27 September 2010

Trip Report: Camping with Cruzman Day 1

17 Sep 2010:  Leaving Home
I've delayed this for long enough!  I took some great pictures I want to share and learned some interesting lessons that kind of made this trip ambiguous upon reflection.  Cruzman and I planned to try to meet some of the FZ1-Forum guys while they were close on their planned Deals Gap Trip in September.  After taking kyfa25 to the Cherohala last month, he wanted to come along too.  Up until a few days before we left, it was ambiguous as to whether or not he'd camp with us.

Many years ago I discovered I did not like paying a lot of money to sleep in a place that I'd only be using for a few hours so we decided we'd camp rather than pay for a hotel or the $30 a night for space in the "garage" the FZ1-Forum guys had at the house they rented for 10 days.  I found a nice spot nearby where they would be, Cheoah Point Campground for only $15 a night with showers and bathrooms but no electricity.  The catch is it is first come first serve.

That wasn't going to be a problem.  I planned to leave early so I could get there in time to secure us a campground.  The weeks leading up to departure, I finished some mods on Baby, the HID conversion, Aux Lights, and added the K&N Air filter.  I was anxious to see how all of that worked on the trip.  When I installed the new Air Filter, I didn't really notice a difference between it and the dirty stock one on my short shakedown ride to the store.

Thursday night, I packed the bike and made ready for a quick departure.  Unfortunately, I forgot to check the tire pressures until the bike was fully loaded.  That's right, I needed air and the pump was under the seat under all the luggage, tent, and sleeping bag.  I'd already gotten gas and had planned to just hit the road, but my first stop would now be at QuikTrip for some free air.

Starting Mileage
While getting air, I decided to get a cup of coffee and a biscuit since I was so excited I didn't get much sleep.  My early departure time was near 9 instead of 8 like I hoped but much better than for my last camping trip so I wasn't too bothered.  The route was to jump on the Interstate to get to Cleveland where the good roads really begin.

After a few miles along the interstate, I knew something wasn't right with Baby.  He didn't have his usual pep down low and I suspected it was the air filter.  I guess there was a difference after all.  I took my first break in Blairsville so I could call and check on TheMomma.

After a short break, it was onward to Andrews, NC where I stopped to fill up.  I was kind of surprised at how much gas I didn't have left but didn't worry too much about it.  I wasn't too far from the campground and it was already a little after Noon.  I'd wasted too much time that morning loitering at QT getting air and eating a biscuit to hang around lamenting bad gas consumption.  I could contemplate that on the way to the campground.

I got there about 45 minutes later rode around and found what I thought was the perfect spot for us.  It wasn't all that close to the bathroom and a little isolated so our arrival and departure wouldn't disturb too many people.  I wasted no time setting up the tent with the hopes of getting a little riding in before Cruzman and kyfa25 showed up.
Our weekend home
My new boots hadn't quite broken in yet and I was very glad for the chance to get out of them while I got everything set up and paid for.  I even hesitate putting them back on for a few moments before finally giving in to the call of the road.  Cruzman made me promise to go look for the house where the FZ-1 Forum guys were staying, so I lit out riding for the first time through the Joyce Kilmer Forest and past one of the campground we'd eschewed for the showers offered by Cheoah Point, Horse Cove.  I found the house with little trouble, but there was no one from the Forum there, so I set out to find lunch and test the silcone straps I got to mount the D011 cam to the rad guards.

By the time I re-entered Robbinsville, it was around 3 and I got there just in time to see the homecoming parade.  All thoughts of a quick bite at Subway were thwarted as I tried to find away around the parade to my destination.  In the end, I just parked it and waited for the parade and the traffic to pass.
Waiting for the Homecoming Parade to pass
I've never gotten a pic of my bike with one of those signs anyway, so it was a good chance to take advantage of it.  While I was waiting, I loaded the vids on the pda to see how shakey they were or weren't.  It wasn't too bad and the wide angle lenses didn't fall off on some of the rough roads.  I was pleased.

While watching video, I met Pilot8127 from the FZ1-Forum.  He was there with some friends, but not for the board's Deals Gap trip.  Actually, I met his friend first who asked if I was riding "that big bad bike" all alone.  I had to look around, I couldn't help myself.  I was sitting near the bike, by myself in riding gear.  We both laughed and a few minutes later, Pilot comes rushing over "You must be theWolfTamer!"  Yep, that's me!

theWolfTamer and Pilot8127 waiting for the parade to pass
As I watched the traffic grow, I texted a warning to Cruzman about the parade and not being able to get to Subway.  Once the traffic passed, I decided to get a snack since it was getting late and I expected the guys soon.  After a Dr. Pepper and a Slim Jim (I haven't had one of those in years), I took 143 to 28 to Deals Gap where I considered a Dragon run.  I decided not to because I knew Cruzman wanted to do that when he arrived so I just rode back to the campground hoping to find Cruzman setting up his tent.  It was nearly 6 and they weren't there yet.  I knew their departure time had been up in the air, but it wasn't until I got back to the campground and cell coverage that I discovered they'd stopped to eat in Andrews about the time I was deciding not to eat in Robbinsville.  Guess I should've texted that too, instead I told them to hurry because the sun was setting and I was certain Cruzman didn't want to set up his tent in the dark.  I was certain because he hadn't gotten it right at home in broad daylight!

About an hour later, after confusing several boat motors for Cruzman's Akrapovic, I finally heard them arrive. It was kyfa25's Mivv that I recognized first, but don't tell Cruzman.  I wish they made that slipon for the Gen 1.  If I had the money, I'd get one and make it fit.  With a little help, we got Cruzman's tent up before the sun set and left to guide kyfa25 back to Robbinsville and his hotel at the Phillips Hotel.  I'd passed it when I got diverted for the parade so I knew exactly where it was.

After he checked into his musty little room, we went to the Subway that I couldn't get to earlier for my long awaited meal.  It was the best sub I ever ate, probably seasoned with hunger.  Over dinner, I learned Cruzman picked up a nail in his rear tire on the way up.  kyfa25 tried to convince him to use the well lit areas around us to patch the hole, but he insisted on going back to the dark campground where he could patch the hole and install his sliders that I'd gotten him for his birthday.

Looking at my pics, I'm amazed I didn't get one of his sliders, but I did get one of the patch!
Cruzman's patched tire after a few miles
We stayed up a little longer talking and I wished I'd gotten some ice and drinks while I waited for them because I was thirsty and snacky.  Oh well, I'd get some tomorrow.  We finally crawled into our tents around 1 a.m. where I struggled to fall asleep on my wal-mart air mattress.  I'm going to have to do something about that before the big trip!

Up next, the Ambitious Ride!

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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