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RC79NC001 last won the day on August 6

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About RC79NC001

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    Charlotte NC
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    2014 Honda VFR

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  1. Story 2 When Your Ride is a Flying Saucer Everyone Notices...Including POPO Part 1 I’ve drawn cars, airplanes,and motorcycles since childhood. Many of you can relate to imagining or drawing something that doesn’t exist but, hoping someday, someway it would. Also there’s nothing like the shock to the senses in seeing something new/radical/beautiful for the first time.It might be metal (Lamborghini Miura) or mortal ( 1983 Miss America Vanessa Williams). Does that seem like a strange comparison ? Bottom line. Beauty is inspirational. Beautiful design can also inspire. I was in the market for a motorcycle in 1983 but, nothing had struck my fancy. My short list included Honda’s CB750F and either Kawasaki’s GPZ 550 or GPZ 750 models. Although these motorcycles were solid choices , I didn’t feel inspired enough to commit and pull the trigger. This all changed the night I drove by the Honda dealership in Florence SC . I glanced over and noticed a shiny blue motorcycle in the display window. Actually it was more like I glanced over my shoulder, saw this blue object gleaming under the lights and was instantly smitten. I spent the next 30 minutes in the dealer’s parking lot staring. I’d never seen anything like it . A radical design unlike any other. Kind of like seeing an SR71 Black Bird for the first time and wondering what was Kelly Johnson ( The Black Bird’s designer ) thinking ? Urban Myth credit’s Johnson’s inspiration from recovered alien technology. For all purposes this radical Honda, appropriately named The Interceptor, looked like it could have come out of the same flying saucer. Something I drew in my youth. I wasn’t concerned that there was no printed information about this bike, I felt excited and inspired. The next day I visited the dealer during my lunch. This new 1983 VF750F 750 Interceptor listed for $3200 but, the dealer ( citing Florence as a cruiser market ) offered it for $2800. I made a beeline for my company’s credit union with the VIN and pricing and rode it home that afternoon. It’s my understanding that shortly after the magazines tested 750 Interceptors, dealers began commanding MSRP plus $1000. Timing was on my side...for once. That first ride home was a bit strange. My previous riding history included a 1970 Kawasaki 250 Samurai I rode from age 14 to 20 and a Honda 360 I rode briefly while working at a salvage yard one summer. Short shifting at 4000 rpm ( max break-in rpm first 600 mi ), it felt slow with a deep non-descript ( lawn mower like ) rumble. Soon I came to appreciate the power delivery for what it actually was .... smooth and deceptively fast. Spring was coming to the Carolinas in February. The first weekend I had the Interceptor, I rode it to Columbia SC so my friend David could look it over. David was like a big brother to me. We shared the passion of internal combustion. David was a Honda man ( 1979 CBX ) from way back so he was also delighted that I had entered the fold so to speak. I traveled country roads to get to Dave’s place and during the ride there would be little boys playing outside. Was it my imagination ? but, the little boys always seemed to be jumping up and down and pointing at me as I rode by. They were reacting to the rare sighting of a blue space ship. Many Carolina towns to this day have low speed limits and aggressive law enforcement. Darlington, the little town where I worked was no different. My employer was located about 6 blocks east of the town square. There were 4 traffic lights between work and the square. I was aboard the Interceptor cruising along not far from work. I’d just crossed the square heading east on Main Street being careful and mindful of the crazy low speed limit of 25 mph. Well, a perfunctory glance in the rear view mirrors reveals a local constable in hot pursuit of me. Blue lights blazing. WTF !!! I tried not to curse back then but, that’s what I was thinking ! I pulled over in a KFC parking lot literally across the road from my employer. Let’s call the officer Barney and go over the interaction. Barney: “You ran the light back in the square and you were speeding.” Me; “No I didn’t run the light and I wasn’t speeding”. Barney: “License and Registration ”. I think by this time I had removed my helmet. Barney ( looking at my Alabama issued driver’s license ) ; “What Nation-Ality are You ? “ Note: I spelled nationality the way Barney said it. Nation-ality with a long A in nation. Me; Nation-ality ??? WTF !!! Internal thought only. Me; No response for 10 seconds. So blown away by the Nation-ality thing I needed to count to at least 10 ( One Mississippi Two Mississippi....) lest my immediate response be something to really regret later. Me; “I’m American.” Barney; “Wale, slow down and be more careful.” What Barney was thinking was probably more like WTF kind of motorcycle is that ? After I pulled off my helmet revealing Brown skin and long locks ( yes, I had a lot of hair back in those ‘80s ) that probably prompted the whole Nation-ality thing. Darlington SC is not the most progressive place . No ticket, just another curious soul ( with a badge ) wanting a closer look at the flying saucer I rode. Part 2 I started dating a girl the same spring I bought the Interceptor. She was pretty and knew it. She also was not afraid to speak her mind. I’ll call this girl Miss Sassy. MS for short. Hanging out with MS was fun ( at first ). My male ego enjoyed having a girlfriend who was stunning enough to turn the average man into a cheesy-grinning,head-rubbing,finger-pointing mess. She was Bad. One time we were playing miniature golf in Myrtle Beach and MS had on a sun dress. I swear a car full of young men just about crashed looking at hot little MS putting. Let’s see what happens when you combine a Hot Sassy Girlfriend with a radical spaceship. I worked in a small town that was backward. I lived in a bigger town that was equally backward with a larger unenlightened population. You might say Dude, you grew up in Alabama so don’t throw stones you hypocrite ! Huntsville,AL , my hometown is like Austin,TX. A city of radical intellectuals surrounded by the KKK . I grew up in the south and like it. Life is full of contrast and contradiction. MS was visiting me in Florence ( SC not Italy...sorry ) for the weekend. We got up early Sunday to take a slow helmet-less ride around my neighborhood. Cue the POPO here we go. Once again it’s a quiet Sunday morning with hardly any traffic on Second Loop Road. We’re cruising along enjoying a slow easy ride and each other’s company. I look back and there’s a motorcycle cop with his blue lights on waving at me to pull over. WTF ??? This motorcycle riding enforcement officer looked like your quintessential southern Po-lice officer. Big belly and all. Let’s call him “DD” for Deputy Dawg. Here’s the exchange. DD; “That Your Baahk ?”. Me; “Yessir”. DD; “License and Registration” Me; “Woops I forgot to bring my license, we were just going for a short ride and I forgot it”. DD; “Well that ain’t good. How old is she ?” Me; “She ( MS) is twenty. DD; “You Know that in the state of South Carolina, you have to be 21 to ride without a helmet”. Me”GULP”. We got off the Interceptor. DD; Now addressing MS “Let me see your ID”. MS; I don’t have any. DD; Starting to write a ticket...”Where are you from ?” ( this question aimed at MS ) MS; “Fayetteville.” DD; “Spell It.” MS; “You’re So Stupid You Don’t know how to spell Fayetteville ??? !!! “( Hands on those cute hips). Me; “Noooo...WTF, Holy Sh***t !!!”....I said this to myself. DD; Turning incandescent Red “I’m going to call a squad car, haul both of y’all into jail and impound that baahk.” MS; “You wouldn’t do that.” Here’s how the rest of it went down. DD followed us back to my place where I got my wallet and dropped the hot MS off. DD then followed me to an ATM. I withdrew $100, placed the money in his fat little hand and that was that. No ticket. No squad car. In the rest of the world that is called graft or in Mexico “The Bite” I believe. All because of a radical spaceship motorcycle and a hot, quick-on-the-trigger-no-filter girlfriend. After that MS and I rode with helmets and ID . Life is good. Where it all started. 14 years old 100 pounds aboard my 250 Samurai along with Jim and his Bridgestone 200 One Blue Spaceship The Author and The Hottie circa 1983
  2. Yes. Before the trip I had Sargent redo the seat and I added a Kaoko throttle lock. After the trip I upgraded the front and rear suspension to Jamie Daugherty ( DMR), added a Delkevic Slip On and Galfer brake lines. I would love to go back on this route with my VFR modded and really tear up those roads in southern Utah.
  3. Bridgestone T30s last a long time are cheap and ride hard. My taste in tires has moved on to Pirelli and Metzeler. This trip was 3 weeks from June 16-2018 to July 7-2018.
  4. VFR To California from North Carolina June- July 2018. Part 1 ( Route and Pics ) Day 1; Charlotte,NC to Madison,AL. Total Mileage 460 Route Hwy 321 to Hickory,NC I40 from Hickory to Asheville. I40 to NC 74 from Asheville To Murphy and into Tennessee to Cleveland I75 to Chattanooga I24 to South Pittsburgh Hwy 72 From South Pittsburgh to Madison,AL Notes: Bad Interstate Traffic in Chattanooga. Took alternate route over Signal mountain . Blazing hot from Chattanooga to the hotel in Madison,AL. Had dinner at Logan’s Roadhouse in Madison a short walk from the hotel. Starting Odometer and yes that clock is right 0430 Hours. Too excited to sleep. Rest Stop Near Waynesville,NC Fellowship Presbyterian Church Huntsville,AL. My home Church. Day 2; Madison,AL to Fort Smith Arkansas. Total Mileage 501 Hwy 72 from Madison to Memphis,TN I40 from Memphis to Little Rock to Fort Smith. Notes: Hot as blazes from noon until the end of the day.. Made sure to hydrate at every stop. VFR was born to run 85+ cruising no problemo. No Pictures. Day 3; Fort Smith to Oklahoma City,OK. Total Mileage 204 Route I40 from Ft Smith to Oklahoma City Notes: First Gusty wind encountered on I40 in Oklahoma. No Pictures. Day 4; No Travel. Time with Family in OK City. Total Mileage 0. The Oklahoma City Memorial is Powerful. Day 5; OK City to Santa Fe,NM Total Mileage 566 Route I40 from OK City to Amarillo,TX I40 from Amarillo to Clines Corners NM Hwy 285 from Clines Corner to I25 I25 to Santa Fe. Notes: Morning rush hour traffic in OK City with rain. Incredibly scary wind gusts east of Amarillo. Stopped to look at the Cadillacs in the ground west of Amarillo. Cheap Burrito for dinner in Santa Fe. Cadillacs Planted in the ground just east of Amarillo,TX Day 6; Santa Fe to Moab,Utah Total Mileage 451 Route I25 South from Santa Fe to Bernalillo,NM Hwy 550 from Bernalillo to Bloomfield,NM Hwy 64 West from Bloomfield to Shiprock,NM Shiprock to Teec Nos Pos,AZ Hwy 160 from Teec Nos Pos to 4 Corners Monument 4 Corners to Hwy 491 Junction Hwy 491 through Cortes,CO Dove Creek,CO Dove Creek to Monticello,UT Hwy 191 North from Monticello to Moab,UT Notes: Cold crisp morning start in Santa Fe. Ate a decent cheeseburger on the Navaho Nation. 4 Corners desperately commercialized and crowded.Rolled through the parking lot and didn’t stop. Incredible rock formations on Hwy 191 going into Moab.Great Carne Asada Tacos from a truck in Moab. Hot as blazes last 3 hours. Day 7; Moab to Cedar City,Utah Total Mileage 358 Hwy 191 North from Moab to Crecent Junction,UT I70 West to Green River,UT I70 West to Hwy 24 junction. Hwy 24 south to Hanksville,UT. Hanksville to Caineville to Fruita to Torrey,UT. Hwy 12 to Grover,Escalante,Bryce Canyon. Hwy 12 from Bryce Canyon to Hwy 89 Intersection. Hwy 89 South through Hatch,UT to Hwy 14 Intersection. Hwy 14 West to Cedar City,UT. Notes: Cold crisp morning start in Moab. Stopped in Green River and ate an excellent Juevos Ranchos breakfast at Lupitas. Saw a sign on I70 “No services next 150 mi”. UT Hwy 12 was spectacular with senery and fabulous curves. Crossed one pass elevation sign was marked 9600 Ft. Bryce Canyon beautiful. At a stop saw a large entourage of scooters. Capital Reef National Park Capital Reef National Park Scooters can travel too. Bryce Canyon Bryce Canyon Day 8; Cedar City to Zion,UT Total Mileage 136 I15 South from Cedar City to Hwy 17. Hwy 17 to Hwy 9 Back to the hotel in Cedar City via I15. Notes: Did not make it into Zion National Park. Temperature was 100+. I had a tasty lunch and cool down at a restuarant in La Verkin. One of the locals rode his cruiser into the restuarant parking lot and absolutely freaked out when he saw my NC license plate. That was fun. Too hot to take pictures sorry ! Day 9; Cedar City to Minden,Nevada. Total Mileage 574 UT Hwy 56 West out of Cedar City to Modena,UT. Modena to Panaca,Nevada. Panaca to Caliente to Hwy 375 Intersection Hwy 375 West to to Rachel ( Near Area 51 ) then to Warm Springs. Hwy 6 from Warm Springs to Tonopah. Hwy 6/95 West to Coaldale. Hwy 95 North from Coaldale to Hawthorne. Hawthorne to Schurz,NV. Alt 95 from Schurz to Yerrington.Hwy 208 from Yerrington to Hwy 395 Intersection. Hwy 395 North to Minden. Notes: Cold crisp morning start in Cedar City. Stopped on the side of the road after crossing into Nevada to take a picture. The ground was soft and my VFR fell over. Fortunately a local in a pickup truck stopped and helped after about 5 minutes. Herd of Cows in the road on Hwy 93. Terrible gusty wind near Rachel. Stopped to look at a Solar Power facility outside Tonopah. Had a great lunch at a Mom and Pop Chinese restaurant in Hawthorne (Wong’s).Hot as fire last 3 hours of ride. NV Hwy 375 . Stood in the middle of the road for 10 minutes...no traffic. Nevada is vast and empty. Outside Tonopah,NV That bright light in the distance is a giant mirror that is aiming solar energy at a huge bank of solar cells. Hawthorne,NV. Day 10; Minden,NV to Watsonville,CA. Total Mileage 371. Hwy 88 from Minden to Kit Carson,CA. Kit Carson to Martel. Martel to Waterloo. Hwy 99 South to I205. 205 West to Tracy,CA. I5 South to Patterson,CA. Hwy 130 West to the Lick Observatory. Quinby Rd to Tully Rd San Jose. Tully Rd to Hwy 101. Hwy 101 South to Gilroy. Hwy 152 to Watsonville Notes: Cold at higher elevations on Hwy 88. Super hot and dehydrated in the afternoon after getting lost on 130 trying to find San Jose. Lane Splitting ( first time ) in rush hour traffic on Hwy 101 in San Jose was scary. Able to walk to a good Asian restuarant near the hotel in Watsonville. Just left Minden,NV crossing into Cali. Hwy 88 Scenic Overlook on California Hwy 88 Same Overlook Hwy 88. Hwy 88 Silver Lake Lost Outside Livermore,CA Day 11; Watsonville to Santa Cruz,CA. Total Mileage 78. Hwy 1 from Watsonville to Santa Cruz. Notes: Enjoyed an easy low travel day. Hung out in Santa Cruz. Ate cheap Mexican Seafood. Santa Cruz,CA Day 12; Watsonville to San Luis Obispo,CA. Total Mileage 321. Hwy 1 South from Watsonville to Ragged Point,CA. Hwy 1 North from Ragged Point to Monterey Hwy 68 to Salinas to Hwy 101 Hwy 101 South to San Luis Obispo Notes: Enjoyed riding the Pacific Coast Highway from Watsonville to Ragged Point. PCH was closed south of Ragged Point due to Rock Slides. Ate Mexican food at a Taquieria in Gonzales off of Hwy 101. Strong side winds on Hwy 101 especially around Atascadero. Hotel in SLO within walking distance of a good Italian Restuarant. PCH PCH My Hotel Room in SLO Hotel Room Shenanigans Day 13; San Luis Obispo to Inglewood,CA . Total Mileage 229. Hwy 101 South from San Luis Obispo to Carpinteria,CA Hwy 150 North to Ojai Hwy 33 from Ojai to Ventura Hwy 101 South to Hwy 1 to Malibu. Malibu to Inglewood. Notes: Took a little detour to Ojai before riding into Los Angeles proper. Ojai. Home of the movie Easy A. Day 14; Inglewood,CA. Total Mileage 0. Notes: Down Day to hang out with my Uncles and their families. Oil Change in my Uncle’s garage. Oil Change at approximately 4000 mi. Day 15; Inglewood to Kingman,AZ . Total Mileage 380. I405 to I605 I605 to I10 I10 to I15 I15 to I40. I40 East to Kingman,AZ. Notes: Getting out of LA proper is more than a notion. I left Inglewood around 0800. By the time I got into the desert it was cooking. The heat was brutal. I got to my hotel in Kingman around 3pm...could have continued to Flagstaff maybe but, maybe not. The most uncomfortable day of the entire trip.Saw a sign on I40 Barstow to Wilmington,NC. 3000 MI. Should have stopped to take a picture. Day 16;Kingman,AZ to Albuquerque,NM . Total Mileage 475. I40 East from Kingman to Albuquerque. Notes: Stopped at a Panda Express in Gallup,NM. for lunch. Saw some incredibly beautiful Native American women. Unsucessfully tried not to stare... Slabbing all day. Hot but, higher elevation made it more tolerable.... as do attractive women. Day 17; Albuquerque,NM. Total Mileage 0. Notes: Hung Out with my cousin in Albuquerque. Cool town. Great food. Green Chilis ! Sandia Peak Tramway outside Albuquerque. Day 18; Albuquerque to Oklahoma City,OK . Total Mileage 577. I40 East from Albuquerque to Oklahoma City. Notes: Cold in the morning leaving Albuquerque and riding through the mountains. Progressively hotter and more humid as I entered Oklahoma. Vicious cross winds around Amarillo,TX. I40 service road Near Amarillo,TX. Windmills on I40 in OK. Day 19; Oklahoma City. Total Mileage 0. Notes: Enjoyed a down day with family. My Aunt is a great cook. World’s Best Cheeseburger. OK City,OK. Day 20; Oklahoma City to Pine Bluff,Arkansas. Total Mileage 554. I40 East from Oklahoma City to Russellville,Arkansas. Arkansas Hwy 7 south from Russellville to Hot Springs. Arkansas 270 East from Hot Springs to Pine Bluff. Arkansas Hwy 65 South from Pine Bluff to McGehee. Arkansas Hwy 65 North from McGehee toPine Bluff. Notes: Arkansas 7 has been on Car and Driver’s top 10 roads so I had to sample it. Pretty good. Gully Washer Thunder Storm near Hot Springs. I missed most of it. I am a BBQ fan so I knew of a great place in McGehee called Hoot’s BBQ. It was worth the extra mileage. Hoots BBQ McGehee,AR. Day 21; Pine Bluff,Arkansas to Decatur,AL. Total Mileage 352. Arkansas Hwy 63/79 from Pine Bluff to Hwy 49 Intersection. Arkansas Hwy 49 East across the Mississippi River . Mississippi Hwy 61 North to MS Hwy 4. MS Hwy 4 to MS Hwy 4 to MS Hwy 7. MS Hwy 7 to MS Hwy 72. Hwy 72 East to Decatur,AL. Notes: Heat and humidity increased steadily all day. Took a break in the shade on the Natches Parkway where it intersects Hwy 72. Briefly rained on the VFR as I ate at a Taquieria near the hotel. Excited to be going home. Taking a break in the shade. Natches Trace rest stop near Hwy 72. Day 22; Decatur,AL to Charlotte,NC. Total Mileage 460. Hwy 72 East from Huntsville to South Pittsburgh,TN. TN Hwy 56 from South Pittsburgh to I24. I24 to Chattanooga,TN I75 from Chattanooga to Cleveland,TN. Hwy 64 from Cleveland to Murphy,NC. Hwy 74 from Murphy to I26. I26 to Asheville,NC. I40 East from Asheville to Hickory. Hwy 321 South from Hickory to Charlotte. Notes: Launched from hotel before daybreak. Ate a hearty breakfast at a Waffle House east of Huntsville,AL on Hwy 72. Heavy rain descending Black Mountain east of Asheville. Easily the most challenging weather of the entire trip. Great to get home and see my Son. Celebratory dinner at 131 Main Restaurant. SR71 Space and Rocket Museum Huntsville,AL. Hwy 64 near Ocoee,TN. Soon it would start raining. Mileage at the end of the last day. 20096-13042=7054 mi. Rear Bridgestone T30 at the end of the trip with 7000+ Miles. Front Bridgestone T30 at the end of the trip with 7000+ Miles. That’s all folks ! The end of an epic trip.
  5. Hi TimC. Great story. Well written. Perhaps I will have the courage to venture out and spend the night on the road too. You are right on the money when you say it's about the ride and not ( so much ) the scenery ! Finding good shade during a stop is critical. The VFR concept rules !
  6. Here's a low res photo that gives a better prespective of the slope behind the VFR. Less than a foot behind the bike it drops off pretty dramatically. It's good to be lucky sometimes.
  7. Part 3 Margaritaville Why do you ride ? Personal satisfaction ? The adulation of others ? Respect from peers ? Neo: “You’re saying that I’ll be able to dodge bullets”. Morpheus: “No Neo, I’m saying that when you’re ready you won’t have to”. Spock: “After a time you will discover that having something is not the same as wanting something. It is not logical but it is true”. “We spend our lives in the pursuit of happiness when we should spend our lives in the happiness of pursuit”. After adulation ( The Dragon ) and dis consolation ( Less than Zero ) it’s well time for a little reflection. The day after the BRP PG-13 crash ,my Interceptor sat in the garage looking a bit rough around the edges. I proclaimed that I would be back in the saddle the day after but the bruises hurt enough on the day after to postpone. So, I mapped out a ride (for the day after the day after ) that would be less than 300 miles, start early and have me back home before the heat cooked me. Getting back on the bike is the best solution for me when tough times arrive. The day after a big event lends itself to taking stock in ones situation. Do you still want to ride ? Yes. What important lesson or lessons did you learn ? Stay focused and try to learn or train how not to freeze in a similar situation. Don’t take your attention off the task unless you are stopped. Reality Check: Honda is not going to call about that Moto-GP test rider position after all. James Bond typically deals with the aftermath of disaster differently. He holes up on a small Island in Tahiti with an awesome beach bar. Every night he drinks all contestants under the table, eats scorpions and takes a new winsome lass home. Of course no one knows his true identity. Hunks have it tough battling depression. Let’s see how I rate on the Bond scale. 1) I don’t drink a lot of alcohol...does sweet tea count ? 2) I’m afraid of scorpions ...won’t be eating any soon. 3) The winsome lass ( one night stand ) thing is a fading memory from the 1980s... 4) I’d rather be in the mountains breathing clean air ( and low speed crashing ) instead of the beach Based on those answers I might get to be a grip on the set if I’m lucky and hard pass on the fluffer job. My life has been spent trying to be cool because everyone likes cool. Because the cool guy gets chicks. Cool is a funny thing. You can’t really buy it ( although many try to ) . You have to be it. The same applies to the modern interpretation of swagger. I think ones actions in life establish who and what one is. I don’t want to be cool. I am cool if you can understand the subtlety of that. Cool as in comfortable in what I do and say with myself and others. That’s what cool means to me. Margarita-Ville Wasted away....and many can fill in the rest of that line. Something about salt shakers right ? What in the hell does this ( even obliquely) have to do with my current state of VFR purgatory ? Wait for it ...here it comes. In North and South Carolina we have a name for the scooters that DWI recipients are forced to ride. Liquor-sicles. Yes, this is a story about VFR pilot numero Uno ( me) vs a scooter. There I was....back in the saddle aboard my trusty albeit battle scarred VFR. This was not a challenging technical ride. This was a confidence- is- developed- by- jumping- back- in- ride. Not challenging didn’t mean that some curves wouldn’t be included. My route took me near the base of Hwy 181 outside of Morganton and not that far from the site of the last story. I was waiting at the intersection of Hwy 128 and Hwy 321 outside Lenoir. The plan was to cross 321 and continue straight to whatever the highway is named that goes though Colletsville on the way to 181. As I waited for cross traffic to clear, I noticed a scooter turn off of 321 onto the road I was about to travel. By the time I could cross, several cars filled the gap between me and the scooter. The scooter pilot seemed to be doing a good job staying to the right to allow the cars to pass. When my chance to pass came up we were in a few low speed turns with some sand and gravel so I waited. As I passed him I extended my left arm down and gave the universal rubber side down gesture. I also noticed a few details. The scooter rider ( from now on let’s refer to him as JB ) had on a dayglow orange shirt that said Deal’s Gap Hwy 129 The Dragon . Below the shirt he sported cargo shorts and his feet were encased in white rubber fishing waders. I should have known something was up. ATGATT All The Gear All The Time. NGMOTT None of the Gear Most of the Time. I started riding at 14. You had to wear a helmet in my sweet home Alabama but, that was about it. By the time I was riding a Gen 1 750 Interceptor in South Carolina I’d usually have on a helmet but, my tight budget would not allow for good gear like gloves ,jackets and boots. Those were the bass wee jun no-socks Miami Vice Days for those of you who are a certain age. When I could finally afford to go ATGATT I was all in. My weakness is Italian gear. It would seem there is no downside to being properly attired/protected while riding but there is. For some ( especially members of Genus Squidus ) seeing ATGATT is a challenge. This guy is wearing all this cool racer looking sh$$$t....let’s see if he ( or she ) has the goods. Combine too much cool gear with a bright red VFR that is not a Ducati and you’ve got yourself a combustible mixture just waiting for a bit of accelerant. I seem to be a magnet for challengers who want to know “Are You A Poseur ?” I don’t think JB was aboard a Liquor-sicle. After my friendly pass I noticed JB was not fading into the background. The road ahead was loaded with some tight turns,some blind,others with gravel and I had more familiarity riding this stretch of road in the opposite direction. Would I be up to the challenge ? My VFR can rock a corner. The suspension is not stock, Jamie Daugherty mods front and rear and the Metzeler Roadtec 1s were fresh. So if the bike handles good ( Great ) it’s all about what’s in the pilot’s head right ? Despite ( or because of ) the BRP humiliation being 48 hours old, I attacked the corners with my version of gusto and JB started falling back. Of course good things come to an end so around the next corner I encountered a slow moving local. Slow as in 10mph below the speed limit. JB started erasing my hard earned gap. The local didn’t block me for long and then I ripped a few long straights until there was no longer a small headlight in my mirror. JB was just a guy on a scooter wearing an interesting ensemble. What if he actually was an old 500GP factory test rider who never got called up to the show because he couldn’t kick his weaknesses of drinking beer and fly fishing ? Or maybe this VFR pilot sucks and is super slow. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. ‘Tis one thing to be able to brag about slaying a Porsche or Ferrari ( or a Camaro SS LE1 for that matter ) but, a scooter ? Life is but a dream. Being cool might just be about understanding that your ride doesn’t have to be a race if you don’t want it to be. Those bullets aimed at you just fall to the ground in front of your hand.
  8. I,m not going to chastise anyone for talking up the pushbike thing. Up to 5 years ago I split my time between bicycles and motorcycles. I got lazy. A fast descent on a tricky single track or on pavement can be as fun as riding challenging twisties like moonshiner. I wave at pretty much anything on 2 wheels and many pushbike riders wave back....except for my antagonists in the story of course. Pedal On !
  9. Thanks. It really bothered me for a bit that my bike was no longer perfect but, bodywork can be replaced. I was pretty lucky and it's hard to tell from the photos but the back of the bike was inches from a steep drop off. It could have been much worse.
  10. Less Than Zero I crashed my beautiful red VFR Friday July 3. It happened on the Blue Ridge Parkway and was witnessed by my friend Angel. I’m glad Angel was there because it was no small task to extract the bike from the brushy incline and wet grass. In fact a big thanks goes out to Angel, a Jeep Owner, and another kindly stranger who helped stop traffic whilst we muscled the VFR upright again. So, what happened ? Obviously a skilled experienced pilot such as myself ( ahem) must have faced some type of overwhelming technical challenge or a laser death ray straight out of 1950s comics. Nope. Nothing dangerously glamorous like watching my Moto-GP heroes crash at warp speed and fly through the air ( high side ) or slide on their backs ( low side ) like some Ninja Turtle. The TV crashes I like to watch have the rider slide, get up, and walk away uninjured. Sometimes there is fist shaking afterwards. My crash was like this. Turned onto the Parkway from Hwy 181. Headed North. Maybe ½ mile in. While accelerating past 35 mph glanced over at an overlook area. For whatever reason continued glancing backward ( No Hot Chicks just a Harley ) and when I returned my gaze to the road found myself to be on the far right edge. Instead of correcting my position to left of center I froze. Keith Code would refer to this as a Survival Reaction. The bike followed the right edge of the road into a conveniently located rut and onto wet grass. In less time than it takes to type this sentence, I was on the grass with the bike. Instead of impressing Angel with my wet grass sliding skills, recovering and getting back on the road, I went with plan B. The bike with me on board slithered left right and then flat onto the grass. Kerrr-Whump. I extricated myself from beneath the VFR and leapt to my feet, charged with adrenaline. Nothing seemed terribly amiss with me. The VFR lay on it’s right side with the front pointed towards the road and the rear ensnared in vines and grass. Two bicyclists happened upon the fresh crash scene. One of them made this inquiry ? “Is that ( my VFR lying on it’s side like a sick horse ) a Ducati ? “ No, it’s a Honda. I would have thought a more appropriate question would have been “Are You OK ?” but this apparently was not a Good-Samaritan cyclist, more like an Asshole-cyclist. Oh well. Earlier this year on a different ride I was temporarily stuck on the side of a country road ( close to home ) when an ( asshole ) cyclist said something along the lines of “Next Time Ride a Bike”. Perhaps they were related or this vitriol is something that cyclists have recently been taught to do. Hmmm. Having once avidly ridden pushbikes on and off road, I’m not sure if this was Karma at work. Not once in this life have I happened upon a crash scene ( on a bicycle ) and asked what make or model the crashed vehicle was in lieu of proffering assistance. You are supposed to offer assistance first then make any query s about vehicular pedigree afterwards. Example : “Hi Need any help” ? Later after the passengers are OK or properly attended to you can opine (as the vehicle is being pulled out of the brush)” I think it probably was a Porsche 930 Turbo because it left the road backwards”. I wrote earlier about different levels of messing up while on a ride. Let’s have a review of that list. Understand the limit: Keep riding and smiling. Lets call that a positive one ( +1 ) Misinterpret the limit: Varying degrees of not smiling... - 1; Momentarily crossing a double line on an empty road. Only you know you screwed up. - 2; Momentary crossing into oncoming traffic. Horn blowing and fist waving only. Traumatizing others is anti-social activity ! - 3; Whatever the mistake was, you find it necessary to pull off the road and while stopped, ponder the meaning of life and controlling what you can for 10 minutes. - 4; Running off the road, not hitting something, you are ok the bike is ok but, a change of underwear is advisable. - 5; Running off the road, hitting something , and rendering the bike unrideable while you remain ok. - 6; Like -5 except you require medical attention and EMS. - 13; Running out of room off the road and over a cliff never to be seen or heard of again. I understand this can/has occured at Deal’s Gap. On every ride my goal is to be +1 all the time. I have personally also experienced levels -1, -2,-3,-4 -4C -4Z. - 4C; Running off the road, hitting something, you are ok the bike is not ok but, you can still ride it home. As the result of the “off”, It may be missing body work or you may be riding with recovered damaged body work strapped to the bike. Change of underwear still advisable. -4Z; Running off the road ( Road Atlanta to be exact ) at a California Superbike School. You run off the track, dump the bike in Red Clay . The unfaired school- provided bike ( 600 Ninja ) is undamaged save for a slightly bent handlebar that gets straightened back at the pit. You don’t get to finish the session and What we have in this Blue Ridge Parkway situation sounds like a 4C. To get the bike pulled out of the tangles required a Jeep, a tow strap and three adults pushing and pulling in a somewhat co-ordinated fashion. After extracting the VFR and parking it on the right edge of the road, I thanked the Good Samaritans. The VFR in typical Honda fashion, started right up and idled fine. Angel wisely suggested that I slowly ride it back to the overlook and then check the damage. Damage assessment was as follows.There was a small dent on the gas tank, a crack in the right rear cowling, a bent fairing bracket ( left side ) and the left front lower fairing had some broken tabs along with copious amounts of fine North Carolina dirt packed everywhere. Apparently both sides(Left+Right fairing ) had seen traumatic force ...wished there had been a video or maybe not. This crash was a category 4C Light. My riding shorts were clean. No body parts were missing on the VFR or me. Guess the ride, now ruined, warranted turning tail and going straight home. Wrong answer. After this “break” in the action we continued with the original travel itinerary. North on the Parkway along the Lynn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain. Off the parkway to Blowing Rock via Hwy 221 which is normally a twisty excellent road but we were inconvenienced by some super slow pick up trucks that should have pulled over for us. Normally this situation would have been handled decisively but, I was a bit gun shy after my speedway worthy get off. Hwy 321 is the direct mostly straight and boring way home . My confidence started coming back which meant at several stop lights we exercised our machines briskly when the lights turned green. I of course needed to exceed 100mph to make sure all systems were properly functioning on the VFR. It was Angel’s first trip to the Parkway...hope he wasn’t too traumatized by my shenanigans. My previously pristine VFR now has some battlescars....and an even lower opinion of my riding ability. The next morning my right thigh was sore along with a few fingers , and my right forearm had a bruise similar to one from a beating I could have received from my Ex with an extension cord ( I took a picture but, you don’t need to see it... the bruise not the Ex ). Thank You to Dainese and the ATGATT concept. Embrace it. My goal when riding is to enjoy and not crash...or write about crashing later. In 9 years of SV650S ownership I never did. Have to go back to 2004 when I low-sided and pretty much destroyed cosmetically my 500 Interceptor. That was also a 4C. Rode it home with a bloody knee and a bruised shoulder and a twisted fork. Ride alert, watch the road. Don’t crash although grass, even wet grass, is preferable to asphalt. Ask me how I know. The Friday a week before I felt like a Hero as I “dabbed” in front of some digital cameras on the Dragon. Hero to less than Zero in the blink of an eye. A lucky zero. P.S.Not all bicycle riders are jerks either. Ok some might be.
  11. Empty Dragon +Good Weather= The Dream Shot !
  12. Hi, Thanks for checking my story. I'm lucky to have pretty good stuff less than 2 hours away. Southern Ohio has some incredible roads. I'll be there when all this Virus stuff plays out.
  13. Hero I rode my VFR to The Dragon and back on Friday. Round trip, door to door 525 miles and 11.5 hours. For motor enthusiasts worldwide the Dragon is a place of legend. 318 turns in an 11 mile stretch of asphalt that has no houses or side roads to distract from the task at hand. I feel fortunate to have a little history with this place. I first heard about The Dragon in the middle ‘80s. Someone was wearing a T Shirt with the inscription “I survived Deal’s Gap 318 Turns in 11 Miles”. WTF ? Where is this place ? I want to try it out ! One Sunday after encountering that shirt I drove my CRX from Chattanooga,TN to where I thought the Dragon was located. In typical male fashion I asked not ( for directions) and found not ( The Dragon ). Later after retreating empty handed, I learned that I was only a few miles from the lookout that marks the north end. Time passed . I moved from Chattanooga to Charleston. Then on to Ft Lauderdale and finally Charlotte. In 2000 I finally found myself ripping through all those turns for the first time in my Celica GTS. Aside from a Harley rider I talked to on the North end ( The Lookout ), the Dragon was empty. I would come to learn that having this place to oneself is a rare treat. I rode ( Dragoned ?) my Honda 500 Interceptor round trip sometime in October of 2001. The ride started at dawn ( in the cold ) and ended at dusk. The store parking lot where everyone congregates on the south end was packed. This store is home to the “Tree of Shame” where unlucky riders and drivers have bits and pieces of parts or gear ( from accidents on the dragon ) nailed to it. So far earning a place on the tree has eluded me. My personal gear on this trip reflected my evolving attitude towards PPE and the necessary funding to obtain it.My feet were shod with leather work boots. Soon I would own proper motorcycle boots. No more Penny loafers sans socks. My next round trip pilgrimage was aboard my Suzuki SV650S. On this particular cloudy Saturday traffic on the Dragon was light and I was able to ride the entire length aggressively. If I recall, Mother Nature served up a brutal thunder storm the last hour of the return ride home. Later I felt lucky to be in my garage soaked, mulling over the day’s fortunes and my sore back side. Planning a day trip can be fun. You pull out the map or maps, think about optimizing a route that minimizes traffic and maximizes fun on twisty roads. Look at distance, fuel tank capacity and gas stops. This could be a WW2 foray into Germany with Mustangs flying bomber cover....but it’s not. Ideally I want to ride the Dragon with a half empty tank of gas and fill up on the way home. My VFR has good range, over 250 miles in most cases. The final route I choose takes me out on back roads including Hwy 28 ( The Moonshiner ) and back on Hwy 74 and Interstate 40 . My trip started Friday at 0545. Garage door up, VFR rolled out and started. I’d already checked the air pressure, brake light, turn signals...all the normal preflight stuff. Thursday night’s internet showed the makings of a good day (Friday) with moderate chance of rain in the afternoon. The first 15 minutes of most rides I take require me to shake the cobwebs out of my brain and make sure that the interaction between me,the bike, and the surroundings are crisp. On some rides that confident feeling is instantaneous and on others it takes time. Weather was ideal, a bit chilly for the first 2 hours as I rode across Hwy 11 in SC , twisty 178 back into NC , and then Hwy NC64 into Highlands and Franklin. Moonshiner 28 starts outside Franklin and its freshly paved asphalt was a delight. Even with the occasional slower vehicle that had to be dispatched, the ride was fun. When everything comes together you’ll notice that idiotic involuntary grin or an occasional whoop to punctuate an especially tasty sequence of twists. “I just came from the Dragon and saw Tennessee Troopers bust 10 bikes at one time !” This revelation fresh out the mouth of a Honda ST rider I talked to at Fontana Dam. I’d occasionally heard stories about crack downs on the Tennessee side but, never had any personal dealings. NC Hwy 28 Intersects Hwy 129 at the store where all the motorcycles and cars congregate. At that moment of my arrival the small section of 129 that climbs past the store to the Tennessee state line was empty. I turned onto that road, nailed the gas and accelerated vigorously up the hill in front of the parked masses making glorious V4 music. It was my 5 seconds of fame. I was keenly aware that this display of bravado would be short lived. Upon crossing into the volunteer state I was greeted with 3 sights. 1) A parked TN State Trooper Tahoe ( Blue Lights Flashing ) 2) A freshly apprehended sport bike rider ( Repsol Leathers ) with a BMW GS TN trooper behind him ( Blue Lights Flashing ) 3) A speed limit sign. Posted speed 30 mph. Welcome to the Thunder dome. The last time I remember looking at the posted speed limit it was years ago and 55 mph. I’d always laugh because aside from a few short straight sections anyone would be hard pressed to exceed 40 mph in the overabundance of hairpin turns that make up the bulk of the Dragon. My ride from south to north was a low speed procession . I was behind 4 cruisers, a Triumph Speed Triple and a Grom. The police were seemingly everywhere. Damn. The return North to South was little better. Once again I was stuck behind 3 cruisers but, at least they were being ridden in (for them ) a spirited fashion. Dragon Photographers took a bad-ass picture of me doing a one handed dab. Not hard to do when you are probably going less than 30mph and mainly concerned about not hitting slow moving traffic in front of you. I took 28 back to 64. Fueled up outside Bryson City. Drank some gator-ade and gobbled down a sandwich during that stop then proceeded to smoothly and rapidly slab it back home. The first part of the trip was mainly 2 lane twistys. The last part divided 4 lane highway and interstate where the main challenge was not conspicuously speeding. Like Harrison Ford’s quip about “flying casually” to Chewbaca in Star Wars, the VFR maintains a vigorous pace with little perceived effort. If you aren’t diligent, triple digit speeds appear all too easily. Descending Black Mountain eastbound on I40 felt like dropping into Dante’s inferno. Soon enough I was back in my zip code. As I rolled the hot VFR into the cool garage I thought about the day’s excellent ride. Tennessee’s highway gestapo excepted, it had been exceptional. My bum didn’t even feel too bad. Thanks Sargent ! Thanks VFR. Many motor enthusiasts feel compelled to make a pilgrimage to the Dragon. Might I suggest planning a trip in the middle of the week? You don’t have to do a 500+ mile round trip like I did. Stay closer by and enjoy some local hospitality. Ride safe.
  14. Not gaining much weight but not a lot of smarts either !
  15. Power to Weight Labor Day weekend 1983 I rode my new 750 Interceptor to my Mother’s house in Alabama. On the return trip home, I had a fun encounter with a Ferrari 308. We were traveling East on I20 between Augusta,GA and Aiken,SC. Try as he might, the Ferrari was no match for the Interceptor’s roll on torque . I could hear the 308 downshift behind me and try to make a run for it. I’d just leave the bike in top gear ( no down shift ) and roll on the throttle from 75 mph up to 100. I maintained a 50 foot gap in front of the prancing horse and there was nothing he could do about it.This cycle repeated for about 10 miles until the risk of getting a ticket started to weigh in. Luckily SC law enforcement was taking a break at the time. It was good to be 26 years old and effortlessly humiliating a (insert your own word for arrogant driver here) in an Italian super car. Fast forward to the summer of 2018. I’m fresh off a 3 week epic ride from North Carolina to California and back . My gen 8 VFR has worn Bridgestones ( 7000+ mi ) and the suspension is feeling pretty tired too. A chance encounter with a Camaro SS leads to a roll on battle from a stoplight. We proceeded down the road around a corner and over a hill side by side. Around 100 mph and the shift from 4th to 5th gear I backed off and the SS forged ahead. From a power and weight perspective the two vehicles were much more closely matched. The other big factor was my 61 year old risk management system. It was much more conservatively programmed than that of me at 26... wearing loafers without socks. Choose your “conflicts” carefully. There are a slew of cages out there that have a surprising power to weight ratio,instant torque,good suspension,grippy tires and young kamikaze pilots. Some of them may not be wearing socks either. Power to Weight 1983 VF750 Interceptor 540 LBS. 1983 Rider with gear ( Helmet, Blue Jeans, Members Only Jacket, Bass Loafers...No Socks) 175 LBS Est 75 RWHP 540+175/75 = 9.53 LBS/HP Vs 1983 Ferrari 308 GTB 3000 LBS 1983 Driver with gear ( Calvin Klein Jeans, Members Only Jacket, Gucci Loafers,Silk Scarf ) 170 LBS Est 200 RWHP 3000+170/200 = 15.85 LBS/HP 2014 VFR Interceptor 540 LBS. 2020 Rider with gear ( Helmet,Dainese Boots,Gloves, Textile Jacket) 195 LBS Est 95 RWHP 540+195/95 = 7.73 LBS/HP Vs 2016 Camaro SS 1LE 3743 LBS 2016 Driver with gear ( Jeans, Under Armor compression shirt, Air Jordans, Steeler Nation Ball Cap ) 170 LBS Est 420 RWHP 3743+170/420 = 9.31 LBS/HP
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