Sunday, April 5, 2009

RTE Asheville, NC.

This past February I joined a forum in which I have browsed from time to time, the MTF. (Motorcycle Tourer's Forum) Since I joined I have come to realize that I am pretty much a panzie when it comes to putting miles on the bike. My typical 350 mile days are nothing compared to some of the riders on this forum.

There is one particular section within this forum that is called the "MTF Lunch Bunch" which is where a member will host a lunch ride some where. Riders will come from near and far depending on who all will be there just for lunch! One night when I was browsing the pages before bed, I noticed that someone was hosting a RTE (Ride to Eat) in Asheville, NC. We'll that isn't too far away, so I marked it on my calendar and posted that I would likely be able to make this. Unfortunately, this was scheduled for a Saturday so Dad would not be able to make it. In addition to this he would be leaving that afternoon to head to Florida to my grandfather.

I had asked Jordan if she would like to ride with me up there to experience this. Jordan, always up for an adventure, unless she has plans to go to the beach, was game. I spent the weekend before the ride working on the bike and in particular the luggage rack. I added an aluminum plate with a few notches in the back of it so that it would offer a more secure mounting setup for my large Nelson Rigg tail bag. In addition to this I replaced the clutch cable since on the last ride, it was starting to pop alot and it was about at the end of its adjustment.

On this forum I had noticed that one of the members happens to live right down the road from me, roughly a mile or so. I shot him an email asking if he was planning on attending and if he would like to ride together. In addition to this, Grizz, another member in Shelby was up in the air if he would be able to go or not. Fortunately at the last minute, seriously the night before, he had a change of plans and was able to make it. My roommate, Josh, and Jon who has rode with us before, decided to come along as well.

Now let me just say that at this point I wasn't too sure about the whole sport bike and Gold Wing thing, seeing as how most of all the other bikes we would be riding with were Wings'. Boy was I ever surprised....

8:00 am Saturday April 4th, the Sun came up a bit quick for all of us in the house and we were a bit late meeting up with the group at a local fuel stop. We dismounted, shook hands along with introductions and headed off. Due to traffic, we had got split up on 49 before we got on 85. However I just purchased a longer CB antenna for my bike. Boy was I glad I did that! The range of my radio more than doubled! I was able to talk to Mike when he was on 85 and we were still a mile or so out! After a quick hustle down 85 were back together and headed towards Shelby, NC to meet up with Grizz and a few other riders for breakfast.

We stopped at a nice little hole in the wall restaurant just inside Shelby and sat down for a nice warm breakfast. At this point, Jordan was freezing, I didn't realize it was going to be so cold that morning. Well, after breakfast, she still hadn't warmed up and some of the Wing guys had noticed this. Several of the riders were asking Jordan if she wanted to ride on the back with them. Each guy, had a different and funny way of trying to get her on the bike of their bike. It was rather amusing. She kindly declined, but we laughed about it for the rest of the day.

After some miles we ended up in Lake Lure. Knowing this road pretty well, and since we were in the rear of the group I got on the radio and told Mike that we would hang back there beside the lake and then take off up the road to catch them. He informed me they would be stopped up at the top, just look for them. Jon had recently got a camera for his bike, so he took a couple minutes to get it ready and then we took off. Josh took point with Jon following and Jordan and I bringing up the rear. Some how this turned out to be the best pass up this road we have ever had. The only car came after we had been through the best section.

I will be sure to try and get Jon's footage and post it up when I get it.

The group had pulled off in a nice store front/hotel area there next to the lake. Mike was standing by the road waving at us, yet Josh still missed it...

Mike Brown took some time telling Jordan about some of the history of Lake Lour which included some filming locations for movies such as "The Last of The Mohican's" and "Dirty Dancing." Grizz, and I spent some time chatting about various things including the Florida trip we all took last spring. Mike decided it would be best to put miles on the bike rather B.S. in the air and we got moving again. However, no stop would be complete with out someone asking Jordan if she want to ride with them. This time it was Mike, his response was great. "You wanna ride on the back of the heated barka lounger?" I couldn't stop laughing. Jordan smiled, laughed and declined, to which I informed her that at some point she should take a ride on a Wing. Josh and Jon took point, with Kieth, the deputy sheriff right behind, lol. However the didn't get very far, my pokey magnet had apparently kicked in and in full force. It held up the entire group, and I was in the back. Jordan kept giving me crap about it...

A bit later we pulled into the Ruby Tuesday in Asheville, NC. There was about 17 of us in total there that afternoon and an 18th rolled in a bit later. The staff there was very nice and did a great job handling our large group. Hats off to them.

Josh, Jon, Jordan and I sat with Jim. He had rode up from Atlanta to have lunch with the group. Josh and Jon couldn't get over the fact that he rode all that way just to have lunch and then go back home. Turns out that Jim and his wife were professors at Virgina Tech, however after the tragic shooting to which a couple of their students were killed they had moved down to Atlanta. We talked briefly about this subject as it was interesting hearing about someones first hand experience versus what the media portrays. We talked about other things from bikes, mad cow disease and a few drunk college jokes. We all had a good time.

After lunch Grizz let me throw a leg over his ST 1300. It was a nice bike, however with my long legs I didn't fit to well. Jordan and I then moved on to Mike's wing. Jordan fell in love with the "Barka Lounger" and felt that she would probably fall asleep on the back of that thing. Mike tried his hardest to get her to ride with him, but with no luck. Maybe next time.

We headed out, working our way home. Kevinwanted to head down Black Mountain, which was a rather interesting choice. We all got a bit split up as we headed down. Father like Son, once I got rolling I didn't want to touch the brakes so Josh and Jon followed suit and we headed on down around the others. Kevin, the one with the badge, set sail from the get go so we met him at the bottom and the rest of the group gathered up about a mile out and we stopped for fuel just inside Marion.

Kevin forgot to turn on his radio after we fueled so he kept missing the roads we thought we should be heading down off I-40. Josh and Jon couldn't take too much more of the highway stuff, so they pulled off and went twisty hunting and Grizz had pulled off on 226 to head on home as well. Kevin, Mike, Bill, Greg, Jordan and I continued on and got off 40 on Hwy 18. This was a nice little road and after a bit we pulled off a cool country store to get a soda and sit on the porch.

I couldn't get a picture of the store front and the sun was directly behind it. I am sure I will be back by there sometime especially with Jordan. She really like that store, it was full of random stuff that she likes. We sat on the porch for a bit joking around and laughing before we headed back to the bikes and headed home.

Once we got back to 74 and 85, Jordan and I separated from the group and headed home. We all waved bye as we crossed over each other on the overpass. When Jordan and I pulled into the driveway we had 303 miles on the clock. It was a beautiful day with some great riding and we met some really nice people who I hope to ride with again soon. They made us "young kids" feel extremely welcome. We will be sure to participate again in the next "local" RTE and even have plans of hosting an RTE ourselves. Jordan really likes downtown Asheville, so she has a couple places in mind...

Thanks again for the wonderful ride, we look forward to seeing you all soon!

(Sorry for forgetting names and if I got your name wrong. I am horrible with names, so please let me know if I messed up.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great write-up Brian. The Deputy's name was Kevin but he doesn't mind being called anything except late for dinner.

I'm glad you folks enjoyed the day. To us, it's not at all what you ride, it's about having fun on motorcycles. I'm just glad you guys were able to keep up. We slowed up some so as not to embarrass anyone. :-)