On my way to cheaha 50k trail run.† 200 miles down, the rain is starting. Glad I have good gear!†† Supposed to be low 30’s when we start running tomorrow!
On my way to cheaha 50k trail run.† 200 miles down, the rain is starting. Glad I have good gear!†† Supposed to be low 30’s when we start running tomorrow!
Only took me almost a year to get this posted, but here is Jim’s very detailed ride report of our CCC100 last April.¬† ( Coast to Coast to Coast in under 100 hours).
Along with his excellent write-up, I added some of my own comments along the way when I had something to add.
It was a great time and hard to believe it was almost a full year ago.
April 8th, 4:00am.¬†¬† I am waking up, and just stepping outside of my buddy Jim’s¬† back garage/apartment where I’ve spent the night.¬† He’s just coming over from his house, opening the garage to check on me.¬†¬†¬† By 4:30, we are on the road, him on his BMW 1200RT, me on my Yamaha FJR1300.¬† WHERE TO?¬†¬† First to Ormond Beach, to walk down to the Atlantic Ocean, get a sample of sand and water from the beach.
For the next 1500 miles, it is nothing but riding.¬†¬† Our first REAL stop is Fort Stockton, Texas, 1500 miles from our stop point.¬† We did that in just under 24 hours from our first gas stop near Jim’s house.¬†¬† A short 4 hour rest, and we head out for the next leg of our trip…
Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, California, BIG Winds, but finally, we make it to San Diego, CA.¬†¬† Coast to Coast in about 46 hours from leaving Jim’s house.¬†¬† We headed down to the beach, gather another sand and water sample from the PACIFIC Ocean this time.¬† And headed to a hotel for a few short hours of rest.
After another 4 hours or so rest, we gear up, and begin the 2600 mile trip back to Ormond Beach, FL.
But it wasn’t ALL just riding…
That was it all the way back to Ormond Beach.¬†¬† We were VERY sleepy toward the end.¬†¬† BUT, 96 hours after we started, we had ridden our motorcycles from Coast to Coast to Coast 4 days.¬† COOL!
Jim has written a full comprehensive report of our trip, which I will post when I have time to go through it all.
What a great ride up to North Carolina on the FJR1300.¬†¬† Rode up Friday, played all day Saturday and 1/2 day Sunday, then back home by 10:00pm.
The week was pretty crazy, with me not getting home from work before 8:00pm any¬† day that week, and having to change oil and mount a new Michelin Road Pilot 2 tire on Wednesday night.¬† That left me up VERY late Thursday night getting all my gear together, including camping gear, tent, etc.
Friday was pretty crazy, I was supposed to leave Clermont and meet Jim and Paul North of Orlando about 45 minutes from my house at 5:00am, so we could get through Jacksonville before rush hour traffic.¬†¬†¬† Well, thanks to going to bed two hours prior,¬† I woke to the sound of HARD rain… at 5:30am.¬†¬†¬† Not good.¬†¬† I jump up, grab my cell phone that had several missed calls and call to see what’s going on.¬†¬† They are waiting, clear skys where they are.¬†¬†¬† DAMN!¬† Quick check of weather, and there are some pretty bad cells of storms here and there, with the biggest being HERE, right on top of me.¬† It will be like that off and on most of the way up.
We decide for Jim and Paul to start North, I’ll get started and catch up after Jacksonville when they will stop for breakfast.¬† I get ready as quickly as possible, and am out the door a little after 6:00 in a hard rain.¬† I get out of the weather quickly, but the roads are wet, it’s still dark, and early morning traffic is starting to move enough to keep my 45 minute backroad trek to get to our Interstate meeting place a full 45 minutes.¬† Once on I-4, I’m in catchup mode.¬† Out of the rain, I’m doing everything I can to make time on guys I know started 45 minutes before me, and are riding 70-80 miles an hour.
As I get to Jacksonville, I get a voicemail from Jim that they are at an exit in Georgia and ready to roll out. ¬† They are exactly 13 miles ahead of me as I exit to get gas, and a little caffeine. ¬†¬† Since I’m just pulling in, need gas, bathroom, and coffee, I tell them to go ahead, I’m close, and will close the gap in an hour or two.
300 or so miles of rain, construction zones and slow-downs later, we finally get together at an exit in South Carolina.¬† All day was in and out of rain, some heavy, getting cooler as we headed North.¬† ¬† It was a pretty crazy day. ¬†¬† Once we were all together, it was only another 150 miles or so up to the cabin in North Carolina(we thought we were tent camping, but last minute change had us staying in a nice cabin).¬† It’s almost at the top of a mountain up a 3.5 mile gated, cattle guarded, steep dirt mountain road. ¬† A pretty interesting proposition for two FJR1300’s and a BMW RT1100.(Click photos for full size)
These pics are the flat sections, some of this was pretty treacherous, both up and down.
After the ride to the top of the mountain…
we spent a¬† relaxing evening planning the next days ride.
On Saturday, we headed into Pisgah National forest, and various roads in the area.¬† Were going to ride Blue Ridge Parkway, but one direction was closed due do a landslide, or contruction or something, and the other direction was closed that morning do to SNOW!¬† Yes, as we got to higher elevations, the sporatic rain, fog, mist turned to snow!¬†¬† After a while, we had ice accumulating on our windsheilds.
In the afternoon, things cleared up, and we had a great ride.¬† About 250 miles on Saturday, with some great stops at some local diners.¬† Sunday morning, 27 degrees at 7:00am on our mountain, but warmed to the 40’s by 10 or so.¬† I don’t travel without my running shoes, and got in a two hour trail run up and down the mountain, which was just great.¬† I love running the trails so much.
After that, a huge lunch at Golden Corral before letting the big bikes stretch their legs and take us home by around 10:00pm.¬† Around 1500 miles of riding for the long weekend, with great curvy roads, dirt mountain roads, snow and some trail running.¬† Good times!¬† (CLICK PIC FOR FULL SIZE)
William and I scored cool tickets in a Suite at the St. Pete Forum in Tampa Bay to see Metallica.¬† What a great time, these guys played to a FULL stadium for close to 4 hours.¬† They were awesome.¬† William plays several of their songs on guitar and was loving every second of it.
AND, tomorrow I’m taking a day off work, and hopping on the FJR for a camping trip to North Carolina with a couple of buddies.¬† What a great time that’s gonna be.¬† ¬† Leave very early Friday, get back late Sunday.
Jim and I survived our encounter with the Dragon!¬†¬†¬†A very curvy road, no doubt, but maybe a bit over-hyped?¬† Doesn’t matter,¬† it was fun, and thinking about it,¬†maybe not too hyped, it’s very different, many curves, no intersecting roads, and certainly there is NO room for mistakes, or you are going down in a bad way.¬† Kind of reminds me of¬†flying airplanes, not very forgiving of ‘mistakes’.
For the 2 days,¬† an awesome ride, we left about 6:00am from the Service Plaza on the Florida Turnpike.¬†¬† I’m on my Yamaha FJR1300, Jim on a BMW 1100RT.¬† Both¬† bikes are simply incredible, made for just this type of high mileage, any speed from 25 mph curves to 80+ mph Interstate.¬† We covered 1764 miles and 5 states(Jim a bit more), and loved it.
We started in Orlando, but before we were even to Crystal River, we were in heavy rain.¬† We were out of it in just a mile or two, just scattered storms. Soon we were heading up Hwy 19, to Tuscaloosa before heading West on I-10. A little confusion between us at the turn for Dothan, he thought we were taking it, and indeed, I had it mapped on the GPS that we were taking it, BUT I took us another 40 miles West before heading North to Dreamland¬† BBQ, 560 miles, and we were sitting down to a rack of ribs, white bread and BBQ sauce. Yummy.¬† For two guys who’ve run many, many running races over the years, and know how to eat properly, we didn’t exactly eat like your typical ‘healthy’ runner.¬†¬† I know some of our running friends would have been appalled.
After a little chatting with some local Alabamians, and we headed East to Chattanooga. More scattered rain showers as we got close th TN, gassed up, and headed back West to Nashville. I played with the camera on this section, getting some pretty good photos as the sun dropped in the sky, and the rains came and went.
More confusion between us as we got to Nashville, he was ready to make the turn to head back to Knoxville, I showed 20 more miles to go.¬† I think I scared Jim to death with my ‘Buick’ sounding horns as he started to exit and I honked.¬†¬†I’ve done a little upgrade to the bike¬†in that area,¬†and I believe he thought an old lady in a Cadilac was about¬†to run him over!¬†¬†¬†Actually, he was more correct than I on the exit, we took the next exit, headed North, then East to Knoxville. A stop along the way for a drink, and gas, and we got to our hotel in Knoxville just after midnight.¬† 1032 miles according to the GPS.
Next morning, 70 degrees, clear sky’s, and the Dragons Tail was calling. We hit the Foothills Parkway, Dragons Tail, Cherohala Skyway, and into Tellico Plains.¬† Wow!¬† I’ve ridden roads in this area long ago, and if I lived there, well, honestly, I’d probably crash a lot.¬† My safety net was that I had to really be careful and controlled since I was far from home, didn’t know the roads,¬†did not want to drop my big FJR and have to deal with consequences of getting home and putting my buddy through that, and I was already on thin ice with a wife not caring for this long distance motorcycle thing while she’s traveling to Louisiana with the kids.
Funny thing while leaving one of the overlooks on the Cherohala Skyway, this guy pulled out in front of us, like he didn‚Äôt want us ahead of him.¬† I couldn‚Äôt tell what he was on at the time, just some old rat bike that was going to be in our way, I thought. But when he started riding harder, I kept thinking is sounded JUST like my old KZ1000, that I had in High School and College, a 1979 Kawasaki KZ1000.¬† The guy was riding very smoothly and we’ll say ‚Äėbrisk‚Äô,¬† I could see he knew the Cherohala Skyway well and ¬†was very comfortable at a good pace. ¬†¬†He was riding faster than I had previously been comfortable riding that road, because I have NO idea what is around the next curve so I really was being careful.¬†¬†This guy obviously knew the roads from the way he was riding, so I was using him as a guide to take me around the curves.¬† I‚Äôm not crowding him,¬† but staying close enough to see what he’s doing, he‚Äôs picking¬†the pace up more and more, and finally pulls into another overlook/parking area.¬†¬†¬†I¬†know it’s because he’s got to be near the handling limits of what I’m sure is an old¬†70-80’s Japanese inline-4 with touring gear,¬†and so is going to bow out and let us pass.¬†¬†As I passed, I saw that it WAS a KZ, and surprised him when I braked hard and pulled in behind him.¬† Jim scooted past us.¬† I talked to him for WAY too long considering Jim and I were trying to knock off the last 500 miles, but it was neat to see that bike.
A lot more similarities that you might think between my fancy,dancy 1300cc Feejar, and the 30 year old 1000cc KZ.¬† We had a nice talk about both having gone through owning twins, triples, different engine configurations, but were both back to being impressed with the big Inline-4 layout.¬† Funny thing, the last time I rode in this area, around the Smoky Mountains, was 25+ or so years ago on a bike almost EXACLTY like this one, mine was red, not black, but same year model, same factory luggage and factory Vetter made fairing.¬† The guy lived local, has multiple bikes, but picked this up for $700 out of someone’s barn, and had completely restored it.
Jim and I¬†rolled into Tellico Plains, our point to get gas,¬†turn South and run for home. But I rolled to the intersection and turned left for home, figuring there’d be gas right there.¬† NOT.¬† After a mile, I realized we needed to go back, so pulled off and waited for Jim.¬† Here he came, right by me, not missing a beat.¬† Uhhhh, Jim??¬†¬†¬† He didn’t see me, and was on his way South.¬†¬† Sometime’s it’s nice to have a 150hp motorcycle.¬† ¬† I caught up to him, we went back to our proper gas stop.
I thought from that point, we would be just cruising South and making good time, on our way home and to our 1500 miles in 36 hours.¬† Well, what I DIDN’T¬†think about, is¬†we were there at NOON… on SUNDAY… on already slow moving two lane country mountain roads.¬†¬† A lot of people go to CHURCH on Sunday, and they usually aren’t in a big hurry, even less of a hurry on Sunday after Church.¬†¬†¬†¬† ARG!!!!¬†¬† We aren’t going to make it at 35mph!!!!¬†¬† Serenity Now Dave!¬† Serenity Now!
I just waited, kept the speed reasonable, was patient and we clicked off the miles, until FINALLY we hit 4 divided lanes were we could really get up to a decent speed.¬†¬† Basically, from just North of Atlanta to Valdsota, GA, we maintained at least 80mph, with a stop for gas.¬†¬†¬† If the left lane was slow and bogging down, I had to find a path on the right.¬† Jim followed, and we just clicked off the miles.¬†¬† As we neared Valdosta, I had an exit picked that I wanted to stop at, but I could see we were also running into a storm.¬† Well, as we got to Valdosta, the lightning started, and the ‘bottom fell out’ as they say.¬† As bad a storm as I’ve ever ridden in.¬† Still, I wanted to get to my exit about 20 miles down the road before stopping and declaring our 1,500 miles¬†complete.¬† (we turn in time stamped gas station reciept to certify the time).¬† Thing is, it was raining so hard, I couldn’t really see, and cars were all turning on their flashers, and slowing to a crawl.
With only¬†20 or so minutes left in our 36 hours, I couldn’t risk an Interstate stop or big slowdown, or accident, so had to take what we had and stop at the next exit.¬† 1551 miles.¬† We gassed up, parked and went inside to eat a meal.
As we were sitting there, a BIG guy comes up to our table and asks if he had seen us in Atlanta a while ago?¬† We BOTH thought the same thing, did we do something to make this guy mad?¬† Naw, he just liked bikes, had noticed us, and¬†wanted to talk.
We sat there, with about 200 miles left to get home,¬†and started talking about doing another ride.¬†¬†Afterwards,¬†Jim took the lead¬†and we cruised¬†back to our starting¬†point from yesterday,¬†1700 miles¬†ago.¬† It’s hard for me to fathom riding that many miles, in just a couple days, and enjoying it as much as I did.
I think that’s pretty much due to the Yamaha FJR, and the level of sophistication, power, handling,¬†¬†comfort¬†and features it has available.¬† It was just awesome to ride for that long, in heat(temp gauge showed 102 at times), rain, mountains, interstate, SLOW curvy roads, traffic, two lane roads, and NOT ONE TIME, think ‘ I wish this bike had…’.¬† ¬†It had it all, power, handling, comfort, it was perfect.
I put together a slide show with narration on youtube…¬† Check it out…
Our First Destination‚Ä¶
Dreamland(history) is a little hole in the wall place, a little off of I-20 where Tamara and I used to stop during our trips back and forth from
John ‚ÄúBig Daddy‚ÄĚ Bishop Founder of Dreamland in 1958.
This was before they had franchised locations all over the Southeast, it was the one and only Dreamland.¬†¬† Never took long to figure out what you would order, as the menu consisted of Ribs and Whitebread(Sunbeam I believe, in the plastic wrapper).¬† That‚Äôs it.¬† When your order came, you had a rack of ribs, a complete loaf of Sunbeam bread, a roll of paper towels, and a Coke or Beer.¬† ¬†Messy, fattening, always packed, but great food, great atmosphere, great people.
To finish the 1000 mile in a day mark‚Ä¶
After the stop at Dreamland, we‚Äôre back on the bikes for the next 500 plus miles, taking a long zig-zag route to
Time to rest.¬†¬†
A few hours break, and we‚Äôll be hitting the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway.¬† This is some of the best motorcycle riding to be had anywhere.¬† http://www.tailofthedragon.com/
Talk about a roller coaster!¬† This is going to be QUITE different than the straight