27 June 2017

Trip Report: FZ1OA Spring Rally, Day 2

16 Jun 2017:  Group Ride
If there's anything that I truly appreciate about our rallys is that there is a general unplanned feeling about everything.  I'm not certain that I've always appreciated this but I do now.  I can admit to being an insider but I try to be inclusive of every new face I see, especially the ones that say they're here for the first time. As long as I've been going, there have never been planned rides.  They usually develop around the fire the night before.

That said, by the end of the rally, we all sit around and lament not planning rides.  Someone will inevitably say, "we should plan rides."  Maybe what we mean is we should do better about posting ride options.  I remember when I went to the FJR Gather, they had routes posted that we could download and put on our GPSs.  I don't know how that'd work now that almost everyone uses GPS driven by their phones but it is something to consider.

My first couple of years, I arrived with routes I wanted to ride.  I wanted to go to all the places everyone talked about.  Now I just show up and follow the crowd.  I don't know how the Spring Rally got moved to Suches from Deals Gap.  I know that I thought I should have a few routes loaded into the GPS in case I needed to lead a ride or two but never did.  I just slotted in at the back and enjoyed the show while Cruzman did all the work.

I'd planned to get up early enough to ride to get breakfast.  I was definitely woke early enough to do it but between being away and actually getting out of the tent, I fell back asleep while I waited to hear people moving around.  By the time I did get up, the breakfast riders were returning and I was left to get ready for the group ride.

Now, remember that I said I wanted to take video?  So the rain the night before meant I was more concerned with drying out my stuff than placing mounts.  I also had the problem of not erasing the videos from my last ride.  Did I have enough room?  Meh, we're just going to meet PJ and the TN crew in Tellico Plains.  I'll remember to take plenty of photos.  Yeah, right.
Image courtesy RockNFZRoll

I think all of us but iluvmyfz1, RocknFZRoll, and Wlfman left heading north on 60 heading towards a BBQ lunch in Tellico Plains.  Now I know I do not have video of 60 North.  I still don't.  What struck me was the immediate curves because of our location.  I usually have to commute to the curves and have about an hour or so to get into being on the bike before I have to hit any real curves.

At rallys, curves are immediately there.  There's maybe a straight away between the tent door and the first curve.  I wondered if my tires were ready.  I knew I wasn't and made sure I got in the back so as not to hold up those who wanted a quick pace.  Poor MrsCruzman had to endure my erratic riding until I woke up.

The only picture I remembered to take.  I did realize that the reason I used to take more riding pictures was my $10 ebay camera that I used to have.  I don't know what happened to it.  The "better" camera I bought is too big to take pics as I ride.  In fact, it sits on the shelf of my closet it's rechargeable batteries now living in my Xbox controller.  I think I'll try to find another cheap camera so I can get more photos.

We stopped at the gas station on the corner of 60 and 515 so everyone could gas up for the push into Tellico Plains through Ducktown on HWY 68.  There's nothing like being in a big group of bikes.  Especially when you're not worried about the person in front or behind you being over their head.  I was near Organ Donor on his FZ10 and instantly fell in love with the sound.

That thing looks to be everything the pictures show it to be.  According to Organ Donor, it has all the reputed fueling issues that Yamaha struggles with every time it releases a new bike.  Similar issues than GEN 2 riders complained about until an aftermarket fuel cut solution that evolved into flashing to solve the problem.

Maybe in a few years when I am really serious about getting a new motorcycle, they'll have the issues sorted (and a blue bike) that I can buy gently used.  I also noticed he did not fail to stop and get gas every gas station we stopped at, a little late but it was noticed.  I thought he was being overly cautious because he was new to the area and didn't know when the next station would be.

I don't remember anything remarkable happening on the ride.  We had to pass cars, as usual, and there was at least one that was not thrilled about being passed and sped up to prevent the rest of us from getting by.  We did the arm up thing to indicate the coast was clear so we could all get by.

My shoulder was hurting and I was the last bike so I didn't bother but I did think about it.  Would MrsCruzman pass if I put my arm up?  She hadn't in the past but with miles and miles of mountain roads under her belt now, maybe that'd changed.  I asked at lunch and it had.  I'll remember next time, shoulder hurting or not and put my arm up so she won't have to deal with the speeding car slowing way down like this one did.

We rode under clear skies with dry roads that were mainly tar snake free.  Lunch was served by a wonderful waitress and a her young waitress in training.  I tried the brisket sandwich (shut up about the paleo you're not supposed to be eating bread thing) that got saltier with each bite.  It was good to start but the whole drenched in aus jus was not executed correctly.

I had to give up on the effort a little less than half way through.  I love that BBQ place, but can't recommend the sandwich.  If your looking for it, it's the little spot next to the Ingles or whatever grocery store that is.

About the time we were finished eating, we learned that PJ and the TN Gang was at the Cherohala Market.  Perfect timing, we paid our bill (except YamahaMan444 who had to go back) and hurried to meet up with them.  I got to meet Cougar who flew all the way in from Washington State and Murray (who's board name I can't remember) from California.  I knew Murray from a couple of Rallys ago and it was great to get to hang with him again.

As we all reconnected, I overhead Cruzman asking Copperdog about riding the Cherohala because YamahaMan444 wanted to ride it.  I volunteered to guide him and ended up with Organ Donor and twowheelr (the only other Gen2 representative, those guys need to step up) deciding to come along.  The main group was going to basically ride the way we rode up.

We split from the main group and had a great ride across the Cherohala, slowed only by a couple of cars that I was cautious passing because I wanted to do it in the best place.  One of the few times we encountered oncoming traffic was when I'd lined up the pass and was about to change into the oncoming lane,  Organ Donor was impatient and had made his pass long before making me think maybe I was being too cautious. If I was alone, I'd have passed the car long before.

One of the things I noticed throughout the day of riding was I never felt like I was riding hard.  In the past I did and my tires showed it but not this day.  The pace was about the same.  I am back to trying to be smooth.  Using everything I've read or videos I've watched to safely have fun.  I don't get as annoyed at traffic either, finally understanding they have just as much right to be slow as I do to ride the pace I want to ride.

What pace is that?  Speed limit, of course.  YamahaMan444 did mention that it was a little quick but I reminded him that he controlled his pace and me mine.  Every time I looked back, he was right there so I figured he was comfortable.  There's one right hander once in North Carolina that has an extra decrease in it when you think it's about to stop decreasing that tested my skills as I took but I made it out the other side and so did everyone else.

Organ Donor was waiting at the Joyce Kilmer pull off with news that he needed gas in 45 miles.  Really?  Maybe I nweed to rethink that FZ10 thing but ohhh it sounds soooo goood.  We stopped long enough so that TwoWheelr's lady could settle her queasy stomach.  She wasn't used to such sweeping curves but from my rear view seemed to be enjoying the ride.
Image Courtesy TwoWheelr

What I thought would be a brief stop in Robbinsville was a little longer than I wanted and made me stick to the original plan to ride 129 to 64 back to 129. Traffic was frustrating as passing was difficult even on the two lane and I stopped just outside of Blarisville to find out what the other wanted to do.  I wanted to avoid the boring stretch of 129 but I also wanted to ride Wolf Pen Gap again after feeling so good on the Cherohala.

YamahaMan444 went to Cruzman's cabin to collect his things and chill for a bit, while the rest of us decided to take the quick way back to Suches.  Organ Donor rode ahead and as TwoWheelr and I followed along the agreed upon route I thought maybe taking the back way to 129 would be better and turned around to take Mulkey Gap.  I passed the road that takes you back to 129 thinking Mulkey Gap would take us back to 60 closer than Skeenah Gap would.  It does but on gravel for about 10 miles that I didn't want to do so we turned around and took Owltown like I knew we should have in the first place.

I watched the cars we passed for signs of rain ahead but they were all dry despite the road being and it smelling wet.  If we'd stopped at the Winfield Scott parking lot, we could have missed the rain but we were about 7 miles from being back at TWoS.  Dry cars still passed us so I soldiered on.  Then the big drips of rain began to fall, a little later than the day before and not nearly as intense but we got damp.

We pulled in after Organ Donor but before the nightly deluge.  Did I mention I woke to discover my tent pole broken and I tiny hole in my rain fly above my air mattress?  No?  Well the tent pole snapped near the top and poked a tiny hole in my rain fly that I'd duct taped before we left.  I thought it'd was a serviceable repair that would last the duration of the trip.  During dinner at the TWoS dinning room, It sounded like god was finally going back on his promise.

I was optimistic, the tent was dry.  However after a night of games in the dining room, the fog rolled in adding more water to the outside of the tent than the broken pole and "patched" fly was capable of dealing with.  Combined with a less than inflated air mattress I had a miserable night.

My dome tent was now half A and half dome.  I would have to do something to make it though another night. My patch was leaking!  By morning I was on the verge of packing my broken tent and going home.

More to come...
Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Teaser:  The FZ1OA motto:  Ride more, worry less.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Search This Blog