04 October 2011

Trip Report: There and Back Day 3

11 Sep 11:  Back

We woke up to another perfect day!  We'd paid for the campsite for an extra day so we could ride in the morning and pack up to ride home in the afternoon.  It's one of the advantages of camping at a place so close (relatively) to home.  Cruzman had a plan or an idea that we would ride the Dragon and the Foothills Parkway.  It didn't really matter to me much as long as we were on the bikes.

It's hard for me to put into words how I was feeling that morning.  I was a little sad.  On past trips I'd always call TheMomma to see how she was doing and to let her know that I was okay. I'd been calling my brother on this trip but it just wasn't the same.  Nothing really felt the same either.

Cruzman and I were chatting as we rode along each day but not late in the night like we normally did.  It was either because of our neighbors or because we were really tired at the end of each day.  That morning I was sure what it was but I tried to get my clothes and stuff pre-packed so that when we got back it'd be a little easier to get the stuff on the bike and us on the road.

I noticed Cruzman checking my rear tire again and later he asked about it.  He seemed a little more concerned about it than I was.  It was still grippy and not slipping at all despite the tread quickly disappearing.  I've been happy with the BT-023 in every way but wear.  From their product page:  "Solid mileage for touring. Appropriate pattern, construction and compound provide substantial wear life. 30% up vs BT-021."  By this time, I'd barely reached 5k miles on this rear.  Based on their claims I was expecting around 6,500k before it needed to be replaced not nearly 5,300 a measly 4% increase.  I was going to ride that tire until I saw cords!

The day before when we went through the same area, I began to wonder which end of the Dragon's Tail we were riding, the tip or the uh — part closest to the dragon?  That morning I decided it had to be the Dragon's Ass.  It was just that kind of morning.  So as we were riding up the tail (since it's uphill), I could hear the return of the clacking of the chain and the tire did feel a little more squirrelly that day.  I decided not to push it so hard and for once enjoy the scenery.

After stopping for a bit at the gap store to look at bikes and browse the store, we headed up the Dragon.  I was taking it so slow I had to let a couple of cars by!  I'm going to chalk it up to my state of mind more than the bike's performance.  It was a struggle to concentrate on those turns but I had to do it if I wanted to get to the Parkway that I really like to ride.

A few curves later, there was a rolling roadblock caused by a moving van and maybe the warnings from passing biker's of cops ahead.  They'd been warning us since we crossed the state line but I hadn't seen the cop yet.  When I finally did see him, he was tucked in off of the side of the road on a straight away.  The perfect place to tag a speeding rider.  We weren't in any danger of getting tagged thanks to the moving van.

After that straight, I started warning the biker's we passed for about a mile then I stopped because why slow someone down a mile or more before the cop?  There were others following us up the mountain who could provide a more "up to date" warning than us anyway.  Not to mention I couldn't see much for the Moving Truck ahead.

It was about then that I remembered the guy that got ran over by the semi a couple of months before.  The biker's were still warning us of cop ahead.  There will probably be a lot of LEO traffic up there for the rest of the riding season and the beginning of next.  I'm thinking I'll be avoiding that stretch of road for a bit from now on.

About a mile past the overlook, there was another LEO standing on the side of the road with his Radar/Lidar.  I don't know why he even bothered to point it at us, stuck behind the Moving Van unable to see far enough ahead to speed!

Once we got through the Dragon, Cruzman said let's skip the Parkway and work our way back to Tellico Plains from "the other side" taking 68.  All right.  We pulled over for something and got separated when another rider stopped me to ask a question.  He was gone by the time I got back on the road and I flew past him stopped waiting for me.  I was waving frantically for him to just follow me because I'd passed the Moving Van and he wasn't that far behind.

I had to pull over.  The moving van got back in front of us before we could get back on the road.  Cruzman fixed what ever it was he was trying to fix and we were soon back behind the moving van.  I did get to enjoy the scenery though!  It seemed we went from being in the middle of no where to civilization in a manner of minutes.  Then we were on 441 and stopped at the A&W for brunch.

I'd never eaten there before and the food was really good!  We had a great conversation with a couple of Texans who were riders and opening a Texas styled BBQ place in Tellico Plains.  I called my brother and lied about what time I was going to be home before we got back on the road again.

It was a perfect morning to be out on the bike!  We didn't stop in Tellico this time planning instead not to stop until Robbinsville where we would gas up before loading the bikes for the trip home.

That was until nature called so we stopped at our usual spot, this time it was empty, to answer the call before continuing to the gas station at 129 and 143 just outside Robbinsville.  That's when I learned the Women's Sportbike Rally was this weekend!  I've wanted to go since I first saw it on the television when I was living in California but haven't gone yet.  I'd forgotten all about it, thinking it was later in the month or something.  So maybe next year I'll go.

Next stop was the campground where we broke down camp and got the bikes packed

before finally getting to the There part of the camping trip:  A run down Hwy 28 into Highlands so Cruzman could see Bridal Veil Falls up close and personal.

I wasn't too sure about taking Hwy 106 since every time I've ridden it this year it's been clogged with traffic.  But there didn't seem to be too many people out today, I guess everyone was at home being solemn remembering that perfect morning 10 years ago.  Odd that the day seemed to be almost the same, with a few more puffy clouds in the sky.

We took Hwy 106 anyway and this time I stopped to get some pics that I've always wanted.

Even though I felt a bit odd during the trip, it still was fun.  I definitely felt a little better afterwards!

Trip Stats:
705.1 Miles traveled
17.27 gals of gas consumed
$3.609 avg price per gal
235 avg miles per day

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

The tire Cruzman was so worried about

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I worried a lot about that tire. I actually felt better being in the twisties since you had better tread on the sides than the center.


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