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The following is a copy/paste job of a ride I was a part of for the past week. It was a 7 day, 11 state, 3,100 mile awesome trip. I'll have some pics up later tonight.

Prubert wrote:
Another great trip is in the books! We did the 2950 miles from WI with no major problems. My battery went dead on the first day cuz I left my heated grips on with all the other electronic do-dads and my high beams. Salami had a non o-ring chain installed that died on him 1/2 thru the trip (replaced at wheelers) and Jethro burned thru a tire which we discovered at the gazebo restaurant was showing cords (sound familiar??). Luckily he has a SV650 and the local Suzuki in Frankin, NC was able to get him a new tire. It is not a good trip if someone doesn't burn out a good tire, eh?

Going on this years trip were WI boyz Karut on his RT, Slacker on the VTEC, Salami on the VFR, Eric on his Sprint ST, Jethro on the SV650 and Myself. We met up with some friends of mine from the VFR mail list Steve on a SV650s and Julio on a ZX-6R.

The group of the Fox valley started out on the SS Badger for the midnight sailing on Fri night/Sat morning. We got cabins on the boat and slept thru the 4-hour ride to MI. We then saddled up to a brisk southerly wind and headed out to meet Salami in Grand Rapids, MI. Once we picked up Salami we rode down and hoped on the IN toll road to pick up the last WI boy, Jetho. We then did one of the few Interstate rides over to Sandusky, OH on the Turnpikes, and then we dived off and headed down US250 to OH13 into Mansfield, OH. Not a 4-lane but not the greatest roads in the world, lots of Amish along this route. After Mansfield we headed down to Zanesville, OH via OH13 and OH586 & OH146. At Zanesville, OH we jumped on OH555 (The Triple Nickel) for a nice winding ride down to OH550. The triple nickel was fun, but the boyz were feeling worn down from the heat of the day (upper 90s) and it took awhile to get into the groove. 555 is quite a roller coaster and it was allot of
work to keep the bike on the road with the sharp blind turns along with the roller coaster type hills that the road follows. OH550 was a nice way to wind down the day as we took it into Marietta, OH and met up with Steve and Julio.

On Sun morning my bike wouldn't turn over, luckily Steve had battery tender (along with everything but the kitchen sink) that we hooked up and charged the bike while we ate breakfast. In Steve's defense, we used almost everything he brought along. Out of Marietta we went into WV and rode WV31 to Harrisville then WV 9 to Pullman, WV and then WV74 to Cox Mills to jump on WV47. Y'all might remember the gas station at Cox mills...it were I got my pic with my 2 riding buddies. We went over to Buckhannon, WV via WV47 and US33. At Buckhannon we rode WV20, what a great road. Going south from Buckhannon on 20 it starts out slow but at the split of WV4 and WV20 at Cleveland it get FUN. New pavement and winding road for 40 miles. WV20 continues to WV39 were we turned and headed east. WV39 was a nice road for the fact that it climbed to some elevation and cooled off a bit. WV turned to VA39 for a nice winding ride down a mountain, pretty cool when you catch a glimpse of the
line of bikes behind you banking thru a series of esses. We followed VA39 to VA42 that led us to US220. US220 brought us to VA43 that would bring us right into the Peaks of Otter on the Parkway. Eric and I camped and the other headed for the lodge for the night. Peaks is a really nice place, very scenic and quiet..lots of wildlife too.

Mon morning we saddled up after a SLOW breakfast at the peaks (and some experimentation using tin foil as a fuse by Steve R...and blowing the REAL master fuse in the process) for a ride down the parkway. We detoured to take VA40 and VA8 back to the parkway to mix it up a bit. My original plan was to take US330 out of Boone then get back on the parkway at Little Switz, but with the slow breakfast we opted for the equally fun US220 out of Boone to Grandfather Mt. The rest of the day has us heading down to the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Resort via the BRP. I was very impressed how well the group stayed together, usually not everyone is sync but this group was together all of the time...no lollygaggers. It made it very easy to lead. Salami thought that it was a good thing we didn't have any cruisers on this trip..they would have been dragging ALOT. The Blue Ridge Moto resort was cool; it had cabins for those non-campers and alot of grass for setting up your tent. Eric and I got a spot next to the river..nothing beats the sound of a babbling creek to put you to sleep. The shower facility that all had to use were very nice. We didn't stick around for the 8am breakfast.

Tues morning we finished up the BRP, making the requisite stop at the Highest Point for pics. After that we separated up (about a minute apart) so each could stop and get action shots of the following riders coming down the Parkway. It was like riding on the Flume ride at Disney world with all of the pics getting snapped while you were riding. A stop in Cherokee for an excellent breakfast then down NC28 to Franklin. NC28 is still one of my favorite roads but it doesn't seem that long anymore. It was getting HOT, so we stopped at the Gazebo in Franklin for some drinks and dessert. The Gazebo was great as usual...and we found that it is a good spot to notice cords sticking out of back tires. Unlike Badger's worn tire at the Gazebo, Jethro was able to head to the Zook dealer down the street to get a new rear put on. Less than an hour later (and a new tankbag!) we were back on the road and heading to TWO in GA. WE took US64 then took some side roads to get to US76 in
GA then US19/129 south. The final push down US19 over Blood mountain was a hoot, the pavement is great as the road winds down the mountain. We took US129 to GA60 up to TWO. Getting to TWO is always fun..there is not a bad road leading to that place. At TWO we setup for the next 2 nights and lightened the load for the Wed trip up to the Gap.

Wed we took GA60 to TN68 up to Tellico Plains. We stopped for gas at the Cherohala market and then headed over the Skyway to Robbinsville. I was expecting alot of traffic due to the start of the Honda Hoot. There was some signs at one of the restaurants at the Tellico Plains side of that was welcoming Goldwingers...fortunately, we saw only a few heavy movers going to Robbinsville. We stopped at Wheelers to get Salami a new chain and Julio noticed that he left his wallet at the Cherohala Market. He left it on the counter while looking at sunglasses, he called and they didn't have it. Talking to the owner at TWO that night it seems that that happens alot at Cherohala market, people leave there wallets and they turn up missing. There have been 4 different cases that she knows of..she called the owner to discuss the problem..haven't heard what became of that. Anyways, Julio headed back to look for the wallet and we continued on to the gap for a couple of passes. The hooters were in full effect, the CROT of packed with bikes and they kept rolling in from Knoxville. We grabbed a bite to eat and I finished early so I took off to meet the others at the overlook. Surprisingly I had a clean run (passed 2 H-D) all the traffic was going the other way. On the way back Steve went ahead and did some filming with his camera and then we stopped on the Dragon to watch others. During our break a semi came by heading towards the overlook, jethro and I then took off to get ahead of the truck and warn others...what a HOT and slow ride. Damn, trucks. On the way back I was going solo and decided to wick it up, probably the fastest I have ever gone on the Dragon. I scraped my knee a few times and noticed at one of the turns that my brake lever was VERY close to the ground..maybe a 1 off the ground. It is amazing how modern rubber grips. We were all tired from the heat and some spirited riding so we decided to take NC28 to NC143 into Robbinsville and then US129 back to TWO. The day ended with us running Wolf Pen Gap road to TWO .... another fun road. Back at TWO we had another EXCELLENT dinner. The food at TWO is outstanding and the service is top notch!!

On Thurs Slacker broke off and headed back to WI via Cincy and the rest of us headed over to Barber in AL. GA60 has a detour that would have taken us about 40 miles in the wrong direction so I improvised and went down some uncharted GA roads. It went pretty well....except for the 1 mile of gravel (down a hill and back) Double Head Gap road would have been the road to stay on for this leg, but we got off it a few times and didn't have good luck then to GA52 to US76 to GA 382 to GA 136 where we had to wait for a HEAVY load to be pulled up a hill. 3 semi trucks in the front, a trailer with about 30 sets of wheels hauling a big cylinder with another truck in the back pushing..quite impressive. After breakfast we made time over to Barber by taking GA136 to GA53 into Rome and then GA20 into AL9 then US411 to I-59 down to Birmingham. The Barber museum was worth the trip. They have quite a collection of bikes, everything from early 10-20's bike up to 2006 sport bikes. The museum had a big glass elevator in the center spanning 6 stories, with bikes stacked up from the floor to the ceiling at each corner in a giant erector set of boxes. They bikes were stacked in no particular order...some cool examples of pretty much everything. Each floor surrounds the center and there is a sloped walkway between each floor. The floors displays are broken up into themes (war bikes, 80s bikes, racing bike, etc.) you can walk right up to them and touch them if you like. Very cool to see some of the bike you grew up with alongside the bike you have read about. Of course there are bikes stacked up on walls here a there in more erector set types of displays. WORTH THE TRIP...GO when you can. After Barber we went to grab a bite to eat and then Steve and Julio broke off and headed back to NYC. We took I-65 North for the ride home, we were getting worn out from the 100 degree heat that we were riding in all day. At one gas stop Salami picked up some NOS
(the nitrous-oxide people) energy drink, by the time we hit Nashville Salami was ready to ride straight home....he followed that up with a Red Bull....Salami was WIRED!! We started to see alot of lightning at Bowling Green,KY so we ended it for the night and got a hotel there. Salami crashed from his energy drink educed high shortly after..good thing we were not riding at the time.

Fri had us departing at 6am and heading up I-65 to Chicago where we hit the usual shibby traffic that I have come to despise....we hit more traffic in MKE and I rolled into ATW at 7:30pm.

It was a great trip, no major problems. Julio never got his wallet back and I have to follow up to see what happened between the owner of TWO and Cheohala Market. I really did like camping. My 2 man Eureka Apex 2XT tent with a great air mattress and auto inflator did the trick. I can see doing the camping thing again...but I don't think others would care for it much. Really, I was probably just as comfy as the other guys that had a room....with a 1/2 hour of extra time to pack, unpack I was not missing sleeping inside. This was probably the fastest I have ridden in the Smokies and had everyone together. For the entire trip I didn't have to wait for anyone, we were in a line the whole time...I was VERY surprised. It is cool to see how good everyone is riding now, I used to have to take it easy on trips so we could stay together....now I can push it as hard as I feel is safe and everyone is able to keep up without going over their heads...good job everyone!!

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My own except:
I got a call from the Tellico Police Department last night that my wallet was anonymously dropped off at the station and they would mail it to me sans-$200.

Other than that minor mishap I had a blast on this trip. Great roads and even better company.

Two small personal stories I'd like to include that made this trip memorable.

1. While we were having breakfast at McD's on the first day I was faced with the task of taking a leak with my full leather suit (never easy). In my rush to take a leak I placed (the now infamous) wallet between the suit and my ribcage. I was happily doing my thing when the wallet popped out of it's place like if it were madly committing suicide and leaping off the empire state building. It of course dropped straight into the urinal.

A little dabbing of the wallet with some tissue was in order as a recovery effort. I wish whoever STOLE my cash a few days later could read this story.



2. Each day that we arrived at our lodging location I would take off my Under Armor gear (or cheap Wal-mart imitation of it) and wash it in the sink for use on the following day. When we arrived at TWO, there was no exception. In TWO they have two baskets full of shampoo and soap for the guests. I picked up one of the small bottles and started to pour its contents on my gear. I was surprised that this type of shampoo was of such fluid liquid. I took a closer look at the bottle and realized that this shampoo's brand was of a peculiar name called MOUTHWASH.

I believe Pru said I had a minty smell to me the following morning.

Thanks all for the great adventure.

Julio aka "The Black Banano"
 

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Pics in no particular order:

How you doin'?


Over the shoulder Vanson Ad!


Freaky stuff going on in our room.


Kawi in the lead.


Atrium at Barber Motorsports


Can you tell we were in awe of this place?


Bikes stacked like toys.


The GORGEOUS track at Barber.


Bear attack!


Ample moto cabins at Blue Ridge Campground
 

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Been there! Would love to be there right now!


What a crew!


Great view from 6k+ feet above sea level


Is there anybody out there?


Pru didn't like the old Dragon sticker so the new one was letting it "have it"!


Madman draggin' knee at Wheelers


No explanation needed.


how I got the name "Black Banano"


Only one Kawi but represented well


The lineup
 

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ready for some twisties


mandatory Dragon overlook shot


Scenery from Peaks of Otter Hotel room


great shot of the bikes rolling through the Blue Ridge




Yummy!


Statues in the front entrance at Barber


Let's see if I got what it takes to ride this thing.


 

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One more of me exiting a turn


Camping at T.W.O.


TWO front


room at TWO. This place is great!


I am just one sexy biatch in my Under Armor at 6am.


Wide load coming through


Back in the madhouse I call home!


A look at the man after 7 days without a razor.
 

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Nice pics looks like you guys had fun.
 

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These are in response to that wimpy little 6053 ft elevation sign:


BC.
 

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NICE!

I'll be topping mine next month when I go to Mt Washington (elev. 6,288) for the WDGAH in New Hampshire.

Hey, it's all we got over here on the east coast.
 

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Cyberdos, awesome pictures of such a great trip! Definitely looks like a fun, yet chill, time. Thank for sharing!
 

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I have no idea how I managed to miss this thread. Cool stuff in here. [:M88] I'd really love to make that trip. Looks like you guys had a great time. I haven't read the review yet, but I don't see any pictures of crashed bikes, so hopefully there wasn't any of that going on.
 
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