Wake Forest to Pittsburgh and . . . HOME!

I woke up and got up early yesterday at Lisa’s place. We sat around and talked some more until she was VERY LATE for work! I left shortely after she rushed off and rode, and rode, and rode some more. I’d originally planed to stop in and see Jeff and Judy on my way through Pittsburgh but, I hadn’t made any plans with them. I called when I tfor to Pennsylvania and, they were home! Yea!

I headed over to their house for a bit. Stephen, Jeff’s brother as well as Maya, their daughter. I had a great, albeit quick, visit with everyone there and, hit the road again around 8:00. I had ridden 850k so far that day and, for some insane reason, I wanted to top 1000k. I also really would have liked to have come home but, around 11:00, even after another Red Bull, I was beat.

One last hotel, one more strange bed, one more walking up and wondering for a bit about where the hell I was but, by 7:15 I was on the road and heading home. Jeff and Judy had told me the quickest route (thank God). I think today was the first time I ever got to the border and didn’t have to wait to get to the customs guy. I got through in a heartbeat, ripped up the QEW to St. Catherines and . . . . hit a traffic jamb where I sat for over an hour. I was trying to get home to give Jordan a ride to work. I was texting him but, as soon as I crossed the border, all my iCrap died out until I couls swap out SIM cards again. Oh well. I twasn’t meant to be.

By 12:45 I was pulling in the driveway. 18,404 kilometers over 6 weeks, 42 days. Quite the adventure, done! I’m sorry I ddin’t get to see everyone that I’d originally planned to see but, there’s always the fall or next year. For the moment, it’s great to be home and doing NOTHING!!


Mooresville to Wake Forest

I had a shorter ride, relatively speaking, yesterday. It’s about 240k from Cindy and Ed’s to Lisa and Ron’s place just outside of Raleigh, NC. I got hit with a couple of quick showers but, most of the ride was perfect.

Wake Forest is a pretty little country town. Lisa’s house is in the outskirt out town, set back on a gorgeous property, in the woods. The designed the house themselves and, it’s beautiful.

Ron was out for the day, Lisa dropped the kids off at her Mom’s house and we went and sat in a cool bar all afternoon to get caught up. Back to the house with Ron, the 2 very energetic kids, 2 dogs and a grandma. Normally the excitement would drive me nuts but, I’ve had a prett relaxed 6 weeks. It was fun winding the kids up a bit!

Today begins the last leg home. It looks like I’m about 1200k from home. Hummmm – that could be a long ride!

Tail-of-the-Dragon to Mooresville, NC – Day 38

I packed up the bike the night before so, when I got up early in the morning, I could just head out. 7:30 AM rolled around and, I was heading out of the motel driveway. I headed over to highway 28, about a 20 minute ride from the motel, and, sat for a moment. I needed to head south to get over to Cindy and Ed’s place but, north was the Moonshiner28 which ties into the Tail.

Hummm . . . . what to do, what to do. It’s took all of 5 seconds to decide to head north and do both of those rides again. I figured that, when I got to the top of the Tail, my GPS would give me another route. There was almost no traffic on either route and, when I got to the end of the Dragon, the GPS told me that the quickest route to Cindy and Ed’s was . . . . . to go ride the Tail and 28 again!! YEA!!!! There was a bit more traffic when I headed back down and, the people in the car that would n’t pull over so that I could pass for the last mile to the Tail aggravated me but, back down Moonshiner as great again. 6 times up and down the Tail of the Dragon was tons of fun over the last couple of days. The Tail is sharp turns, whereas The Moonshiner is longer and a fail bit more gentle curves. Both were FUN!!!


The ride over to Cindy and Ed’s was relatively uneventful. I did get rained on briefly 3 times but, it never lasted long enough to bother butting on rain gear. I got to Cindy and Ed’s around 2:00. The have a beautiful place in the country. We sat out on the back deck most of the afternoon talking before heading downtown for a great steak dinner. Cindy and I used to work together so, we had some fun conversations about people and, times gone by. Ed does some really interesting stuff with “Boards for Bros”, a group who collect skateboards anywhere they can, fix them up, and donate them to kids who can’t afford them. He also works with a group who give veterans the chance to come out and ride around a NASCAR track with a pro driver. I find it so interesting to hear about how different folks find ways to ‘give back’

Tail-of-the-Dragon, Deals Gap, Day 37


I must admit, I was a tiny bit nervous heading out to ride the “Tail-of-the-Dragon” today. I’d heard about this place in Tennessee that is like Mecca for riders. 11 miles long with 318 curves. Deals Gap is the starting spot and, out front is the “Tree-of-Shame”. Have an accident and, they’ll nail some of the broken parts from your bike to the tree. This spot was a MUST DO, on this trip for me.

A couple of the gentle curves along the route.

I’m staying in the town of Robbinsville NC. It’s the closest town, about 30k, from Deals Gap. It’s actually a good distance to start from. Lot’s of time to get those tires warmed up for gripping the corners! The weather forecast called for rain most of the day. The roads were wet when I rode over but, the sun was shining. I took it easy for my first pass through. I actually started counting corners but, got lost with it around the 75 mark! I was a bit extra nervous because the roads were wet but, there wasn’t any more than a half dozen people on the route. It felt good not to be pushed! I turned around and headed back, a little bit quicker than I had come. The roads were drying nicely, the temperature was still cool and the sun beamed through the trees like light sabers. Beautiful!!

I celebrated my accomplishment by heading into both the Deals Gap and Tail of the Dragon shops and picked up a couple of shirts. God KNOWS I need more shirts with killed motorcycle crap all over them!


I walked around a bit checking out some of the bikes and, headed out one more time. I was feeling way more confident this time, right up until I scared the crap out of myself going around a corner when I scraped a peg on the ground. i know, I know, it’s perfectly safe. The pegs are hinged so that nothing happens when they scrape but, I’ve only done that a couple of times before and, never for as long as it took to get around this bend! I thought the event was pretty cool after a few seconds but, at the time . . . . . Holy Crap!!

Out and back again and then, back to the motel. It was noon and I hadn’t eaten yet. After lunch I went back out and rode the Moonshiner28, it’s the continuation of the road I took here yesterday up to Deals Gap.

It was really fun today to be out riding this legendary route and, to be riding with no destination in mind. The weather was good all day. The odd shower started to hit but, only for a minute or so a couple of times. I don’t think I could have asked for more from my Tail-of-the-Dragon experience!

I took some video this afternoon of a group heading out for their ride. Sure is busy there after lunch!

Daytona Beach to Deals Gap – Day 35 & 36


Two days riding over almost another 900k brings me to Deal Gap, The Tail-of-the-Dragon in North Carolina at the Tennessee border. The Tail of the Dragon (http://www.tailofthedragon.com/) is an 11 mile stretch of highway with 318 curves along the way. A huge draw for riders. I got here this afternoon with the rain pouring down. I was caught in the rain for almost 3 hours. I have good rain gear so, I wasn’t very wet. I had to be much more careful on the roads though. I came in along highway 28 which also has a long stretch of curves along it’s route. Tons of fun!

The town is kind of cool. It’s all about the bikers. The parking lots are marked for motorcycles much more than for cars. The motel I’m in, the Two Wheel Inn, has tiny motorcycle garages beside each room so, we can put our bikes away for the night. There are buckets and bike cleaning cloths in each garage as well. Welcome to BikeVille!

As soon as I checked in, the rain stopped. I got a quick shower and got changed to go back into town for some food and 5 minutes down the road, it’s pouring again. I’m going to stay here for two nights. It looks like it’s going to be raining, off and on, tomorrow as well. I’m going to dash out between the cloudbursts and ride the dragon and, hopefully, go ride the Blue Ridge Parkway as well.

Tomorrow is Friday the 13th. Some of my friends are riding down to Port Dover. I’ll miss the event for the first time since I started to ride but, at least, I’ll be riding the ‘Dragon’ and, I’ll be wearing my Port Dover shirt!

Tallahassee to Daytona Beach – Day 34


The beach, from my room in the afternoon sun.

Fun fun fun with my cousin Carol yesterday here in Daytona Beach. We talked for a while when I got here but, then she had a couple of meetings. I had a gorgeous room facing the beach to stay in. Food and Coke waiting for me in my room. Even a cool Dayton race shirt! I walked the beach for a while in the afternoon before we met, ran some errands and went for dinner last night. Great catching up and talking about family history and life philosophy.

Got back to my room around 9:00 and went to sleep early with the intentions of getting on the road by 7:00 – Looks like it’s going to be about 7:30 instead.

I’m heading north, towards home. 2 more friends to visit and, a ride along the Tail-Of-The-Dragon, 2,000k and, back to my Sweetie! I’m heading towards the tail today. It’s 1000k from here so, I’ll be splitting this run into two days. The weather looks wet and windy generally over the eastern US for the rest of the week. I imagine I’ll keep riding as long as I can without drowning at the same time!

20120711-071711.jpg This mornings view.

Jackson Mississippi to Tallahassee Florida – Day 33

I was planning on getting up super early to head out at sun up but, I guess I’m starting to think about stuff at home that I want to do and, I ended up waking up about 3:00 and reading for a couple of hours. I did manage to hit the nice cool road by about 8:15 though.

Out of Mississippi, across Louisiana and into Florida. a 700k ride today. Some truck driver pushed me off the road in Mississippi early in the morning. luckily, there was a fairly wide hard shoulder so I was able to slip over and onto it and pass by. That got my heart racing a bit!!!

The ride was interesting. I seemed to be going through endless smallish towns so, there was lots to look at but, but about 2:00, I got into Florida and the sky’s clouded over in the hurry and the rain came down by the bucket full. i could see rain ahead (like 2 blocks) and pulled over into a carwash place and got my rain gear on there. The trouble with rain gear of course is that it doesn’t breath so, if you don’t get wet from the rain, you get pretty wet from sweating in them!


Welcome to Florida!

I swapped out my beanie helmet for my full face shield one. That’s keeps the rain off of my side of my head as well as my face. It was coming down hard. I didn’t bother with gloves. Wet hands were sort of refreshing somehow. At time though the rain was coming so hard and I was moving at a good clip that it felt like small pieces of glass were being tossed at my fingers. My pal John (Mr Photoshop, for all you Facebook fans) told me once a trick of buying huge rubber gloves, like you use in the kitchen, and putting those over regular gloves to wear in the rain. I had both set of gloves so, I gave it a try. It worked, sort of, OK. My hands were soaked when I started to put them on so, getting them on was tough. Riding in them when the rain had stopped, and started, and stopped, was a bit of a pain. When i finally stopped for lunch and took them off, my fingers were all wrinkled, like they’d been in dishwater for a long time. Interesting – fun – not my final solution I don’t think. I picked up a big industrial pair of rubber gloves the other day. I’ll try them next. It looks like I may be in for a lot of rain coming back up the east coast over the next few days.

I’m off to Daytona Beach tomorrow to visit my cousin Carol who I haven’t seen in years. It’s going to be a bit of a rush visit but, I’m looking forward to seeing her again and catching up.