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The Official El Paseo X Ride Tale, Picture and Check-in Thread


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Having a great time!


Everyone enjoyed the El Paseo Pale Ale, Witch's Brew and Gooberweizen:








Mom...Itchy's scaring me....



Can't wait to see everyone else's pictures and read the tales.


We have a great day of riding planned and 50 signed up for the dinner tonight. Outta here!

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Left at 0245 and just got in. tongue.gif Thanks for puttin it all together. clap.gif Great beer, riding, weather, and seeing old friends and new ones. Gotta unpack and will post more later. wave.gif

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Just made it in. Thanks, Mark and Christine, but taking El Paseo over and getting it to this point. Ten great events and it's fun to look back over all the memories.


Enjoyed it, you all! thumbsup.gif

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Just rolled in at 12:02pm.


Many thanks to Mark and Christine.


Great weather, great roads, great food, and great fellowship....what more could a motorcyclist ask for??


Thanks again.

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We rolled in at 11:59 exactly. We took our time getting back and stretched it into a 2 hour and 45 minute ride while stopping at Lake Jocassee to see how the lake was today. We had a great time! Will process pics later. I have grass to cut...lol.



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The 'Spins are in at 4-bells. Like everyone else said, we had a great time and Mark and Christine made it look easy. The weather was superb, and the video linkup to Torrey was a brilliant idea. Pics to follow...

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Home without incident via the Cherohala. Totally worn out from four days of major rides. A fitting end to a wonderful event that I've looked forward to each fall and spring for the last few years.


After Itchybro lost his alternator belt as he pulled out of my driveway and Kenny Haynes had tire issues, I was sure it was my turn when my engine sounded like it was running without oil Saturday morning. Turned out to just be a visit from the witch!


What a wonderful weekend! For an event often remembered for challenging weather, we were treated to perfect conditions. A few of us went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway to check out the full moon Thursday night:





Tasker Day cooks brats under the watchful eyes of Kenny Hanyes and David Baker:



Mark Davis explaining his confusion about the size of the hot dogs:



David Baker with the three brews:




Perfect skies:




Many thanks to our hosts!!!



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StretchMark and HoonTang just arrived home at 5pm. Enjoyed a nice breakfast at the Pisgah Inn this morning with Kenny and Shannon. We had a blast seeing everyone this weekend! I don't think the weather could have been more perfect thumbsup.gif


Pictures to be uploaded and Ride Tales to follow shortly.


Keep the pictures and ride tales coming!


We collected $260 during the Friday night cookout, so minus the cost of the food, we have $115 to donate to the site. Thanks everyone clap.gif


P.S. The Witch left me a nice rotten banana between my seat and my Alaska leather butt pad. ooo.gif Luckily, I just happened to brush the dew off my pad and felt the lump or I would have had a nice little mess on my hands cool.gif

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It was a short El Paeso for us. Because of a lack of vacation time we had to wait until Friday afternoon to make it in to El P this year. We rolled in about 7 PM to a crowd of people hovering around the bikes out in front of the hotel. What a great crowd this year. It wasn't the biggest, but it sure had a lot of soul to it. We knew just about everyone at the start, and by the end we knew the rest. A great big thanks to Mark and Christine for carrying on a great tradition started by David Baker. We had a wonderful weekend. Now..some pics....


Mike (HuskerRed) dropped in for a quick minute or 3 on Friday night. Thanks for making the ride from ATL to just say hello Mike!



Morning rolling in over the mountains at the hotel.



Rainy blasting down the Cherohala..




Your right Jim, the views were incredible ....



I think we have a replacement for the Bistro. This is the second time we have eaten there (for Saturday lunch) and the food is excellent.



Mitch enjoying the view at lunch on Saturday.



The view off the back porch that Mitch was enjoying.



And finally, our stop at Lake Jocassee on the way home. The views just closed out a wonderful weekend.




Thanks to everyone again.. Man it was fun.. grin.gifthumbsup.gifclap.gif



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Kathy and I rode south with Tallman and Beth and made it back to Tallahassee without incident. Great weather, great riding, great food and great company...


We really enjoyed our first El Paseo and will look forward to next time.

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Back in the barn at 5:15pm thumbsup.gif


Mark, Christine, thanks very much for a great event; very nice hotel, excellent roads, and wonderful company :thumbsup


I also want to thank Craig (TyTass) for graciously offering to share his room (it wouldn't have been the same if I'd been stuck up in Cherokee!); he's is an excellent room mate, and was kind enough to ride sweep for me through Cherohalla and keep me out of trouble.


Jim, Phil, Andy (especially Andy: sorry to slow you down so much!); thanks for the great ride on the BRP Sat.!! it was awesome thumbsup.gif


PS: Mark/Christine; are you sure you don't want to head this up next year?!?! it will be hard to improve upon with anyone else at the helm grin.gifthumbsup.gif

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Just got in after a great day getting lost in Tenn. found a few new roads, so it's all good.


Thanks to Mark and Christine for all the work putting this together.


Spectacular weekend grin.gif

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Made it back shortly after 5pm today with Jsent81 (Joel, the guy on the LT) in tow. We managed to take a couple side trips that at one time included (by mistake...sorta) about 15 miles of forest roads. If someone tells you that an LT can't handle a little dirt and gravel just tell them that they're chicken. Now I have to see if I can get him to try a water crossing lmao.gif


Thx again to Mark and Christine for pulling this last EP together. I'm really looking forward to the next event.

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Beth and I arrived home at 6:28, two minutes early, after splitting off from Bill and Kathy about 10 minutes earlier.

Just finished cutting the lawn. dopeslap.gifdopeslap.gif


No slab, 430 miles of backroads, many with no traffic, a great way to wind up the best El Paseo weekend, yet.

The food was first class, the company even better.

Thanks to David, Kristine, Mark, and all who created an unforgettable experience.


Thanks to all who showed their support for FSU, Beth, Jake, and I appreciated it.


Had to repair a saddlebag mount on the way home, but a RokStrap and bungee pull tie made a great fix.


Will post pics eventually.


Oh Danny.......Go Noles!!!

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Been home since a little before noon. Unloaded the bike and hung out with the critters awhile and laid down for a nap. Woke up with another awesome day staring me in the face and took the paintshaker for a spin on some local fun.


BIG fun this weekend. Thanks everbody. (didn't mean to scare anybody).




P.S. Extra big ups for Ken Insley and Davis's for routes, victuals. and such. Also to D.Baker for the invention of the event and being such a good sport.


P.P.S. SUPAH big ups for Kenny and Jim for getting me to the scene of the crime(s)!!!

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In at just abuot 2000 hours. I had a late breakfast with the family and lunch at the carolina smokehouse on the way home. I discovered a new road to me and ran in from the slab from about Savannah on.


The Golf clubs and I did just fine, I only wish I could have been there for Friday night and Saturday. It was great to meet so many people who have been just words on the screen!


I'm looking forward to the next one. thumbsup.gif

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Boy did I hate to miss this one! Looks like everyone had a great time! Good news is my back is healing nicely and I was able to get a short 50 mile ride in this weekend.



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Calvin  (no socks)

Mark and Christine, thanks for all that you've done to make this last one work.


I managed to be in two places at one time thanks to Jamie..KMG365... and Mark..Stretchmark..... Virtual Pizza from the Rimrock and Virtual Torrey for 30 minutes....Almost like being in Killers living room for the evening... thumbsup.gif


Viewing the thread on one of the early El Paseos is what made me change from lurking to member modes...... no regrets. er,.... Does Marty Hill count? grin.gif




Thanks to all the others behind the scenes that also put in and contributed to the success of the string of gatherings called..... El Paseo........ bncry.gif

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Back in Indy at 6:30p, with Knappy in tow. Enjoyed a nice dinner and break with Steve and he is on his way home to the Chicago area. He should arrive before 11p.


Not only was the weather perfect this weekend, I don't remember a more perfect weekend on a bike and when I've had more fun with so many good friends! And it was good to meet so many new friends!


Thank you Mark and Christine for your hard work and all the time you put into making the final El Paseo so fantastic. And to David, thank you for your vision.


Thank you to Jim Williams and to Bill Ferran for the great rides Friday and Saturday!


The final El Paseo comes with bittersweet thoughts. I am sad that this event has run its five-year, ten-event course but I am also anticipating to hear what replaces it.


And David, I still believe you spiked my drink Friday night! Mark thinks it was some kind of date-rape drug. tongue.gifwink.gifgrin.gif


Hope to see everyone soon!

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Had a great time. My first EP, at least I can say I made one before it changed to something else.


Thanks to Ed for the invite and letting me tag along. Although the trip down the forest road off 181 was a bit adventurous for me. I think I'll try to keep the LT on pavement in the future. Flat gravel roads are ok, but switch backs in deep gravel had me in a cold sweat. No harm done, just a slightly wiser man for the experience.


Thanks to Mark and Christine for hosting a great event.


Thanks to BMWKen for showing us around Northern GA on Saturday.


Thanks to Ken (the route guy) for putting together all those great routes.


Thanks to all for the shared experience.




PS learned I could change my user name, so have switched to Tarheel_Rider from Jsent81 (which was just nonsense anyway).

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Kenny Haynes

She’s not the smartest dog, but I think she knew I was headed out for a few days Thursday as I packed the bike.




Not enough pictures as usual. I didn’t take any of the alternator beltechtomy on Itchy’s bike as we pulled out Thursday. We had a nice ride over, unknowing of the slow leak in my rear tire. We made it to the full moon/ fog ride Thursday night. There were some strange colors in the mist.




Friday was spectacular. Well, so were Saturday and Sunday, but we’re talking about Friday now.




Beautiful wild flowers, and Tasker is working on drought relief.








I found that one of the easiest way to get rid of those pesky chicken strips is to run Richard B. Russell parkway on 8 pounds of air. Thanks to Tasker’s friend Steve for the assistance in finding and helping repair my tire at TWO.


We got back to find Christine busy helping to prepare for the cookout.




Now, what are we talking about here Mark?




Apparently, the moon was in the seventh house and Jupiter aligned with Mars. Tasker is manning the grill, and the world is once again spinning in greased grooves.




Some pics from the cook out.









Saturday was great too, and several of us rode down to Cashiers and hooked up with Bill Ferran for a tour of some local roads and a great lunch.


So many nice views everywhere you look.







One of these is not like the others. Just sayin'




I really had a great time riding with Knappy and David Saturday too. That Buell is a lot of fun to ride. Thanks for a fun afternoon guys.




Tire problems have plagued me since august. After plugging a pin hole in my 300 mile tire Friday, the rt got all wiggly again on the way home today just as Shannon and I were about to turn on to 28 to head toward the skyway. We found the valve stem was leaking, and tried to pump it up enough to continue. However, it finally failed in a catastrophic way. It was like it had melted inside, and the brass part just pulled out of the rubber. I was less than happy.






I hope to be retiring soon as a tire repair technician. We were able to break the bead with a piece of 2x4 I found nearby and some tire irons, and I happened to have an extra valve stem. However, setting the bead with a mountain bike pump seemed highly unlikely. We considered the old wd40 and a match to pop it on, but didn’t have wd40. Or a match. I did have some pyrat rum but no ignition source, so we strapped the wheel to Shannon’s bike and I found air just a couple of miles back up the road. What a relief.


We had a great ride across the skyway albeit an hour or so after we had hoped. Had a good burger overlooking the river in Tellico plains prior to parting ways toward home.


Thanks again Shannon, Steve, Todd, Jim and Shawn for offering assistance with tire tasks. What a fantastic week end in spite of all the trouble. It was great to see everyone.


Had a somewhat happier pup when I got back too.



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If I was going to use a date rape drug, it would not be on you! grin.gif


Thanks to Kenny for leading me across the double yellow right IN FRONT of the sitting patrol car. Not. tongue.gif


Finishing my check-in, I left at 6:00a this morning. It was 39 degrees and very dark. I flipped the HID lights on and flew westward on some fun, windy roads. I love carving corners in the dark by myself inside a toasty Gerbings on high. thumbsup.gif

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I rode solo on the way home, which means I don't know how or when I'll get there, but the day is always rewarding as I seem to always find new roads for future routes clap.gifclap.gif


I had a great time sharing a few cigars and many laughs through the weekend. The food, beer and the killer mason jar were highlights as well.


I had a nice ride in with Jake and Matt on Thursday.

Friday went by quickly with Mitch if you know what I mean.

I took a posse which included Calvin, Todd and Sandy for 320 miles on Saturday.

No photos, but all good times.


Thanks for all the efforts behind the scenes.



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Ken, thanks for all the great routes. BTW, I discovered "Chuck's Creek" road (is that what it's called?) yesterday--one of the roads you've introduced to the group. It was fantastic. Narrow, no shoulders, blind corners--the perfect road. grin.gif

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Ken, thanks for all the great routes. BTW, I discovered "Chuck's Creek" road (is that what it's called?) yesterday--one of the roads you've introduced to the group. It was fantastic. Narrow, no shoulders, blind corners--the perfect road. grin.gif



You're welcome, and it's Charleys Creek. It's a great road which reminds me of Wayah quite a bit and I like 281 getting to it.

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I just found my Ride Tale from the very first El Paseo. Wow, did this bring back memories.


Just a few short months ago, during the height of winter fever, we thought about meeting in the Smokies for El Paseo I. Here's how the invitation started:


Yep. This just needs to happen. And every year, too. Probably twice a year. For a long time I've wanted to organize a gathering in the Smokies that those of us east of the Mississippi can look forward to, much like you read about in relation to Death Valley Days or Torrey or whatever.


I have no illusions that this will be like that off the bat, but I'm committed to it. I know enough people who will come to be sure we have at least ten people. We might get quite a bit more.


I don't care about numbers. I just want to ride myself, help other people ride better, throw some things in the memory banks, dream forward and dream backwards.


I knew for sure that Bill Hawkins, David Bearden, and Larry Rudolph would be there. Larry will go anywhere. Tell him there will be motorcycle gathering, and he'll ride day and night to be there.


It was obvious that other people had cabin fever, too, and the names started to show up. Eventually it looked like we might overwhelm the hotel, and then bad weather struck. One of the worst lows in early April since people remembered. The day before, as people made their way from 20 different states, looked like this:




As cancellations came in (about 15), I feared that we'd all be eating three plates of prime rib each. But then new people decided to join at the last minute. I still didn't know what to expect, but pulling into town I told my riding companions that I'd be surprised if there were a dozen bikes for the Friday ride. We ended up with 32, many piloted by riders with interesting stories about trying to get there. The main N/S route (441) was closed due to snow, and quite a few had to detour for 100-150 miles in the cold night to get there. Many never made the Friday ride because of travel delays.


But back to the start (and I didn't take pictures, being too busy doing other things, but I'm sure there are great ones coming). Steve Knapp rode down from Chicago. He was going to stay at the house Wednesday night, but only made it to Bowling Green after his visor kept icing up. So he called it a night, 70 miles away.


Meanwhile, Mitch is freezing to death coming from Detroit, about 60 miles behind Steve. Mitch calls from Dayton wanting me to find a place (on the internet) that had a heated vest for sale. What kind of mental case lives in Detroit and doesn't have a heated vest? grin.gif No luck, so I suggest that he go to Wal-Mart and buy those heat packs hunters use. No luck there, either.


He heads on south, and after he's gone it occurs to me that he's going to hit the same snow. So I leave a message on his cell phone, hoping he'll check it. Then I call Steve, comfortably eating at Cracker Barrel (he likes them). But he doesn't have a pen or paper so that he can write down Mitch's number. In a pinch, apparently a french fry, dipped in ketchup, works as a writing instrument. So they hook up and share a hotel room.


Meanwhile Jake flies in from Florida Thursday morning at 8:20. I pick him up, and just as we get back, Knappy and Mitch pull in, still in the 30s and raining. We've had the garage door open so they could pull straight in.


Julie has made us homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee, which seem to go over well. Mitch borrows a vehicle and drives to a dealer to snag the last heated vest. And then we are out of here by 11:30a, Thursday, thinking we'd do a little playing in the mountains first.


It was raining when we started and it rained almost the entire 275 miles. Cold, dark, rain, on slippery back roads. Not exactly what we'd planned, and during the first half hour I was thinking how silly this was, especially to be doing it on the Ducati. The RT is made for that kind of ride. But once you get into a rhythm and accept the weather, it's not bothersome. We all had the right gear and stayed dry. And we stayed attentive, too. There's nothing like cold, wet tar snakes high up on a mountain pass in the rain!


Incidentally, the initial misgivings about taking the Ducati faded on Friday. I've put 3,000 miles on it, now (and thrashed a set of sport tires in the process), and once the weather cleared up, I was really glad to have it.


Our route that day was across 70S, 30, 39, and 68 into Georgia. But it started to get dark and we decided that we didn't want to be riding those roads in the dark and rain. So we went back up 68, and then west on 64, to spend the night in Cleveland. We walked to Cracker Barrel (did I mention that Steve likes them?).


Got up early. Still 30 something degrees, but not raining. Walked over to Awful House where we tried to put my gloves back together. (Never mind--I'm sure they'll tell you about it.) Headed down 60 so that I could treat them to 2/52, one of the better roads in Georgia. As we climbed the mountain, we were quickly enveloped by fog. And I mean fog so thick that it was "raining" in the fog. I was leading and barely idling in first gear I couldn't see more than 25 ft. I couldn't even see a driveway or intersecting road fast enough to turn off. Finally there was a wide shoulder and I pulled off, and suggested that we turn around. It was getting worse, and it was quite unsafe. So we inched back down the mountain...and then made a fast run the rest of the way when the fog cleared. Across 64 again, and up 19. We moved fast, because we'd lost lots of time and I needed to be there for the first ride.


We pulled in, 175 miles from the start, at 12:20p, about 40 mins before the first ride. Jake checked us in. I unloaded and had the route sheets passed out. We gathered and without much ado just headed out on a 155 mile ride.


There were more than 30 of us in four different groups. We were in the second group. I quickly learned that Al (aka Crackenback) was not a rider I was going to lose. It was like I had a sticker of him in my mirror. Unless I pulled away with power or more cornering clearance, that boy was like a bad dream that I couldn't shake! grin.gif I'm not sure I've seen someone ride an RT like that before.


We also discovered that 64, between Franklin and Highlands, is a fun ride to hoon it on if you don't think too much about the cars swinging ride, the narrow lanes, and the gravel everywhere! Needless to say we were concentrating.


Two riders on RTs went down between Highlands and Cashiers. The tally is one very sore shoulder and elbow for Peter Scott, and an RT that needs a new mirror and such; and then a broken collarbone for JR Lunsford and one less RT in this universe, since it kinda got trashed. Obstacles in roadways aren't particularly fun, I understand. When Steve came on Peter, he was hanging on the guardrail trying his level best to not slide down that little mountainside. grin.gif I stopped and made sure everyone was okay, and then waved our group on through. Larry Rudolph and Steve Hebert and several others had things well in hand and the last thing we needed was more people on that road. Later, another rider smacked into the guard rail, bounced off, and kept going. That's a pretty cool trick, eh? (Peter rode 700+ miles home by himself with some major aches--he's a tough dude.)


So while I was checking on things, Mitch has taken the lead to keep us moving. He keeps the lead down 64, and then onto 215. Now this road, heading north up the mountain, is Pure Heaven. And Mitch is having fun. I couldn't tell if he was wanting the lead and determined to keep it, or just being helpful. So I make some smart comment about "when are we gonna go fast, Mitch?" He sneers "Bite Me" over the FRS, which is reason enough for me to pass his sorry ass and quit playing with him, moderator or not. grin.gif That boy from Detroit rides purty good even though he has a dirty mouth.


We climb the top and Heaven turns to Hell. We should have guessed this, because the Blue Ridge Parkway, parallel to 215, is closed to all traffic. And when we get to the northern exposure part of this road, it's icy, sandy, cold, and wet. You would have seen a very ginger group heading down that mountain. The lead group was on radio, and we slowly caught up to them, meeting up at the agreed upon "camp" which was now a muddy mess. It was too cold to chat much, so we made the next leg to Maggie Valley to the Wheels Through Time Museum. They had 220+ motorcycles and 12+ cars. The owner gave us a deeply discounted rate, kept it open more than an hour past closing, and led us on a personal tour. You want to hear what a 90 year old motorcycle sounds like? Point to it and he'll start it up, usually on the first kick. How about a 70 year old bike that he road across country on a year or so ago? Or a straight eight Dussenberg with dual overhead cams? Wanna hear what it sounds like? I may have some of the details wrong, but the stories and mechanical genius and patient explanations were really remarkable. They even had a "Goulding" vehicle, related to our own Shawn Goulding.


Afterward we all ate dinner at the Salty Dog. And then rode home 20 miles to Cherokee. It was 9:00p or so, misting, very dark, cold, on a road with sand. And I forgot my clear shield. That wasn't the most fun 19 miles I've ridden! But we had beer and cigars and chatted while people trickled in. Then I collapsed in bed after a long but very fun-packed day.


Saturday Jake and I were up at 6:15 for a 7:00 breakfast. Then a brief meeting at 8:00 before the big ride started. I wanted to try and get people ready mentally for the riding we'd be doing. Much of it was technically challenging, and we wanted to limit the incidents. We did, too, since only two people found the limits of traction that day. I had written up some thoughts about how to ride each section and what skills people might want to work on, but it seemed appropriate to reinforce that with a brief safety meeting.


We tried to stretch out the starts, but 30 bikes ended up leaving together, before we stretched out pretty quickly on the back roads. We went west on 19, and then south on 28. Gosh darn it I love that road, especially in the other direction where you can corner very deeply under power.


Then on to Wayah Bald Rd., which is spectacularly beautiful, taking you up mountain sides through 15 mph switchbacks, then through a deep valley with waterfalls. The corners are blind, the road is narrow, and the surface had some gravel, which is how we lost two other people (Randy's son and Phil Fuson). Nobody was hurt, though, and the bikes were picked up, dusted off (a K75 and RT), and both our friends finished the day.


The gravel was the small, fine type, not unlike ball bearings. So it required concentration. We knew the road would be touchy, but riding on stuff like that is good for everybody, mainly because it teaches smoothness. On that point, when you most want to tense up, the bike needs you to loosen up and relax. It cannot recover unless you get out of the way and allow it to. I found the edge of traction myself taking a lefthand switchback, leaned over. The power delivery was smooth, but I hit more gravel and the rear end stepped out. But the bike will usually recover if your speed is reasonable.


Then on to the Cherohala Skyway. What a road, and by now the groups are getting smaller as people find comfortable riding partners doing a pace they can enjoy. Eventually our group got down to me, Bearden, Hawkins, Al, and a few others who came in and out of it. And what a glorious ride this portion was. Exactly fitting weather. No traffic. Perfect surface.


I was feeling good and in a groove, so I took off and "sticky Al" wasn't far behind. We all stopped at a snowy lookout and smoked ten-year old Fuentes (believe it or not, I never smoke except on BMWSportTouring outings--you all trying to kill me?).


Back on the Cherohala to Tellico Plains, where Randy Shields suggested that we dump my official recommendation for lunch and get BBQ instead. I felt a little bad about all those bikes parked in the Cafe, but only until I munched down and had a really great meal, shared with 20 or so new and old friends. Some of the guys were ready to sell their worldly possessions and apply for jobs at the place just so they could be next to the waitresses, but we grabbed them kicking and screaming to finish the ride (we finished the ride with the riders, not the waitresses).


I'd been going hard all day and the five and one-half hours of sleep started to catch up with me. I knew I wasn't going to be riding my best the second half of the day, so I asked Bearden to take over and I filtered back to ride with Jakester. I wanted to be with him when he experienced Deal's Gap the first time, since I knew he was looking forward to it. I led up 360 while Bearden and crew pulled away, then 441 and 72. When we got to Deal's Gap, I motioned Jake around so that he could set the pace for us. I'm figuring that we'll have a "stroll" through the 11-mile ride, but Jake had other plans. Geez. As Jake pulled away, I realized that "recess was over" and he meant business. When we got to the end I pronounced all his winter cobwebs to be gone, and indicated that he could no longer claim that excuse for anything.


We saddled up and headed down 28, only to get the scare of our lives when all our V-1s lit up like tacky Christmas trees. Turns out the dear fellow was a half mile in front of us, hitting oncoming traffic with "instant on." We made our way to Bryson City to pick up some beer for dinner, and then pulled into HQ.


Dinner was great, and we had 58 people around the big tables, chatting like long lost friends and already lying about their day. I made some announcements, including a fun one. I made Brynda Insley stand up, who had come to ride on her R1100R, with husband Ken on his RT. Then I made the four guys she passed stand up to be ridiculed publicly. Of course one of them (who will remain nameless, but whose initials are Steve Hebert) had just finished the 100CC run, so he was absolved.


Jake explained the UnRally concept and urged people to come in October. And then passed out BMWMOA mileage forms so that people could count that day toward their totals. Then we went out in the parking lot to do more drinking, smoking, and lying. Today I road back with David Bearden and Bill Hawkins, the two fellows who helped put those great rides together.


  • Closing thoughts:
  • We had 62 people who spent part of that weekend together, from 20 different states, as far away as IL, TX, and MA.
  • Two-thirds of these people have never been to a BMWSportTouring event.
  • One-half of these people had never ridden the Smoky Mountains.
  • In case you haven't gathered yet, our events are full of riding, talking, and eating. They aren't about sitting around your tent for days on end.
  • These are the easiest things in the world to put together. People are flexible and appreciative and easily entertained. You ought to do something in your part of the country. Announce it and they will come, whether it's a ride, a tech daze, or just a party. Take a look at Pilgrim's recent announcement and you'll get the idea.
  • These are good people that get together. Whenever anyone needs something, there's always a helping hand. Take Steve and Patty Bearden, from Houston, for example. They trailered both their bikes up. When JR went down and had to go to the hospital, they volunteered to take him home. Of course he lives in Florida and they live in Houston, but never mind. Steve will ride his bike out ahead while Patty drives our wounded friend back home, with what remains of his bike on the trailer. And of course they drive an hour to get his prescription filled and positively spank the pharmacist into releasing the medication to them, despite his protestations. That's the kind of people you'll end up hanging around.
  • It was fun to watch people care about their riding skills and really work on things. And the difference between how they rode at the beginning and how they rode at the end was gratifying. For some folks it was just about shaking off the winter.
  • Riding with people, and then sitting around talking about it, builds bridges faster than a lot of other things I can think of.
  • Leaned way over at a high RPM in 4th gear, with an engine singing in your ear, is a very sweet sound, no matter what you are riding or what personal circumstances you might have brought to the party.


Thanks for coming, folks. Can't wait until we do it again! grin.gif


It's hard to believe how many hundreds of people hadn't ridden these mountains before! Very cool.

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Back at 1pm


Great time as usual,thanks Mark and Christine



Checking out the view at Bill Ferran's




Kudos to Christine and Shannon for riding thru this mess with sport bikes to see Dry falls





Dry falls








and the witch visited several folks lmao.gif



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Joe Frickin' Friday

Joe "bewitched" Friday, home at 5:35 PM. All's well, Burt and I left at 8 this morning and made great time up to Ann Arbor. Burt continued on to his home in Grand Rapids, another 1:45 away.


The Blairsville Witch got me good; I'll mention more details (with pics) tomorrow. thumbsup.gif


Mark, interesting coincidence: I sawed a valve stem in half the other day because I was curious to see how securely the brass part was anchored inside the rubber stem. The answer? Not very:




The rubber is bonded to the brass somehow, but it sure doesn't seem like much of a connection. THe brass surface is smooth - no knurling, no ribs or anything, and it takes the pressure from the air inside, tolerates all the abuse you put on it with air hoses, pressure gauges, and screwing the cap on nice and tight. I'm amazed they don't come unglued more often.


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Thanks to Mark and Christine for a great time. I got back home in West Michigan at 7:40 PM. I split off from Mitch in Ann Arbor about 5:30 PM, and continued on home. The temperature went from 39 degrees this morning at 8:00 AM when we left to 84 degrees this afternoon.

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Well we are not home yet, we made it as war as Beckley WV by 9:00pm.

We should have gotten much furthur but we took the Blue Ridge Parkway north for a couple of hours. Beautifull drive, even if it was in the van with the bike in tow!


We had a great ride on Sat with Tallman and Beth and Bill_c and Kathy. thumbsup.gif

Unfortunatly I was not feeling too well on Sat night and we showed up for dinner a little late. Only did a little bit of socializing, so there are still a lot more of you that I have to meet! Oh well! Next time I guess.

Sunday morning we did a short loop of the BRP on the bike before finally loading up and leaving for home around 2:00pm.

We have about 9 hours of driving to go so I am off to bed.


Once again thanks for the great event Mark and Christine!

So who is going to step up and take over for the next ?????

Hey anyone want to come to Canada?



Andy & Barb.

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I love carving corners in the dark by myself inside a toasty Gerbings on high. thumbsup.gif


I, on the other hand, do not!! And yet, I seem to have gotten alot of night riding in this trip! eek.gif Home at about 9:00 p.m. (after leaving HIE at about 8:00 a.m. my time!)


Beautiful ride to Mt. Pisgah Inn with Mark, Christine & Kenny. Then Kenny and I headed to the tire-repair tech daze session scheduled for the roadside just before turning on 28 toward Stecoah gap lmao.gif


Actually, despite the delay, it was a great day of riding. The BRP is lovely and the Cherohala is so cool! After grabbing a bite to eat near Tellico Plains, Kenny and I split off and I got to hit some of my favorite roads home.


Got the beautiful, twisty stuff on 30 around Fall Creek Falls finished just before the sun set. Got to McMinnville just as it got dark. Saw some spectacular sunset scenes along the way, but didn't feel I had the time to stop (that riding in the dark thing, you know??) smirk.gif

From there, it was a relatively straight shot to Murfreesboro and then a little slab to get home.


Had a super time ... thanks Mark & Christine for all your efforts. Thanks to everyone who expressed concern about my well-being and relief at my arrival. (It's SO much better than the alternative! lmao.gif)


Can't wait until next time ... wave.gifwave.gif

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Well we are not home yet, we made it as war as Beckley WV by 9:00pm.


Oh NOOOOO!!!! Don't let the Beckley Triangle suck you in or you'll never get out!!! (Explanation pending completion of my & Hoontang's UnRally Ride Tale .... lmao.giflmao.gif)

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Thank you, Mark and Christine, for a really great event!


Dick Williams, Ed O'Neil, and I left at 0800. We rode the Blue Ridge Parkway from Balsam to Asheville, then hit the superslab. After lunch in Statesville, Dick Williams split off to meet someone in Laurinburg and Ed 'Neil continued to Wilmington, arriving just before 1700.


I enjoyed seeing everyone. Til we meet again...

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Wow! What fun! El Paseo X (my first) was fabulous and was EXACTLY what I hoped for when I first joined BMWRT at the beginning of this year.


Thanks to Mark & Christine and everyone that had a hand in organizing it. Really first rate! Who ever takes over the helm will have big shoes to fill.


I'd like to also thank Jerry for splittin' the room and being patient with my snoring and for being a good riding partner.


Thanks to Jim, Steve, and Andy for lettin' Jerry and I tag along, which ultimately meant we didn't finish the route! The surprise of that day was a surprisingly delectible lunch in the town of Loafer's Glory! Ask Steve or me about the chocolate shakes.


Lastly, it was great meeting most everyone there. Everyone was so nice, fun, and welcoming. I truly feel part of BMWRT! Lookin' forward to the next BMWRT event "formerly known as El Paseo ?.


Obviously, I made it home. But as I took the BRP most of the way, I got home very, very late ... after a nearly 700 mile day. I'll run down that story and a few pics in another thread (whenever they finish loading to SmugMug).


Cheers To All!

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El Paseo X Ride Tale


What a fun weekend. I can’t believe it’s over.


Our first experience pulling bikes with a trailer. Very handy when you need to haul up brats and grills and beer, etc.



We arrived Thursday afternoon, unloaded, and dashed over to the Cherohala to meet David. We ran into Knappy, Tasker, Steve (Tasker’s Friend) at lookout.

Steve informed us that Tasker was a founding member of Club M.O.R.O.N. Nobody was even the slightest bit shocked. I’ll let Tasker explain.



We departed to go find David. We passed David coming the opposite direction on the Cherohala, in a deep lean, right on the tail of a sportbike. Then we proceeded to do the U-turn dance (Each of us doing 3 U-turns) before I finally just pulled off. dopeslap.gif



Then we went over to the Deal’s Gap Store for a drink.

A tipped over dump truck closed 28. When we saw the dump truck being towed out, we took our chances and headed down the road. Only a nasty sand covered diesel spill and a charred roadside remained so we were able to get through.


Once back at the hotel, we got to meet Matt (Matts_VSTROM). Love the golf cart thumbsup.gif :



Can’t let those BMWs get wet:



While everyone left for a steak dinner at Bogarts, we waited for Jim, Itchy and Kenny, but Itchy’s alternator belt forced them to be late, so we just grabbed something in town.


They finally arrived later. This is Itchybro…and this is Itchybro after too much Pyrat:



We decided to catch the harvest moon at the highest point on the parkway, but we only saw fog.

Team Hi-Viz out for a moonlight ride:







We rode the NW250 Ride with IndyBob.



I wonder how many times I have taken a picture here:



We had a nice surprise running into Larry (LJR) and sharing lunch at Mt Mitchell

Sorry Bob for my infrequent stops. I’m a bit anal when it comes to watching my projected arrival time on the GPS.


We decided to change the route up, head over to Hot Springs then back down 209. Fun Fun!


As always, Sylvia “the enforcer” Foote is there to help me collect the funds for dinner. Thanks Sylvia!



Gooberweizen unveiled. Nice to get a real smile out of David.



Jerry_75_Guy. Thanks for leaving the Jack Daniels out ther for me!





The Witch got Mitch Saturday morning with this little gizmo that made the bike make that horrible belt squeak sound. grin.gif



I lead a group (HoonTang, big-t, David, Shannon, Kenny, Knappy, Tasker) down to Bill Ferran’s place near Cashiers, enjoyed the views, then had lunch in Cashiers,


Christine calling my people to have some money moved around to buy Bill’s place. crazy.gif



Tasker says: “This place does not suck!”



Bill then led us through some fun little back rods on a nice waterfall tour.


Big-t soaking his head in waterfall Bridal Veil falls while I pretended to have camera trouble grin.gif



and always going out of his way to get that shot:



Red and Orange makes…..what does Red and Orange make???




Riding down the road to Dry Creek Falls. Glad they put up this sign to keep those pesky tourists out. lmao.gif



Firehouse catering treated us right again for the Saturday dinner.


After dinner, we had some fun with the Torrey Webcam for Killer’s Tequila party. Not only did I force Marty to use Paypal before this trip, but we also forced him to talk to the Torrey folks on a Skype WebConference. Ain’t technology great, Marty?


We also enjoyed listening to Sylvia speaking German with Jamie. Don’t let Jamie know that Sylvia said he speaks German almost without an American accent. We don’t want Jamie to get a big head about it. wink.gif


Thanks to newcomer Todd Williams who brought us a nice bottle of wine to thank us for organizing the event. Glad to see you jump right in meeting folks and finding a riding group. clap.gif




We had a nice leisurely ride up BRP to Pisgah for Breakfast with Kenny and Shannon.

I’m not sure any of us were quite awake for that ride up to the Inn.

We backtracked down to 215, then to Charley’s Creek Rd to 281, as Dave and Ken mentioned, a must do when in the area!! Quick as that it was all over except for the truck ride home.


It’s been an honor carrying on David’s El Paseo vision and I hope I lived up to the task. There’s never been a shortage of fantastic folks willing to elp me out with every aspect of pulling off an El Paseo.


So what’s going to replace El Paseo? Stay tuned, it’s still gelling, but I feel confident it’s in very good hands and the “excited chatter” threads will be going before we know it!


Thanks again to all who show up to make it such a fun event and for all the kind words!


P.S. Kenny, I have no idea what I was talking about, but I'm sure it was a short story grin.gif

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Joe Frickin' Friday





The Blairsville Witch strikes again. tongue.gif


For those who didn't hear the story:


On Saturday morning I went to start my bike. After it fired up, it was making this nasty wheezing, whistling, chirping noise. It was cold out, so I thought it was the alt belt slipping a bit, but it didn't go away like I thought it would. Within fifteen seconds or so it really started to run crappy. Now I'm getting worried: my 8-year-old RT is finally gonna leave me stranded somewhere. frown.gif


Then, across the lot, Jim Williams started up his bike and had the exact same noise going on. Oh crap, someone messed with the bikes! I feel a smidge better - at least this problem is not the bike's fault - but it's still got to be fixed. A couple of us start listening down around the motor, but we can't seem to find the noise. Finally Stretch spots the exhaust pipe and says "hey, what's that?" and pulls this...thing...off of the end of the exhaust:




It's a strong magnet, with a layer of felt on the backside (thoughtfully added to avoid scratching the innocent victim's muffler), and a SMALL hole through the center, maybe 3/8". The muffler is magnetic enough that this thing sticks quite well, leaving the engine with a tiny passage through which to expel exhaust: every single exhaust event causes a nice loud CHIRP as the gas whizzes through that hole. Probably would have been a smoother sound on a K-bike, but on the boxer it sounds like an eight-foot-tall cricket. eek.gif


In magic marker (mostly worn off in the photo) there are the initials: "B.W. EP X," or Blairsville Witch, El Paseo 10. Lovely. tongue.gif


Other pics:


El Perro del Paseo:





He wandered down from the house across the street to see what all this activity was about, and found a lot of new friends:




Eating dinner at Bogart's on Thursday, Ken asked the waitress what dish they were famous for. Without missing a beat she said "deep-fried Oreos." eek.gif The come five on a plate, with ice cream and whipped cream on top (as if they weren't deadly enough by themselves...). Knappy ordered a round for everyone, but not everyone dared to try it:





For the sake of the group, I gave it a go:



it was...greasy. Never again. 'Nuff said.


On Saturday night, the slightly more skittish and furtive "El Gato del Paseo" made an appearance:




I suppose if I had lost my tail, I'd be as paranoid as he was. grin.gif


I was unusually lucky with this indoor panoramic shot, in that nobody got smeared or double-imaged:


(click on image to open full-sized shot in another window)



Shawn, giving his bike that smoky BBQ flavor at Cherohala Crossing, a great BBQ stop just up the road from the Bistro:




Great food, and excellent seating on a balcony overlooking the river behind the place. Between them and the Bistro, I'll definitely visit CC again. thumbsup.gif


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Got home around 2pm on Sunday,had one of the best rides of my life on the Skyway on the way home,not a single car in front of me the whole way.

Tara and I had a great weekend. Thanks Mark and Christine for making it a great event.

-Good riding with you Andy.

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Got in to Chicago with a wee bit of tread to spare (honestly can't say how much, didn't look!) and not much left in the rider. I *did* make it before midnight, which was key to wishing Karen a happy 12 years of marriage in person.


The last hour of the trip was full of harsh winds and lighting in the distance. About an hour after getting home it started to rain/storm as I drifted off to sleep.


A perfect weekend up to the end.


David, thanks for posting that ride tale.

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Made it home around 6pm Sunday - last 300 miles were above 90 degrees and humidity so that part was no fun. The rest of the weekend was a blast, though. Thanks to Mark and Christine for putting this on - nice job!!

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It was great to see so many of you, even if only for the short time I could stay on Friday night. I got back home around 11:30 Friday night. I put on almost 600 miles Friday, most of it on some great roads!


Here's the one picture I took this trip.



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OK, I'm sure this post makes it obvious I was the newcomer at El Paseo and to the board. Ken and Calvin made enough comments about my neon jacket being obvious, so I'm sure I was spotted. On our ride they asked me to take it off once before I waded into the weeds to make water, fearing passing cars would get distracted and take out our bikes.


I just wanted to say thank you to all for making me feel welcome. Sorry I didn't get to meet everyone, but everyone I did meet made me feel at home.


Thanks to Ken, Calvin and Sandy for letting me latch on for one of the best routes I've ever done.


Thanks to Andy for introducing me around Friday night and giving me a heads up on you guys. Hey, you were right about Marty.


Just kidding Marty, I really appreciate all the laughs and great advice. I can now cross this great nation of ours and never pay for breakfast again.


Thanks especially to Mark and Christine for their work in organizing the event and for encouraging me to come. (I found it linked from the BMW XPLOR site and contacted Mark.)


Thanks again for the opportunity to get together with a great bunch of people and I look forward to riding with/seeing you all again sometime.



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I made it back to Indy at 4:30pm sharp. I was the Club M.O.R.O.N guy on the old red F650. I had a great time and look forward to more rides with this group. Thanks Everyone

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As I said before, events like these are why I joined BMWST. I can't wait for the future version of El Paseo ... a meeting of people who share a love for sport touring in the Mtns of NC & Tenn.


I didn't get to take many pictures - mainly because I spent so much time riding but also because my camera (with its broken battery compartment lid) frustrated me to no end. But here's my few pics and tale.


I left at Zero Dark Thirty (name of a former band of mine) on Thursday to ride to Morton's BMW to get new rubber - a 2 hour ride across a couple large rivers and one nice coun try road full of nice curves (though too often traffic). I arrived early and had breaky down the street in time to arrive at Morton's at 8:30. Even though I had an appointment I didn't get out of there until 11:00! Fearing I would miss Thursday night festivities, drinking, and lying I slabbed it almost the way to Dillsboro. A few rain showers – no reason to stop – until the last one that had me riding amongst lightning which prompted me to pull over for an unneeded gas stop. It passed quickly. Fortunately, that was the only negative event for my entire trip.


Friday, Jerry (Jerry_75_guy) & I modified the Cherohala & Deal's Gap ride at the suggestion ... well I honestly don't remember who ... but thanks. We went a bit south and picked up 28 in Franklin and headed north. We got a bit turned around (i.e., lost) at the other end and started heading like bats out of hell the wrong way on 129 (thank you GPS). But we did finally make the Cherohala – stopping a lot for pictures and for Jerry to lend assistance to a rider who went down on a Suzuki. He was banged and bruised but apparently not seriously hurt and being attended to by friends and a fireman. So we pressed on – here are a few shots:



Starving, we stopped for barbeque in Tellico Plains. And since it was getting late and we didn’t want to miss the brats, we figured we’d skip Deal’s Gap and head back by shortest means – back over the Skyway (darn the bad luck) – without stops, enjoying the quality of the road.


Saturday, Jerry and I rode with Phil (Itchybro) [typed wrong name in earlier post – Duh!], Jim, and Andy (Gamecock). Apparently they were gluttons for punishment as we slowed them down unmercifully at times. But it was a great and challenging route and I won’t forget any time soon Rte 80 as it comes down the eastern side of the BRP. We didn’t finish the entire route as we were concerned we’d not make the catered affair. So we slabbed it a while on I-86, missing out on some great roads in that area (197). Some pics of us on the BRP:



For my way home Sunday I had planned to ride the BRP from Asheville to Charlottesville VA. But to do so I had to get up early – very early – since it was Sunday and would likely be packed with Sunday drivers and picnickers. Well, I didn’t get on the road until 8:00 am! So I bypassed the lower section of the BRP (S. of Asheville) and found a squiggly route to it below Mt Mitchell. My Zumo didn’t like the route and when I got most of the way up I found out why – it was a dirt/gravel road. I took it anyway because the BRP was only 2 miles up and I didn’t want to retrace my steps and add another 15 or so miles.


I stopped at Mt Mitchell because I loved the view when I vacationed in Asheville in the spring, but didn’t get to see the area in full foliage. I took my pic in front of Mt. Craig (no … it’s really not named after me).


It was getting late so I blitzed up the BRP as fast as I could go given environment or traffic. I seemed to be an animal magnet as I killed a squirrel near little Switzerland and then a rabbit near Boone, and later two - yes two - birds hit me (one square in the chest). After tha I saw a different kind of bird aimed at me when I apparently torqued-off some guy and gal on dresser trying to enjoy a peaceful ride, thundering along at 30 mph and about 98 db. I had the temerity to pass them on a rare but very long (.25 mi) passing zone. As I signaled and moved into the other lane accelerating, he sped up dramatically to block me, but I continued on the throttle and saw the bird in the rear view. I never saw him or that bird again.


Somewhere south of Roanoke the Sunday traffic was just too dense to make time so I left the BRP by way of various squiggly roads – eventually getting out to I-81 to make up some time. However, the truck traffic was far worse than my ride Thursday, so I decided to get back to the BRP (hoping that the traffic wouldn’t be so bad due to the failing light). I was wrong the cars were going about 20-30 mph watching the sun set over the mtns. After a while I figured my luck of not running into a Park Ranger was running out – so I headed home through the rest of the VA on various back roads & hwys.


Other than three gas stops and one fast food break, I rode 675 miles on Sunday. Not much for most folks on this board but it was my personal longest day since getting back into riding 10 months and 13K miles ago. Very satisfying - though tiring. I'm starting to feel as though I'm developing a new relationship to my RT. So, I would think it's time to learn more technique and unlearn more mistakes before they become habit!


Again, thanks to all who were involved in providing the organization for EP X and those who provided the cameraderie! wave.gif

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Great stuff Craig! I've been enjoying your posts, and now know you can crack me up just as much in person. thumbsup.gif


Keep 'em coming folks. I know there are some more great stories and pictures out there. cool.gif

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Excellent pics and ride tale Craig thumbsup.gif


Nice job! smile.gif


(Man!, squirrels, rabbits and various 'birds'!! wink.gif I'm glad none of 'em left a mark! tongue.gif)

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Well, the rabbit left an ugly mark on the road. My front wheel hit it on the head and the car behind me hit it square on with both tires. Yuk! frown.gif


The birds all bounced off of me and went on their way - all three of them! wink.gif


Hey Shawn ... I left lots of typos in the story for you to tease me about! grin.gif

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Just got home. I stayed an extra day and did the 60 , 180 etc. loop . Awsome thumbsup.gif. Thanks Mark and Christine for organizing this event. Could the weather have been more perfect?. Total about 650 miles in 3 days of riding. It was great seeing some familiar faces and glad to have met some new people and future riding buddies. P.S. , North Carolina has some very nice police officers. thumbsup.gif

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Home now/decided to spend an extra day or so riding. Thanks Mark and Christine for all the work and Ken for telling me about charley creek road and the rest of that very nice route.


Great to see everyone! wave.gif

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What a great weekend. Thanks Mark, Christine, and Tasker and Silvia for the organization and effort, it paid off in the form of a super event.


Richard and I had a great run on the Parkway on Friday after a friendly wake up call from one of N.C.'s finest on our way to the H.I. On Saturday I coerced a group into riding up to Cashiers for lunch and then riding some of the local roads that turned into a mini waterfall tour. All in all a great day of riding.


Seeing some old friends and making some new ones was the icing on the cake.

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