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Tampa Bay Riders Loose in the Mountains


Mark R

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The following tale is true. It is a daily narrative of a group of Florida boys who take on the challenge of the roads and the culture of a world we were not used to.

Please feel free to learn and comment.

 

Day 1.

Well. We waited the extra day for TS Barry to clear the area and it turns out that that was a good idea. Our weather today was great. Beautiful skies all the way to Gainesville, Ga. But we still had a little problem before we left.

 

Saturday night Dan’s charging light came on when he started his bike. (He has it in the shop for this problem last week and was told that the charging system was good and the problem was probably dirty battery terminals.) He charged it all night but the battery wouldn’t take a full charge. When he started the bike this morning, the light glowed red but he decided to brave it and headed to our meeting place. Within three blocks the light went off and the bike has run great all day.

 

The 6 of us , Murray, Jim G., Jim S, Robert C, Dan and Me met at the Hess station on Hwy. 52 at 7:10AM. It was nice to have Rich was there to see us off.

 

Murray put together a great back-roads tour. We had very little traffic and made great time. The roads though Fl. and south Ga. were not that great but just being with the other guys on a sweet-running bike was great.

 

After lunch at the Huddle House – the fried sweet potatoes are good – we entered the foot hills and the roads improved. We raced along at 70mph through the sweepers having a great time.

 

Even though we were less than 40 miles from our campground, it was getting dark soon so we decided to stop in Gainesville, Ga. We found a new Super 8 and got 3 rooms for $55 each incl,. continental breakfast.

As soon as we pulled up to the lobby shelter, the rains came. Fifteen min of rain and then it was over leaving us with cool air.

 

There is a large Hispanic population here and a Mexican restaurant across the street so we thought “When in Rome…”. We ordered up large quantities of food. Trying to prove our manliness by getting it “with the works” which included some unpronounceable hot sauces and spices. This turned out to be a huge mistake. From the first bite my lips and tongue were on fire. Intensely hot, tissue destroying hot. Keeping my face in my icy Mexican soda was the only way to find relief. As soon as I pulled out to take a breath, the pain would return. I wasn’t the only one, Robert actually had tears running down his face, Jim S, was sweating profusely and everyone’s nose was running.

It didn’t help matters any when Jim S. told a joke about how it burns going in and then again coming out.

(Dan and Jim G. were not affected. Obviously, they had secretly ordered the bland version of burritos that is served at hospitals and nursing homes.)

Giant milkshakes from Checkers finely brought relief. Now we are all worried about the second part of Jim S’s joke and if another milkshake will be needed.

 

Anyway, after a very eventful day, we are all turning in. We’ll be setting up camp and riding the mountains tomorrow. It will be a great day.

I’ll write more and send along some pictures if I can get connected. Until then, good night.

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Let's see, Tampa Bay Riders loose in the mountains, Tampa Bay Riders loose in Iowa on the way to Banff, Tampa Bay Riders loose in, and on the way to Alaska.

Someone might get the impression ya'll like to ride. grin.gif

Have fun, post pics. dopeslap.gif

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Yeah, but if they were "Real Men" they would have ridden through TS Barry like some of us did! grin.gif

 

You guys be careful on them bendy roads!

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Funny Bill.

 

Here we are early on the morning of our start. Photo by Rich Edwards.

Lt. to Rt. Me, Robert, Murray, Jim G., Jim S., and Dan

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This establishment served the unsuspecting some lethally hot food.

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More photos to come with tomorrow's post.

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I know Jim. No offense taken.

Hi Tim! Good to hear from you.

 

Day 2.

Hi Friends,

It's Monday night and I'm sitting on the front porch of the Two Wheels Only Motorcycle Resort. In this case, the term Resort can be used loosely because it is more of a campground. But it is a terrific place to pitch a tent. Thick grassy ground to set up camp along with tall hardwood trees seems like a luxury when you think of the gravel “tent pad” campsites in Fl. I can hear the nearby waterfall and some crickets and that’s all. It’s great being away from the city.

 

I’m happy to report that there were no lasting effects from the authentic Mexican food we had for dinner last night. Thankfully, the second milkshake was not needed.

For dinner tonight we had very southern food. I had chicken and dumplings and cornbread, a huge amount of fried chicken for Murray, hamburger for Robert, ground steak for Jim G. and pig for Dan and Jim S. Along with a lunch of German food in Helen Ga., we are eating great.

 

The riding today was fantastic! There is not a straight road anywhere and along with the constant elevation changes everything was so different. We were tentative riders at first not sure what to make of this strange world. Dan coached us up with sometimes loud directions on mountain riding. He talked about entry speed, gear selection going up and down the mountain, weight transfer and more. And we, as eager-to-learn riders, listened and practiced all that he told us. As the day and the twisty roads went on, we all improved dramatically. Speeds increased until we would scare ourselves and then we would slow down and get back to the basics. Everything was really great.

 

We did run into one problem though. Dan’s charging system light came on again and around mid day, the bike came to a stop at the top of a mountain. Dan has AAA + that includes motorcycle towing. A truck was dispatched from nearby Hiawassee and arrived within an hour. Dan used the MOA Anonymous book to call a rider in Blairsville who recommended a Honda/Kawasaki dealer outside of Hiawassee. The bike is there now and they will check out the charging system tomorrow.

 

Dan rode double with me back to the TWO and then on to dinner. I didn’t take in to account the lower my bike was sitting because of the extra weight. I thought this would be a good opportunity to show him how much my cornering technique had improved. So off we go zooming along. Me, throwing the bike in to corners at ungodly speeds, Dan hanging on for dear life. All was going well until I shot around an uphill right turn and was immediately confronted with a sharp downhill left turn that I wasn’t ready for. No choice but to throw the bike in to it. At this point, my center stand dug into the road making a horrible sound along with causing the whole back end the shutter and start to break loose. The bike took over at this point and saved itself and the dummy holding the handle bars. Needless to say, this began our slow, sightseeing tour.

 

It’s late and I have to turn in. I’ve attached some pictures that Jim S. took. I’ll try to write again tomorrow.

Your Friend,

Mark

 

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Day 3.

Greetings From N. Georgia,

Another great day has come to a close and I didn’t want to turn in without sending you a brief description of the day’s events.

 

Everyone slept well for our first night in tents. Strange noises here at night. A large bullfrog seems to be in the mood for love as evidenced by his constant bellowing. Murray reported that he heard clapping in the night. I asked him if it could have been a woodpecker but he said that it actually sounded like someone was clapping. And then I thought I heard him mumble about missing the applause he usually gets from Jackie. I didn’t listen anymore, I was afraid of what I would hear.

 

Dan falsely accused me of making night noises. I, of course, denied it. Robert finally confessed that it was him filling up his flatulent air mattress with his electric compressor. You see, Robert is not satisfied with a thin Therm-o-rest mattress. He has a regular-size bed mattress that he inflates with his small, battery operated compressor. The trouble is that it leaks and periodically in the night, he must pump it up. Well, it the dead of night with only the bullfrog and Murray’s clapping to break the silence, an electric compressor can make quite a racket. We would move Robert if we could but he has this giant orange tent that he has staked securely to the ground. Oh well, at least Murray is having a good time.

 

Dan’s bike was worked on at the Honda shop today. They found that his alternator was good and his battery was bad. They had a battery to fit and after Dan showed them how to take off the fiberglass, they replaced the bad battery. All was good until Dan started the bike and the charging system light stayed on. The Honda guys say they have done all they can do and he should have a BMW tech check it. Dan rode it back to the campground and the bike is here now with the battery being charged up. Tomorrow morning, Dan is riding it to Marietta Ga. Where there is a large BMW dealer and service department. They know he is coming and have their diagnostic computer waiting. Dan hopes to be back with a perfectly running bike by tomorrow afternoon.

 

I led a ride today through the mountains. Beautiful scenery although it seemed that we were seeing the same scenery over and over again. When asked about this, I told the guys that I was trying to earn the U-turn award for the trip. I think it is now safe with me.

 

I really didn’t know that that road that looked so inviting on the MapSource computer map was a dirt road at the top of the mountain. And it wasn’t appreciated when someone started humming the dueling banjo’s song. Needless to say, a hasty retreat was in order.

 

We made our way to Tallulah Falls and found a nice old country store that had cold bottles of root beer. We sat out on the deck overlooking the Tallulah Gorge and enjoyed our root beers (RC Cola for Jim S.) and the cool mountain breezes.

 

Our riding has certainly improved. Corners that would have had us saying prayers of repentance are now navigated with ease. We have found our rhythm which makes riding these mountain road a real joy.

 

Time to turn in. I think I will go clap for a few minutes to help Murray sleep.

 

Until tomorrow,

Mark

 

Relaxing at Two Wheels Only

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Some great roads in the area. Many of us thought that they were better than US129 at Deal's Gap. Hwy 60, just north of TWO, was the best.

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The red RT is Big D's. The green is mine.

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On the deck overlooking Tallulah Gourge.

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Great ride report.

How long you gonna be up here, I would like to get together to say hi to Dan and Robert. (I'm a ex-Tampa Rider)

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Hi Steve.

Good to hear from you.

We were actually on this journey last week and are all home now. I kept a daily journal and when I read the entries to the guys, they encouraged me to send them to this discussion board.

Sorry we couldn't get together this time. I look forward to meeting you.

Mark.

 

Day 4

Good Evening Friends,

Wow, what a day we had. The riding was fantastic. It included everything from fast rides on the twisty forest roads to the lazy sweepers of the Cherahola Skyway. Everyone’s technique continues to improve thanks to practice and good coaching from Dan.

Other than Dan, I think Murray is the fastest of us all. He can absolutely make his Triumph scream through the corners. (The guys say that is Murray screaming not the Triumph.) Not having to worry with ground clearance allows him to put that thing on it’s side. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

 

Jim Gorman will surprise you also. He is fearless and will blast into corners at lightning speeds making you wonder if he will make it out the other side. But, not to worry, he always does. He is a very good rider.

 

Jim Gorman had some bad luck today. During breakfast, a gentleman in a mini van backed into his bike standing it straight up. When the man realized he had hit it, he pulled forward and the bike pitched onto it’s kickstand to quickly and over it went. Damage to his R1100RS seems to be cosmetic only. The Lt. turn signal lens is broken and the nose faring is cracked. His valve cover is scratched along with some body panels. His helmet was on the side the bike fell on saving the exhaust and foot controls but scratching the helmet and visor. He is going to buy a new helmet at the rally.

We checked the bike as best we could and had Jim ride it around. He said that everything felt fine so we continued on our daily ride but, not knowing if there was damage that we couldn’t see, at a slower pace. Then Jim blasted by us at an ungodly speed and the slower pace was instantly off.

 

Jim’s second brush with death happened at 5000 feet. He was riding second behind me and he say’s that out of nowhere, something large hit him in the neck. He brushed at the affected area and felt a searing pain. I pulled over at an overlook when I saw him dropping back. He of course, was sure he had been grazed by a large caliber bullet. He said that it had almost knocked him off his bike. We quickly ran to his aid but could find no gaping wound on his neck. Upon closer inspection, we noticed a small honey bee sting mark. We wiped, cleaned and put ointment on it with supplies from our meager first aid kits. After twenty minutes of recovery time, he was ready to ride again.

He insists that it was at least a .22 caliber maybe as large as a .38. We just glance at each other and say “sure Jim, sure”.

 

Good news on the Dan’s dead battery saga. He motored in to the BMW dealer in Marietta Ga. this morning and found a ground wire that had rubbed off its insulation and was shorting out on some metal. He was happily back at the campground by early afternoon.

 

It was good to see Jeff Wyatt up here today. He rode up from his stay-over in Atlanta and met us for dinner.

 

The local people here are different. I met an old man named Jimmy who only had 2 teeth. Not even in the middle, off to the sides. He was hard to understand. I’m not sure if it was because of the hillbilly accent he had or the two teeth. He smiled funny when he looked at Robert.

Earlier in the day we stopped at a country store and when the lady inside turned to face me I was visibly startled. I’m much to kind to say that someone looks like a hag but it would be the only way to describe this one. She seemed to take a liking to Murray though. In fact, we didn’t see him for a while after that.

 

We skipped lunch so everyone was starving by dinner time. Because we are now “mountain men” we needed meat so a nearby rib joint in Blairsville was chosen to satisfy our carnivorous cravings. Jeff and Dan were to meet us there at 6 o’clock. We flew down from the Thunder Mountain store where we had stopped for a cold drink. Jim S. befriended a rooster there and ended up under a picnic table with him – pictures to follow.

 

Anyway, we order up large quantities of meat at the Rib Country. The waitress there wanted Jim G. to take her away on his motorcycle. Of course this was after he told her how he had survived a direct hit in the neck from at least a .44 magnum shell. The other waitress wanted him to go for a ride in her truck but this was the same waitress who poured cold water in Jim S’s lap. I’m not sure why. I’m sure it was all very innocent.

 

As it turns out, the pork, beef and large slabs of saucy ribs were sufficient to affirm that we are manly men who go around posturing and grunting. Nobody better mess with us.

 

It’s late and I need to get some sleep. We’ll be heading to the Biltmore House tomorrow. We have a long route planned – about 250 miles.

 

Goodnight from the Georgia mountains.

Mark

 

Photos to follow.

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Very nice!!!

 

Lookin forward to more pix......a pic of the waitress pouring water in his lap would be good.

 

 

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Whip

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Hi Whip,

I don't have a photo of the actual ice-water-in-the-lap-act but I do have one of the soon-after make-up hug. All was forgiven. See below.

 

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I'm still waiting for that pic of BigD on the pillion. lmao.giflmao.giflmao.gif

 

(For those of you who have never met him, Dan is about 6'4", the tall guy with white beard in the group picture.)

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Hi Tampa Jim,

Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be any photos of Big D and I riding two-up on the sagging RT. Eye witnesses say that it wasn't a pretty sight and should not be viewed by the non-criminal mind.

 

Photo Time!

 

Damage to Jim's R1100RS. Notice the turn signal lens.

 

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Country store at Deal's Gap. This is a Thursday.

 

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Jim S. touched a knee down and now has to explain to the wife.

 

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Peg feeler on my RT.

 

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Day 5

 

Greetings, Fellow Riders,

 

We had a lot of riding today. About 260 miles. The lowlight of the ride was getting turned around and subsequently lost in the forest. Even the locals didn’t know where the road we needed was located. So we wandered around and finally found Little River Road and then US 441. Beautiful scenery along these roads which we were able to see a lot of because of the very slow cars in front of us. We finally made it out of the forest with only Jeff to wander out on his own. Which he did better than the rest of us.

 

 

We went to the country store at Deal’s Gap today. What a circus at that place. Motorcycles and their riders were everywhere. They were all shapes and sizes. Little ladies on big Harley’s and big men on little Suzuki’s.

 

A lot of lookers and wannabes but few serious riders like us. There was a lot of strutting around and spitting and the men were even worse. But not much real riding from this crowd. Oh sure a big bellied guy on a Harley bagger would “open her up” and chug up the incline at the start with a lot of noise but not much speed. But as soon as he was out of site, you would here the big twin throttle down with a backfire or two so he could take the first curve at 5 miles per hour.

 

For those of you non-enlightened souls, Deal’s Gap is the beginning of a very twisty road known as the Tail of the Dragon. It is only 11 miles long but has over 300 curves. One of our goals this week was to ride this road. We all agreed to ride it responsibly and even sealed the agreement with a pinky shake. Murray was chosen to lead the group at a slow to medium pace. When the time to ride came, we all gathered our wits, set our jaws and headed out to the Dragon.

 

Apparently the British have a different meaning for the words slow and medium because as soon as Murray hit the first of the 300+ curves he zoomed off at full speed. Of course it was our duty to follow and catch him so he could be chastised for violating the pinky shake. So now all of us are zooming along at full speed. What a blast that was. Constant direction changes requiring throwing the bikes from side to side until hard parts started scraping.

 

Murray was finally apprehended at the end of the “Tail” and accepted his punishment without complaint.

As a side note, Robert, the 40 year old virgin, finally satisfied his conquest of the Dragon and will sleep well tonight.

 

This post is coming from the vast but lively campground of the Biltmore Estate. We arrived here about 6:00 PM. We registered, collected our freebees and found Rich, Vic, Cliff and Dave. They had saved us a nice area to pitch our tents in. And so, we went about the business of setting up.

 

There is apparently a keen interest among us mountain men and women as to the size of each other’s tent. The small tents among our group were scrutinized first. “Well, I think Jim has the smallest” was a popular comment heard around the campground. This was confusing to me because many of these people hadn’t even seen his tent.

 

My own tent was pitched between two small tents. This gave others the impression that it was large. I’ve noticed approving looks from the ladies around here and oddly, even some of the GS-riding men.

Dan’s tent is small but has a nice symmetrical shape as does Murray’s. Cliff’s is large on one end but small on the other giving it a sort of wedge shape. It seems to be scorned by the group.

 

Robert, who is not shy about showing off his large, bulbous orange tent, has some competition around here. Guzzy Dave is here and he also has a large, bulbous orange tent. I could be mistaken but I’ve noticed a lot of extra grunting and something akin to rooster posturing from these two since camp was set up. Let’s hope that nothing more comes of it although I’ve noticed Robert staring longingly at a neighbor’s very large 3 room tent.

 

Time to turn in. It’s 12:40AM and there is a group of sauced men and women talking loudly and incoherently, but I think I’ll be able to sleep. I, along with my good friends here, have had a very tiring day.

 

Good Night,

Mark.

 

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Jim's rooster friend.

 

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Group meeting at the end of the Dragon

 

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Taking a break off of US441 in the forest.

 

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Our camp site at the Biltmore.

 

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Trying to find some shade.

 

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Eating at the RA Rally tent.

 

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Me in front of Rich Edward's home.

 

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Day 6

 

Hello Friends,

Tonight’s report from camp will be a little on the short side because I stayed late and listened to a very good band playing old rock songs. The lead singer was a beautiful tall blonde named Teezer. There was one unconfirmed report that Robert was seen drooling with his mouth gaping open. The music was loud and fast. I really enjoyed it.

 

We had a nice ride to Lake Lure today. Many of you have heard of the Children’s Brain Tumor Foundation. Well, Bob’s BMW in Maryland sponsored a ride and lunch to benefit this worthy charity. We each paid $20 and received a tee shirt, ride route and an all-you-can-eat lunch. The ride took us through some beautiful countryside. The lunch was great too. BBQ chicken and pork, baked beans, coleslaw, brownies and sweet southern tea or lemon aid. All in all, a very good time.

 

The French Broad River curls around our Biltmore camping area. The water is clean and cool. We were hot after our ride so we decided to swim in the river. The word swim should be used loosely here, it was more like stumble on rocks until you lost your balance and fell in. As the great mountain men we are, there are parts of our bodies that we go to great lengths to protect. As we worked our way into the frigid waters, there was a noticeable slow down in our pace as one of these “sensitive” areas was about to be touched by the cold, deepening waters. We would quickly rise up on our tip toes to prolong the inevitable just a little longer and then with a splash, we would drop our full body in to the water. A few deep breaths and grunts and we were in.

 

We men of the Tampa Bay Riders group were the bravest of them all. You see, there seemed to be a hierarchy based on who could endure the cold water the longest. The bravest, toughest men would be the farthest up stream in the deepest, fastest moving water. This was us with only our heads showing above the water. Other men would only be in up to there knees and some only to their ankles. The weaklings. But we were the kings. Women on the bank looked longingly at us.

 

This all went on well until the bubbles started. Looks of admiration turned to looks of scorn. You see these were not the naturally occurring bubbles of a fast running river. These bubbles were man made. They seemed to appear and then disappear and then mysteriously appear again. A foul odor began to fill the air. People began to run from the water and curse us. How could this be, we were the kings.

 

Inner turmoil set in among the kings. Who was the bubble maker? Who was responsible for our now empty river? Jim G. finally confessed that the beans at today’s Lake Lure lunch had been too good to resist a 3rd and 4th helping. Needless to say, we left the river in shame and Jim has now been anointed with the name of Bubbles.

 

Well, it’s time to turn in. I hope you have enjoyed my posts this past week. My comrades and I will be pulling up stakes tomorrow and heading for home. I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my wandering thoughts. They were all written in fun.

 

I’ll try to add one more post tomorrow of some final thoughts on what has been a great time that I will always remember.

 

Your friend,

Mark

 

Ruling the river.

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After bubbles.

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Lake Lure lunch thanks to Bob's BMW.

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Bubbles is the guy coming up behind Vic. Back with more beans no doubt.

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Jim S., Big D and I hanging out at the paved end of Hwy. 32 in NC. This is at the top of the mountain where we encountered the Dollywood-bound van. I'll explain in tomorrow's post

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Day 7

Good Morning Friends,

It’s early (6AM) Sunday morning and I am up early. I wanted to share a little about our day yesterday before I start packing for our long ride today.

 

Yesterday’s riding was the best yet, at least for me. I’m finally getting the hang of fast cornering. I’ve found that preparation in the key. Get your weight shifted early. You can be sitting half way off your bike and still keep it going straight simply by putting a little pressure on the outside hand grip. As the corner starts, have your bike on the outside of the turn. She will want to turn in tight to the curve because of your body weight being off-center but hold her back. Keep her turning on an outside line. Your head should be up looking far ahead at the whole curve. Now, the fun moment. When you can see the curve begin to straighten out, let her go to the inside. There will be a rush of speed and you will be leaned over. On gradual curves simply releasing the pressure on the outside handgrip will allow the bike to dip in to the curve. But on tight curves, put pressure on the inside grip to really dive toward the apex of the curve give her the gas here also to add to the rush and start to stand the bike up as you are coming out of the curve. As you are accelerating out of the curve bring your body back to a neutral position to allow the bike to stand up and prepare you for the next curve.

 

I started using this technique when we blasted through Deal’s gap. I felt much smoother and didn’t go wide on any of the exits. The curves were coming so fast, my rear end didn’t touch the seat much. I used my legs a lot to keep shifting my body side to side in preparation for the next curve. I also discovered the benefits of keeping my upper body low. I laid my chest on my tank bag and got my face down low toward the mirror. The bike responded by seeming a lot more stable and hooked up to the road. Instead of dragging me along, I was charging ahead with the bike.

 

Most of this I picked up in bits and pieces from the experienced riders in our group but it really came together when I followed Jim S. on the Dragon. He is a very precise, technical rider who is fast and smooth. I followed his body movement and lines and everything started to click.

 

I really enjoy fast cornering now where as before, it kinda scared me. This technique along with learning to trust my bike moved my enjoyment meter way up. The adrenalin rush is very good also.

 

Roads here in N.C. are not marked very well. Even many of the locals have no idea where they are. When we came off the Foothills Parkway we were looking for a road named Little River Road. We asked the beer truck guy he tried to send us north when the map clearly showed the road to be south. We stumbled along and after 2 U-turns, found our way. Another time some of us were racing up a mountain on Hwy 32 in NC. The road was very curvy and there was nothing but woods and hillbillies around. When the road turned to gravel at the top of the mountain, a white van we had been racing up to, letting it get ahead and racing up to again stopped. A nice black man and women were inside and seemed a little shook up. It seems they were looking for Dollywood and some local had sent them up this mountain. Our racing up to the rear end of the van multiple times like lunatic white guys didn’t ease their anxiety any. Dan gave them directions down the mountain and to the Interstate and they were relieved to be on their way.

 

It was at the bottom of this mountain that I got a clue as to why the roads are poorly marked. I saw a man on a small strange cart being pulled by a very long eared donkey. The man – I think it was a man – smiled at me and seemed to only have two yellow teeth. He was dressed in overalls w/ no shirt underneath. I’ll refer to him as Donkey man. Well, as Donkey man rode past me I noticed something unusual about what he was sitting on. It looked like a group of 2 or 3 road signs. Green paint, white lettering may have said Little Riv something. Apparently road signs are considered building materials around here and the back woods folks don’t shy from taking them. I got a picture of Donkey man after he passed by. See below.

 

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The camping area at the Biltmore was not quite what we expected. You would think that with the extravagance of the house and grounds that we would be camping in luxury. You know, thick green grass to pitch out tents on, huge clean bathrooms w/ piping hot showers, golf carts to ride us around on. Well, as it turns out, the camping area is a treeless unpaved parking lot w/ patchy grass, rocks and hard clay. It was far from the house to keep us out of sight of the paying guests. And, I’m sure that one of the reason they wanted to keep us away from the guests is because of the lack of facilities at the campgrounds. We were dirty. Three thousand of us were dirty. The Children of Israel wondering in the desert for 40 years had nothing on us.

 

There was a definite lack of running water. You could buy a small bottle of water for $3.50 to brush your teeth or wait for a shower room which had a small sink. But shower rooms were in short supply. Apparently, the rally organizers think that beer is more important than showers. Jim S. counted the numbers of showers at 12 and then counted the number of beer taps. There were 15. There was always a long line for the showers. But this is where you got to meet new people. You see, since we were all dirty and had sour breath no one took offense to others. We all compared the last times we had showered or brushed our teeth. There was even one report that a guy hadn’t bathed in 4 days. Yes, this is what we talked about. Oh, and also the lack of toilet paper. I should have paid better attention to this part of the conversation.

 

Apparently there is an unwritten code that I missed. Early this morning, around 5 o’clock, I went to the shower trailers. To my delight, there was no line. In fact there were two shower rooms not in use. I could tell this because their doors were open. The first one I looked in, had dirt streaked walls so I chose the second one. The floor has a thick carpet of dirt but the shower floor seemed clean enough. There is also a toilet in these small shower rooms and after 3 days, I needed it.

Apparently this unwritten code I missed is that if the door is open, something inside is missing. In this case, it was the toilet paper. I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.

 

Finally, after a shower where you have to push a button and wash as fast as you can for 10 seconds and then push the button again, I was clean. I would have brushed my teeth also but I dropped my toothbrush on the floor right behind the toilet. As Robert would later say, no 3 second rule here man, you gotta toss it out. (I didn’t want to, it was still new. But Robert’s words kept coming back to me so later on I tossed it out.) So I used the old toothpaste-on-the-finger method.

 

All cleaned up and I was a new man. Those people in the quickly forming line better not talk to me. And yes, I left the door open but some poor schmuck went in anyway.

 

It was time to head for home. We all packed up our gear and rode out around 8 o’clock. Dan, Jim G., Jim S., Robert, Murray, Cliff and me at the end of another adventure.

 

And this, my friends, brings my tale to an end. I hope you can join my buddies and I on our next odyssey. You would be very welcome.

 

Hope to see you on the road,

Mark.

 

Headed home.

 

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Mark,

I really enjoyed reading your journal of this wonderful adventure. Your writing style is unique and I loved it.

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Sam and Bill,

Thanks for your kind words.

I'm glad you enjoyed my writings I've never done a journal like this before. One of my friends on the ride encouraged me to start one after our first day of riding. (I think he just wanted to keep me busy while he got the first, hot-water shower.)

It was nice staying up after the other's turned in to put my thoughts to words. Away from the pressures of everyday life, the writing was easy and entertaining in itself.

I hope to read of your adventures someday.

Your Friend,

Mark.

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RichEdwards

Just returned from my extended trip. Here's a picture of the entire group from the BMW Riders of Tampa Bay. By the way, we are creating a new club office---Poet Laureate---and the job goes to Mark for his great ride tale writing ability!

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Mark,

 

A great ride report. Loved the pictures. Really enjoyed your sense of humor.

 

I don't think anyone could have a bad day with your around.

 

Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

 

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Mark,

 

A great ride report. Loved the pictures. Really enjoyed your sense of humor.

 

I don't think anyone could have a bad day with your around.

 

Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

 

thumbsup.gif

 

I don't think anyone could have a bad day with you around.

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Rich, it's great to have you back from your long journey. The Wednesday breakfast ride didn't seem the same without you although when asked about the huge amount of food he was eating, Tampa Jim said that it was in your honor. It seemed like a good idea so we all overate for you. Hope you don't gain to much weight.

 

Bud, thanks for your kind words. I hope we can meet someday.

 

Your Friend,

Mark

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