08 June 2010

Trip Report: FZ1OA Rally Arrival Day

3 Jun 2010

I felt so bad the day before, I didn't get to do any of the last minute things to get ready so all I'd have to do was get on the bike and go like I planned.  Instead, I had to pack, get my tags, and pick up Mom's medicine before I could contemplate getting on the road.

My brother convinced me to go pick up my tags rather than having them sent via mail but that was after the tag office closed.  I would have gotten them sooner, but needed to wait for my brother to get my car inspected.  He's doing it because he's driving the car.  I wanted to be at the tag office when the doors opened at 8 a.m. but I was packing instead because I woke up late.

I got all the errands finished and was home by a little after 10.  I didn't waste any time getting the bike loaded and Baby was at the end of the driveway warming up by 10:45.

My planned route took I-985/441 all the way to Clayton, GA then Warwoman RD to Hwy 28 North through Highlands and Franklin, NC all the way to Fontana, NC.  I was going to meet Cruzman at The Deals Gap Resort and escort him back to Fontana where the Rally was headquartered.  We were staying in the Fontana Resort Campground and he was pulling his travel trailer while his friend Teddy was hauling the bikes in an enclosed trailer.

The weather was warm and muggy and had been all week long with a bonus of evening showers.  I can't recall it being this muggy so soon in the year and can only wonder how much the events in the Gulf of Mexico are contributing to the feel of the air.  The skies were filled with clouds, some very dark, that made me think it might rain.  Once on the road though, I noticed I was moving away from the stormy looking clouds and stopped thinking about rain.  I only wanted to get to Clayton as soon as I could to hopefully make up for the later start.

Once in Clayton, I ate a quick lunch at McDonald's and called to check on my mom.  She made a comment that I was slower than normal before singing "Happy Birthday" to me because she'd forgotten to wish me a happy birthday before I left the house.  I didn't realize it until I was speeding down Warwoman that she was making a joke!

After lunch, I got gas and proceeded on the part of the ride up I'd most anticipated:  Warwoman RD to Hwy 28 into Highlands, NC then 28 North from Franklin to where it meets 19.  If I left earlier, I would have taken time to stop at the scenic overlooks on Hwy 28 before Highlands and some of the other falls on 28/64 going to Franklin.  But as the day wore, the humidity seemed to rise.  I was enjoying the roads and realized the best part of Warwoman RD is close to the end when it meets 28.  28/64 gets really narrow after Bridal Veil Falls and is always full of traffic.  Somehow on those tight twists, I turned the gps receiver off and lost the signal.  It wasn't that big of a deal since the program was confused.  I'm sure if I'd looked at it, I would have been riding in the river that runs along side it.

I stopped momentarily to figure out what was wrong just outside Franklin.  It was a little after 2 so I didn't linger long in the bright sunshine.  I wanted to be in Fontana with enough time to relax before riding the Dragon.  I knew Cruzman and Teddy left earlier than he planned and hoped to get there in time to escort them.  It was now more likely I'd get there about the same time as them.

I remember not liking the tight curves of Hwy 28 North the first time I rode it during the Twisty Butt.  A couple of weeks before during the FJR Camp meet, I remembered thinking the curves weren't as tight as I thought.  This time I knew they were tight but it didn't really matter.  Even loaded for travel, I still managed to make good time and enjoy the heck out of the road.  It was a good warm up for the road ahead.

Before I left, I re-read some articles about riding technique and adjusted the position of my feet on the pegs so I wouldn't scrape my boots.  That seemed to be making a big difference as I was able to negotiate the curves easier than in the past with more confidence.  It guess it really is the little things that make big differences.

I arrived at the Fontana Village Resort right around 3:30 p.m. and promptly texted Cruzman to find out where he was.  I got no response and decided to head to our rendezvous point in case I really did beat him there.  I hung out at the Deals Gap resort for a while until I saw a truck pulling a trailer and thought I'd better go back to the village where at least I had cell service.

After checking with the registration desk, I learned Cruzman had already checked in and hot footed it to the campground.  I pulled up just as he and Teddy were getting ready to come look for me.  Talk about great timing!!

Incidentally, it takes a lot less time to unload the bike than it does to load it.  I snatched the saddle bags off of the bike and threw them in the travel trailer and was ready in no time for a run to the Dragon.  It was close to 5 before we left the campground and the road is shut down at 8.

Since Teddy was riding a cruiser we expected him to be slow.  It turns out Teddy is a very deliberate man.  He doesn't seem to rush at anything but eating.  He oozes a sexy confidence that let me know his word was true.  Nothing more appealing than a Real Man and that is what he appeared to be.

I took the lead when we left the Campground with Teddy then Cruzman bringing up the rear.  I'd been carving up the roads all day long by myself and nearly forgot they were following.  I took the first curve, which was very sharp, pretty fast before I remembered there was a cruiser following me.

A quick glance in my side mirror confirmed he was still there and I vowed to myself to take it a bit easier the rest of the way to the Gap.  We had time and the Dragon wasn't going anywhere.

Yep, he's still there:

The road ahead was clear of traffic, as most of the roads had been all day once I left Franklin, NC.

After a brief stop at Deal's Gap Resort, it was time to quiet the Dragon.  I had no intention of waiting around for Teddy.  The road was blocked so there were few places I could be.  I chose to be the hare to his tortoise and ran ahead.  Far ahead.  I saw a good spot to pull over and wait for them to catch up and decided to take pictures as they road by:

By the time they approached, I saw David had passed Teddy too:

This shot proves I ain't no photographer and that I have a slow camera.  I wanted to snap a couple of shots or at least I should have put in the correct mode to do so.  Next time!  I got a better pic of the tortoise--uhmm Teddy--though:

I was able to catch up to Cruzman before we reached the Overlook were we stopped to wait for Teddy then took a few pics:

Cruzman and Teddy:

Me (happy I rode the Dragon for my Birthday.)

While we were at the lookout, we met a couple of other FZ1 owners who were there to attend the rally.  Just as Cruzman and Teddy were preparing to ride down to where the road is closed, Bubba pulled up hauling his trailer.

Baby and Stella can't believe what they are seeing.  It's bad enough they let cruisers and cars on this road, now this?  Might as well wait awhile for him to get down since there isn't a good place to pass him.

The ride down:

We got back to the Resort 15 minutes after the store closed and decided to have dinner at Fontana Village.  We went to the Rally HQ to see if any events were planned and spent nearly an hour talking with FizzyRider and the guys we met earlier--no, I don't remember their names!

We ate dinner at the grill around 9.  Cruzman and I both got Asian Chicken Salad and Teddy got a burger.  The salad was filling at the time but around Midnight I was hungry again.  We didn't have time to go to the store so the only thing to do was to go to bed.

Mileage for the day: 264

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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