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The Three Sides of Touring....(longish,lots 'o pics)


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Remember the thread on Micro-Brews, BBQ, & Ceegars? Well, this is the story.


We'll start with the first phase, Sport Touring.


It started out with three fellers from Florida, looking for a few days of ree-lax-ashun. Matt(Matts-VStrom) & Brian(BFish) colaborated on the plan, & I was able to tag along. Last Wed., Brian trailered tongue.gif up to Jax. We met at Matts, & were off to Savannah, where we had a KOA cabin awaiting our arrival.

Don't let Brian's legs & shorts scare you. grin.gif



We had a lovely spot on the lake.



We also were treated to a visit by the local Welcome Wagon. There was some discussion of gosling BBQ, but we opted for fried seafood instead.




RightSpin was kind enough to drive over, & chauffeur us to dinner, after which we sat on the porch & mostly told lies.


Thur. am, it was a leisurely ride through south Ga & S. Carolina.



Our destination would be Swanannoa, just outside Asheville. Unfortunately, this is where we lost Brian. He had some things come up, & had to turn back & head for home. Matt & I felt bad for a minute, then shrugged our shoulders, & continued on. Yeah, we're heartless, so what.


Fri. am, Matt & I are off to the BRP. At the first over-look, we stop so I can give him a brief RideSmart lesson. I had a VERY attentive student.



We then spent the rest of the morning riding the Parkway, a GREAT side road(no, I won't tell you which one), making our way to Cashiers, where we would meet up with Bill(RoadScholar) & Rich(RichardD). By now, we were dodging rain, but it would be mostly dry for the day. Photo by RoadScholar.




Bill knew of a nice local sammich shop where we could get some grub, & then ride up to a spot to picnic. However, they were having plumbing issues, & couldn't make fresh food. Matt & I claimed the last two ham & cheese croissants, leaving Bill & Rich with Tofu & Quiche. Mmmm, real man food, there. You can see the anticipation of such a feast on Bill's face.



Having recruited Matt to be our pack mule(he was the only one with a trunk), we were off to our picnic area. We had several miles of curves, then it turned to gravel. This was fun, except for the wash-board. Photo by RoadScholar.




After finding a suitable parking spot, we secured the bikes, grabbed our food & cameras, & made our way to our rock.

This is from the bridge we crossed, which you'll see in a moment. The flat rock in the distance would be our dining table.



Matt;"This ham & cheese sure is good." Bill; "What the...where's my quiche?" Rich;" You get the Tofu for dragging me down that wash-board you call a road, chump."



Rich was hoping for some ham & cheese left-overs, but he was too late.




A couple more from the area.




Now that our bellies are full(well, Matt's & mine, anyway), it's off for more riding. Photo by RoadScholar.



We spent the next couple hours chasing Bill through the back-roads around Highlands. Some were wet, most were dry, but they were all great fun. Photo by RoadScholar.






We made our way to Sylva, where Bill told us of a great two-track that runs off the BRP that he wanted to take us down. Matt was pretty tired at this point, & opted out. Too bad, but again, we shrugged our shoulders, & off we went.


We now move to phase two, Adventure Touring. After just missing a nasty storm on the BRP, we arrive at our jumping off point.




Bill led first, then we would take turns. When Bill got out front agaian, he picked up the pace. When I followed, he thought he would try to lose me. Soon, we were both backin' it in, & power-sliding out of corners. Try as he might, I was on him all the way. Some of the most fun I've ever had on a bike. I can only imagine what Bill is telling Rich about that loon on the GS. grin.gif



Photo by RoadScholar.



A few miles from the end, we came to a river crossing. Some pansy built a bridge for the sissies, but I'd have none of that. I gots me a GS, & Ima gonna use it.


Hey ya'll, watch this. Photos by RoadScholar.


I dropped in, & it wasn't so tough.



Then, the front wheel dropped into a hole, & wedged full lock right on a rock. Oops. tongue.gif



After much wrestling, I got the front up & out of the hole, only to have the rear stop against the same rock. As I was trying to get it over, my left foot slipped off the rock I was using for balance, & went into another hole almost up to my knee. Now with my left leg in a hole, my right foot up off the peg, I was teetering in the brink of going over, & couldn't do anything about it. I called for help, & Rich got there first, helping me right the bike, & re-gain my footing. Thanks, Rich.




By now, I had been in there for about twenty minutes. I was getting very tired, & new if I didn't get out soon, I'd be in trouble. So, with MUCH determination, & a lot of adreniline, I starting horsing the throttle & clutch, Getting momentum on my side. Shortly, I was over the submerged rock, & on my way.




With cheers from Bill & Rich, I was outta there!



Thanks again, buddy.



Uhh, did you say there was a bridge?



Once we got to Cherokee, we parted ways. They going to Cashiers, & I back to Asheville. However, I got a message from Matt while I was in Maggie Valley. He was only thirty minutes away, so I waited for him, & we had some fine BBQ by the river as I yammered on about my adventure.


Up early Sat morn, & planned our route home. We went south into S. Carolina, making a stop at Table Rock State Park.

Table Rock Mountain.



From here, we made our way over to Helen, Ga., for one last BBQ meal on the Chatooga River.


It's getting to be late afternoon, & we know it's going to start raining soon, so we decide we'd better not waste any more time. We had no idea just what lie ahead for us. Less than an hour later, it started to sprinkle. As we rode further, the rain steadily picked up. By the time we were to Milledgeville, it was pouring.


And know the third, & final, phase; Combat Touring!


From there to Dublin, about an hours ride, it continued to rain ever harder, & the wind started to pick up. By the time we rolled into Dublin, it was full on tropical storm. This was copied at 3:15, but we were in Dublin at 8:00, by which time it was right over us. We went into a hotel to look at the current radar, & there was nothing but yellow all around us.




We contemplated staying, but I needed to be back in Jax by 10 am Sun. to lead a club ride, so we pressed on. Getting on I-16 with driving rain, & constant side winds of 30 mph gusting to over 40, we could hardly maintain 55-60 mph. We stopped at a couple major exits to check on ourselves, & rest a bit. As we get closer to Savannah, my brain starts to short-circuit(probably from all the rain), & I know I'm finished.


I get off at Richmond Hill, pull into a hotel, & tell Matt I'm done. He looks at me like I have two heads. I know what he's thinking, & it's a BAD idea. So I say I'll pay. He says okay, & puts his kick stand down. Good man. Oh, Dublin to Richmond Hill is 118 miles. It only took us THREE HOURS to do it.


Up early Sun., & it's still windy & raining. tongue.gif But, it's better. Within 30 minutes, the rain stops. Another 30, & we see blue sky. It's still windy, but much improved. We turn the loud handle up, & make the 155 miles to Jax in a tick over two hours. We roll in to the meeting place at 10:20. Departure time is usually 10:30. Turns out though, another ride leader had offered to take over. Considering how beat I was, taking on the responsibility of leading a group would not have been smart. I graciously accepted his offer, at which time he put his hand on my shoulder & said, " nothing personal, Danny, But you look like hammered $hit."

Thanks, John.


So, Matt & I make the final five miles home. Sitting at a light, we look at each other, smile, & shake hands. We don't need to say anything. We know we've just completed the most relaxing, most fun, & yet toughest four day ride of our lives.


Next time I wish for a tropical storm, it'll be AFTER a weekend ride. dopeslap.gif

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Danny conveniently left out a couple details...


First of all, he did his impression of Richard on Thursday morning:



This is the cabin we stayed at in Asheville:



Thursday night we did visit the BBQ Statue in downtown Asheville:


We did push on and the brief ride smart lesson tied up a lot of my loose ends allowing me much more comfort and a swifter pace toward meeting with Bill and Richard.


Then we did a brief stop here:



Speaking of Bill and Richard, after all the "broke back" jokes, Danny and I had to let them know that they were stuck with the quiche:



And then I found that Danny had truly "gone over the edge" and this one proves it:




It was a great trip and I think Danny thought I had lost it when I was contemplating going on from Savannah. I was pretty wired and came off the adrenaline pretty quickly once we settled down.


Life is good, I almost feel good enough to do it again, soon! thumbsup.gif


Thanks for riding along you guys!

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I really enjoyed this story. My wife and I were probably passing you as we flew into Charlotte and spent all of Saturday and Sunday driving in the western North Carolina towns and hills where you rode. We might have even passed you as I saw many BMW bikes on the rode as we discovered the area. We're moving to the Tryon area in a month and look forward to finding folks who want to ride the area. Thanks for a great ride tale.


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So, are you taking the bridge next time? tongue.gif I'm soo jealous that you rode the BRP. That ride has been a dream of mine ever since I started riding. Great story and pics. I was with you all the way until you opted for the creek crossing next to the bridge. grin.gif

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Danny (and Matt), nice ride tale. Like Rich said, few people could've muscled that beast across the river, I was impressed (and surprised grin.gif). I know you were disa ppointed when the ranger told us the bridge was finished at the other end, but it used to be much easier before they put all those boulders in the water. grin.gif


The little hare scrambles competition was great fun but in the darkening forest and with all those lights you've got on that thing, I kept thinking there was a 747 trying to land behind me.


I think Rich and I both were wearing a quiche-eatin' grin most of the afternoon. grin.gif

Yeah, that's what was slowin' me down, the quiche and that spinach souffle' thing. dopeslap.gif


That storm sounded nasty, glad ya'll stopped for the night.

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Nice, very nice thumbsup.gif.


So Bill and Rich, this was the adventure you were on when you called me in Anchorage clap.gif.

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So, are you taking the bridge next time?



Heck, no, I ain't takin' the bridge next time.


If I had gone across about ten feet to my right, I would have had no trouble at all. tongue.gif



And Bill, compared to your new 650, my GS IS a 747. lmao.gif

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Kenny Haynes

Nice tale Danny. Heintooga road is an old favorite and quite beautiful as well. That area is a target rich environment for the gs. THANKS for posting all the pics.

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Good stuff!

You can count on Bill being ready with that camera just in case you took a drink grin.gif


Seeing the bridge in the background does make it even funnier smile.gif

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Jacqueline, Yep, we were thinking about you on the way home. Glad your getting some dirt training 101, even though you've already moved beyond that point, practice doesn't hurt.


Whip, Come on over, we're looking forward to it.


Mark, There was never a doubt Rich and I were taking the bridge. I will say I had envisioned one of those Real adventure rider photo-ops, you've seen them before. grin.gif

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Man, am I glad you didn't show those pictures during dinner. It would have been impossible not to have joined you the next day. thumbsup.gif

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Right on - you guys know how to do it (and tell about it). Great report - thanks for sharing.

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