on this sunny Sunday, but it was a joy to be able to fill the tank of the bike and get a halfway decent slice of pizza and a hot chocolate for under fifteen bucks (that's less than ten quid to us Brits!)

    I was also in no doubt I had entered the bible belt:

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    photo. It is indeed the eternal question...

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    photo. I bet you just read that in a Mr T voice too ;o)

    Despite riding mile after epic mile of backroads, that is not to say that Sunday wasn't without its fair share of rain too - goodness knows I got dumped on twice during the day, and the first time it was so immediate that I didn't even have time to pull over and don my rain-pants before I was utterly soaked.

    Fortunately my timing was spot-on, and the rain showers happened during a brief respite from the particularly enjoyable intestinally twisty route I'd programmed into the GPS, and therefore I got to ride the best of the roads in glorious sunshine.

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    photo. The river might be 'Dismal' (actually it wasn't, it was beautiful!), but the road wasn't - another epic Alpine ride through the Appalachians!

    When I finally reached Roanoke that evening, I was both tired and elated. It had been an intense couple of days in the mountains - 250 miles yesterday and not least nearly 400 miles today - straight after the thousand mile Iron Butt. I landed an excellent deal at a motel on the outskirts of town (complete with laundry) and used the time to properly recuperate. I was now less than 300 miles from the east coast, the half way point of this trip now tantalisingly close, and my tires pretty much shot to pieces.

    cont.
  7. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Cont.

    Day 22: Roanoke to Virginia Beach VA

    With the forecast not particularly good for the next few days, the plan was to hit the east coast as soon as possible, and then try and sort some replacement tyres before I headed back west too far - especially as I intended to ride the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and take in a few of the roads around Deals Gap before finally starting my dirt ride west on the Trans-Am Trail, so would certainly prefer fresh rubber to make the most of those inital highway miles.

    Personally I feel the Continental TKC80 really is the best 'all-rounder' tyre for this sort of bike, and indeed during the development of the Adventure kit for the CB500X, John and I exclusively used the TKCs as we feel the compound and profile really optimises the balance between spirited on and off-road use. Other tyres are available of course ;o)

    Wanting to avoid the major highways as much as I could, I headed east for the last time, again on more minor roads (included a gem outside Roanoke called Dickinson Mill Road - I mention it if you're passing as there is a TA500 sticker somewhere along it's length ;o), and again enjoyed the tranquillity of the rural countryside, as I did my best to dodge the rain clouds, adjusting my route on the fly as I wound my way eastwards, towards the coast.

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    photo. I had to stop and photograph this house - reverting to nature it would seem... I'm sure it could tell a lot of stories (including the one when a stuffed pig on the first CB500X Adventure in the US stopped by ;o)

    More notable roadside memories from that final day heading east was a modest house with two shiny MGBs parked outside - I presumed the anglophile had bought the second one as ready supply of spare parts ;o)

    Detouring onto a major highway to fuel up, I passed a huge billboard rather bizarrely asking: "Is it time for your screening colonoscopy?" Complete with a head and shoulders photo of a cheery looking nurse (presumably donning her rubber gloves just out of shot)... and pondered the popularity (and indeed wisdom in some cases!) of putting your face ten feet high on a roadside sign in an effort to promote your company. Certainly the most comical example was for a law firm that featured three (presumably) lawyers/partners in the firm all wearing dark sunglasses - looking like the Reservoir Dogs!

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    photo. Fuel is wonderfully cheap in Virginia - regular costs the equivalent of £1.50 a GALLON! (around a quarter of what we pay in the UK).

    I finally reached Virginia Beach on the Atlantic coast at 7.05pm on Monday 1st June - three weeks after I'd left Alice's Restaurant south of San Francisco on the west coast.

    [​IMG]

    It was with a degree of melancholy that I purchased my VB sticker for the front of the CB-X - after all, while this was quite an achievement, at the same time, technically it meant this trip was already half over...

    The immediacy of the internet and my penchant for a triple espresso, meant I was subsequently able to check my emails (and ADVrider PMs) which meant I was able to cheer myself up no end by celebrating this modest milestone with a slap up meal at a lovely fish restaurant on the north of the peninsular (thank you for the suggestion TheWalkman ;o), and ultimately took comfort in the fact that the best was probably still to come.

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    The journey east had essentially been an elaborate [series of] proving tests of the all-round cabability of the bike - both as a personal assessment, and to also provide valuable feedback to those peope who had developed the Adventure specification modifications.

    I had already ridden it over fast desert, slow rocky technical terrain, a marathon high speed highway and plenty of twisty backroads - and through high altitude, low altitude, heat, cold, wind and rain. What was immediately clear (and had become increasingly so as the trip went on and my familiarity with the machine increased) is how these modifications really have transformed the basic bike - making it so very much more capable off-road, while at the same time not at all compromising it's entertaining on-road abilities - indeed the high quality suspension actually means the bike feels even more composed and stable on the highway than before. As I sat there supping the last of my Margarita, I had every confidence this would be the perfect bike for the journey back west, along the Trans-Am Trail.

    But first there was the small matter of two worn out tires to replace, together with a number of invitations to enjoy a little more of what the eastern side of the country has to offer. I just hoped the rain would stay away.

    Of course it didn't.

    But that is a story for another day...

    More soon!

    Jenny x
  8. MattF44

    MattF44 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks so much for all of the photos. It looks like your level 3 side stand has a much more appropriate level of lean than the stock one.

    I think the extreme lean of the stock one might be part of the reason so many of us are so hesitant to part with our center stands...
  9. Maxacceleration

    Maxacceleration Off the grid

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    Awesome adventure Jenny!
    A fine bit of riding you have done so far. Looks like the RR Adv CB500X is eating up the miles.
    Killer... Moab and an Iron Butt, plus twisties. You rock. :thumb
    Nice kit & gear you have, showing you don't need the 'kitchen sink' OR a tank bag.
    You gonna be back by GL when you come ou west again? I'll be there picking up my kit when it comes in.
    Safe travels.
    Cheers
  10. N111KX

    N111KX Adventurer

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    I'll be watching where you end up this evening. I'll be riding up from Atlanta tomorrow to be in Blue Ridge, GA by 10AM. If I get close to your SPOT, I may try to catch up...:D
  11. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    I am currently very close to the start of the Trans-Am Trail (which now officially starts in Andrews NC), but have elected to stay in a motel this evening rather than try and press on with the TAT this afternoon - as these new sections are very much an unknown, so I'd rather have a full day ahead of me tomorrow.

    This way I can avail myself of the facilities here (including decent wifi to try and get my trip report up to date), get an early night, and start in good time in the morning.

    I have to say, the weather is looking good for the weekend, with temperatures in Tennessee in the 80s today - I just hope the rain stays away now as I don't fancy slogging through muddy forest trails in that kind of heat!

    And who knows, I may even have to break out the camping gear during the next few days!

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    photo. The CB-X Adventure put up a stirling performance on the Dragon earlier today (and a delightful ride going north yesterday evening too - perfect conditions). I expect there will be a photo or two on the Killboy/Slayer/Moonshine websites as they all had photographers out today. For info. I passed through between midday and 1pm...

    Jx
  12. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Hi Max' - yes, the current schedule is to try and have the bike back to Giant Loop in Bend OR by the 28th of this month... I shall be starting the TAT early tomorrow morning, and hope to have it covered over the next three weeks...

    This could mean some long days in the saddle and quite possibly a few nights under canvas trail-side to stay on target.

    It's going to be a whole new adventure!

    Jx
  13. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Day 23: Tuesday 2nd June - Virginia Beach to Roanoke VA.

    So, a few numbers before we continue the story...

    On reaching the east coast, according to my daily log (via the GPS) I'd ridden 4770 miles from when I picked the bike up in Bend (with just 773 miles on the clock), and that the official west-east leg of the Trans-Am 500 route from San Francisco to Virginia Beach was 4260 miles, including that week in and around Moab - and therefore pretty much what I'd imagined (ie. 4000 miles to cross the country).

    What is interesting (or not, you decide ;o) is that my initial concern about the speedometer/odometer on the bike now under reading with the slightly larger TKC80 rear tyre (that is at 65mph on the GPS, the bike is actually only reading 62mph), that the overall mileage on the bike's odometer is still actually higher than the GPS record after-all; and that according to the bike, it has actually covered 4849 miles since Bend, and not 4770... Either way, I wouldn't say fitting the TKC on the rear has a huge effect on the long term accuracy.

    Ok, enough numbercrunching! - what we really want in this thread is a few more photos isn't it?!

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    photo. My official start point for the return leg was the Lynnhaven Fish House restaurant on the north shore of the First Landing peninsular above Virginia Beach. This is where I had my celebratory meal the night before, and I can confirm that even shellfish taste better when wrapped in bacon ;o)

    First Landing (now a State Park) is notable for, well, you can probably guess actually - is where the first British settlers arrived in North America in 1607, and established a permanent community that was in effect the foundation of the British Empire. The surrounding bay provided a huge natural harbour, and Virginia itself became a key gateway to the rest of the country and remained an independent British colony until you guys got a bit shirty about all that stuff in 1776 ;o) This little historical nugget certainly explained the huge number of towns, cities and counties in the surround area that share their name with a British counterpart.

    Being over 400 years late to this particular party, I instead busied myself with the far more pressing matter of sourcing some new tyres for the Honda. Fortunately I'd received a couple of good leads via ADVrider - thank you for your local knowledge OldnoGPS - who suggested that a BMW dealer might be my best bet to find some actually in stock. Sure enough, a few phone calls lined me up with the correct sized rear at an independent garage in Charlottesville that afternoon, while I could get a new front TKC fitted at a main dealer in Roanoke the following morning - which rather fortunately was right on the Blue Ridge Parkway (that I intended to ride in its entirety over the coming few days anyway), and not least was the location of that very comfortable and affordable hotel that I had already stayed in - result!

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    photo. I'm a few hundred feet under the bay here, heading north towards Hampton - who knew they'd only build a bridge half way across, and the rest was a tunnel!


    A social butterfly...

    En route I stopped off briefly in Richmond to say hello to ADV inmate Champe who was keen to see the bike, and we'd arranged to met at a cool little independent vintage bike shop on the outskirts of town - and who made me very welcome, thank you!

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    photo. Velocity is full of cool and quirky stuff - and is one of the very few Royal Enfield dealers in the USA!

    It was then on to Charlottesville a few miles further west to meet up with Anton who runs Virginia Motorrad (an independent BMW specialist) who was able to fit my rear tyre while I waited, and we were joined by Fellow ADV inmate Ted who'd been such a help in suggesting Anton in the first place, and was also keen to check out the CB500X himself - again, thank you both for your help and hospitality!

    With a suitable new rear boot fitted, I still felt there would be time to make a start on the Blue Ridge Parkway - particularly now, late in the afternoon, with the sun setting - it would be the perfect time to embark on the initial leg to Roanoke and take in the stunning scenery.

    Of course the Parkway essentially runs along the backbone of the Appalachian Mountains (for 469 miles in total), and is typically at 3000+ feet elevation for the vast majority of its length. Ted had warned the weather had been damp all day, and sure enough, as I climbed higher towards the entrance gate, the fog closed in, and the rain came down:

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    photo. It was already raining harder than it looks here... Very disappointing.

    However, not one to shirk from a challenge, I pressed on:

    [​IMG]

    But to be perfectly honest, there was no joy at all when often I could barely see 30 yards ahead of me, never mind anything of the scenery despite the odd break in the fog when the elevation dropped occasionally:

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    photo. It was actually proving pretty dangerous up there in the fog, especially with bends like this...

    Unlike those heavy and almost tropical showers I'd experienced at the weekend, this was that horrid cold rain that soon chills you to the bone. Coupled with alarmingly poor visibility at times, this soon became more that just a test of physical endurance - it was bordering on dangerous. Ultimately after about an hour (and barely 50 miles), I decided to take a side road off the mountains and head straight for the hotel. Well, this is supposed to be fun, right?

    Cont.
  14. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Cont.

    Day 24: RoanokeVA to Asheville NC.

    Sadly the weather the following morning was no better than the evening before - there were meant to be mountains somewhere outside my hotel window, but I was damned if I could see them.

    Having scheduled my front tyre fitting for first thing, I donned my waterproofs and dragged across town hoping that somehow the sun would break though and lift this cold dank blanket of fog.

    An email offer to join a bunch of Asheville based ADVriders a couple of hundred miles south and across the state line in North Carolina was a very tempting alternative. Asheville is also right on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so perhaps I could pick up the road further south if the weather was better...

    It wasn't. Well, not by much anyway - I did try and join the Parkway as I crossed the mountains into North Carolina, but it was to no avail, and I ducked off once again into the relative balm of the lower elevations.

    [​IMG]

    However, the resulting and rather tedious interstate journey was ultimately well rewarded with an excellent fun night our with a great bunch of fellow ADV riders - gassing and chewing the fat until nearly midnight, while actually eating outside on a restaurant patio. You know I think I could get to like the weather here in No' Calina!

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    photo. We initially met at the weekly Bike Night at the Wedge Brewery - if you're ever in town I can recommend their beers, and you might just spot another TA500 sticker ;o)

    With a break in the weather forecast for the following day, a handful of us had decided we should meet up the next morning at a local independent bike workshop: Moto Vicious (run by James and Sean who I'd been introduced to the night before) - this was one cool hang-out!

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    photo. A bike shop. With a breakfast bar. With a Moto Morini on it - who'd have thought it?!

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    photo. It was a beautiful workspace, full of quirky machines. This CB750 is going to become a sidecar outfit!

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    photo. These guys can work on anything. But it seems the more odd-ball the better!

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    photo. When not working on bikes, they also make really cool stuff out of old parts - and everywhere you look there is some curio and some lovely retro memorabilia!

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    Day 25: Asheville NC to Knoxville TN.

    With stickers exchanged and a cheery goodbye, I then teamed up with Shane, Alan and Laura (all of whom had made various excuses to take the day off work) and we were rewarded with some fine weather in which to ride various (and arguably the most impressive) sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville, together with some excellent side roads and dirt trails that wound their way up and down each side of the mountains - such is the benefit of riding with the locals ;o)

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    photo. ADV inmate Anatic on the BRP - I have him to thank for introducing me to such a great bunch of people, and really look forward to visiting you guys again in the future!

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    photo. The Blue Ridge Parkway south of Asheville NC even includes tunnels!

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    photo. By early afternoon, the sun had well and truly broken through...

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    ... and we were rewarded with some mercifully empty roads and stunning views! This was the Parkway I had come for!

    Cont.
    Phipsd likes this.
  15. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

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    Cont.

    I eventually waved goodbye to the remaining Ashville Massive somewhere between Hoontown and Canerville ;o) - and rode the remainder of the Parkway at a much more sedate pace, pausing briefly at the final mile-marker 469 just outside Cherokee on the southern edge of the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.

    [​IMG]

    I have ridden through the park once before, and recall it was a tedious procession of tourist cars and RVs on a single lane 30mph limited road, albeit the view sideways at least was very pretty as you might imagine.

    However, more importantly I was but a stone's throw from some of the best biking roads in the region; and not least the infamous Deals Gap and the Tail of the Dragon: Highway 129.

    Now it seems to be done-thing these days to say the Dragon is 'crap' (not least here on ADVrider), and that there are better roads in the region, blah blah blah... and it's true there are some stunning alternatives that surround the sinuous crossing between North Carolina and Tennessee...

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    photo. Looks like the perfect spot for another TA500 sticker Piglet...

    But there is a reason that this particular 11 mile section of highway 129 has the reputation it does, and that's because it is, quite frankly, an awesome road to ride!

    Of course you have to choose your timing wisely. You don't really want to be riding on a weekend afternoon amongst the parade of pirates on their bedecked behemoths... Nor fighting for space (and the inevitable attention of the local constabulary) with the squids on their battered street-fightered sports bikes.

    The locals tend to ride on a weekday, early in the morning; or alternatively towards the end of the day in the early evening light - after everyone else has already gone home. Similarly this is my favourite time to ride anyway, particularly on such a scenic highway when the fading light somehow makes everything seem all the more richer in colour.

    Having wound my way up to Deals Gap on the beautiful lakeside ride along neighbouring hwy 28, I hadn't realised that the resort motel would be quite as busy as it was (it was only Thursday after all), even at this time of year... and with no vacancies at all, I elected to continue north and try and find some affordable accommodation nearer to Knoxville.

    Of course this also meant riding the Dragon in what were now perfect conditions, cool evening breeze, dry road, no traffic whatsoever. What a way to end a fantastic day of riding in one of the most beautiful parts of the country - and also a the perfect way to wrap up what had been a week of excellent road riding in general.

    But I'd come this far, and this way in particular, for a fundamental reason. My mission, which I have chosen to accept, is to ride the Trans-Am Trail - the brand new 2015 revision Trans-Am Trail no less! - in its entirety!*

    *or at least as close to possible as the weather will allow at this time of year...


    It all kicks off tomorrow morning in Andrews NC, and I will of course do my best to take you all along for the ride... So please, do join me for this final chapter of the Trans-Am 500 ride!

    A reminder of the SPOT tracker link: http://share.findmespot.com/shared/faces/viewspots.jsp?glId=0Oy8eVNlAf8Qh6nDYVfW2CpZXE6MfxNFm

    Jenny xx

    Ps. Day 26: Knoxville TN to Murphy NC. Of course to get south towards the start of the TAT today meant riding the Dragon again, this time in the opposite direction - and once again I was blessed with a mercifully traffic-free run back up the hill (plenty of traffic coming the other way mind you). I did eventually catch up some slower vehicles just a mile and half from the top, so simply pulled over and let them get far enough ahead so that the remaining run would be clear...

    [​IMG]
    photo. The carpark at Deals Gap was heaving with heavy metal today... Made the CB-X appear even more svelte!
  16. _anatic

    _anatic Plated

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,374
    Location:
    trUSt, NC
    A couple of Jenny doing her thing:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    An a couple more... just because:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Jenny it was great riding with you thanks for letting us tag along!
    JMo (& piglet) likes this.
  17. streaks77

    streaks77 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2012
    Oddometer:
    122
    Location:
    Dirt and pavement
    JMo,

    Fantastic ride report! Very much looking forward to each new installment as it comes out. Thanks for all the insight in how the RRP kit is functioning both on and off road :D

    Curious as to what kind of fuel returns the 500X is providing for you thus far... with the TKC80s and riding a couple inches higher in the air, is fuel economy suffering at all?

    Safe riding!
  18. ShenandoahRider

    ShenandoahRider Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Oddometer:
    232
    Location:
    Near Harrisonburg, Virginia
    Jenny, these pants sound great (as does the jacket). But it sounds like there's no abrasion protection in them, correct? That would be my one concern in a get off. OTOH, everything I have seen that has such protection -- like the Slider Aramid-lined cargo pants I own -- are just plain hot in the summer.

    Jim
  19. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,399
    Location:
    California
    Hi Streaks - and thank you for your kind words!

    Ive just had a look a the average fuel consumption display on the bike, and it currently says 57.7mpg.

    To be honest I havent been paying all that much attention to it, rather tending to rely on the fuel gauge and odometer, and fill up when the light starts to flash at typically around 200 miles (still with a gallon left of course!)

    I do recall seeing 61.something the other day, but on the whole I'd say I've been getting the high 50s on average.

    With regard to my own consumption - I wouldn't say it has anything to do with the raised suspension at all, more the fact that on the whole I've been running at either pretty high speeds 70+mph (often into a damn headwind too it seems!) or else riding in a 'spirited' manner on the twisty mountain roads, and using the full rev range;o)

    Couple this with the fact I'm also carrying a fair amount of luggage weight, plus running TKC80s at 25psi... and all of these factors will have a bearing on fuel consumption as I'm sure you can appreciate.

    Certainly on those few days when I've been ambling along at sub 60mph speeds, then the consumption is closer to what some people are reporting, but I honestly think you'd really have to be babying it to get much more than the mid 60s mpg that some people are suggesting?

    Jx
  20. JMo (& piglet)

    JMo (& piglet) Unicorn breeder

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2007
    Oddometer:
    8,399
    Location:
    California
    Hi Jim - essentially the Arakis pants have a cordura seat and lower leg panels (including over the knees) with a multi-layer mesh over the thigh area. They also have removable knee armour, and leather facing to the inside of each lower leg.

    I'd say they are pretty sturdy for a vented mesh style pant, but obviously any pant of this design is going to have limitations if you do end up sliding down the tarmac at any sort of speed.

    I find it best to try and avoid that if at all possible ;o)

    Jx