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Labor Day 2011 Mountain Trip

Four-thirty and I’m rolling out of bed. One hour later I’m rolling out of the garage on the maiden voyage with my new Concours 14. By 7:00am I’m having breakfast 100 miles up the road with 3 riding buddies on their Gl1800s after watching a gorgeous sunrise. So far the most I have done on this bike was 500 miles in 14 hours here in Florida. Today’s ride is slated to be right at 800 miles. Sure hope my Spencer seat mod is all it’s cracked up to be. The destination for tonight is Maggie Valley, NC and rocking chairs overlooking the creek out back.



Before we know it we are out of Florida heading for Atlanta. We are making great time. In 6 years I think this is the first time I have not been stuck in at least one major traffic jam while riding north out of this state. This is a great thing because now we might just be able to get around Atlanta before rush hour. I cannot believe our good luck today as we skirt around Atlanta around 3:00 without a problem. By 6:00 we are having dinner and taking a well deserved break. Everyone has flat spots on their butts after over 700 miles. I have a couple of sore spots but no where near what I was expecting. Only one hour left before we get to our motel and we make it there just as the sunlight is disappearing. A few minutes later we are out on the back porch putting in some rocker time. The hardest day of the trip is over and I still feel pretty good. 786 miles in 14 ½ hours, not bad considering we stopped for two meals and a few short breaks. I would have been just as tired on my Wing but this is going to be more fun. Sure wish I had cruise control though!



Day two starts bright and early at 7:00 with breakfast at Joey’s, always a good way to start the day when in town. Five minutes after breakfast we are riding on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading to Cherokee and roads west of there. Today’s plan is to ride some of the more popular routes in the area starting with the Cherohala Skyway. While fueling up in Robbinsville we overhear a police scanner talking about an accident on the skyway. We have a short meeting and decide to reroute to the Dragon and reverse part of our route. We arrive at the Gap store only to have our first and only incident of the trip. One of the Wings was left in neutral and rolled off the stand just as the rider got off the bike. Darn blue bikes are always causing problems for us! His windshield just grazed his arm but it snapped the shield right off except for the large jagged edge on one side. A decision was made to just continue the ride and see if we could find a new shield along the way. So off we went and had our photos taken on the Dragon and continued to the Cherohala.



The day was just beautiful, hot in the lower areas and comfortable at altitude. The more I ride the more in tune I am getting with the C14 (or “Kowalski” as it became known). Handling is a dream and I really have to watch that my speed does not get out of hand. After the Cherohala we head back to the Gap store and head east on Rt28. Once on the other side of 19 I’m on one of my most favorite roads. I kick it up a bit and have a very spirited ride to Franklin where we stop at the Sunset Restaurant for dinner. All the guys riding with me are excellent riders. I have done several long rides with them and always have a blast. This trip is no exception. After dinner we hit a few more roads on the way back to our rocking chairs and a few beers. But before the beer we trim the broken windshield on the Wing so it is less threatening. He decides to wait until he gets home to order a new V-Stream to replace his broken one. Another great day of riding goes down in the books. We rode just under 300 miles today in around 12 hours. Sure wish I had cruise control!

Day three dawns and we hit the road at 7:00am. We heard about great omelets in Trust, NC. So we are off to Trust and the roads NE of their including the Devil’s Staircase and a few more that I keep to myself. We are running early so I find a back way into Trust which gets named the Devil’s Azz Blaster by one of our riders. I think it was just too early and he has not had enough caffeine in his system yet. We are still a few minutes early but soon we are sitting on the back deck of a small café attached to the general store in Trust. The omelets are huge and excellent.



This place is surviving on word of mouth so check it out if you are ever in the area. After breakfast we continue on over some of the most extreme twisty roads around here. We did drop NC80 (Devil’s Staircase) only to have our pictures taken again by BlindKenny.com. But don’t let them distract you because some of the turns on 80 are very extreme. I’m loving it and flicking the Kowalski around and having a wonderful time. A few more secret roads and we stop at Linville Falls for a little hike and relaxation. These are one of my favorite falls but today it was crowded with holiday visitors. Usually I have the place mostly to myself when visiting on weekdays. Still it is a nice stop and great place to stretch our legs. From here we hop on the BRP and head south to Mt. Mitchell. We take the parkway so that one of our members will stop harping about “when are we going to ride the BRP”. It’s a great ride and the temperatures are on the cool side as we motor along. We look at Mt. Mitchell and it’s covered in clouds. We decide to ride up anyway. The clouds just kept drifting through blocking all views from the top. But the clouds themselves were awesome to watch and even kind of spooky at times.





A few pictures later and we were on our way again to Asheville for dinner. A half an hour on the interstate after dinner and we were back in our rockers. This was another 325 mile day of beautiful riding on wonderful roads. Sure wish I had cruise control.

At 7:00am we are packing up our stuff for the ride home. We will stretch it out for two days to include as many back roads as possible. But first we head over to Joey’s for breakfast. Last night while checking my GPS routes for today I discovered that it was gone. So was the route on the other GPS that had it loaded. Both GPS’ routed were OK before we left on the trip but something corrupted them and made them go away. That sucked but I remembered a lot of the route anyway. We also decided to head further east as we went south to avoid all of the rain coming from the hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. This turned out to be a smart choice because we only hit a couple of very light sprinkles throughout the day. Before turning south I had a few more roads to ride before heading back to the flat lands of Florida. We hopped on the BRP to cover more of it to the north of Maggie Valley.






We also dropped down NC215 to 64 and back up 276 with a couple of waterfalls stops along the way. Then a couple more secret routes and we started heading south in earnest on NC28 out of Highlands. This road has wonderful twisty sections all the way south into Georgia. Now we are into cruising mode as the roads start to straighten out and we make some time beating the rains which are coming. We stopped for dinner at Ruby Tuesday in Vidalia, GA just as it was getting dark. After dinner we find a room just about next door so we call it a day. No rocking chairs tonight but they did let us use the pool until 10pm. 400 some miles later and I still wish I had cruise control!

Day five dawned dry and clear. It looks like we really lucked out with the weather. West and north of us were getting soaked and we skated around all of it. In fact the whole area that we were in the last few days was getting pounded. We rolled out at 7:00 again and continued south on 2 lane roads to Lake City, FL. After a breakfast stop we hit the interstate and beat a path for home. The wind was kicking up pretty good and our comrade without the windshield was taking a beating. So we kept the speed down to the legal limit and continued homeward. I was doing great. In fact my seat was more comfortable today than it ever was before. It certainly is not perfect but I can’t sit in my recliner at home for 12 or more hours either. 10 ½ hours after leaving our motel we were all home again and a wonderful trip was over. Today’s ride was over 500 miles putting my trip total at 2361. Five days with good friends, weather and roads, what else could we have asked for. Oh yea, CRUISE CONTROL!





My new Concours performed great. Now with over 4000 miles on it I did not need to add any oil and nothing fell off of it. I will ride it just the way it’s set up now for at least one more long trip before I even consider making any more changes to it. It seems to be getting more comfortable by the mile. The seat was worth every bit of the $95. I have invested in it. The V-Stream just plain works the way National Cycle says it will. Murph’s risers seem to be just the right height for comfort and handling compromise.

Ed “Just Kruse’n”
 

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we did almost an identical trip, daytona beach to maggie valley, day 2 maggie to hendersonville to pick up my new goldwing and then to highlands and back, day 3 to dragon and cherohala, best mexican food ever in robbinsville,day 4 to chimney rock via 276 and lake lure, sept 6th, rode the new toy home, 1300 miles on new toy in 5 days
 

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we did almost an identical trip, daytona beach to maggie valley, day 2 maggie to hendersonville to pick up my new goldwing and then to highlands and back, day 3 to dragon and cherohala, best mexican food ever in robbinsville,day 4 to chimney rock via 276 and lake lure, sept 6th, rode the new toy home, 1300 miles on new toy in 5 days
Congrats on the new Wing and welcome to the board.
 
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