Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are you kidding me?

My only job for this morning was to sleep.  I set my phone to ring at 9, just in case I set a personal record, but I was up at 6 and TIRED, but can't sleep.  I finally gave up and figured I'd get some things done early and take a nap later if I could.  Check out is 11, so I've got a chance. (riiiight...)

I'm becoming more aware of how much I have no idea what I'm doing.  Or how very rudimentary the skills I do have are.  Worried?  Nah, I'm not worried...  :/

So, I check the weather, cuz my clothes still aren't dry.
Yeah...all that green stuff on the right side?  Hoagy calls it liquid sunshine.

When I decided that the new helmet I got didn't have enough road time for me to bring it and be sure I'd be comfortable, I grabbed my old helmet. The GoPro camera mount is there, so maybe I'll play with that this week.  I asked the folks I saw the day I left to sign it.
You go, girl, Come back in one piece. -Matt  and Rock on. - Tj
Have a blast & a safe trip. -Kelly C, Oz and Gavin  and I am the green Fairy - Jon :)

Safe travel - Paul F.  and Here's to miles of smiles! -Ron and Barbara and a note to self, just in case.

So, I should go get dressed and work on my list, huh?  Wish me luck!  (and a nap)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Getting There: The BitE Rally Hotel

Well, after realizing I had waaaay more time than I thought I did to get where I'm going, I got more relaxed about where I was stopping on the way.

After leaving the casino in Charles Town, WV, last night I aw a sign that said Front Royal and realized I might be passing a friend's house, so I called to see if we could get together.
The view behind the Denny's... where I'm going to go ride later.

Ron and Barbara were able to meet me at Denny's for breakfast. 
Ron and Barbara P.

We spent an hour catching up and then they went off to do their thing and I looked up Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Parks.

This was the first of two 'yard crawls' I got stuck in today. 

The whole town agreed to have yard sales on the same day.  Traffic nightmare!

 I hit Ceder Creek and the woman there was great and showed me the new library and gave me some background.

Two miles to get to park hq from the visitor center and after I missed it (7718 1/2 Main St?  Come on! Get a sign!)

I decided to jump back on 81 and get to Skyline Drive.
Saw this on the way out of town.

I stopped at a visitor's center just before skyline drive's entrance and the guy there was tremendously sweet and helpful.  I was there for a little while while we talked and he gave me all kinds of info.  He loaded me up with state maps when I answered his question about why I was in the area.

I got to use my National Parks Pass to get into the park.  I love that thing. :)

Skyline Drive was lovely.  I only did the Northern section.  I didn't have 4 hours to tool around today, but definitely enjoyed the 1 1/2 hours I was there.

Having the gps with me was nice.  Knowing what was around the next corner and what kind of turn I was looking at was reassuring.  Not that at 35 there was much to worry about.  Fun to see the elevation change, too.

It was much less crowded today than when Charles R. and I drove it to get to Dr. Dave's Remedy Run a couple years ago.  I had the place mostly to myself.

One of the other motorcycles that was enjoying the park today in the distance.

It drizzled a little here and there, but nothing serious.

The guy at the VC had told me about the Hazzard Homecoming.  Apparently a bunch of the Dukes of Hazzard cast are in town for a festival of sorts.  There's also an Andy Griffith connection nearby.
Hazzard Homecoming sign.

Where I exited the park.

Really, teh whole day was an uneventful ride.  Not much to say about the scenery.  Looks like home except the roadside growth was taller and more rugged looking than home.  Otherwise, not much of particular interest through VA.  Saw some kitschy stuff, of course.

I laughed at this cuz I see it at SSA all the time, but have never seen it out in the real world.

Social Security billboard

Yogi bear and the sign for his campground.

The Luray Zoo.  you can't see the enormous gator head hiding behind the dinosaur.

The weather report this morning in the hotel had warned me about the scattered storms today.  So far, it hasn't been too bad.
The weather threatened rain on and off.

I stopped at Outlanders when I saw it, cuz there had been some billboards earlier.  It's a bike/ATV/Skate shop, apparently.

As soon as I got off the bike, Lewis was there saying 'hi' and inviting me to the fundraiser down the hill.  That explained the 12 or 15 bikes and the crowd I saw when I pulled in.  He introduced me to the Buffalo Soldiers and the gentleman they were raising money for.  All really nice and a couple of the guys and I chatted for a half hour or so before I checked out the shop.

All-wooden motorcycles were on display around the shop.

$25!  A steal, I thought.

The off-road side and one of the many animals mounted around the store.

Not that I care for the skulls, particularly, but the paint job was incredible!

 I'm working on Smoke Chasers '11, too, so I figure I might as well collect some BBQ joints in VA while I'm here.  We'll see if there are any others this week!
I was trying to get to the buffet meeting at 630, so passed on Smiley's BBQ.

Both Smiley's and Three Little Pigs were listed on the exit food signs.  If they're close enough to be listed, I figure they're a pretty easy on/off to get.

I did pick up some Vinegar BBQ here.  It was ok.  It was ok.  A little dry, I thought and some of the pieces were crunchy-dry.

Finally, North Carolina!

And Statesville!

I got to the early bird dinner at 640 and had fun chatting with the riders and the Rally masters.  BBQ and fried chicken with mashed potatoes on the menu.  I was starving and glad to sit and eat in good company.  I took off at 8 to try to get my act together.

I'd seen another BBQ place listed on the same exit as the hotel when I pulled in earlier, so before I went to the hotel, I stopped for my 3rd VA BBQ place.

I stayed here for a minute to find a hotel.  The one I'd spotted from the highway earlier was available and turns out to share a parking lot with JR's.  I don't know if anyone else is familiar with JR's, but AM, Jon and Matt:  I'm going to JR's tomorrow!!

The view from my hotel room.

So, here's the bottom line:  ok, except that i didn't turn it off when i got to the hotel, so the total time and time stopped are over by a little more than 2 hours.
Double yesterday's miles and still nothing compared to what some folk will be riding this week!

The hotel is ok.  David, who checked me in, was great and the room is fine.  The bathroom leaves a little to be desired.  And, on the ride today I discovered that a drink didn't like the heat, perhaps, and had leaked through it's still closed pop top...into my bag of clothes, of course.  I knew something was wrong at Smiley's when I picked it up and it was half empty.  So, I got to spend lots of time in the shower trying to rinse it out of my clothes.  Now Every light in the room is draped with something.  If I NEED a dryer tomorrow there's a laundromat across the street in the JR's strip.  Of course,

 So, I've been messing with my blog instead of changing out my headlight bulbs, deleting SD cards for the rally photos, checking my camera, charging batteries...blah, blah, blah, so I have a list of things to do tomorrow before the 11 am check in and the 430 mandatory meeting and dinner.   I doubt laundromat will get checked off the list.

Friday, August 12, 2011

If I ever get out the door... the BitE Rally.

Hi, All,

If you're getting this mail, then, for some reason, I think you might be interested in following my next trip.  If I'm wrong about that, just respond and I take you off the next trip list. :)  Please send to anyone else you think might be interested, I know I obscured the recipient list, so you'll have to guess. :)

Ok, so this time 'round I'm doing my 1st multiday rally.  Ok, so the real 1st rally was, like, 36 hours, but I'm not counting that even though it's technically longer than a day.  This one is 5 days and anything East of the Mississippi is fair game.
Now, i'm competitive, personally, but realistically, i haven't got a chance in hades with the group in riding with. :)  Some of them have spent more for equipment for their bikes, than I spent on my house.  There is a 'hopeless' class on some rallies, but that's for 45 year old Nortons or 125cc scooters, etc.  Folks may laugh at them, but it comes with a certain amount of respect for the cajones required to make a serious attempt on something like that.  My bike is a 2010 cruiser with bags.  I'll have a gps and my spot tracker.  I might get laughed at...sans respect.  No, not really, but you know how we humans are...  sometimes, I know not very often, but just sometimes, we're judgemental.  Every once in a while we see something that doesn't fit our expectations and the voice in your head goes, "pfft, yeah, right."  sometimes you might even say it out loud.  That's about where I think I am. :)

So, while I'll still put several thousand miles on the bike and do my damnedest not to be bottom 5 (again), there's a certain freedom to riding with no expectation of winning.  And that's about where I think I am, too.

So, I'll be leaving today, hopefully, to head to Georgia for the start. 
The spot link is

the blog link is
I still haven't caught up from the last trip, so i have no idea if I'll post anything till i'm back, but there you go.

ok, so it's 230 and i haven't left yet, so I probably missed some folks...forward away! 

My first posts will probably be 'what I forgot to pack'. :)

Thank you for your support!!  :D joanne

BitE trip Day 1

Oh, my.

I had planned on leaving by noon today.

That didn't happen.

I had some things to take care of before I left, plus run around and find all the things I can't live without on a bike trip, but never use.

This is what I want to get on the bike.  About a third of that is bike stuff.  Air pump, bungy net, tire repair kit, rain gear, etc.  the dog didn't make the cut and the clothes are on the right.  Bare bones in the clothing dept! 

Desperately trying to finish the email I started 4 days ago.
I went through some email and made sure that I'd gotten caught up, for the most part.

Rear wheel with 7k on it.
Front wheel with 7k on it.

I finally got out of the house at 4.  Once I left the house I stopped at Tj's to drop off some paperwork.  So, finally on the road at 430.  Ok, well, not really, cuz I'm gonna stop at Jon's to say goodbye and return a charger he lent me last week.   Get to Jon's at 5.  Didn't have the power cord.  Leave at 530.  Just in time for rush hour.  And the setting sun.  But the backups didn't last very long and we moved along pretty well.

At about 6, I stopped for food.  My choices at this exit were McD's and a chinese buffet.  Yes, I was tempted, but decided to go with the chain.  A happily uneventful meal and I was back on the road.

I was very proud of myself for not stopping at Harper's Ferry NP

 I took 70W to 81S which puts you spitting distance from Charles Town Races and Slots.  The gps said that the distance to get there would add a whole minute to my route.  Of course, I also lost an hour and $45, but it was a good break from having the setting sun in my eyes constantly and I was able to down a couple glasses of water while I was there not winning anything, so I guess it wasn't a total loss.

On my way out a guy noticed my gear and we started talking bikes.  Al had won the money to buy his last bike.  A ridiculous story of winning hefty amounts over and over...  I was a bit envious, to be sure.

The very ledge where 2 years ago I'd left my tracking phone the week before I was supposed to leave for a cross country trip. 

 When I left the casino, the last of the color in the sky was fading and I didn't have to squint!  I wanted to make another hour or two before finding a hotel to stop at.  It was chilly when I left and I regretted not putting on another layer. 

I saw several things that caught my attention pretty quick:

A sign for Front Royal made me think I might pass Ron and Barbara's place, so I stoppped at the next turn off to call them.  Remarkable, they were up.  And are able to meet for breakfast tomorrow!  I got directions to a Denny's we'd meet at at 830 and got moving again.  And regretted not putting on another layer.  again.

On the way, I saw signs for a Nat'l Battlefield as well as for Skyline Dr.  I was considering how much time I might have for flower sniffing and thought it might be worth a little back tracking in the morning...  10 mins later I pull into the Denny's find out that the hotels on this exit are $100+ and take Matt's advice on the Super 8 less than 4 miles away.  Even though it's north of where I am. :/

When I get there she quotes me something higher than Matt found online.  I asked for the least expensive room for me for one night.  She offers a room where the tv is broken and has a discounted rate, since the internet is down and may not be updating Travelocity.

When I get to the room, the first thing I do is turn on the tv. Check!  It works.

Then I pull out the computer to test the internet. Check, too!  Awesome.  Now to heat up a microwave meal from the saddlebags, shower, do a couple things here and there and get some sleep!!!

So.  An impressive 127 miles today.  At this rate I don't know If I'll make it from the starting point to the checkpoint before the deadline. lol.