|DG2K - By Wes
April 24, 2000
Well it was a long, mostly cold and occasionally wet weekend (although
the Alabama folks it's only going to get worse). I got home about
having left Robbinsville NC at about 10 am. From leaving my driveway
Thursday to coming back to it tonight was a round-trip of 1340 miles...and
I think I have the *least* amount of everybody that went.
Who was there? 12 folks & 12 bikes.
Merlin & Barb (both on Shadows) from NY
Tony Mag (Royal Star) from NJ
The Salty Rons (Gold Wing) from NY
Guy (Shadow) from NY
Torque (Royal Star) & Sheree (Virago) from AL
Greg (Shadow) a non-lister from AL
Mike Hodges (Shadow) & his friend K (Sportster) from NC
Eric (Nomad) from TX
and me (Wes -- Bandit) from VA
I don't know about the others, but I had a blast. It started for
Thursday, heading for my friend's house just outside Raleigh NC.
I95 south past Richmond, then got on US1 south the rest of the way
Raleigh. The "old" highway system is just a great way to see
country. I had one weird moment where I thought something was
going down US1, no cars in front of me or behind me but hundreds of
bumper-to-bumper non-moving traffic headed North. I'm thinking
hurricane, forest fire, something, but whatever it is they're escaping
I'm headed right for it at 70 mph. Turns out it was a really
on I85 and I was seeing the detour traffic. Spent the night at
house in Cary NC, went to Home Depot with him to help him pick out
air compressor and nail gun thingie. It was his birthday.
Friday -- met Mark & K at a McD's on US64 in Apex NC. Went
West on US64,
fought some traffic & construction for a while but it opened up
eventually. Got on I40 west near Mocksville (?) and got stuck
traffic from construction. Mike got us off the interstate and
Blue Ridge Parkway, which we took the rest of the way into
Asheville. Unfortunately, there was a hellacious fog that froze
quickly and made it a sincere joy to reach the end of the ride.
already at the hotel in Asheville; Torque, Sheree, and Greg soon
arrived. We shot the breeze for a while and decided against waiting
the NE Contingent(TM) to arrive before we ate. Sheree let the
fat guy pick
the restaurant and I found a good one if I do say so myself.
to the hotel just as the others arrived, chilled and tired out by the
fog that Mike, K, and I had ridden through. They ordered pizza
and the 12
of us proceeded with the slinging of bullshit and the downing of beers.
Saturday -- early rising & breakfast at the Kountry Kitchen.
I guess (I had raisin toast). Even Tony joined us for b'fast,
so we didn't
have to do anything to his bike. Torque led us back to the Blue
Parkway and within the hour we were again in the fog. The big
between Friday's fog and Saturday's fog was that Saturday's fog was
accompanied by face-stinging ice blowing off trees and snow on the
ground. Along the way somebody mentioned that it was only 30
degrees. Everybody made it off the mountain and the rest of the
Robbinsville was actually quite OK. We rode through the Cherokee
reservation and some fairly twisty road passed beneath us before we
the Crossroads of Time gas station/motel/camping/staging area at the
base of Deal's Gap. We went to the hotel in R'ville to check
in and there
was some talk of running the Gap before dark. Once we ate our
fill at the
next-to-the-hotel restaurant, though, and started drinking the beer
over from the night before, all interest in continued riding for the
dissipated. Tony and Merlin disappeared on a beer-and-something-else
and by the time they returned, the rest of us were contentedly drinking
enjoying the sun that emerged as soon as we had stripped off our riding
gear and decided to stay in for the night. The evening was filled
more bullshitting, beer drinking (or whiskey on the parts of K and
and some other stuff I can't tell you about.
Sunday -- we slept in and didn't get rolling until about 10 am.
headed for home early to avoid impending rain in Alabama and Torque
Sheree eschewed the Gap for the same reason, heading home after the
us headed back to the Crossroads of Time. I was chomping at the
bit to get
my Bandit through the Gap, so I left the others behind and
went. Fun? That's like saying "Yeah, sex is OK. But
just OK. I
guess." It was beyond fun. 318 curves in 11 miles.
I kept my Bandit in
2nd gear the whole time, kept the revs over 4000 and just went.
jeep along the way and some crazed weirdo in a car that was making
turns in the wrong lane. I got to the meeting point at the bottom
Gap on the TN side, waited about 5 minutes and decided I was in the
meeting spot, so I headed back to another pull-off a couple miles back
the run. I passed Eric coming down and then decided I wasn't
wrong in the
first place and turned around. He was coming back up after me,
so we went
on to the bottom to wait for the others, who straggled in
eventually. Kudos to Barb for off-roading and not wiping out
like the guy
on the ST1100 did back at the Crossroads. We continued on US129
road) into Knoxville and I40 east. Eric left us at I140 to head
hopefully not get too wet along the way. At the first gas stop
got on I40, Mark, K, and I decided to keep on since we all wanted to
home. I left first and haven't seen any of the others since!
K were going to take I40 back to Raleigh. I took I81 up past
got on US11 just north of Buena Vista VA. US340 to Waynesboro,
then I64 to
Charlottesville. US29, I66, and the Fairfax County Parkway got
Braddock Road, which is just about home.
Did I mention it was 1340 miles? And a lot of fun? Nobody
nobody's bikes broke down. Not even K's Harley!
Click here for
Photos by Wes
By Ron Harris
DG2K started out really great. Guy and I were to meet in Binghamtom
were within 5 minutes of each other. Great timing. It was
wonderful to see
him again after a winter's forced break from riding. We have
Timing was almost perfect with our meeting up with Marc, Barbara and
Wow, what a great start. We rode into Virginia and settled down
deserved night's rest. Next day, on to Asheville, NC to meet
up with the
rest of the crew. Did about 175 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Spectacular road, great riding.
Nice, 12 bikes. Most of the faces were familiar with a few new
in. Sat morning we began out trek to Robbinsville. Some
on the BRP. Fog and cold put a damper on the ride. Temperatures
32 degrees. Ice on branches and a rolling fog, so dense that
we had a hard
time following the bike directly in front . Really difficult.
problems began with some longer cranks and 2-3 attempts. I knew
have to look into it when I got home.
We rode thru Cherokee and on to Robbinsville. We stopped at the
of Time Motel at Deal's Gap. Most of us bought Tee Shirts,
purpose of most rides. It was decided to wait until the next
to ride The Dragon.
Spent a wonderful Sat afternoon at the Phillips Motel. Such good
and spirits. To me, that was the highlight of the trip.
It started going
downhill for me the next morning.
Easter Sunday, time to run the Dragon and head for home. I had
a tough time
getting my bike started. Tony offered his support and battery to help
The bike got going and we were off. We each rode the Dragon in
style. I took it real slow. Others pressed. Eric
was practically pushing
me so I let him pass me. I think he wanted to blow me away and
I ruined it
for him. His riding has vastly improved since I saw him last
year. He has
a 1500 Vulcan. I like the bike. He even gave me a chance
to ride it the
So it is time to head for home, the trip is on the second half from
point on. We head for Knoxville to pick up the roads to I-81
highway home. Rode for a few hours and stopped for lunch at the
Truck Plaza in Dandridge, TN. We enjoyed our lunch and got ready
back on the bikes. Well that was where my fun started.
The Wing would not
start. Had fuel, but no spark. I'm fucked.
But luck was on my side somewhat. While we were messing with my
guy on a Harley comes over to ask if he could be of any assistance.
bothered me that this outsider on a Harley was witnessing a Wing with
trouble. I thought that things should have been reversed with
down. This guy turns out to be a guardian angel. He gives
Tony his card
with home and cell phone numbers and offers to trailer the stricken
I called HRCA and was told that because it was Easter Sunday they could
get a tow for me until the following morning. Great news, and
Barbara and Tony had to get going. They could not do anything
to help me
from this point. I was tough for me to see them leave.
It was obvious they
were upset with leaving me behind and for that I was touched.
was saddened to see Guy leave. But it had to be. Tony had
give me the card
that this Harley rider had given him so I called him. His name
is Tom. I
told him the situation and asked if I could get the tow he offered
to get me
and my bike to a motel where I could wait till morning.
Some people are what is known as a mench (Not sure of spelling).
certainly is one. This man stops what ever he is doing and takes
cause. He appears with a trailer being pulled by his 2 seat Mercedes.
load the bike and he even offers to have me stay at his house.
If I wasn't
so depressed and not feeling like being social, I might have, but I
HRCA would pick up all my expenses, so I declined. I felt he
had gone way
above and beyond. He got me to safety and for that I am ever
I settled down to wait for Monday.
Monday: I call HRCA and they arranged a tow for me to Honda of
The bike gets loaded on a flatbed truck and proceed to the Honda dealer.
When we get there, it is a Harley dealer with a few Hondas stuffed
corner. They had a beautiful huge service area, but they mostly
putting chrome on Harleys. I didn't have high expectations.
They were very
accommodating and did their best. They got the bike running,
know what they did to get it running. They said I had an intermittent
in the on-board computer and replacement cost were $2100. I told
would drop a match in the tank before I put that much money into another
computer. I knew that the computers were bulletproof. I
paid the $140 for
the attempt and got started on my journey home.
You should have seen the looks I was getting from the Harley guys as
on my Cordura clothes to get started in the pouring rain. And
pouring. But I was on the way home. I had all intentions
non-stop so I didn't have to shut off the motor. I knew that
Harley) of Knoxville hadn't fixed anything. In all fairness to
intermittent problem went away so the bike was running fine for them.
Sometime into the trip I had to get gas. The bike stalled when
filling up and I had the same problem. It wouldn't start. Fucked
am in this gas station somewhere. It is pouring and I am
really pissed. I
let it cool, and it fired. I'm back on the wet road again.
I ride out the
tank of gas and now it is about 9PM.
By fate, I pull off this exit in Harrisonburg VA, and there is a Honda
Dealer right there. I say I will spend the night here and if
I have any
problems in the morning, I am near help. This turned out to be
a good move
for me. The following morning, the bike started fine. It
warmed up so I
shut it down while I did my last packing. That was it.
It wouldn't start,
same problem. But help was across the street named Blue
Ridge Power Sports.
I actually got towed across the street and met Gary Mork, the Service
Manager. He started going over the bike with me. But the
bike was starting
OK at this point. He showed me how to read the error codes on
I screwed with the bike and it acted up again. This time I got
code and it pointed to a device called the Crankshaft Angle sensor.
tells the computer the position of the crank and aids in the ignition
timing. It was intermittent. Good news, we had an answer.
The bad part was that the sensor is buried in the motor. Gotta
most of the plastic, the radiator, the timing belt covers and then
right there. And the part was not in stock. Had to fly
it in next day air.
A day of waiting. When the engine is apart, it pays to do routine
maintenance, so we change the timing belts also. Bottom line,
repair. But Gary put plenty of time into the bike and I was stuck.
the hell, that's the breaks.
UPS Next Day Air got the part to Gary around 2:30 PM. By 6PM I
am on the
road. By 7PM, it is raining again. I ride to 11PM and have
to get off the
road because I am getting blinded by the truck sprays. Also cold,
degrees. I hunker down in a hotel in Fracksville, PA
Thurs AM; Temperature 40 degrees and dense fog. But the
bike starts fine
and I am off. Can only do 40 MPH and follow a truck for an hour.
lifts, and I am back up to hiway speed. Temp climbs to 50 degrees.
1:10PM on Thurs, I pull in my driveway. Only 72 hours late.
Good to be
Don't think I'll ever pass a stopped bike again.
Cordura did a good job keeping me dry.
Always pack an extra sweater.
Belonging to Honda Riders Club of America (HRCA) is a must.
Ride Safe and Prosper