3800 Km, 7 days, 250cc = Success! Part 2

by on Jun.11, 2014, under Motorcycle, Personal, Travel

Day 4: I awoke today ready to tackle the Dragon! I had originally planned on getting there the night before but I wasn’t too far behind and had many days planned for the area. Taking it easy I passed a speed trap on the straights (no ticket, I’m too slow) before hitting the twisties. This place is AMAZING. Luckily I was early enough in the season that it wasn’t that busy and on my first pass I didn’t catch up to anyone but I was passed by some very experienced street bike riders who left me in their dust. Slowly my confidence grew and eventually a way laying the bike right over in the corners scraping my pegs along the way. Arriving in Deals gap I bought my souvenir t-shirt and sticker and fueFontana Damled up before exploring the area. I found a set of power lines near by and explored a good place to camp for the night before continuing on to Fontana dam. The dam is part of the Appalachian trail and there were people doing trail magic handing out water and treats for passing hikers. I stopped and talked to some hikers and gave them some water to help them out before hoping back on my bike. There are tonnes of back roads and I ended up making a big loop back to Deals Gap where I filled back up with gas. Then back to the twisties!!! I rode up and down the Tail of the Dragon again before stopping for some food, filling my tank again and taking a brake. I checked out some of the bikes parked in the lot and chatted with some other riders. Then it was off to do laundry. Near where I had selected my camp site for the night there was a public boat launch and dock. I pulled out all my smelly clothes and rinsed them off in the lake. I got weird looks from some fishermen while I was standing in my underwear washing my clothes in freezing cold water. I then threw everything back on my bike and headed to my campsite to setup for the night.


Day 5: RAIN. Noooooooo! Today was supposed to be my full day of riding The Tail of the Dragon. I was going to stash my luggage in the woods and do it unloaded but I’m not really feeling like tearing through wet corners. Since the rain started just as was waking up I managed to get dressed, packed and loaded before it got heavy. Then looking at the GPS I decided if I headed due East I might be able to get ahead of the rain. I tore out of my powerline campground and headed towards Ashville. As I went the rain got lighter and lighter and eventually stopped. I knew it was right behind me but I had bought some time in the day where I was dry. I stopped into REI to grab some Vermont Darn Tough Socks and some underwear but they were all out of my size for the underwear. I grabbed 3 pairs of socks and got 10% off, then used my REI dividends to lower the price even more. From there I hopped on the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit, then off to detour around some construction, then back on for a bit more. I was heading North at this point planning on trying to do The Snake again on my way home but as I got close the rain started back up. I quickly turned East and hopped on Hwy-58 in Tennessee which becomes the 211 and took that for a really long time. It was an amazing road and I really enjoyed myself.  Eventually the rain caught me and my gas tank was getting low. I pulled into some random town and decided to eat at Bojangles where I had a piece of deep fried chicken on a biscuit. Honestly I was not impressed, it was white on white, and they didn’t even have the courtesy to put a piece of lettuce on there. Just breaded chicken on a biscuit that probably had half a bar of butter in it. The other bad part was that they didn’t even have wi-fi so I had to sit there for over an hour waiting for the rain to die off just twiddling my thumbs waiting for the abomination of a meal to transform into an emergency trip to the washroom. Finally the rain died down, I gassed up and headed back out. The rest of that day was amazing. I cruised along the BRP standing on my pegs enjoying some amazing views and empty roads. Now since I had gotten some rain, and ridden with a lot of road spray, and waited way too late to start looking for a site, I grabbed a cheap hotel for the night. Really I made quite a scene stomping in there in soaking wet riding gear then lugging dirty road spray covered luggage in to dry off in my room. I grabbed a beer across the street at the gas station and relaxed in my room until I eventually passed out.


Day 6: Despite my best efforts all of my clothes managed to dry out except my boots. I put on some of my fresh new Darn Tough socks and headed out for a new day. Today I finished up the BRP and stopped in a few motorcycle stores to see if I could replace my failing Cardo Scala Rider G4 headset. One earphone had stopped working then the second one. No music sucks! Unfortunately all of the stores I stopped at didn’t have just the base of the headset in stock. My final stop was at Dual Sport Armory where I had a nice chat with the owner and got my photo on their facebook page! I stopped again to put on some fresh socks as the ones I had on were wet from the wet boots. It felt like putting my feet into little ovens until they too eventually got wet. I was making good progress north at this point.  I hopped on the interstate for a bit to get some miles in before the sun set. I was planning on camping out at the same site as I had camped the first night but as I was going the temperature started falling fast. I had my handy-dandy Garmin Tempe sensor on my bike and as it dropped below 10C I started shivering and I knew that camping that night was going to be out of the question. I stopped near a cheap hotel but it was still fairly early in the evening so I decided to push it a bit. Probably not the best idea. The next few towns either had no hotels or really expensive ones. I tried a few that were full and the sun was starting to set. Eventually I came across a Best Western that gave me a decent price and I gladly accepted. I was too tired so it was Burger King next door for dinner followed by passing out for the night.

Day 7: My last day of the trip. Nothing too interesting to report along this stretch. I took it easy rolling through Syracuse. I stopped at a Gander Mountain and a Bass Pro to see what they had in stock but I didn’t have much money and I really didn’t have any room to bring home anything sizable but it was still neat to see what they stocked in their stores. I stopped near Watertown for some Cracker Barrel where I only managed to eat half of the food they served me before heading to the border in Ogdensburg. The border agent had no interest in me and a crossed quickly and zipped up the 416 to Kemptville then took back roads home. Finally home I unpacked and laid all my gear out to dry before passing out in my own bed. Zzzzz. ~3800Km over 7 days. All on my Trusty Yamaha WR250X! Now it’s time for an oil change!

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