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Thread: Riding the Southern Appalachians and the RA Rally

  1. #16
    Registered User dancogan's Avatar
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    A really fine ride report. Thanks, especially for the pictures. We followed on many of the same roads, although I have to admit to bailing on WV Route 16 after about an hour of very technical riding. It was more than I wanted to do all day, riding 2-up. But SE Ohio and WV sure have some great roads!
    Dan

  2. #17
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    One of several reasons I attended this rally, was that the rally fee included a tour of the Biltmore house. A ticket costs ~$50, depending on when you buy the ticket, so I rode 1000 miles for a free admission.

    Saturday was tour day for me. In speaking with other rally goers, it sounded like the shuttle to the house could fill up and included waiting around and the house got crowded later in the day. It was recommended that I walk, which I did. I left in time to get there at opening, so I could avoid any crowds and enjoy the house more. It was a nice walk on a beautiful morning.









    The house and gardens are just incredible. It reminded me of a couple of royal residences I?ve seen in Europe.









    After getting back to my non-royal residence and spending time in the vendor tent, I rode up to the house for a photo. There was no parking at the house, but they were letting rally goers stop briefly for photos.



    As the day was warming up, I decided to head to the Parkway and higher elevations, and hopefully cooler temps. It was a great day for a ride and much cooler than at the rally grounds.







    The closing ceremony was at 5 at the house itself, so I returned in time for this. The idea was to place all the motorcycles ? it was announced that there were ~2300 attendees ? around the grass plaza in front of the house. The group I rode up with was diverted to a parking lot since they were ?full?, so there were a number of people that couldn?t ride to the house. Oh well, it was quite a sight anyway.





    Since the contract for next year?s rally isn?t signed, they couldn?t announce next year?s site, but ?you?ll like it.? Based on my experience at this rally, I would attend another RA rally, but I?ll have to hear where it will be.

    Saturday night was typical last night at a rally ? packing up a little and preparing for an early departure the next morning. The Saturday night band was a bluesy band that I really liked. I turned in a little early since I wanted to get on the road early the next morning.
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  3. #18
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    Loved the rally report!! Thanks so much!! Couldn't go, but was up north on Skyline Drive for the weekend, so at least I felt like I was kind of there in spirit!
    Tonya
    2007 F800ST - Lovin' it!!

  4. #19
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    I initially had thought about heading home via eastern KY and Ohio to ride the triple nickel, but that will have to be a separate trip. In the end I just wanted to get home and planned a two day trip home via SW VA and the Shenandoah Valley. I had decided to stay in a hotel that night, since after five nights in a tent, I wanted a break. I wasn?t very careful in packing away a rain fly soaked with dew, knowing I wouldn?t need it again.

    With the sounds of people packing up, I awoke a little earlier on Sunday, made a cup of coffee, ate a quick breakfast and was packed and on the road by 7.



    Homeward Bound from Terence Hamill on Vimeo.



    I headed over to the BRP, and apparently, early Sunday morning is a good time to ride the Parkway. Very little traffic on my journey north.



    There was early morning fog, especially at the higher elevations.





    On my BRP trip in the Fall and on my ride down on Thursday, Mt Mitchell was fogged in, and I didn?t think it?d be any different this morning. For some reason, as I approached Mt Mitchell SP, it cleared, so I made the run up to the top. Gorgeous views from up there.



    I retraced my route back to the Parkway and continued north.



    I pulled into Little Switzerland for a quick rest stop.



    At Deep Gap, I exited the Parkway and eventually headed north towards VA on route 16.





    In Independence, I headed north on VA 21, headed for Wytheville and lunch. There were dark clouds ahead, so I stopped and prepared for rain.



    The rain came quickly and I stopped for gas to get out of the rain a little. Not a bad place to stop for gas.





    By the time I reached Wytheville, the rain had stopped and I was hungry. A BBQ place I found on my GPS didn?t seem to exist anymore, so I had a quick lunch at Sheetz. I like the fact that Sheetz has outside tables, so I ?dined? al fresco.

    After a delicious lunch, or rather, after lunch, I headed north a short distance on I-77 to Bland, where I picked up VA 42.



    VA 42 was fantastic and the kind of road I really like. I headed northeast up a broad valley which occasionally crossed a ridge. The road is fairly open with nice sweeping turns and the scene was of grass freshly cut, rolled and drying in the fields. I hit a few showers, but it was my favorite road of the day.





    I had forgotten to load my return route into my GPS before leaving, so was navigating by map and took a wrong turn in Poplar Hill. I had intended to follow 42 further north, but ended up headed for I-81, and it was too late in the day to back track. Continuing on 42 is another future trip.

    As much as I dislike I-81, I decided to head north as it was getting late in the afternoon, and I?d find a hotel somewhere. I ended up in Staunton, VA at a Hampton Inn and looked forward to my last day on the road.

    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  5. #20
    BeemerBoy terham's Avatar
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    I slept a little better in a hotel bed than my tent, and woke after a good night?s sleep. After the free breakfast buffet, I was on the road by 7 headed for Waynesboro.





    At Waynesboro I paid my $10 to ride Skyline Drive and headed north at a leisurely pace. The speed limit is only 35 mph compared to 45 mph on the Parkway. Early Monday morning is apparently a good time to ride Skyline Drive.







    I stopped in Big Meadows, about half way up Skyline Drive, for gas and a look around the visitor center.







    After a short stop, I headed north and completed Skyline Drive at Front Royal.



    From there I headed north on the Stonewall Jackson Highway.



    I was headed for the Harpers Ferry area for lunch, and stopped briefly in Rippon, WV. This church next to the Rippon PO caught my eye because it was for rent.



    After another al fresco meal at Sheetz in Charles Town, I headed north on WV 340. At one point, I was braking for an intersection and thought I heard something hit the road. I thought maybe I had lost one of the bags strapped to my seat and found a place to pull over. Everything seemed attached and off I went. I was headed for Antietam to look around the battlefield.

    After stopping for this picture in MD?




    ?when I walked back to the bike, I immediately noticed I was missing my left saddlebag.



    WTF? Of course, I immediately realized where I had lost it and what I?d heard hitting the road. I backtracked to the intersection on 340 where I had stopped about 30-40 minutes before to check my load, and found nothing. I walked the shoulders and the grass median and didn?t see the saddlebag, any part of a saddlebag or any contents of a saddlebag. I called the police departments of Harpers Ferry and Charles Town when I got home, but as of today, nothing has been turned in. I also had neglected to put any contact information in the saddlebag, which I have since done with my other bags. I don?t know how it happened, but assume that at lunch or some time earlier in the day, I had gone into that bag for something and hadn?t properly secured it, and the act of braking made it come off. An expensive lesson learned. I lost along with the saddle bag, my rain suit, cook set, camp stove and fuel body and a fleece jacket.

    No longer being interested in Antietam, I headed for home, picking up MD 15 in Frederick.

    It was nice to finally cross back into PA, even though I was returning with fewer things than I had left with.



    I rode through a couple of thunderstorms, missing my rain suit a little bit, and was home by dinner time.

    The lost saddle bag put a damper on things, but I had a great trip of 2300+ miles in 7 days riding some great roads. The list of roads I?d like to ride has also grown and I?ll have to revisit parts of VA I didn?t have time to see.

    I also thought the RA rally was a lot of fun. It?s on a different scale than the MOA rally, but it was still fantastic people on great bikes in a location with roads worth riding. Good combination.

    Now to replace my lost items before leaving for the National in Oregon?
    Terence
    R75/5 R100RS K100RS R1100S

  6. #21
    Chromehead bobs98's Avatar
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    Great stuff, Terence. Too bad about the bag.

    I'll take extra precaution to secure mine, AND put contact info on them, something I've been meaning to do for years!
    Bob Smith
    '98 R1200C
    '80 XS850 Special
    '05 Rocket III

  7. #22
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Very enjoyable RR. Too bad about the loss! I had one fall of my K1200 once, but somebody found it, and called my insurance agent (ins card was in the bag). I was able to pick the saddle bag up just a couple of hours after I'd lost it. Hope yours turns up.
    Be The Change You Want To See In The World

  8. #23
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear about the lost bag. Have to remember to tape a business card inside my bags..

    Rt 42 in VA is a great and just about unknown road. I've shown it to a number of friends who have become fans of it. 42 goes through lots of small 2-church towns, has sweeping vistas in spots and is never boring. It gets interesting to stay on it since it tends to stop - then continue - 30 miles further on. Dufuss (my GPS) did a fairly good job of making the connections between the ends, and those diversions were often the most interesting part of my ride - tiny one lane roads that wander up and down the sides of mountains with multiple switchbacks. Great fun. We did the length of it in VA (north to south) this time heading for Asheville, then dropped down through Tennessee and picked up the BRP in North Carolina for our final leg into Asheville. Sounds like we like a lot of the same roads - 340 is another favorite, and the northern route across the top of MD is a tradition for going to Square Route, Morton's Spring Fling and Asheville.

    Gravel in the corners is a real concern in West Virginia. I'm told the reason for it is - locals like pickup trucks with dual-wheel rear axles (dualies..) and they often drag the outside wheel off the edge of the pavement on corners, kicking gravel right into the ideal path for a motorcycle going around the corner. After a few disconcerting "woops" sort of sideways shifts, one learns to really be cautious and keep an eye on the road surface. You'll also find gravel at the bottom of any driveway that climbs up off the roadway, rain washes it down. I noticed the roads (both major and minor) in WV didn't seem to have as perfect surfaces as they used to (I ride in WV at least annually, usually several times a year) since Robert Bird passed on to the big congress in the sky. I suspect his replacement doesn't have the clout yet to direct the federal highway funds to WV that Bird was famous for.

    Suggested WV roads (and there are MANY other great ones, but these are a few of my favorites): 66, 28, 33, 55, 219. Not a straight stretch on any of them, and some great switchback sections on many of them.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
    '07 R1200R (current ride) and some bimmers.. and a Porsche

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