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A Year On the RT - Part2 (long w/photos)

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Time for tour #2. Lou and I decide to attend bmwsporttouring.com’s spring El Paseo in Blairsville, GA. We leave on a Wednesday in record heat, riding mostly secondary roads, finally getting some relief on the BRP in NC before settling into Wilkesboro, NC for the night. The next morning we re-ascend to the BRP and experience sunshine, clouds, warmth, cold, and finally rain before being forced off by road closures onto I-40. At lunch in Asheville, I plot what looks like the most direct route to Blairsville, but the roads are so twisty they’re wearing us out, and our progress is slow. Plus, we have to keep sharing our lane with oncoming trucks. Stop the ride, I want to get off ! But the long fast sweepers coming down the hill into Blairsville raise our spirits, as we finally arrive at the host hotel.


The next morning there is an excessive amount of dawn patrol, and the parking lot that was overflowing at 11PM is mostly cleared by the time we hit the road after 9AM. First we ride south towards Suches , over Wolfpen Gap and then northwest. The roads are nice, but mostly I’m being aggravated by traffic generated by the Tour of GA bicycle race. We cross US76 in the sunshine and go north on GA5 to TN68. The weather is deteriorating rapidly and we ride in and out the rain as the sky alternates between terrifying and generally creepy, but I really want to ride the Cherahola Skyway. We stop in a gas station which consists of a pump island, a shack with a bathroom out back and a shed to cover the vending machines. This is where we take shelter and discuss the wisdom of going on, or scampering back to the hotel. I think I hear the bikes muttering “wuss” under their breath.


Someone rides by, sees us, and u-turns back. He is on a beautiful Aprilla: shiny black carbon, gold Ohlins; tires your hand sticks to. We chat, and he says, “oh no, you gotta ride this road. I was just up there and the sun was out.” Good enough for me. We continue on.


We ride under fast moving clouds and drizzle. The red aggregate pavement has plenty of grip, but it sure looks muddy. I’m in the lead, and riding conservatively 25-30MPH in the corners. Halfway around a mostly blind, banked, 90-degree left, a red KIA materializes out of thin air. I can see the front tires are already sliding , and I resist the temptation to slap the car with my hand as it goes by. By the time I look in my left mirror Lou, his RT and assorted system cases are suspended in the air. When I get stopped, the accident is out of sight, my vision blocked by the rocky outcrop on the inside of the curve. I assume the worst and run to a house I’ve stopped in front of. No one home. Back to the bike and grab the cell-phone, running up the road in Sidi’s and helmet.


When I round the curve, about five people are standing there starring at cell phones. The bike and and Lou are both lying across the center line about ten feet apart. The bike is leaking fluids, but Lou is not. By the time I’m next to him, he’s unbuckling his helmet while still lying on his back. I tell him to hold still, but he says, “I need to get out of the road.” I help him up, and he walks off the road under his own power. The only marks we can find on his ATG are some scratches on the back of his helmet, and the only marks on him are some small knee and elbow cuts from the mesh lining in his jacket and pants. I’ll always believe he landed feet first and then fell down. The contusions will announce their presence later.


A group of bmwst riders stop and drag Lou’s bike out of the street. None of the cell-phones work. We’re so far in a hole, there’s even a sawmill—without a phone. Some local kids in a car finally drive to a relative’s house and make the call. Over an hour for the cops, over two for the rollback. We take for granted in DC, MD, and VA that a helicopter and competent medical attention is a phone call and minutes away. Not always. Food for thought when riding in remote areas.








Complete photo essay at --http://bmwsporttouring.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=UBB3&Number=496139&Searchpage=2&Main=496139&Words=RickP&topic=&Search=true#Post496139



The KIA driver is unhurt, admits fault to the police, and is able to drive away from the scene.


Following the rollback on my bike, I pass the sign for Tellico Plains / Cherahola Skyway (expletive deleted). We leave both bikes at the towing company warehouse, and they give us a ride to a Ford dealership in Sweetwater who rents us a car. Then it’s on to the hospital emergency room for three hours, but they find nothing of significance. Next it’s food, and then the long dark drive back to Blairsville in a deluge of biblical proportions including hail. We arrive at 11PM.


The next day we drive the car back to the towing company, to pick up my bike. I extend the trip back to Blairsville to 100 miles, but I’m so tight I can hardly turn the bike. Lou’s wife, Cheryl, shows up around 6PM just in time for the groups catered barbeque dinner.


Record cold settles into the GA, TN, and NC, mountains including ice and snow at the higher elevations.


Sunday morning most people start for home. Some of the early birds have to backtrack and search for alternate routes because of snow on the roads heading north. We aren’t due back until Wednesday, so we move to a motel near to where we have to return the rental car on Monday, and I get another cautious 125 mile ride in.


Monday, I set out alone for the ride back to Maryland. The highlight of the day is a 100-mile ride on a deserted BRP from Roanoke to Waynesboro, VA, where I decide to call it a day. Tuesday, I’m home for lunch.








BMWST Riding Smart weekend in Waynesboro hosted by John Spicer and Tasker Day. Saturday morning we’re riding on the BRP in approximately 5-mile increments to practice specific exercises. I’m next to last out of an overlook with only Spike to follow on his new Ducati ST3. I watching my mirrors waiting for him to blow by me, but he never appears. Some part deep in the engine has decided it misses Italia and goes on strike.


Hello Spike




Sniff, bye Spike.




Lou’s crashed bike has made its way from TN to Morton’s in Fredericksburg, the TN insurance company not knowing what else to do with it. They declare it totaled within a couple days. The end of May, Lou gets probably the last new ‘04 RT in existence and we set out on a weekend 600-mile break-in ride. He has over 700 mules on the clock when he gets home Sunday evening, and he still has to ride it the 35 miles to Morton’s.






BMWST UnRally in Staunton, VA. Eight straight days of riding. Even though the host hotel is only four hours from home, I take two days to get there. Then there’s three days riding back and forth over the mountains in West Virginia, food, drink, and camaraderie with the moto-denizens of the internet. The group suffers two minor get-offs, but I SWEAR I wasn’t within miles of these incidents.






On Friday, I start an eastward meander towards Lou & Cheryl’s in Woodbridge. Mid-afternoon I stop into Morton’s BMW for a respite from the heat. I guess they’re used to people shedding boots and socks, reclining on their couch and littering the area with empty water bottles and candy wrappers. They ignore me.


Back on US1, it’s a toss-up whether I or the RT will be the first to keel over from the heat. I finally get rolling on 17 and am blessed with several miles of cooling rain. (I wouldn’t have said that, six months ago!)


I spend Friday night in Woodbridge and the three of us wander north the next day and manage to get lost in the Frederick watershed area. We finally use dirt roads to get out to US15 and arrive at my house just before dark. Sunday morning I lead them back across the river and head back home to end my 2150-mile extended week.


End of Part2 - RickP.

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Wow Dick, that is the most you have said since you have been here. That is a great tale of RT ownership! thumbsup.gif

Quite a list of experiences brought on by the purchase of a new toy...

Yer pal, Bruce. grin.gif

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Rick, nice report and great pictures!


Hope to see you at El Paseo later this month!

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Great pics and ride tale there Rick, keep-em coming thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif

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Rick: Very enjoyable reports and pics! You've had some interesting experiences in your 12,000 miles. Did you ever get a chance to ride the Cherohala? It is one of the most enjoyable roads I have ever taken a bike on.

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