Navigate / search

Day 5: Stung on the Back of the Dragon

When Kenny and I rolled away from Backbone Rock, we hooked a right in the town of Damascus, Virginia and followed route 58 into the mountains.

There were several times throughout the 9 days we were on the road that I needed to flip on my heated grips as the wind whistled through my summer gloves. I found myself doing it once again on the Highlands Parkway.  The air was chilly I think in part due to the rain storm we kept skirting around the edge of.

For the first time during our trip, we saw ourselves faced with actually having to be somewhere at a given time. We were set to meet a handful of our friends in Elkins, West Virginia the following evening.

With that in mind, Kenny and I decided that it was time to abandon our eastern course and head north. By the end of our riding for the day, we would be in a good position to make a fast trek from the foot of West Virginia to meet everyone the following day.


View Larger Map

We’d decided to pickup VA 16 to head north. It is another one of those roads that has been given a nickname in motorsport circles. It’s called “The Back of the Dragon.” Sticking with the theme that if a stretch of tarmac has some reptilian type of name – it’s gotta be good, and it was.

By the time we passed Hungry Mother State Park, the rain that we’d been following behind all day stalled completely over us and unleashed hell. It was a ferocious white-out kind of rain. As Kenny and I climbed up through the winding road, gravel and debris started to pool in the apexes of the turns. It was slippery slow going but thankfully the rain didn’t last long. It was over almost as fast as it started.

Wait a minute. Something felt a little weird. Steering… sloppy, heavy… SONOFA! Flat tire. I nursed my bike down through the curves into a farm driveway.

My rear tire was indeed f-l-a-t. A chunk of glass had pierced it. I’d been stung on the back of the dragon.

Two things that I always have packed in my sidebag are a Slime mini compressor and a Stop & Go standard plugger kit.

In the 4 or 5 years that we’ve had and used both of these tire repair tools, they’ve worked as advertised. Both Kenny and I were thankful to find that they again worked like a charm. I can’t imagine leaving home without ‘em.

Standing there on the side of the road waiting for the tire to be filled, we’d decided to cash in our chips and call it a night. We were soon on our way to finding a hotel for the night.

But, not before seeing one more unusual sight for the day – a rooster farm:

For all of its highs and lows, it was a great day of riding. Thinking back through different moments and places that we’d been, now I find myself asking, “was that really the same day?” A lot of living happens in a small amount of time.

More Posts from the Trip:

Day 2: Detour to the Roanoke Muffler Man

Some time around midday I pulled us off of the BRP around Roanoke, Virginia. When we finally stopped at the first traffic light we’d seen all day, Kenny looked at me quizzically and slowly said, “um,… wherrrrre are we going?

Foolish boy. After all this time, he still has to ask?

I happen to have the GPS waypoint file-y thing-a-ma-bob from Roadside America. So, Satan’s Compass (GPS) had hipped me to the fact that there was a muff in our midst. Actually, I’m lying. I knew it was there before we even left New York. I’m weird like that.

Sweet, sweet, blue-eyed Bunyan. Face… peeling. ::sigh::

Get with the program people! Respect the muff!

More Posts from the Trip:

Day 2: Smooth Sailing on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Don’t you love that feeling of waking up in a place where you don’t live? That feeling of freedom, of being loose, of being able to wander?

When I got up and looked out the window at our bikes in the hotel parking lot, I got a tickley feeling in my stomach. It was exciting to think that we’d soon be heading down the Blue Ridge Parkway. The sun was shining and the cool morning road was calling. With the mastery of a traveling circus, we packed our bags in jig-time and hit the road.

There were several times during the trip I found myself amazed when looking around our hotel room. It often seemed like a motorcycle gear and clothing bomb had gone off. And yet, every morning the ritual of putting everything back into a single bag took place – making everything once again as neat as a pin.

We entered the BRP at Milepost 0 – Waynesboro, Virginia.

The Blue Ridge Parkway rambles along through the mountains, is a generally smooth road surface and with few intersecting roads – it’s just the most relaxing cruise. I find it to be a great ‘thinking’ road. As a matter of fact, I thought/wrote the most amazing blog posts while riding that morning. Tales of excitement, intrigue… adventure. Unfortunately as soon as I turned the key off on my bike, they evaporated into the ether.

Different sections of the Parkway seem to have different personalities. The upper-most portion of the road is pretty laid back and easy going with gentle turns, valleys and long stretches through deep green trees.

We were blessed with almost no other traffic on the road all day long. Considering it was Sunday, I thought for sure we’d run into a lot of other drivers and riders. While we did see a handful of other motorcycles, if we saw 30 cars all day, I would say that would be a lot. Not too shabby for 300 miles of traveling.

The skies were beautiful and the weather was quite cool at elevation. I actually had to use my heated grips for a little while as the wind whistled through the perforations of my summer gloves.

Between Mileposts 36 and 37 is one of my favorite road signs – Sudden Curve Ahead with a motorcycle rider flying off the bike.

While at a stop at one of the roadside exhibit buildings, we found stickers that had the “aaahhhhhhh!” motorcycle man. It was too good to resist. I promptly stuck one on my Givi box. Yay! 

We rode the BRP into the late afternoon. Our final stop on the parkway itself was at Milepost 304, the Linn Cove Viaduct. It is probably one of the most photographed stretches of the entire roadway.

I finally made a note to stop before the viaduct so that we could take a picture. I usually end up riding right over it and kicking myself because I missed it again. This time I set a point on my GPS to remind me.

I suppose that devil machine is good for something afterall :)

While we walked along a path towards the bridge, Kenny bent down and picked up a small piece of black rubber, a piece of a shoe sole and handed it to me. You just can’t make this stuff up…

Love – it’s everywhere!

Our time on the parkway for the day ended at Milepost 305, where we exited and headed for Grandfather Mountain and on to the next adventure.

Day 2: Staunton, Virginia to Banner Elk, North Carolina

June 3, 2012

  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • DCIM\100GOPRO
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo
  • fuzzygalore's photo

More Posts from this Trip:

Postcards from the Road: Virginia is for Motorcycle Lovers! #LoveVa

Greetings from sunny Virginia.

Apparently on the heels of their Virginia is for Lovers campaign of many years, the State of Virginia has adopted “Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.” With that they have installed LOVE sculptures around the state.

As someone who is moderately obsessed with hearts and love… I was tickeled pink to see a few of them as we passed through the state!

Wish you were here.

Postcards From The Road: Land of the Lost

Greetings from Dinosaurland!
Whitepost, Va.

Saturday June 2, 2012

Hi Y’all!

Having a great time moseying around below the Mason-Dixon line. We’re makin’ some new friends along the way. When you see a T-Rex on the road, what else is there to do but stop and say ‘hello!’

Wish you were here.