25 July 2013

Trip Report: FZ1OA Rally--The Ride Home

9 Jun 2013.  As excited as I was to be going to the rally, I was nearly that excited to go home.  It wasn't because I wanted to be at home.  It was because Cycle Gear was on the way to the house!
mrsiluvmyfz1 was wearing her new Sedici pants that they got from Cycle Gear on closeout for really cheap.  Right in my budget!  Plus I needed new pants since mine were now too big and held up with suspenders.  I wanted to get some before the rally but I couldn't decided between another textile pair or perforated leather like my Flex Jacket.  At the price iluvmyfz1 mentioned, the decision was made for me.

When we got up, it was windy and the clouds were moving in pretty fast.  I remembered the Fontana Lodge had a pretty good buffet breakfast on Sunday mornings so we decided to go there before we brokedown camp.  We met another FZ1OA member on the way in and shared a table with him.  He just moved to Kentucky for a job but I don't remember his name.

Unfortunately, the food wasn't the warmest so I didn't feel like getting more than one plate.  Unwarm (but not exactly cold) is not good food.  The service was great and I got a compliment on my dreads on my way out that made my day.  We hurried to break camp and meet iluvmyfz1 at the gas station as they'd be following us home.

We fell in line with the other folk who were checking out at the same time as us and leaving via Hwy 28S.  A last minute decision had us changing the route home to avoid getting stuck  behind trucks pulling campers.  Unfortunately, it also put us in the path of the rain.  I don't think we would have avoided it either way but taking Hwy 28S meant getting wet sooner rather than later.

The closer we got to the turn off, the darker the skies became.  Less than a mile from the turn to take 28S to Franklin, the showers started.  I was more than a little reluctant to put the Frogg Toggs on, especially because I could see blue skies in the direction we were going.

We pulled over at the gas station to wait for iluvmyfz1 and mrsiluvmyfz1 who elected to pull over at the side of the road to don their rain gear.  MrsCruzman put the top up on the miata while we waited for them.  The little run to Franklin from 74 wasn't too wet.  The intensity of the showers increased for about a minute before slackening to drizzle then sunshine.

The road surface was okay even in the wet.  Even fully loaded, it didn't feel too bad.  Before long, we were pulling into the Hot Spot in Franklin.  After getting gas and snacks, iluvmyfz1 opted to take 64 to Hiawassee so that they could go by the new TWOS (Two Wheels Over Suches) on the way home.  MrsCruzman had some business she needed to take care of so she opted for the fastest way home.  My shoulder was still troublesome and Cycle Gear was on my mind so I opted for the fastest way home from there.

The bonus was I knew I could ride home on a full tank.  We all headed for 64 together with iluvmyfz1 continuing straight while we took the Atlanta exit and got on the Georgia Hwy/441/later 985 heading for home.  The roads were plenty dry and the skies perfect blue with a few clouds as we hit the state line.

Riding 2- or 4-lane straight roads on the FZ1 is only fun because you're not in a car.  The hardest part about it is controlling the right hand so that you roll along at something near the speed limit.  Cruzman and I weren't talking to each other so it was just the song of the bike once my mp3 player and headset refused to connect.

About 20 minutes outside Gainseville, the skies started looking threatening and Cruzman wanted to pull over so he could put on his rain gear then MrsCruzman pantomimed eating so I knew that meant it was time for lunch.  We ate at Arby's.  Who was it that said we ride to eat?  Not this day but the Arby's was the best choice.

After we ate, MrsCruzman hit the road before us.  I wanted to try to see if I could get my mp3 player and headset talking again so it was a few minutes before Cruzman and I followed.  He told her we'd catch up but I'm not sure what he was thinking when he did.  We didn't by the time we reached Buford.

Cruzman and I said our good byes at the QT after I bought a better charger for my cell phone.  He rightly put on his rain gear while I decided I'd try to make it to Cycle Gear without it.  The sky looked blue going my way so I felt confident in decision.

About 2 miles later, in front of the Mall of Georgia the skies opened!  I was drenched before I could make it to shelter to put on the sauna suit that was my rain gear.  Naturally, after I got the gear on the rain slacked and about another mile down the road, it was completely gone.  I wasn't too far from Cycle gear by then so I decided to suffer. I got there about 30 minutes before it closed with a stinky and wet helmet plus soaked thru to my underwear.

I got my usual warm greeting when I entered plus they let me put my wet gear in a pile near the register while I searched the clearance rack for the Sedici pants in my size.  I was confident that they would fit because I'd tried them on before the motorcycle show last year.

Sedici Monza Pant (men's)
The sales guy, who I know by his face because he's there nearly every time I go in but I can't remember his name, said the pants were on closeout because of inconsistent sizing.  Apparently there was a big screw up at the factory when the sizes were marked.  A 4 could be a 12 or an 8, no one knew.  Well my size as listed in the pants was not my size when I tired to put them on.  None of the sizes were.  I really didn't want to ride anymore in wet pants.

Then I saw they had the whole suit!  I've been coveting the full leathers since the R6 test ride.  It didn't fit either.  What did fit, off of the closeout rack, was the men's  Sedici Monza leather pants.  Unfortunately they only had blue (that didn't match my jacket) or red.  I hate red, so I got blue.

With the inner liner of my helmet wet, I was hoping they had the yellow Solar helmet on sale but they didn't.  At this point I was going to just suck it up and ride home with the foul smelling helmet but a guy who owned a chinese scooter came in looking for a new helmet and ways to make his scooter faster.  Umm, okay.

I listened while my sales guy waited on him.  The helmet was on sale but it wasn't as good as the Spirit.  I wasn't willing to pay full price for a helmet that goes on sale every other month so I got the Viper that was on sale and let the Sales guy pick the color.  My hope is that it's a temporary helmet until I can get the Nexx X1R1 in yellow.

I managed to get out the door having only spent $130 on new leather (perforated, it gets hot here in Georgia) pants and a new gloss black helmet with the sun visor.  It took a few minutes to get the headset hardware out of the old helmet that I had the sales guy dispose of for me.  I closed the store down.  They were kind enough to let me gear up in my new stuff while they did whatever is they do when they close the store.

Say what you want about Cycle Gear, but the store's customer service is the best bar none.  I've been pleased with my low-cost motorcycle gear too.  Would I like more expensive stuff?  Yes but that's no longer in the budget so I settle for inexpensive gear rather than no gear at all.  I know people say just save until you can afford the good stuff, but what do you do in the meantime when your old stuff has worn out?

That's what I planned to do with the Nexx helmet but it didn't work out that way.  It's what I wanted to do with the leather pants until I found out I could get them for under $70.  I've heard/read nothing but good things about most of the Sedici stuff and know from experience about the Bilt Helmets.  Do I have a $50 head?  No but I do have a $50 wallet and something is better than nothing.

I ended my trip with a sore shoulder, new leather pants, new helmet (I forgot to look at the gloves), and great memories.  My tablet died during the trip too but I was able to get a replacement under warranty.  I can't wait for next year's rally when hopefully the rain will stay away and we can get a little more riding in.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

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