Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tale of the Dragon, Day 1

A week off and months of planning a trip to Colorado, then shifting plans to a Maine/ Vermont/ New Hampshire trip culminated in a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, which were wetter - but a lot warmer - than New England.

Preparations were to be made the week prior to the trip but work ruined that plan.  With a whole week off, I gave Friday to normalcy and all day Saturday to prepping.  A trip to Hermy's netted a new pair of tires, a killer deal on some moto pants, and a clearance HJC helmet.  Cycle Gear sold me a pair of boot covers.  Harbor Freight sold me a tire changer, in spite of which I still managed to get the Wee re-shod by late Saturday night.
Sunday morning packing and final prep finally had me rolling at noon... for about 4 miles... until I turned back to switch windshields and helmets on the strength of "better the evil you know".

Underway with more than half the day already gone, I headed east.  As always, I managed to swap Mountain Road with rt 895 in my mind's map and ended up jerking around out in cow country.  I head for rt 78 to rt 81 S.  This route always buffets me to pieces and the traffic is borderline terrifying, but I need to put some miles behind me.  I promised myself I'd go more rural on the other side of Harrisburg.

On the other side of Harrisburg, the traffic thinned out - so the buffeting did, too.  Not one for inspecting the teeth of a gift horse, I stayed the course.  Soon Pennsylvania ended, and then Maryland, and West Virginia.  I knew this progress was illusory and there was a long slog of Virginia, but it still felt like progress.  In VA, I became aware of the Blue Ridge off to the east.  With it's peaks poking up into the clouds, I knew I was missing a moto 'bucket list' item of riding Skyline Drive all the way down... but that would take days.  I enjoyed the view from the ground and kept moving.  

As a travel day, I had no intention of camping.  An hour or so before dark, I stopped for gas and food and contacted command central to arrange hotel accommodations.  I figured another 60-90 minutes and got moving again.  I checked in an hour later to find a text message with directions to my home for the night in Staunton, VA.

GPS took me there without issue - this was almost too easy.  Another big smile emerged behind my faceshield when I pulled in to park... under a covered entry... behind two motorcycles with Florida plates.

What could be better?  I checked into a ground room floor to be close to the bike, which turned out to be ridiculously close.

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