19 July 2013

Trip Report: FZ1OA Rally Day 2

8 Jun 2013

We started the day with the same plan as the day before:  KSU @ 7 for a Dragon Run then meet the others for the day's ride.  We knew the group ride was either the Road to Nowhere or the Franklin Run.  Cruzman wasn't sure he wanted to do either and I didn't care as long as it was a day spent riding.  With that in mind, we rode up to the Resort to rouse iluvmyfz1 since he hadn't made his way to the campsite by 7:15ish.

The morning skies looked a lot better than they had the day before.  The clouds looked to be moving away and there weren't many signs of the rainstorm that kept me awake part of the night before.

I expected to hear iluvmyfz1 at any moment by a quarter after, it was apparent that he wasn't coming.  Cruzman and I decided to go to his cabin to check if he was willing for a Dragon Run.  After several minutes of knocking, we gave up and went back to get the rest of the CruzFamily.  They were already at the road when we went by.

On the way to US129, I could feel my shoulder was still bothering me.  The copious amounts of Aleve weren't doing anything for the ache.  By the time we got to Deals Gap Resort (DGR), I was re-thinking the morning run.  But I really wanted to do the morning run.  I think that's one of the best time on the Dragon:  early in the morning or very late in the evening.  During breakfast, I decided not to waste the opportunity and led us up (I call it up because the first thing you do from DGR is climb the hill) the Dragon.

Not long after we crossed the state line, it was very clear to me that I didn't feel it.  I wouldn't be pushing like I have in years past.  In fact, I wondered if I'd even be able to do the speed limit!  But the first wobbly corner had Mark Byrd voice in my head from a couple of years before, "You need some speed to take the corner."  Feeling it or not, too slow could be as dangerous as too fast.  I needed to bear down.

I picked up the pace a little and managed to make it to the Overlook,

where we took pics then the CruzFamily went on up to the bridge.

I stayed at the overlook, dawdling so long that they passed me on the way down.  I pulled in behind Cruzboy in the Miata.

I gotta say, at 15, I don't think I would have been able to drive that road and he did really good.  He even tried to pull over so that I could get in front, but I told him to stay ahead because I knew he'd likely be held up.  Somewhere back towards DGR, I started to loosen up a bit.  Maybe the Aleve kicked in some but the pain was a little less giving me hope for the rest of the day.

Cruzman still wasn't sure where he wanted to ride, so I rode ahead to the group to say "hey" and that we might not be joining them.

I arrived just as this was breaking into two groups to say I knew we weren't going to join the group to nowhere and possibly not the other group either.  Naturally, while I was waiting on CruzFamily to join me, Cruzman came over the comm to tell me we would join the run to Franklin group.  Okay, great now hurry up, they're leaving now!

We fell into the back of the group.  I wasn't sure who all was in the group or if everyone in front of me was apart of the group.  No matter, I had a lot of fun riding down (because we go downhill from Fontana) 28.  I even passed a couple of riders so I could ride my own pace.  The group was so stretched out, I ended up "leading" the slower group.

Not so bad.  I knew where we were going.  By the time we got to 74, the faster part of the group was pulled over alongside the road waiting for us.  I waved them ahead thinking we only a had a couple of bikes left to join us, plus the miata.  It was more like four more bikes and the miata.  Who knew?

They had about a two minute head start so imagine my surprise to come across a rider standing in the middle of the road and a gen2 kissing the guard rail?  Good thing I wasn't trying to catch up to the others.  I had plenty of time to slow down and indicate to the others that they needed to as well.  The rode was sloped left and I couldn't find a place to park but Cruzman told me to ride ahead to the let the other group know what was going on.

He said they had plenty of help.  malbojah got fixated on the guard rail and...well he hit what he was looking it.  The bike was totaled but the rider was all right.  In fact, he rode the darned thing all the way home to Cape Cod, MA (according to his profile) and has a replacement now.

I rode ahead to Caffe Rel to meet the other group and let them know what was going on.  I thought the guy was okay but his bike might not be.  They went inside to eat and I waited for what seemed like forever for the other group to catch up.

We ended up eating there after all.  I got the Beef Curry, which wasn't on the menu but was damned good!

I'm still amazed a town like Franklin, NC which is best known for its "wealth of natural beauty" (which in plain English means nothing), there is such great food.  After I stuffed myself, we decided we'd finally ride Wayah Rd since we got rained out on Thursday.  A couple of the others rode the Cherohala instead so we split up after lunch.

One of these days, I'm going to be interested in some of the other stuff in this area like actually visiting Wayah Bald or doing something on the Nantahala.  Not this time.  This time it was what it always is:  a nice leisurely ride on the winding tree-lined road while I look for gravel, tar snakes, and fallen tree limbs.  It's a beautiful road but not the cleanest or smoothest.

I also had the conversation with RocknFZRoll on my mind.  While I was waiting for the others to get to Caffe Rel, we talked about the pace of the rides during the Rally.  He said his group was keeping up a pretty good pace and he wasn't surprised at all that malbojah went off the road.  It's hard to fight keepup-itis when riding with a group, even tougher when the fellow ahead (or right on your ass) is riding the same bike better than you.

At some point you begin to think you need to go faster.  The FZ1 (either gen) is a willing partner and before long your speedo is registering well above the posted limit.  The bad thing is, at least for me, until something scary happens it isn't all that noticeable.  I rarely look at the speedo but am always listening/glancing at the rpms.  You only realize it when you notice how fast stuff the stuff on the side of the road is moving.

Worse still is it's all your fault.  You control how fast the machine is going with your right hand.  If the exhaust note sounds too good and you end up going too fast, you can't blame the fellow in front for leaving you or the one behind for pushing you.  You can only blame yourself.  It takes great discipline to move over to let the faster guy go by or let the dude in front leave you and believe that the group will be waiting at the next turn.

I don't know if there's a solution to this.  For me it turned out to be the worrisome right shoulder and forearm that started hurting even more as the day progressed.  By the time we reached the put in parking lot for the Nantahala at 19 and Wayah Rd, I was tired.  I rehydrated, took some Aleve, and laid in the grass while the others walked around.

I thought there were some pics of it but for the life of me I can't find 'em.  No, I didn't take them.  In fact, I didn't take too many pics this year.  I think I was a little disappointed my hd cams didn't arrive before I left even though I ordered them in plenty time.  We were stopped for a lot longer than I expected to be.

Probably because ZGrand, Tom Renda, and some other guy who's name I can't remember, pulled in and we talked to them for a bit.  After a while, we decided to head back via 19/129 and maybe do half the Cherohala then ride through Joyce Kilmer.  All that was good talk until I got back on the road.  My shoulder started talking to me!  I was looking forward to getting to Robbinsville so I could go to the drug store or Dollar General to get something else for the pain.

After a brief break there, the others seemed ready to go so I told them to go ahead.  I took the time to check in with the family before mounting up and taking 143 to 28 back to camp.  It was fairly warm in Robbinsville but the temp dropped nearly 10 degrees by the time I reached Stecoah Ridge.  I should have taken a picture but the pain was pushing me onward.

Just as I got closer to Fontana, I was behind a couple of SV650s (they only had one exhaust) that sounded like they were going fast but I caught up to them way too quickly for that.  I ended up going through my favorite section of 28 in first gear!  There was no point in passing them with the campsite less than 2 miles away and them likely turning into Fontana.

The others pulled into camp not long after I did and with enough time for us to change and rest before heading to the firepit.  The weather was finally clear and pokihoki promised there'd be plenty of food and more of his double secret drink that I really like.  While MrsCruzman and I rested, Cruzman and Cruzboy took the miata up to the top of the dam.

Once they got back, we went to the firepit and had a ball!!!!!

No, I didn't take all those pics/vids.  As you can see, fun was had by all.  I got a little queasy after pokihoki's drink and a shot of somekind of berry moonshine.  I know.  Plus with the liquor in my system, the pain patch that I put on stopped working and Cruzman had taken Baby back to the campsite with my cigarettes still on the bike.  Liquor without cigarettes is no good for me.

I got Packer82 to take me back to camp and drop me off at the camp's bathroom.  Once back in the tent, I rubbed some icy hot on my sore shoulder and waited for Cruzman and Cruzboy to return.  Turns out they took a night run on the Dragon in the miata.

I slept well that night.  Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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