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Musings about bikes and such

BYOB in WV and the new "Pyg" - June 2011

Ever since last years BYOB, I had been looking forward to the reprise.  Of the crew that went down last year, only Gerry and I were left.  Pete is still recovering from his trip with me last month to the Dragon and Mike had to bail due to other commitments.  No worries though, Gerry and I would make a good trip and meet up with some friends down there for the local rides. I then threw a monkey wrench into the works and decided to buy a 2006 BMW 1150 GS Adventure down south and ride it home, stopping at the BYOB on the way....leaving Gerry on his own...sorry bud.  We still met up in WV and a couple great rides....~1000 miles!

The bike was located in the sticks of South Carolina only 3 hours from Jacksonville, my home town.  So Greg - the seller - agreed to bring it down to Jax and I could just fly in there and spend a few days with my Mother before I headed north. A two birds, one stone sort of thing.  Greg's a great guy, into his bikes and very energetic.  After a test ride and a once-over on everything he new about it, we had spent about an hour in the 95 degree parking lot.  We decided to wrap things up with a few pictures to commemorate the event.  Of course....the keys were in the truck when he closed the locked doors to make a better picture.  That's just the situation when it's easy to do.....but we were already baked, so not a great time.  Here we are before he closed the truck doors.

With 20,083 miles on the ODO, the bike was pretty much perfect and just broken in.  When I got to my Mom's, I did find two issues, however.  In an effort to do me a favor, Greg changed the oil the night before he trucked it down.  He hadn't ridden it much in the past year and when he drained the oil cold , a bunch of it didn't get out.  It was about a quart overfilled.  Then, after I changed the oil, it wouldn't start.  Turns out the battery was dead, wouldn't hold a charge and this was masked by his religious use of a battery tender.  I was able to get an OEM style battery at a local Battery+ store and it has been flawless since.  I did a morning run down to Saint Augustine.  This is  one of my favorite places, were I used to hang out when growing up.  Everything checked out great.

The locals up here call her a "Pyg" because she is a big girl, but as a Southerner, she kind of reminds me of Traveler, but with a gut :-)  See the resemblance?????

The trip home was to be through the Appalachians, stopping at the BYOB and then on to Buffalo, where I left my truck for my flight to Jax.  This allowed me to truck across the border and though Canada instead of further relying on my questionable registration and insurance.  A trip of 2200 miles by bike  with another 100 or so in the truck.  A perfect opportunity to get to know the new beast.  Below are the tracks recorded by my Zumo.

To beat the heat, I left "bright" and early on Wednesday morning from my Mom's place.

I boogied through the flatlands of North Florida and South Georgia using a little bit of Interstate and a lot of back roads.  I found a wooded area in central Georgia to pull off for an early lunch of the sandwich my mother had packed....awe....

I then headed North into the roads that I know so well in North Georgia and North Carolina.  I skipped 129, but took War Woman and 28 into Franklin where I was getting a bit peckish so stopped by the Motor Company Grill for a chili dog.  For some reason I craved chili dogs during the whole trip.  Must be a vitamin deficiency from living in Canada :-).  The Motor Company is a great place to stop if your in the Franklin area. Slow service, but great food and biker friendly...even if you're not dressed like a pirate.

I then spent the next three hours backtracking through various mountain roads to get to Maggie Valley and see my Uncle Richard .  Unfortunately my Aunt was out of town....but always a good place to visit in riding season.   I explored some dirt roads in the area and really had a great time.

Early Thursday Morning, I headed "North" on the Blue  Ridge Parkway.  It's a VERY indirect route.  It is also, a wonderful road if you catch it mid week and avoid the traffic.  I have ridden the complete parkway in the past, but you really can't get tired of this.   I made it into Marlinton around 1700,-shortly after Gerry arrived.  Of course, he already had a beer in his hand :-).  gsweave, deerlsayer and others (Oilhead riders all) pointed out that my front looked low...and they were right.   Oversight on my part for some reason, but the handling sure picked up after correcting that. 

On Friday morning, Gerry and I hooked up with a local on a Wee-strom - "hillbillyrider" - who showed us some great roads in the area.  All well groomed gravel and twisty mountain roads off the beaten path.  Before lunch we rode by the New River Gorge and took the old  bridge down deep in the gorge.  Gerry took this shot of our guide and me.

The new bridge, is WAY up there

By the time we got back to the motor lodge that evening, the place was full.  I think Gerry counted around 85 bikes.

Dyno showed up before dark and we made some loose plans to get up early and head towards Burke's Garden, south of Tazewell, Virginia. We would take some back roads as we found them.   We started on the the "backest" of back roads that ended up being a ridge road "paved"  with baby heads.  The rain had washed the dirt way so that the exposed rocks were quite pronounced.  It was a road, nothing extreme, just rough.  Gerry felt at home, but Dave and I were wishing for our DR650s.  Here's Dave and Gerry coming down a gravelly section the ridge road.

We made it into Burke's around 1400 for a late lunch at the general store.  The road in is a very dragonesque paved path and the road out is an incredibly steep, meaning long switchbacks, gravel path...good fun all around.  At the recommendation of some Harley riders at the general store, we took  HWY 16 north out of VA and were NOT disappointed.  Although my unofficial name for it is "gravel at the apex road".  :-(  We got back to the lodge around 2000 and almost missed the dinner.  We were exhausted but had a good time with the rest of the ADV crew.  The mayor of Marlinton even showed up to welcome us.....wonderful to be someplace where they appreciate the business.

Gerry blasted home on the interstate Sunday morning because he had a hot date or some such, but I had to wait until Monday to export my bike so Dave and I decided to meander north, taking the best roads we could find.  I picked "Twisted Roads" brain and he had some great ideas.  He'll be moving to the KW area soon, so I look forward to riding with him more.  After a foggy ride up a single lane paved road right out of Marlinton, that seems to be so common in the area, we ended up at Seneca Rock and then took the gravel road up to the Dolly Sod's, which has a Northern Ontario flora feel to it. It was pretty, that's for sure.

...and the obligatory shot of the bikes:

...and the obligatory ADV salute:

We headed up to Old Town, Maryland to cross a private rickety wooden bridge that "Twisted Roads" also told us about.  It's not that picturesque, but is a very cool way to get across the Potomac...costs a Quarter.  We then took PA 26 north to State College and 144 (WOW!!) to Galeton were we split up.  I was tired and stopped at the Oxyoke Inn, site of the last BYOB for repast before heading to Buffalo to load the bike in the truck and head home on Monday.

Monday morning, I sprinted North, loaded the bike up and began the export-import process.  A good trip.........