Sunday, November 8, 2009

Gaurav Jani's Visit to Asheville

There were showings of Guarav Jani's films Riding Solo to the Top of the World and One Crazy Ride in Asheville this past weekend. It was an honor for me to get to meet and speak with Guarav. For those of you not familiar with his films go to the Dirttrack Productions web site. His films are among the best motorcycle travel films I have seen. Even my wife likes them! Guarav and I spoke a little about what sets his films apart from other motorcycle travel movies. We agreed that it was because his emphasis was on the people he met and not the bikes.

Gaurav Jani

This fellow's name is Sobby. He was one of Gauarav's riding companions on One Crazy Ride.

It was also a beautiful weekend in Asheville and I managed to ride "the Bat" and a good stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Ride safe!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fred Fest 2009

On October 2-4, 2009 Fred Fest was held at the Kickstand Lodge in Stechoa, NC. Most people arrived on Friday and old friends were greeted and new friends were made.

Saturday was an absolutely beautiful day for riding. I started by riding into the Nantahala National Forest to Forest Service road 711. This was probably a well maintained road years ago. Now there are signs of neglect... broken pavement and potholes. In the fifteen miles that make up FS 711 I saw only one other person. It was a great ride.

From there I went to Wayah Bald. On the short gravel road I discovered Wilson's Lick. This was the first ranger station in the Nantahala National Forest. I saw rows of white and some white rocking chairs in front of the old ranger station and decided to investigate. It turned out that a wedding was planned for later in the day. Notice the box of Kleenex next to one of the rocking chairs. That must have been for the bride's mother!

I then rode on to Wayah Bald for some beautiful views! What a day to be in North Carolina on a motorcycle!!!

From there I rode to the infamous "Road to Nowhere". This road is just outside Bryson City, NC. In 1943 the government wanted to buy land from the inhabitants to flood and create Lake Fontana. The dam would generate power for the secret city of Oak Ridge, then working on the Manhattan Project. The creation of the lake would separate the inhabitants from a cemetery where many loved ones are buried. In order to secure the land the government promised to build a road linking the island cemetery to Bryson City. The government started building the road. When the war was over the funds for the road disappeared and construction on the road stopped just the other side of the tunnel in the picture. This subject is still a sore spot with many of the residents in this area. First the government took land for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and then the Road to Nowhere. It is no wonder that folks in this area distrust the government.

That night back at Kickstand Lodge we were treated to a rib dinner that couldn't be beat. That evening we were entertained by the band Peace Soldier.

Well it is the middle of October and the weather is getting less predictable. My plans for traveling next summer are either Texas or Nova Scotia. I will have a long winter in the Appalachian Mountains to decide which to do. I will keep posting at least once a month, so check back or subscribe via RSS.

To all my friends in the southern hemisphere that are gearing up for the riding season...Ride Safe!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

ADV Old's Cool Fall Rally

The Old's Cool (Old School...get it?) Fall Rally was held September 25,26, and 27 in Tellico Plains, TN. I left Asheville about 3:30PM and by 4:00 I had on my rain gear. By 4:05 the rain had stopped but I cruised on to Tellico Plains, TN via the Cherohala Skyway. Got to the event and there was no food. Oh, well there was plenty of liquid refreshment to replenish my diminishing calorie supply.

The next morning stared off innocently enough. I had breakfast with Chromesux and Docwells at a place that had a really scary Jesus watching us eat. Chrome and I decided to head for the Joe Brown Highway. Once up on top of the mountain it began to thunder and lightning. We decided it would be best to go back to the campground.

Once we got back to the campground it began to rain. It was a good decision to get off the mountain when we did. We sat under the pavilion and it continued to rain...and rain...and rain! Soon the little creek where we were camping began to come up out of its banks. Some fellow riders were camped close to the creek and had to move their equipment before being flooded out.

It rained all day and eventually it stopped. The water receded almost as fast as it rose. When the rain was over we were rewarded for our perseverance with a rainbow.

That evening we had a BBQ dinner and most of us drifted off to bed to get some sleep for the ride home the next day.

The next day began foggy but soon cleared to be a great day for riding. On the way home I rode over the Foothills Parkway, through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

While riding on the Foothills Parkway I passed a bear grazing on the side of the road. Sorry, but I did not stop to take a photo!!!!

While riding through the park I stopped at the Mingus Grist Mill to pick up some corn meal for cornbread!

After riding through the park I took the Blue Ridge Parkway home for the last leg of the trip.

It felt good to get home to a dry bed!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Labor Day at Kickstand Lodge

This past Labor Day I spent at Kickstand Lodge in Stecoah, NC. Riding there on Friday afternoon I passed a motorcycle fatality. It seems a man and his wife were riding their Harley in the passing lane up Soco Mountain and crossed into the oncoming lane head on into a car. The HD rider was going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit of 50 MPH. He and his wife were killed. I saw their bodies under sheets as I passed by. Incidents like this remind you that we are all vulnerable out there on our chosen mode of transportation. Let's take it easy and enjoy the ride! There is no need for speed.

On Saturday I rode to the Hiwasee Dam in extreme western North Carolina. This was one of the original dams built as part of the TVA project. It is still in operation today.
My next planned event is the Old's Cool rally in Tellico Plains, TN September 25-27. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting

I spent August 21-23 at the Horizons Unlimited Traveler's Meeting in Stecoah, NC. This was my third traveler's meeting and I always learn something new at each one. This year I met travelers from the USA, Belgium and Australia. Many interesting tales were heard each evening. Tips on "living life on the road" were shared and demonstrated. Tales of travel in South and Central America, Europe and the "Stans" filled the evenings. My bike had been giving me a pain in my right shoulder after riding only a short distance. Grant Johnson, the founder of Horizons Unlimited, checked my bike's ergonomics. He found my bars were too low and advised me to raise them. Since I did... no more pain!

Each year I attend this meeting (it is NOT a rally) I am inspired to ride even further. The school year has started and it is time for me to start planning next year's summer trip. Newfoundland & Labrador?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mountains to the Sea (and Back)

On August 7 I left Asheville and rode to Cedar Point Campground in the Croatan National Forest near Jacksonville, NC.

On the eighth I rode back to Jacksonville to visit the Marine Corps Museum, but it is no longer there. They are building a new one near the Beirut Memorial. I visited the memorial and saw the new Viet Nam Memorial. It has all the names of those killed in Viet Nam etched in panes of glass. Very moving to an old soldier like me.

On the ninth I rode to the Cedar Point Ferry terminal and to the ferry to Ocracoke Island. I camped at the National Park Service campground and returned to Ocracoke village to have lunch at the Jolly Roger. That night at the campground I had a wonderful sea breeze and slept comfortably.

On Monday the, 10th, I rode to Wanchese via the the Ocracoke Hatteras ferry. I had lunch at the Fisherman's Wharf and rode back down Hatteras Island to the Frisco campground. That night for dinner I had tuna steak!!
On the 11th I rode to to Hatteras Village and visited the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. On display was an original Enigma Machine From the German U-85 submarine. I was extremely interested in that due to my military experience.

The next day I left Frisco and rode to Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina. I had a little rain on the way, but nothing really worth mentioning

The next three days were spent at the Daniel Boone Rally in Boone, NC. This is a nice little rally put on by the Tarheel Travelers BMW club. Sunday morning I packed up and headed for home.
Next weekend is the Horizons Unlimited Traveler's meeting in Stecoah, NC.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Not Exactly as Planned

Well, my little tour did not go exactly as planned. I did make it to TWO in Suches, GA for a weekend and then on to the Riders of Knoxville Rally in Del Rio, TN. Both were very enjoyable. The Riders of Knoxville really go out of their way to make sure you have a good time at their rally! If you have never gone to one of their events, you should make plans to.

Then it was on to the BMWMOA National Rally in Johnson City, TN. When arrived I phoned home and my wife informed me that my father-in-law had passed away in Bergedorf, Germany. She said I should stay at the rally since we could not fly to Germany until Monday. The rally was great as you can see from the photos. I did cancel the rest of my trip (RA National Rally, OBX).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Still Here!

Well the "family" vacation is over and I must say that the frau and I had a good time visiting with the Texas side of the family in Niagara Falls, ON and our subsequent trip to upstate New York. One of the highlights for me on this part of the trip was seeing the sight of the "Miracle on Ice" in Lake Placid, NY.

Now on to the motorcycle part of the summer. My new tires arrived today and tomorrow I will be mounting them on my GS. I will leave Friday for the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Camp in Cruso, NC and then on to the Riders of Knoxville Rally in Del Rio, TN. On Wednesday of next week I will ride to the BMWMOA National in Gray, TN and from there to a state park in West Virginia to rest up and get ready for the BMWRA National. From there I will either head to the Outer Banks of North Carolina or possibly ride the Natchez Trace in Tennessee and Mississippi.

I will NOT be taking the laptop with me as I want to get away from email and most other electonic media on this trip. But, look for a full ride report once I get back. As you know, I like to name my trips (Long Way Round, Solo to the Circle, etc.). This trip will be called Expedition Southeast because I will be riding over much of the Southeastern US. Check back the first week in August!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gone Up North

I will be in Canada and the Adirondacks for the next two weeks. I will be traveling with the frau in a car. There will be no posts until I return. I do have a couple of motorcycle trips planned soon upon my return. After mounting new tires on the GS I may go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. That would be a week long trip. Shortly thereafter, the Rally Loop. The BMWMOA National Rally is in Johnson City, TN with the RoK Rally in Del Rio, TN the week before. From there I will ride to Caanan Valley, WV for the BMWRA National Rally. So, instead of reading this blog... get out and ride!!

See you in two weeks!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Weekend in Western North Carolina

The photo above was taken Sunday morning on my ride home. I shot it from the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to live in this area and ride motorcycles. Some folks spend their whole vacations just getting here to ride. I spent the weekend at Kickstand Lodge in Stecoah, NC. There was good food and good friends, some old and some new. Below are two shots I took along Wayah Road. The first is the Nantahala River as it leaves the Nantahala Lake. The second is Wayah Road. This road was made for motorcycles!

This weekend I will be picking up the frau from the airport, so no riding this weekend. Soon I will be headed to Canada for a few weeks, but in a car. Keep checking back. This time of year you never know what will happen!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Father & Son Trip

Thursday I packed the frau off to Germany and on Friday my youngest son, Niels, and I rode to the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground situated on the east fork of the Pigeon River in Cruso, NC for the Memorial Day weekend. After enjoying a rib eye steak dinner we joined the crowd around the campfire and Niels fit right in with his tales of international travel. On Saturday we rode Highway 215 to Brevard and had lunch at the Cardinal Drive In. I had always wanted to eat at this diner. It has the classic look of an old American Drive In diner. It also had classic American greasy food. We then returned to the campground via Highway 276 through the Pisgah National Forest. After a quick nap we had dinner at El Pobre Mexican Restaurant just up the road from the campground. We again spent the night at the campfire swapping tales of motorcyle bravado with our fellow adventurers. There were also some Harley riders there.

The campfire session was shorted by rain (of course). It rained most of the night. Sunday morning we were able to pack up and ride the short 30 miles home to Asheville. The Mt. Pisgah area of the Blue Ridge was foggy and damp as usual. It began to rain on us the closer we got to Asheville. Niels, being an extreme minimalist, had no boots or rain pants. He was soaked by the time we got home. This was the first time he and I had ridden and camped together. Time will tell if he enjoyed it enough to do it again. He is still young and most of the crowd at these things are older.

Next week the plan is to go to Kickstand Lodge in Stecoah, NC. Tune in later to see if it happens!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Eastern Rendevous 2009

It was another rainy event, but the Eastern Rendevous was great again this year! I arrived Friday after work. The location for the event this year was a horse ranch (resort) outside Parrotsville, TN. On the way to the Rendevous I looked at my GPS and there was just the triangle (representing me) and nothing else.

Saturday morning I awoke early and rode back to Asheville to watch my youngest son graduate from Warren Wilson College. Then...back to the party.

There was a BBQ dinner and a blues band for Saturday entertainment. It began to rain Saturday evening and rained the entire night. It was still raining when I awoke Sunday morning for my ride back to Asheville. But I slept like a log in my dry tent.

The frau is heading off to Germany Thursday and I may get a couple of weekends in with my son at the local motorcyle campgrouds. Check back next week to see!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Georgia Mountain Rally

The first weekend in May is always reserved for the Georgia Mountain Rally. This year it was held at a new venue and we had plenty of room to spread out. The rally site was the grounds of the Georgia Mountain State Fair in Hiawassee, GA on the shores of Lake Chatuga. Of course, to many BMW riders this rally means one thing...RAIN!!!! This year was no different. Rain fell most of Saturday and most all of Saturday night. The venue was an improvement! The vendors had covered stalls from which to hawk their wares and there was a 2,400 seat auditorium Tom Crain and the Crosstown Allstars. Tom Crain played for the Charlie Daniels Band for decades. Skert was there to do her dropped bike demo. I think I have seen this about a hudred times now. There was plenty of time to socialize and meet with old and new friends. All in all it was a great rally and the rain has become a tradition!

Friday, April 24, 2009

ADV Old School Spring Fling

The 2009 ADV Rider Old School Spring Fling was held April 17th through 19th at the KOA Kampground in Renfro Valley, Kentucky. I actually showed up the day before on the 16th. The weather was perfect...until Sunday and all of us had a cold wet ride home. I rode for five hours and the only dry road was in the Cumberland Gap Tunnel on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee! This rally had the usual hijinks and members of the ADV Rider site can see all the details and more photos by visiting the thread in the Old Skool section. The photo below shows what we did most...stand around and talk about motorcycles!

While this weekend's weather is supposed to be perfect I really need to get some photos for a couple of projects I have going on. So, I will leave the Parkway to the Harleys and let those fair weather bikers learn to ride after a winter of polishing chrome!