30 Days to cross the USA

Where you've been and what you done
DanielS
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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:05 pm

Unfortunately (or fortunately for us) we never got to meet Trip, but we did exchange a few messages and he was on standby to help should we have needed it. A lovely gesture.

So ZimTim probably has the right idea. The bodge is to take the flipflop, it was the cheapest, nastiest rubber type one we could get, and cut it up and wedge it between the spring on the shock, thus adding more resistance/stopping it going down so far. Whether or not it worked is debateable, but it got us a few hundred miles from our Airbnb, to Washington and then onto a hotel that evening near Richmond.
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BMW would have been proud of that engineering.

We rode up into Washington and along that long strip of green meadows that you see in the movies that go up to Capitol Hill. Traffic was remarkably light and I found some bike parking. Unfortunately, there was no way of leaving out kit on the bike and so we had to walk around with our bike gear and helmets which was uncomfortable.

A few touristy photos:
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Adventure Bike Rider New Issue Out Now
DanielS
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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:10 pm

This is what I felt like every time I had to put the GS on the centre stand with all the luggage on it!
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They helpfully even have the first amendments written down for you to read.
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There are also electric scooters and bicycles everywhere and we saw them later on our trip too. You basically scan it with your phone and off you scoot on electric power, they are really common and well used. We later saw a guy in a van going around and replacing the batteries in them. Really quite smart, not as dangerous as bicycles as you need to be on the road to use them. There were plenty of electric bikes too. I like the idea, but could you ever see them lasting more than 10 mins in London or Birmingham? :D
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DanielS
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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:14 pm

All the Smithsonian Museums in Washington are free, and I like free! A lot of them are along that big grassy section that must be a mile or even longer. I'm sure "that grassy bit" has a proper name, but I didn't look it up. We headed into the Space Museum as that seemed to be the one right up our street. Lots of fascinating stuff there. Really enjoyed it and who'd have thought that this isn't fiction? ;)
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There was also a great exhibit of the invention of Jet engines and it was compariung the British and German versions. Sir Frank Whittle is mentioned as the inventor of the British one and I was quite proud as I live in Lutterworth, the workplace of Frank Whittle, we even have a jet engine at the entrance to our town on the roundabout.
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Anyhow, time was cracking on and we had a few hundred miles to ride on a somewhat poorly bike. I also had an appointment with Eddie at around 5:30pm, so we headed off, nice and slowly, down more interstate near the town of Richmond to our first ever Super 8 Motel.

DanielS
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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Wed Jul 24, 2019 12:55 pm

Arrival at our first motel of trip didn't disappoint. It was a motel as seen in the movies, where you park outside your door. It's properly low frills but was clean, cheap and did the job. We took a walk across to the local shops and grabbed something to eat. Why are there no pavements in lots of places in America? Yes, I know they drive everywhere, but still. It was 'fun' trying to cross the roads without pedestrian crossings and remembering to look the correct way for oncoming cars, the wife almost had to learn to ride a bike herself as I almost got mown down. Oops.

I took off the panniers and headed over to Eddie's which was about 25 mins away in a lovely suburb. After the normal introductions he showed me his awesome garage. A massive double/triple garage with lots of toys in it, I was very envious of his setup.

We wasted no time though in getting my bike on the ramp.
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A few mins later a fellow biker pulled in. One of Eddie's mates, then another, then another, then a couple and before I knew it there were about 10 others who had popped in to say hello. Eddie had popped a post on ADVRider for an impromptu meet up. It was a really good evening, beer and pizza were supplied. Before I knew it Eddie had also replaced the rear shock. What a star. The GSA shock looked to be the same length and was perfect. He also set the sag on it when I borrowed someone else's wife to sit on the pillion seat to get the weight right.

I hope I expressed how grateful I was to Eddie and the rest. They not only saved me from buying a new shock, but saved me time, they were almost on our route, and how the looked after me that night. What a great bunch. I also got lots and lots (Too many actually!) of tips and info. A good thing of course because now I have to come back!

All the gang also kindly signed one of their stickers for me. When I got back to the motel I grabbed the panniers and popped it on. :) I almost felt like a local now. Thanks again, guys.
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The next morning we experienced our first motel breakfast. Cereal, muffins, coffee, a bit of fruit and a waffle machine! Waffles for breakfast pretty often from now on. I can't stand the look of them now though, I'm all waffle'd out!
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The people last night heard about my route and suggested some changes. So rather than head back up to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway, they said to join it from Asheville as it's good around there. It's got a pretty low (and well-enforced) speed limit, so doing the whole thing would be a bit "same'ish" after a few hours. So we slowly made our way to Asheville after a nice late start.

The bike was so much better, shame I couldn't flat-foot anymore though :D

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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by Wildman » Wed Jul 31, 2019 6:10 pm

Did you affix the NRA sticker?

DanielS
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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Fri Aug 02, 2019 9:30 pm

Haha, I didn't. While it was all a joke and in good spirits I didn't want any grief in places where the NRA was less popular. Mind you, I still have it here now, I found it yesterday, so may pop it on the screen ...

DanielS
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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:54 pm

Asheville then. A nice town, but we didn't see much of it as we swam in the motel Super 8 swimming pool before getting take away food and calling it a day. We're classy!

The plan was to backtrack a little bit and head up a road with a scary name. It was called "Devil's Whip" and we were advised that it was nicer to take from South to North, so that's what we did. It wasn't very long, but we had got an early start and had it all to ourselves. Was really nice as it was almost all uphill and nice flowing corners. We arrived at the top and were greeted with a great view.
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That was at the top of the Devil's Whip and where it meets the Blue Ridge Parkway. So we turned left (West) and started on the road. With a few miles it had become really foggy, misty and windy.
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At one point we stopped for photos and I took off my helmet. We came back to the bike a few mins later and my helmet had blown down the mountain, thankfully being stopped by a few shrubs as it was a pretty steep drop off and would have been a real pain to get it! Anyhow, after an hour or so we went through a tunnel and emerged the other side to marvellous sunshine, no wind at all, it was even nicer. The parkway is a lovely road, a bit low on the speed limit but it was a Friday and hardly any traffic. I've heard that on the weekend it could get pretty busy, we had it almost all to ourselves.

A short while later we arrived in Maggie Valley. It was obviously a biker type town as there were bikes all over the place and we'd been advised to go to "Wheels through time" which is an American bike motorcycle museum. Also, by sheer coincidence a month previous I had been on a Wales 500 Rally and bumped into a guy who said that I must go to this museum and say hi to his mate Andy. So, why not.

The museum was great, every bike in it runs and they go around starting bikes every now and again. With it being a museum for American bikes they are all mainly Harley's, but don't let that put you off. It's really really good and the people working there couldn't be more helpful and passionate. Even if I did spoil their Harley line up outside with our German engineering ;)
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DanielS
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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:06 pm

We spent way too long in the museum. Well not too long, but we met up with Andy and spent over an hour talking to him. Turns out that he and the guy I met at the Rally actually started to ride around the world together and got to Magadan (or was it Vladivostok) But what a lovely, lovely guy. We swapped numbers and he keeps in touch still now, making sure we're ok.
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Here are just two of the hundreds of bikes they have there.
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We had to make tracks then, for one of the other few nights on our trip, we had booked an AirBNB in a town many miles away called Sewanee and we'd misjudged how long it would take us. We still had the famous and highly anticipated "Tail of the Dragon" to ride as well as the Cherohala Skyway.

We arrived at the Tail of the Dragon and the road was getting busy despite it being a Friday afternoon. 90% motorcycles though and the corners were lovely. Some were really banked and going through a couple of "S" bends was great fun. I think we did about 17 miles one way and then had to turn back as we wanted to do the Cherohala Skyway. However, the Tail of the Dragon wasn't without its disappointment too - Perhaps I had over hyped it, but the speed limit is daft, it's 30mph or something silly. All double yellow lines, so no overtaking at all (and no pull off places) and you're often stuck behind a bike or car doing 15mph. Finally the police on bikes pulling people over for speeding, it's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel for then I suspect. Would I recommend it? Probably, but for 5 mins and then call it a day, it becomes frustrating after that I found. Heaven knows what it would be like on a weekend.

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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DanielS » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:16 pm

The Cherohala Skyway though - Wow, what a difference, fast (Within the speed limit), flowing and more scenic. A much better experience, way quieter too. In fact it was that nice we hardly stopped for photos, only once by a creek for our very healthy lunch snacks.
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A rare scenery shot too
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It turned out to indeed be a pretty long day, but we arrived at around 7pm at our very picturesque AirBNB, a converted Airstream trailer, it was great!
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We called it a night, but were woken up around 11pm to a horrendous storm. We'd heard of tornado warnings a few hours east of us and I was convinced we were going to end up like the Wizard of Oz and blowing away. Since the Airstream was in a forest, the noise of the trees was loud. There was also a massive crash too from what we'd learn the following morning, was down to a branch coming down on the roof and smashing the aircon unit and the TV/Radio aerials. It made quite a mess of the place, destroyed the patio umbrella, the lights, took out all the electricity and stuff which sadly meant cold showers in the morning and no cooked breakfast, but no real issues.

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Re: 30 Days to cross the USA

Post by DavidS » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:56 pm

Is it just me or are those board track racers the loveliest looking bikes?
Only what is needed is there.
2017 Triumph Street Twin ; 2015 Husky FE450; 1967 Triumph Trophy.

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