Tag: southern tour 2012

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. Β 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!

Roadside Sights: Pal’s Sudden Service

Roadside Sights: Pal’s Sudden Service

Pals Sudden Service TennesseeCould there possibly be a better fast food chain facade than the one used by Pal’s? Nahhh, I don’t think so.

Can you even handle the greatness of the big hot dog… the soda…? The FRIES, oh… the fries. Β :weeps tears of joy:

And to top it all off, one of the Kingsport, Tennessee locations even has a (very handsome) burger-wielding Muffler Man on the roof. *dies*

Pals Sudden Service Tennessee

Though I haven’t been able to see the rooftop Muff Pal’s yet, it’s been put squarely on my “To Do” list.


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Snapshot: My Navigation System

Snapshot: My Navigation System

While we are on the road, my habit of waking up at 0’dark-thirty doesn’t take a vacation. Instead it is during those quiet hours when I am the only one who is awake that I spend time figuring out where the heck we’ll be going for the day. I think it’s a pretty nice service. I hope Kenny knows how lucky he is πŸ˜‰

While I usually don’t leave the house with a hard route or plan in place, I do keep a list of possible ideas.

This was a typical scene during our trip through the south:

Navigation by the bathroom light

By the light of the bathroom I looked through my maps, brochures and scraps of paper I’d stuffed in my map baggie. I also checked the computer for possible pit stops like parks, attractions, giant fiberglass people – and would then then jot down a list of roads for the day.

This process has served me well over the years.

How About You?

When you head out on a trip do you leave armed with a set plan or do you travel more loosely and figure it out as you go?

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