13 June 2012

Trip Report: 2012 FZ1OA Rally Arrival Day

7 June 2012:  I met Cruzman in Blairsville for the ride up to the Fontana Village in North Carolina for this year's rally around 5 p.m.  I got a little confused about where we were meeting even though I told him where I wanted to meet.  Fortunately, I had cell service so after a couple of messages, he was on his way to me while I gassed up.

He noticed the worn down nail head protruding from my rear tire and informed me that I'd run over a nail.  Crap!  Between us we had the stuff to plug the tire and since it was holding air, we decided we'd do that once we setup camp.  I was pretty excited about finally being on this trip.  I wasn't even sure I'd make it between getting the front end sorted, my abscessed teeth, and my brother having pneumonia.  I was finally on the road and it felt great!

Ret 'ta go!
We chose to take the "long" way up and ride TN 68 and the Cherohala Skyway on our way to the rally site:  Fontana Village Resort as usual.  We were actually arriving a day before our reservations started so were hoping they'd have room to add the day so we wouldn't have to move camp.

With the front end sorted, the twisty roads felt really good for the first time since I could remember.  Cruzman wasn't riding away from me and I wasn't examining my every move to see what I was doing wrong that the bike was responding the way I thought it should.  Everything just felt really good making me feel like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

We stopped in Tellico Plans, TN got food to eat at the rest area and a plug kit (in case the ones we had were melted) before getting on the Skyway.  I have a love hate relationship with the Skyway.  Sometimes I love it and it's over before I know it.  Other times it seems like the longest 50 something miles on the planet.  This ride was one of the latter, likely because I was hungry and that rest area wasn't showing up fast enough.

I fought hard not to complain about it because it felt so good to be on the bike.  By the time I said something, the rest area was coming up.  The sandwich was probably the best I ever had, likely seasoned by hunger, but the view was a bit obscured by the shrubbery and trees. I guess with the budget cuts, there's no tree cutting along the scenic road.  Standing on the table didn't help but at least all the greenery was beautiful too.

There was talk on the forum about gathering around the fire pit so we climbed back on the bikes for the about 45 minute ride to Fontana around 7 something.  The sun was barely above the trees so I knew there'd be about an hour or more of sunlight left.  Instead of going into Robbinsville, we chose to ride through the Joyce Kilmer Forest.  Most of the roads up that way are in great condition until you get on Joyce Kilmer Road.

Ride Track
It's pavement is deteriorating and some of the tree roots have buckled it near the white lines.  Combined with miscellaneous tree debris and dying light it made for a challenging but fun road.  I'd gotten my steering tightened the week before and had been imagining all kinds of sounds since then.  On Joyce Kilmer, my paranoia became reality as the steering loosened again.

I couldn't feel it in the corners like I did when it loosened the last time but it was loose none the less.  Cruzman suggested it might be the compression setting as his made a similar sound to what I was describing.  It made me feel better even if I didn't fully believe him.  By the time we reached 129 and I came to a stop, I knew it wasn't the fork settings but the steering stem was loose again.

Maybe the tapered bearings seated again but I wouldn't know until it was looked at.  We got to the registration desk just as it was getting full dark and secured a spot for our extra night.  It wasn't right along the river as I'd hoped but we wouldn't have to move either.  From there, we went to find the fire pit.

I couldn't remember where it was other than up the street from eflyguy's cabin which didn't help because I didn't know where that was either.  Fortunately for us we ran into efly at the cafe.  After he finished eating, he led us to the pit where we greeted warmly by our FZ1 family.

It was good to be seen by and to see some old faces once again.  Even better to meet new folk.  We stayed long enough to find out where to meet for a ride tomorrow before going back down the road to the campground.  It was dark and peaceful when we pulled up.  I felt pretty bad about all the noise we were going to have to make.

Between hammering tent poles, using the compressor to air up my plugged tire, and using the pump to pump up air mattresses I knew we'd be waking up the other campers.  We were greeted by oldschoolsdime92 who brought us a lantern so that we could unpack our gear.  I'd never met him before but it was a nice greeting.

Cruzman and I agreed that I'd set up the tent while he plugged the tire.  We both finished about the same time with the only thing left to do being putting air in our mattresses.  Cruzman used Baby to air up the tire so Stella was called into action for the mattresses.  I couldn't get them in the tent the way we normally do so the we both had access to the door without disturbing each other.  I took the inside spot and before long we were sacked out with a 7 a.m. meet time looming.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Fontana Campground Site #14:  Our Rally Home

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog