Wednesday, July 13, 2016


Is there anybody out there?
Just nod if you can here me.
Is there anyone at home?

I can't believe it's been two years since I've last updated anything here. I guess it shouldn't surprise me too much given everything that has been going on, but it is still eye opening how quickly time passes.

Our lives are undergoing another drastic shift and we find ourselves trying to pick up the threads where we left them off a couple years ago. Sadly to say, we really haven't been doing much riding. (Or anything else for that matter.). Soon after getting the big red machine in the last post, we took them on a road trip to Maine again to see our dear friends Mike and BRW. We also took the newly opened ferry service between Portland and Yarmouth and spent a week in Nova Scotia. GORGEOUS!! Coastlines were beautiful, rode the Cabot Trail, overloaded the senses with scenery, and even smuggled some single malt back over the boarder from the distillery that makes the only single malt in Canada. After that we kinda parked the bikes. We took a few day trips, but we had so many other responsibilities that the thrill of riding had turned into the agony of preparation.

So....nothing of note has been going on with regards to the bikes. Hopefully that will be changing. We've already made steps forward and used the extended July 4th holiday to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) again!

We had 4 crazy days to ride the 471 mile parkway, plus the distance to get to the top, starting off point. We had done this in the past, in 3 days. This time we were giving ourselves more time. Wheee... :)

Itinerary: Thursday night - Atl to Bristol, TN, the half way point; Friday - Bristol to Waynesboro, VA, the top most city at the start of the BRP; Sat - Mon - completely open to stopping wherever we want.

Of course, nothing goes as planned...

We were waiting for a package to arrive Thursday afternoon that would return our riding pants, as we had sent then in for minor repairs. Of course, they didn't arrive until 7 pm. Traffic, laziness, packing, procrastination, call it what you want we left about 7:30. We had been hoping for 6. Well, we made it about 90 min up the road, stopped for fuel and to check radar. We had been seeing the clouds cover the sky, and they were trading lightning back and forth regularly.

Radar showed a heavy cell coming quickly, so we decided to take the opportunity to have dinner and hope the storm passed quickly.

Oilburner and I agree that it was nice to miss out on the drenching rain that made a lake out of the parking lot at the Huddle House where we had taken refuge. (What do you mean Taco Bell closes at 9 pm on a Thursday?!?!). But we still aren't sure if we would have been hit if we hadn't stopped. We were right at the convergence where the storm was moving NE and we were going NW. We might have dodged it.

The benefits of stopping was the food and laughter. The drawbacks was that the rain was so hard it seemed to have compromised my waterproof buttons because my escort/blinking lights shorted out and could not be turned off. These things run like 6 million candle watt power and were annoying Oilburner something fierce. So annoying, that 4 miles up the road we were pulling over to figure out some solution. He wanted to cut the wires. Ummm..... NO!!! Doesn't he remember how difficult these were to wire up? And besides, they come in handy when you are fogged into some mountain top on the BRP and fear getting hit. I refused to let him cut the wires and we settled on trying to just cover the lights up. We were somewhat successful, with first aid gauze and surgery tape, but I hear they were still pretty visible. Didn't bother me much, not sure why Oilburner was so annoyed. I felt he should have just ridden in front if he didn't want to look at them. ;)

Ultimately, I loved riding until 2 am, after the rain the weather was cool. Cool enough that I enjoyed turning a little heat in Gerbings on. The ride was beautiful on empty roads and the front lights turned the road to daylight.

Bonus was the hotel let us park the bikes directly next to the door and checkout wasn't until noon. SCORE!! Since we only need to ride about 4 hours the next day, there was not rush.
In all, the trip was wonderful. Spent more time on the bikes, both per day and one trip, than we had in 2 years. And boy our butts let us know now it!

We made parkway logistics more difficult then they needed to be on the first day. We didn't rush but didn't lolligag either, and wound up burning through 200 miles on the first day. We got lost trying to find a hotel in Mt. Airy, VA. No, we didn't see Andy Griffiths childhood home. The second day was great, moving in and out of the clouds. My blinky lights came in handy. :) We took it easy, tempted some fish with with warm string cheese. I learned the fine art of finessing a clutch to run in neutral downhill to see my "mileage to empty" actually run backwards. (I tempted the fuel gods, pleading for them to give me enough to make it to the next gas station 30 miles away. I started with 51 miles, rode 35, and still had 41 to go.) There was a stretch there I coasted for 9 miles, gaining 3 miles back on the computer estimate. Clutch fingers were a little tired, but it was fun calling out as the computer gave me time back.

Highlights: Enjoyed feeding the fish. Liked playing with the butterfly on my boot. Rode 1130 miles. Flipped 13K miles on the red machine. Danced with the fuel gods. Found new filters on my camera. Love the north half of the BRP with fields and farms. Love the south half for the curves. Great getting out on the bikes. Pretty flowers. Fell in love with the chocolate lava cake at Chili's. Redneck spelling.

Link to additional pics.