Vita Rara: A Life Uncommon

North Carolina

Part VIII: Blue Ridge Parkway


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August 27, 2003: BRP Part I

Today I hauled myself back to the mountains. It's good to be back. I took NC-215 south from Canton to where I had entered the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP) on the 18th and ridden south. Today I would start riding north on the BRP. As the ride has evolved I decided I wanted to ride the whole BRP in the course of the trip. When I was headed south on I-81 to meet at Deals Gap I was tempted to head for the parkway. I'm glad I didn't. The BRP takes time to appreciate. It's long, it's scenic, it's special. I'm glad I gave it time. I could have given it more.

Well, the part of NC-215 north of the parkway is nice once you get out of the flat lands. It rises up to meet the parkway in nice s-curves and switchbacks. I touched down the fairing again. I've cranked up the suspension, looks like I need to add a few more turns yet. The road surface here is great. I really like this road. I haven't heard anyone else mention it. Go ride it if you're in NC. It's worth it.

Part IV: Sittin' On Top of the World


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August 18, 2003: Out and About in NC

This was my day to relax a little and take my time, or so I thought. I headed out US-64 from Franklin past Highlands, NC to NC-215 north to the Blue Ride Parkway back towards Cherokee, NC, then I took NC-441 south back to home base in Franklin, NC.

Well, Shawn, Lone_RT_Rider had described US-64 as a forty mile long Deals Gap. He had taken it to our rendezvous point on Sunday in Franklin. In the difficulty of its corners I didn't find it was quite The Dragon, but in its relentless mile after mile of twisties that were a bit more suited to the RT it was a more enjoyable road. The only draw backs were the traffic, which by and large pulled off to let me through, and the occasional town that had to be droned through.

Part III: Tail of the Dragon and Cherohala Skyway


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Sunday, August 17, 2003: Rendezvous and Ride

We planned to meet in Franklin, NC at 10:00 AM and head to Deals Gap. I arrived at the rendezvous point and Chris K and Mark Davis (madavis) were there waiting, and shortly Shawn (Lone_RT_Rider) appeared. Four RT's from three states, two from Georgia, one from Detroit, MI and mine from Troy, NY. Just a typical BMW group as someone pointed out.

We head north on NC-28. This was my second ride on it. Chris and Shawn went first, followed by myself and Mark. Chris and Shawn quickly disappear when we hit the twisties. Ride my ride. I'm maintaining what I think is a brisk pace, but nothing like what those guys are maintaining. I have a lot to learn. The whole day taught me that. The RT will lean farther then I'm comfortable with at this point. I intellectually know there is a long way to go, but I get to a certain point and I think I've reached the limits. I think some of this is left over from my days of riding my Yamaha V-Star cruiser. That bike would drag pegs at a very slight lean angle. Looks like it's time to work in the parking lot and find the bikes limits.

Part II: Woe! Curves!


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Friday, August 15, 2003: The Long Haul

I'm not a real morning person. So, in planning the riding day either I had to leave real early to miss rush hour in Harrisburg, PA, or sleep in a little and sail through after the rush. Sleep in. That was easy. This is going to be my big day. By calculation on Yahoo! Maps it is 885 miles portal to portal. I have 250 under my belt, so I think maybe I can complete the ride this day. I've never really run this hard before, so I'll take it as it comes. Well 500 miles or so of slab later I'm in Bristol, VA, about five miles from the TN border.

Today marks my arrival in the south. As I crossed into MD from PA there were the typical welcome signs, then a bit further down the road were the signs for the Mason Dixon line. I find it interesting the symbolism that attaches itself to this line. My real introduction to the south though was the delightful waitress at the restaurant in Bristol. Southerners really know hospitality. Did I mention that I love The South?

Return to Sanity Tour - 2003


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In August and September of 2003 I took my first long motorcycle ride. In March of 2003 I purchased a 1999 BMW R1100RT. My only previous motorcycle was a Yamaha V-Star 650 custom cruiser.

In 2002 I started reading a BMW sport touring discussion board BMWST.com. This story was originally posted on that site in about 18 parts, as I edited them for posting. I wrote this story as I travelled, then edited it and posted it on the BMWST.com site.

Please enjoy this tale. It was a transformative ride for me. My life gained a new focus and has been interesting s

Delivery is Tough Work


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I posted the following on the BMWST.com website in August of 2004. Enjoy!

Last week was pretty amazing. Actually the past month has been pretty amazing. I offered my friend Sylva a ride on the RT at the beginning of July, and it went very well. As a friend of mine said, "motorcycle magic."

Anyway, Sylva did so well on her first ride on July 3rd that I asked her if she'd like to ride to TN with me to deliver my friends GL1100 Goldwing to their new home. Happily Sylva accepted. She's a true trooper.

Here's our mighty steed sitting next to the RT in the garage:

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