Tag: road trip

Day 5: Stung on the Back of the Dragon

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.

Route 58 Virginia

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.


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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.

Back of the Dragon VA16

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.

VA 16 Back of the Dragon

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.

flat tire on va 16

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.

Filling my flat tire

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:

Rooster Farm on VA 16

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:

Check One Off The To Do List: Backbone Rock

Check One Off The To Do List: Backbone Rock

Though I had jotted Backbone Rock down on my list of things to see when we left home, sometimes the wind takes you elsewhere.

In the days and miles that had already passed it had slipped my mind until we were headed west away from Shady Valley. That was when the lightbulb went off in my head. Doh! I wanted to see Backbone Rock! I resigned myself to doing it “next time.”

Backbone Rock Tennessee

While Kenny and I were zig-zagging around, I started poking through my GPS and looking at the pit stop waypoints that I’d saved. As it turned out, Backbone Rock was just a hop skip and a jump ahead.

There it was ~ the Universe unfolding as it should, again.


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Thank You
When I read other blogs, I really appreciate it when folks take the time to tell you what the name of or where a place is. It can be awfully frustrating at times to do the detective work on your own. If you’re one of those folks who shares their cool stuff – thank you!

Sights From the Road: Greatest Car in the Universe v4.0 – Mufflermobile

Sights From the Road: Greatest Car in the Universe v4.0 – Mufflermobile

Okay, I know. I know, I know, I know. Every time that I see an amazing art car I go bananas and get all, “this is the greatest car in the universe!” But,…

Muffler… CAR!  ::faints::

Muffler Car!

We actually saw the muffler car when we pulled into the town of Franklin, NC on Day 3 of our road trip south. I caught it out of the corner of my eye as I rode past it. It was after dinner time and Kenny and I were both tired and hungry. So, I broke one of my own rules and kept going.

When we found a hotel and pulled into the unloading area, I took my helmet off and excitedly said to Kenny, “DID YOU SEE THAT MUFFLER CAR?!1?!?!” To which he responded, “No.”

Clearly he wasn’t excited because the magnitude of its greatness did not have a chance to seer into his retinas yet. But luckily for blondie, I’m not a quitter. I did what any smart person would do and set a reminder on my iPhone to visit the muffler car when we were heading out the following day.

I think the chiming of my reminder might have woken Kenny up the next morning.  Oopsie 🙂 That is the only logical explanation for his body language in the distance:

Kenny gazes on the greatness that is the Muffler Car

“Stupid muffler car. I can’t believe I’m sitting out here in the pouring rain looking at this ridiculous thing.”
😆

Can you imagine how fabulous a burnout in the Muffler Car would look? Peelin’ out with 4 on the muffler floor. Badass.

–gallery rem’d

Other ‘Greatest Cars in the Universe’

Day 3: Wheels Through Time Museum – Photo Gallery

Day 3: Wheels Through Time Museum – Photo Gallery

Wheels Through TimeWheels Through Time
The Museum that Runs

Just a hop, skip and a jump off of the Blue Ridge Parkway in Maggie Valley, NC is an American treasure – the Wheels Through Time museum. It is home to hundreds of American-made motorcycles, tons of ephemera and historical photographs.

Built by the passion of Dale Walksler, a man with encyclopedic knowledge of motorcycles – the museum also bills itself as “the museum that runs.” Though the machines are true museum pieces, they are started and ridden. It is not at all unusual to find Dale riding some beautiful vintage iron through the museum, starting up an antique or laying down a smokey burnout on the museum floor.

While we were there, he started up 2 early 1900’s Indians on the floor. When the second one was shut down and the crowd that had gathered started to dispersed he looked directly at me and said, “you look very familiar. You’ve been here before…” and we struck up a conversation about our last visit there back some time in 2006.

Now, I don’t know if he says that to all the girls, but… I was tickled pink by the notion that he might remember me.

Dale, who struck me as a very kind soul spent some time sitting and talking with us. We talked about motorcycles of course, but also about people and life. He even suggested some great local riding since we were visitors to the area. Truly a nice man.

Please support this passion, this time capsule of motorcycle history. Visit Wheels Through Time. You’ll be glad you did.

Day 3: Blue Ridge Parkway Pit Stop – Breakfast at Mount Mitchell

Day 3: Blue Ridge Parkway Pit Stop – Breakfast at Mount Mitchell

When I approached the Mount Mitchell State Park sign, it was like the wheels of my bike turned in to the entrance on their own.

My TIger at Mount Mitchell

The past few times we’ve been on the southern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mount Mitchell had been closed or it was too foggy to see 10 feet in front of you. Now that we were visiting with good clear weather, I had to head up!

After our experience with Grandfather Mountain, part of me wondered if I would be pummeled with a howling wind as we climbed higher and higher. Thankfully, the trees did a good job of keeping the winds in check.

Just to be on the safe side, I pulled in to the parking lot as soon as I saw the lodge-restaurant. I suppose it was kind of an irrational action to think that the outcome would be any different if I stopped first and then continued heading up to the peak. But… sometimes that’s the part of your brain that is at the wheel.

http://fuzzygalore.smugmug.com/Travel/Southern-States/BRP-Mt-Mitchell-June-4/i-rxrPLKH/1/M/DSC00078-M.jpg

As it turned out, that cuckoo part of my brain was on to something.

Kenny and I parked our bikes and walked towards the lodge which wasn’t visible from the road. Boy, was I glad we did. We put our behinds right in front of the window and had a delicious hot breakfast and enjoyed the rolling, green mountains below.

Breakfast at Mount Mitchell

After breakfast we wandered outside onto the open air deck and took in the view.

Sitting on the deck at Mount Mitchell

Once rational thought returned, Kenny and I rode to the peak of Mount Mitchell. From there, we followed the short walking path that lead to an observation deck which offered a full 360 view of the area.

Standing in the clouds at Mount Mitchell

Part of the view was obscured by clouds sleeping on the trees. It felt like we were at the roof of the world, like I could just reach up my hands and tickle the angels in the clouds.

In a moment of serendipity, while at the top of the park we saw two other riders we’d chit-chatted with in a parking lot in Virginia 2 days before. When you consider how your lives have to line up just so to put 4 strangers in the same place at the same time, hundreds of miles away by sheer coincidence, it boggles the mind. One decision, one different turn, an extra 5 minutes spent drinking a cup of coffee and things would’ve been entirely different. Heady.

Heading down Mt Mitchell

When we pulled away from the parking lot, we fell in behind a guy on a Valkyrie and followed him all the way down to the Pisgah Inn. It was fun riding behind him. Every time he dipped his big gal into a deep lean I got to watch the sparks fly when the floor boards touched down.

The day was off to an awesome start…

More Posts from the Trip:

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