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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ruffntuff, Oct 2, 2012.
Steely-eyed motorcycle rider! Great Photos.
The pics aren't showing for me, just seeing
Anna - I can't anything to what has already been said, but regardless I wanted to let you know that I blame YOU for missing an important business meeting since I was up late reading this entire post (jk). You have an incredible way of expressing yourself, bringing the reader INTO your story. We were all participating with you on your ride vicariously living an incredibly interesting life. You have a true and pure talent in your writing. Thanks for putting this out there.
Part 3- Day 11
Pisgah, NC – Crozet, VA: 460 miles
September 23, 2012
The air was crisp and cool and it smelled like fall. It was a perfect morning to snuggle in a sleeping bag, sip on some coffee, and listen to the forest come alive as the sun warmed the dew off the tent. But I couldn’t relax enough to enjoy such a moment. I set my alarm for 6:30 and was riding by 7:15 as the sun rose over the blue jagged ridges to the east.
I had never seen the North Carolina side of the Blue Ridge Parkway and found it to be more rugged and wild and twisty than Virginia. It was wonderful to ride and I had imagined it would be a leisurely day stopping at all the scenic overlooks along the way, cherishing every last moment. But I never did. I realized “cherishing every last moment” actually meant riding every last moment.
It wasn’t until the Radian needed fuel that I finally pulled over somewhere near the highest point of the Parkway, Mount Mitchell, cresting at just over 6,000 feet. I dug out my smartphone only to realize I had no cell service to search for gas stations. As I unstrapped the RotoPax I realized I may have neglected some critical planning for this section of the ride.
I knew the extra two gallons would get me at least another 100 miles, but I started to keep a sharp eye out for turn-offs. That was when I noticed there weren’t very many access roads and the few I had passed already gave no indication to where they went or if gas was available. Getting off the Parkway for fuel was going to be a blind guess.
I’m not sure where I ended up getting off the Parkway, but when I did, it was at least ten miles to a gas station, and even then, I still had no cell service to search for fuel ahead. Even the GPS on my phone wouldn’t tell me how far I was from home. I wasn’t sure who was dumber, the smart phone or myself for not planning ahead.
I knew my total ride from Pisgah Campground would be 408 miles of Parkway, as the miles are marked nicely along the shoulder of the road. I also knew I could do that mileage easily with two full tanks and two Rotopax refills. So, I made an assumption when I refueled that I would at least make it to the end of the Parkway at Rockfish Gap, which was just a couple miles from a gas station close to home.
Relieved, I rode on and crossed into Virginia with a surge of emotions. I felt a giddy thrill and pulled the throttle riding faster and faster. The air became brisk and my fingers clutched the grips with numb hands. Autumn had lightly touched Virginia. Burned amber and yellow spotted the deep green mountainside and crispy leaves danced in the road around me.
Once my favorite time of year, the turning of trees and cool nights sitting around a campfire were often a reminder of that horrific day. I remembered pulling my mother to the ground while gasping for air. I remembered my father weeping. I remembered yelling at my sister, “This cannot be true!” I remembered holding Adriane, telling her I’d never leave her. I remembered his cold broken hands that I held to my lips and the cold nights I slept under the stars for weeks afterwards in his backyard.
Familiarity of the road grew as I got closer to home. I felt ready to get there but I was terrified. I was terrified to see my family, to see the pain and sadness in their eyes that deepened every day without him. All the wind in Kansas, snow in Montana, rain in Alaska, and storms in British Columbia could not have prepared me for this. I was returning to loss and grief still lurking behind every familiar corner, every familiar turn, and every familiar face.
I rode the Radian hard while reminiscing, mourning, laughing, giggling, crying. The solitude in the mountains and quiet familiar road kept me wanting for more and more miles.
About 40 miles from Rockfish Gap, the Radian started to spit, cough, and gag. I flipped the tank to reserve and it gulped, burped, and surged forward. I knew then I was going to be in trouble. My Rotopax was dry and the reserve tank would only get me 35 miles if I was lucky.
Trying not to panic I slowed down to keep the RPMs low. Coasting every downhill and feathering every uphill, I gingerly milked each drop of fuel like a precious gem.
As I drifted along, I watched the mile markers. Ten miles, nine miles, eight miles, still running smooth. Seven miles, six miles, five miles, spit spit. Fuck! Four miles, spit cough. Three miles, cough cough. Two miles, cough, gag spit. One mile, gag, spit, gag, spit. Fuck, fuck, fuck!
I pulled over at Afton Mountain Overlook, just two tenths of a mile from Rockfish Gap. I had ridden over 17,000 miles without ever running out of gas and here I was, just a stone’s throw away from home, empty. I laughed shaking my head, “This was you Dan.” One last brotherly prank on me.
I called my mom, who was anxiously waiting with my step-dad and father 10 miles away in Crozet. When they arrived, my mother leapt from the car crying, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus!” as she squeezed and shook me tight.
“Out of gas at the very last,” we all laughed.
After refueling, they followed me down the mountain all the way home. There was a “Welcome Home” sign and my dog, Jezebel, was going nuts from the window. I couldn’t wait to snuggle with her.
Famished from the long ride we all went to Fardowners to celebrate and shared their epic hippie wings and tachos. It was good to be home.
Cheers brother. You are my hero, and I kiss your spirit.
Worth every second of my time, this was.
Ten years on. Godspeed Dan, and thank you for the story Anna.
Thanks again for sharing Anna. I've been with this report since the beginning, and it has been worth the wait.
Thank you for completing your epic adventure.
Loved every page.
Wow...you finished. I haven't looked at this thread in years. Wow again!
Thanks for sharing your life. God speed to you in your future adventures.
Hard to believe your first post was started exactly on October 2nd, 2012, exactly 8 years ago today. Such riding, such writing! Thanks for sharing all this heartache with us. Best wishes to you and your family.
Still one of the best ride reports on the site. Well written, great pictures and an honest look inside of a lovely young lady. Hope all is well and your adventure continues!
Truly one of the best stories ever written on here and deserving to be in the epic section. Your brother would be most proud and your spirits will stay strong together.
Bloody cool bike as well!
That's some serious luggage! On a vintage Yamaha to boot!
Easy now. That "vintage" Yamaha was my first bought-new street bike!
I had a 1986 Yamaha XT600 and a 1982 Yamaha 550 Vision.
Good to the end. Thank you! Hope you are doing well.
Thank you for sharing your journey and hope all is well with you and your family.
As so many have already said, thanks for sharing you with us. It was reading this thread (back seven yrs ago!) that convinced me to get back into riding dirt. so thanks Anna for that as well.