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My Dad and I decided that yesterday would be a good day to do a ride we had talked about. We met in Tellico Plaines, TN, had breakfast, and got on the Cherohala Skyway...bound for Robbinsville, NC. It was a wonderful day for riding....sunny, seeing noone else on the road for miles at a time, frozen waterfalls on the rocks beside the road (Oh yeah...now I remember why I don't put mine up for the winter). It was 35 in Tellico Plaines, when we left, but I dressed in layers and Dad had his 'lectrics just in case. From Robbinsville we took NC28 to US 19....saw a new(?) place called The Kickstand Resort, just past Tootsies on 28. We stayed on 19 through Bryson City and Cherokee to Maggie Valley and The Wheels Through Time Museum....mostly old Harleys, but worth the trip and the admission. We parked next to a VFR and a 'Guzzi, and noticed their owners looking over my FJR and Dad's 1200GS. Dad had to get back to Chatanooga by 5:00 so we took I-40W to Newport, TN for lunch, then got back on 40 for the rest of the trip home. I don't usually ride on the 'slab, but this section of I-40 is pretty nice. I got off at exit 398 to get home; Dad took I-40W to I-75S and Chatanooga. I put on close to 300 miles and Dad hit 500. Like I said earlier, it was 35 in Tellico Plaines, but by the time we left Newport, I had taken off the turtleneck, balaclava, and had changed into lighter gloves. All in all it was a wonderful riding day.

Brian
 

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To carry on the theme of your thread; I had an interesting ride Sunday.

I was going to run a few of my local favorites, as I didn't have much time... little semi-rural roads with only a few driveways and a little bit of gravel. Something like 130 miles.

I came up behind a couple on a big yellow Valkyrie, just before an intersection. Both directions at this intersection lead to pretty good roads, so I decided to go whichever way they didn't. :wink:

There was a 'D' at the beginning of the license number, indicating a 'dealer plate' which told me; a) the guy could probably ride, and b) I should be on my best behavior because when I'm working for Yamaha or Honda corporate, good relationships with dealers are very important. When they stopped at the intersection, they stayed stopped, and I could tell the ol' timer in the front seat wanted to ask me something. Oh well.

With the earplugs in, RF900 on, and Ducati thumping, it was a bit of a challenge to hear the fellow, but he said, "Nice Ducati! What size is that?" "I think it's 996 or 998, something like that," I said. I now knew he wasn't a dealer. Then he asked where the roads at this intersection led. I told him, as simply as I could, where they went, and then he asked ME which way I was going. I said, "Hmmm... uhhh... I think I'm going down Lynch Road to Byrnesville Road and over to NN." He said, "Sounds good, I'll follow you." DOH!!! So, assumed a polite smile and figured "whatever," and headed down Lynch at a snails pace. :roll: You see, Lynch Road is the closest thing we have to a canyon road in my neck of the woods, with a short series of very tricky 15mph bends, with varied camber and NO FORGIVENESS for a mistake. Ya screw this one up, you're in the trees, bad! I didn't want to be a jerk and disappear, but I also didn't want to pull this guy over his head.

Before the twisty bits, we were moving along pretty well, and just then, I spot a dog at the edge of the road, doing that 'dog radar' thing, where they're mentally aquiring the necessary speed of interception. So I prepped for the standard motorcycle/dog/head-fake manuever... I slowed wayy down, waved wildly to Mr. Valk, downshifted the Duc, and did the 'bullet from a gun' thing as soon as Rover twitched. No problem, except that said pooch was now in the middle of the roadway with Mr. Valk ambling right along. My piss-poor Ducati rear-views told me he made it, but I think we're talking inches.

I proceeded to take those 'canyon-y' curves at walking speed, as I was more in doubt than ever, of Mr. Valk's experience. As soon as we got down to another intersection, I had just enough safe space to take off before a car coming. So, I left the intersection with alacrity and a friendly wave. My better judgement was telling me the little group ride should end, and it did.

After a few more goat trails, it was time for 'ET to Drone Home' on I-44 from Sullivan, MO about 50 miles away. It was about 50F, and very blustery. (making interstate travel even less entertaining :roll: ) I hate interstates, but I think I hate them MOST on the Ducati. The featherweight status with modest wind protection means; ANYWHERE behind a semi-truck at 80mph is like being inside a blender. (See, the FJR's heft IS good for something) Even the R1 doesn't seem to hunt speed (hard to keep constant) like this pup. Oh well, perhaps it's just worse in the blustery winds. Hey, I've gotta keep telling myself, "This IS January." No snow and salt on the roadways, better than having to go 600 miles south for this kind of weather!



:)
 
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