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Ok, internet service is out, cable tv is out, and no one is home, so I guess I have run out of reasons to delay this report, so here it goes..

Pictures here:
View BlueRidge10-27-05

Blue Ridge Trip Report 10/28-10/31/05 - Short Version for the lazy ;-)
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Reli, Gary Cannon (a southern Cruiser riding buddy) and I went and road the Blue Ridge for four days.
We had fun, it was cold at first and then warmed up. Four days of great riding, good friends and memory making.


Blue Ridge Trip Report 10/28-10/31/05 - Long version
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** THE COLD **
Day 1: Binghamton NY /Princeton NJ to Waynesboro, NC
Well, early Friday AM, Gary and I met at the starting point. It was 6 AM, dark and cold.. yeah, cold, 34 degrees to be exact, but we did not see any of the forcasted snow and thankfully the roads were dry and clear. So we headed off down the interstate at 65 to 70 MPH playing get the heck out of the big trucks way... No issues, but it was cold, and still pitch black out. We were all bundled up, wearing long underwear and many layers of clothing... After an hour we had to stop and thaw out. We were meeting Reli who was starting from Princeton NJ, at 10:30 am just south of Harrisburg, so we had plenty of time. (when riding, if MS streets and trips says the trip will take 1 hour, I add 20 minutes to the estimate. So we had preplanned in time to stop , gas up and thaw out. At the first stop we went in and got something warm to drink. However, we left our helmets outside on the bikes and when we went back out, our visors were frosted over... :-( We also discovered that Honda's don't leak oil like Harley's, they apparently leak white stuff...
(see picture #1)


When I noticed it, I figured Gary would know exactly what it was, his milk or something? Well apparently from the look on his face he had no idea what it was.. Tearing into the bag, we find that a bottle of polish was leaking.. Ok, so apparently these Honda's run so well you don't carry every tool known to be needed on a bike, you carry polish to keep it clean... and that is what Honda owners need to worry about... :) (making mental note to move Honda up to the top of my list for my next bike..)

Well a few minutes off schedule we head out again, but with our visors up as they were frosted over... but fortunately they cleared up just before our eyeballs froze... We were heading up into the PA mountains now and getting colder so we stopped at the first rest stop. I broke out my instant heater packets for gloves and we each used them.. They helped enough. Fingertips still cold, but not freezing like before. So back onto the road and the temperature dropped to 30 as we climbed higher into the mountains.. Who's frigging idea was it to go this late in the year anyway? ... oh... mine...

Nothing eventful other than the temps finally started to rise into the forties and low fifties by the time we hit Harrisburg.
Anyway we got there and checked my phone. Had a message from Reli, he was running late, due to a traffic accident. So we gassed up and waited for Reli. Reli finally made it and we headed off to Front Royal. Somewhere along the way I missed a turn and we ended up re-routing to Front Royal via 66 which cost us more time. The plan this year was to get to Front Royal early enough so we did not finish the last third of the skyline in the dark. Well, guess what...

** THE SNOW **
We finally get to Front Royal, and top off the tanks and head up. First thing we run into is SNOW.. Some people had even built snowmen at the different outlooks..
(see picture #2)

** THE POLICE **
And it was cold again.. Fortunately it was not on the roads, but the roads were wet and there were cinders on the road.. so that slowed us down.. UNFORTUNATELY, not enough as we soon had flashing blue lights behind us. Apparently we were doing faster than the 45 I though we were doing and the speed limit on the skyline is 35. oops... :-[
(see picture #3)


You know when you've got a full face mask on, and bundled up with a ton of layers, it is hard to move your head up and down a lot to see your speedometer... Well last I read, it is an $800 ticket for speeding on the parkway...The officer came up and asked the standard questions... know why I stopped you?, etc.. So we all stood there and shivered as the officer took our licenses and ran us.. Meanwhile another officer pulled up , his lights flashing too, and from the looks we were getting from other tourists I guess we looked like the last bunch that rode through and raped and pillaged all the local villages or something... The officer came back and said that if we came back clean, he was going to write us a warning and that would take some time. So we stood there and shivered some more while he went back to his car and then eventually went to talk to his backup.. He finally came back and gave us our licenses back and a short lecture on why the speed limit is 35 the ton of deer and accidents they have. Well to make a long story short, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Reli led us out and we did not go 1 MPH over 35.. and as it got darker we went slower. Then the woods came alive and all sorts of creatures decided they owned the road.. We saw deer after deer, one huge buck with a big rack that bounced down the road like a ping pong ball with Reli and us beeping our horns like crazy. Even a possum decided to get in on the action and scurry right in front of Reli. Needless to say it was a long way down the rest of that mountain in the dark and it was not fun., and I'm still hearing those horns and the constant beeping... When we get off, we ask directions to the hotel, at a gas station and no one knows.. A few minutes later a cop shows up to take an accident report on the tow truck behind us and he knows exactly where we need to go. Ten minutes later we pull in to the Days Inn and it was the same one that Reil had booked for us last year. I did not know that when I booked the hotels this year... So ended the first day, of the trip, already with plenty of adventure..


Day 2: Waynesboro, NC to Sparta, SC
** THE COLD part II **
Next morning the plan was to be on the road by 8am. I get up at 6:30 and there is frost on all the cars and our bike windshields..
(see picture #4)

Ok, time to sit down and change plans. If it is this cold down off the mountains, it was going to be colder in the mountains and I was not up for two days in the row of riding in 30 degree weather. So we decide to delay our start till 9am and to take route 11 down to Roanoke, where we would have lunch and pick up the ridge from there.

** THE STRANGE **
That turned out to be a wise decision, and it was a beautiful ride in the morning down 11. Along the way we see some interesting things: Foamhenge for one thing.. Now who and why would someone go through the expense to do this ?
(see picture #5)


** THE DROP **
A while later, after one of our stops, we are starting out and one of they guys beep at me. So we stop. Wondering why we stopped I backed the bike up to talk to Gary... That was a bad move. I went to put my right foot down and there was nothing there... You know how sometimes there are potholes along the shoulder ? Well I start to say something to Gary and I put my right foot down. Next thing I know I'm face down in the leaves in the gutter... Took us a minute or two to get the bike up. Gas leaked out the ears as usual. No biggie, and and my throttle master from my kury grips was on the ground. At first I thought the screws had broken off , but nope, the end of the grip broke off. That was the only damage.. I was fine, bike was fine.. Gary suggested tape, so I got out my electrical tape, tapped the end of the grip back on and it was good as new... almost... Could have been a lot worse. Would have been a major pain if I had sprained or broken an ankle.. With all the padding I had on , gloves etc, I did not even feel anything when I landed... So that was a good drop.. ;-) So new lesson here when leading is. If someone beeps and we have to stop, either turn off the bike and put the kickstand down and walk back or stay put and make them come to me :)


** VINCE (aka Uncle Gomer) **
We get to Roanoke without any further adventures and at lunch I get a voice mail from Uncle Gomer (Vince) saying to call him. So after lunch I called him and he planned to meet us at Mabry Mill.

We got onto the Blue Ridge. Fortunately the speed limit there was 45 and it was an enjoyable ride. We stopped along the way and took many pictures.. At one of the stops, Santa stopped by in his new URAL with Mrs Clause
(see picture #6)

and asked us if we thought he should paint it red. He was a bit concerned about the Homeland security boys thinking he was a terrorist or something. Of course I said Yes to the Red idea..;-) Ok so I made part of this up.... While we were admiring the URAL I got a voice mail from Vince saying he was at Mabry Mill and thought we got there before him and left already, and that he was going to wait 15 minutes and then try to catch up to us... I asked Santa if he knew how far down the road Mabry Mill was and he said just a few miles. So while Reli and Gary were taking pictures I took off down the road to try to get to Mabry Mill before Vince took off. I got there just as he was backing his bike out and getting ready to take off.. What timing... Well we stood there and chatted like long lost buddies until the gang showed up and then we followed Vince to some of the local fun roads, the squirrel spur, and others. Well they were fun and when Vince says watch out for loose gravel, he's not kidding.. The Squirrel was loaded with it. Would have been a perfect road without it. I think if I'd live there I'd be tempted to pack a broom with me on a weekend and go up there and sweep off the corners in the early AM to get a few good rides in..

** Drop #2 **
We stopped at one of the few local gas stations because we needed gas and apparently Vince did not see us stop so we waited a while until he turned around to find us (for the second time.. ;-) When we got gas, Reli decided to see if the bike would stand by itself when he got off of it.. Nope... It does need the kickstand to keep it up... Vince took us back up to the ridge and rode with us a while before heading home at Fancy Gap. It was good to meet and ride with you again Vince. Thanks!

We finished up the day riding into the Sun to Sparta.. Nice roads but the curves ending up heading into the blinding sun were not fun. I really hate how low the sun is in the horizon this time of year..
We stayed at the Allegheny Inn in Sparta. Very nice hotel at very reasonable prices compared to Waynesboro pricing...but no cell phone service :-(

** FUN COUNTRY ROADS **
Day 3: Sparta SC, to Waynesboro, NC
We decide to take side roads up to Roanoke and then take the part of the Blue Ridge that we missed yesterday. It was a warmer and sunny morning, and beautiful as we headed out on some very scenic and twisty back roads to Roanoke. Along the way we lost Reli some place. So I raced back to find him hooking up his video camera. Apparently I had not heard him beep or seen him flash his lights.. Almost to Roanoke we come around a curve and see a new house going up overlooking the valley. Beautiful spot for a house. Then we go down the mountain. Big surprise for the day, it was a beautiful twisty banked and curvy road down the mountain. We get to the bottom and I pull over and ask who wants to go again. So we zoom off to the top and then back down again. Again I stop and then Reli says, well I have two videos of us going down, but none of us going up.... So we had to go up this beautiful twisty road again... Sigh.. the things we have to do for friends and pictures ;-) On the way up the last time I managed to scrape my right floorboard which rather surprised me since the right curve was banked to the right... so I must have been at quite an angle to do that..
Anyway, get the idea? that road was fun, all three times !
We get to Roanoke eat and hit the skyline. It is a very comfortable afternoon. Along the way as we stop many people talk to us about the bikes, the bikes they road, or were going to get etc.. We were talking about getting off at Natural Bridge



so Gary could see it. He had wanted to see it yesterday but we did not have time. But today we did . Well this one guy overheard us and suggested a fantastic exit road off the ridge.. It was very twisty and a lot of fun... We found another fun road after Natural Bridge that got us back onto the parkway. Next year I think we should just skip riding the parkway and go up and down all the on and exit roads we can find :) The Virginia road engineers really know how to build fun roads.

** COLD AGAIN And HEADED HOME **
Day 4: Waynesboro, NC to Home.
Up at 5:30 for a 6 AM start. Reli needs to be home no later than 5PM to take his daughter Trick or Treating.
So we get out to the bikes and it is another 30 degree morning. We had to scape the frost off the bike seats. We had out north on some beautiful country roads, with the sun coming out, the frost on everything it was quite beautiful, and cold.. We did pass one one car accident where the car was on the road and the guy was outside the car on the cell phone talking . Not sure what happened there but it must have happened just a few minutes before we got there. He either rolled the car, or got side swiped or something. No other cars except for normal traffic was stopped ? Anyway, nothing we could do so we just passed on through.. The rest of the way back we decided to stick to secondary roads, which made the trip more enjoyable and by cutting across like we did we actually saved time. The day warmed up nicely and we even had to strip some layers off. The rest of the trip home was uneventful, and we all made it home safe and sound. Reli made it home in time to take his daughter Trick or Treating.

Another fun trip, and four days was just the right length I think. Could have been a bit warmer though, but we had sun and no rain so we can't complain.. Trip total for me was 1,349 miles.

RB
** THE END **


If you could not see the inline pictures they are here: View BlueRidge10-27-05
 

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Great trip report Red Baron! I've been along some of those roads both on the bike and in the SUV recently and know how nice it is. Vince is a real prince of a guy and makes everyone feel at home in his territory. Thanks for sharing that.
 
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