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Ontario To Florida via Deal's Gap (TotD) - June 2009

For my first long trip on the Uly, I decided to head down to Florida to see my family.   I planned a long route down and up the Appalachians and arranged to meet my brother, Mark, at Deals Gap for the weekend.  It's always great to ride the twistys with him as he's the fasted rider I have ever ridden with.  I can always learn stuff by following him.   As he would be on his ZX-14, I'd only keep up if he wanted me to .:-)  As usual, here is a shot of my breadcrumb trail as captured by my Zumo 550 and displayed on Google Earth.  Technically, this was a cross-country trip as I crossed from the Canadian border to the gulf coast of Florida.

On the first day I trucked trough the border and ran down NY through the finger lake region, which is quite scenic.  By the time I crossed into PA, the rain had started.  It was really the only rain I faced for the entire trip,  but it was quite the down pour.  There was one place in the Alleganys where I relied on my GPS to figure out where the road was going as it was so foggy and wet.!.!  I probably should have stopped, but I'm stubborn.  I had planned to make it to Gettysburg that night and I did.  I found that the  local Comfort Inn was located at Lee's of course I had to stay there.  They had a nice pub on premises as well...not a bad place to stop at fact....recomended!

My gear hadn't completely dried by morning, but it was warm enough so it turned out OK.  I spent the  morning touring the battlefield......great stuff.  I also realized that I was not going make it down to Aunt Beverley's that night so I called her to let her know.  I'll make another trip down there in the near future, but I feel bad since I have since found out that she thinks I toured Gettysburg instead of visiting her....not true....It's just that the roads which I planned on riding would have delivered me to her place around 2200 and I had to meet Mark the following day around noon.  I really only spent a couple of hours touring the battlefield..   Sorry Aunt Bev......    I was compelled to watch the film "Gettysburg" as soon as I got home.

As I crossed into West Virginia I noticed a sign for Harpers Ferry.  I had to check out the site of John Brown's raid.  It's a pretty little town and I spent an hour or so there wandering around.  Here's a view from the town down the Shenandoah river.

It was interesting seeing where JB had held up and such, but I forgot all about this being the point where Lewis and Clark loaded up on supplies and headed west.  It really was a hub of activity in the Early days of our Republic.

I then caught the Skyline Parkway, which hooks up with the Blue Ridge Parkway to provide approximately 600 miles of absolutely gorgeous park roads through the heart of the Southern Appalachians.  The speed limit is 45 mph and I've heard that it can be backed up pretty bad at times, but since I did the bulk of it on a Thursday I had no traffic problems and it was one of the most pleasant riding experiences of my life...not challenging, just nice.

I spent the night somewhere in Southern VA and woke early so that I could meet Mark at the Deals Gap Resort around noon.  He had beaten me there and there was some power problem so we couldn't check in.  It was VERY hot that week, and Mark really doesn't like to be out in extreme weather so we had lunch in the pub and headed out for a ride.  My first blast down the Dragon turned into a parade as a group of pirates were just in front of us and they were having trouble even maintaining the speed limit.  My Uly is VERY comfortable.  I never ride with one hand on the bars like the sport bike riders do.....yet here I am in all my Killboy glory.  That's Mark right ahead of me.  We were able to pass them about half way down.

Here's a shot of me at the bottom of the 11 mile run saying hello to all my fell0w ADVriders

Here's a better shot of me without the traffic.....need to use more body lean.....

....and here is Mark attacking the same corner..he knows how to take a corner


We got up early and had a few good runs with no traffic.  On the first run in the morning, I was leading and had to stop for a black bear lumbering across the road...they really do run like fullbacks.  Here we are that morning at the bottom of the run

We rode all afternoon, into the evening.  We found a nice place to eat some local food and headed back to the resort for a beer and some BS with other riders. Deal's Gap Resort is a pretty cool place.  Not posh, but set up for riders.  Everyone should do it once.

Mark actually did have an oil problem....that's his stain...but it was easily taken care of.  Just a loose drain plug as I recall.

Here I am in front of the famous Tree of Shame....fortunately I made no contribution.

The next day, we rode around the area and headed south.  It was around 100 deg. F and the trip included all was not pleasant.  We passed through Birmingham and HAD to stop at Barber.  I had never been before, but Mark had when he went up there to buy my 999s for me.  This place is amazing.

Buell XBRR.  Mark is not really into antique bikes like am and was excited when he saw this glimmering beast from across the hall. .......but was disappointed to find it was a lowly Buell :-)

This looks like the perfect bike for Canadian winters

We took the back roads down to Pensacola and when we crossed the Florida border, I pulled up on the curb for the obligatory shot.....I'm from Florida, but coming immediately from Canada, its kind of an accomplishment.  The locals always got a hoot out my Ontario plates..... "Did you ride THAT here?" :-)

I spent a few days in Pensacola and then headed across the state through horrific heat (100 deg F) to my Mom's in Jacksonville.  I didn't have much time down there, but we did manage to get to one of our favorite restaurants in St. Augustine.  The Columbia is in the historic section, on St. George street, but the restaurant is pretty new..maybe 25 years old.  The original is in Ybor city, of course, but this one still fits in and has great food and atmosphere.

I headed North on a similar, but different, path.  I passed through deals gap towards then end of my first day and had a beautiful run down tTotD with no traffic and NO Killboy photographers.   I took back roads mostly and followed "The Trail of the Lonesome Pine" as much as I could....very good riding for an adventure style bike.  I took a small detour in PA and found this lovely covered bridge.

I was going to stop at Ulysses, PA for "THE SHOT" but my rear tire was really getting worn out so I babied it home the last day and took the direct route.  I did "THE SHOT" later the same summer when I went to Nova Scotia.  I did stop by puxatawny to see Gobbler's Knob though.  The entire trip was 4200 miles, and while my rear was not showing threads yet, it was close.  It all worked out and I had a great time.