Sunday, June 29, 2008

School's Out, lets go riding!

So I have got a little bit behind on this so its time to catch up while I have some time.

Well it was mid May, exams are done and over with! Thank God! Turns out I did pretty well for the year aside from Basic Electrical, which isn't that basic...
Josh and I decided that we would take a long day, head out early and come back late to get alot of miles in a do some serious mtn riding. (Remind you my last trip was to Florida, my tire got a bit flat in the center)

So we decided we would go back over to Asheville, NC where we rode Hwy 178 on our last trip. However, with a closer look at the map we determined that we could make a very large loop which included Hwy 178 and Hwy 276 again.
So we headed out, 8:00 am, we were on 85 South heading to 74 West to get into the mtns. Well as usual 74 was dead on the way over there. Josh and I found ways to amuse ourselves some more as we continued down the straight roads. I was using the reflectors as pylons again and Josh did his usual flyby so I could hear how loud his exhaust is, as if I didn't already know.

We made it up to Hendersonville, NC and had a big breakfast at the local McDonald's and topped off the tanks while we were at it. A 30 minute trip down Hwy 64, and we were at the intersection of 276. This time we headed North with a great big sign as we headed up that said "Truck Advisory, sharp turns and steep grades." Off we went.

Hwy 276 is an amazing road. It was very smooth and wide with many pull offs along the way. Every car we got behind would immediately pull off the side of the road and let us by. We would wave as we passed and would keep on getting it. The road was full of switch backs, flowing corners and even a couple decreasing radius corners that snuck up on us every time. I believe Josh and I both drug our toes on that road!

However the road was not completely clear, there were some really bad storms that went through earlier in the week and the road had good bit of debris from trees laying around which kept us on our toes. But for the most part we were good to go.

The Blue Ridge Parkway crosses Hwy 276 a little ways up and there is a large turn off for it at that point. If I am not mistaken we were at the top of what ever mountain we were on. The road completely changed once you went under the typical stone tunnels that are the markings of the Blue Ridge. The road became rough and broken up in many spots and lots of debris as well. Obviously this part of the road was not traveled as much as the other side. The corners we tight but were scary with the amount of debris and cut up asphalt. I was not comfortable at all and at one point the back tire bounced off something I went into a bit of slide coming into a corner. However we got down it and the road ended up winding through a few small towns that were full of your family farms and ranches. We pulled over a little ways down to check the map and stretch our legs. I found a little dirt road just before a bridge to pull over and check things out.

The water was amazingly clear and still pretty cold as well. The plant in the picture was completely underwater.... The FZ looked good in the tall grass.

We continued down till we reached the intersection of 215 south. Which, yet again was another "Truck Advisory." Yay!
The road started out pretty mellow. Lots of sweepers and a few switch backs, however as we got up the mountain where the parkway crossed, the scenery was amazing. Josh and I ended up going so slow that we pretty much just pulled over to look. It was so beautiful up there.

After we crossed the parkway the road became a completely different animal. As we got down the mtn it started to remind me of Hwy 129, the infamous "Tail of the Dragon." Very tight corners, continuous switch backs, lots of fun stuff. We got hung up behind a few cars here and there however there were not as many pull offs on this road as there were on 276. Slower vehicles would eventually find a wide spot and would let us by though.
A few miles later, still fighting the twisties, we came up on a Miata with an older gentleman driving. The tag had a VFW tag on it as well. Once we got up on him, he took off! The car was lowered and apparently had some suspension work done to it as well. The chase was on. While he was going a bit slower than Josh and I would have gone, he was still moving on very well. No since in passing him to be honest. After a mile or so behind him we came up on a Coke truck (delivery semi) this guy was moving! I figured we would be crawling along, that was not the case. I have a feeling this driver had been down the road a time or two. He was booking it, now mind you it wasn't as fast as we were moving behind the Miata, but still!
After about a mile of that Josh and I pulled over to let the traffic move on a bit and I managed to get a few pictures while we were stopped.

Hard to believe that GSXR has 12,000 miles on it! He has had it a year now, 1,000 miles a month. He is stoked about it. I think he is going to make himself a plaque, lol.

Anyway back to the ride.

We continued down to the end of Hwy 215, which wasn't too much further down. From there it ran into Hwy 64 again and Hwy 178 South was on our right. So we went down it, but this time a bit quicker than before since we knew the road this time around. I believe Josh and I both got our bikes a good bit lower this time around. After a stop at the bottom we decided we weren't going to push it anymore to see how low we could go. It just isn't worth tearing up the bikes and ourselves to do so.

178 runs into S.C 11 and from there we took 276 North back up to Hwy 64. We managed to completely walk off from some Harley guys that we passed in the beginning, lol. However we did catch up to a couple idiots in a Nissan Xterra that were busting the double yellow every corner, tires squealing and were just all over the road. Figuring that it would be safer to sit on the side of the road than follow those morons the Harley guys finally managed to catch back up. It kinda reminded me of waiting on my father at the trail heads back in the day, lol. (Sorry I had to)

We continued on into town and picked up a late lunch and checked out the map. (At this point we had made a complete loop. 100 miles of truck advisories! We decided to head back up 276 like we started out earlier, then catch the parkway into Asheville.

Hwy 276 is now one of my favorite roads. It is just an all around nice road to ride for any skill level. It is smooth and has lots of turn off opportunities. Anyone riding in that general area should be sure to get up that way to take a ride up that road.

The Parkway was closed a little ways up so we were forced to get off on Hwy 74A on the other side of Asheville, which runs through Bat Cave and Chimney Rock. Another nice area to ride through, however they do have a noise law there. Josh missed that sign and once the cop got right on his tail, and I mean literally within feet. Josh showed his disgust by letting him hear the rev-limiter. Cop didn't pull him over though.

We found another road, NC Hwy 9 that looked to be fun and turned out to be another truck advisory. So we headed down it to make our way home. Turns out there was alot of residential construction on the road which made it very unsafe. We even got stopped by some power trucks that were blocking the road so their buddies could get out. Then after following them for a while they just stopped in the middle of the road. Got out and started looking around. The motioned us to go on around, however there was a blind corner ahead. I did not like the situation at all. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone due to large machinery, dirt in the corners and lots of soccer moms in Mini-Vans. However there were lots of tight corners and few nice switch backs, but it just wasn't enjoyable.

From there it was all down hill, and back to Charlotte. We got back safely just at dusk. 435 miles later. I was a bit sore the next morning, as was Josh. But it was worth it!

1 comment:

The McCrary's said...

Just remember who waited on who first, AND who taught who to ride in the first place...