DG2K - By Wes
April 24, 2000

Well it was a long, mostly cold and occasionally wet weekend (although for 
the Alabama folks it's only going to get worse).  I got home about 10 pm, 
having left Robbinsville NC at about 10 am.  From leaving my driveway on 
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 me on 
Thursday, heading for my friend's house just outside Raleigh NC.  I took 
I95 south past Richmond, then got on US1 south the rest of the way to 
Raleigh.  The "old" highway system is just a great way to see the 
country.  I had one weird moment where I thought something was up.  I'm 
going down US1, no cars in front of me or behind me but hundreds of cars in 
bumper-to-bumper non-moving traffic headed North.  I'm thinking tornado, 
hurricane, forest fire, something, but whatever it is they're escaping and 
I'm headed right for it at 70 mph.  Turns out it was a really bad accident 
on I85 and I was seeing the detour traffic.  Spent the night at my buddy's 
house in Cary NC, went to Home Depot with him to help him pick out his new 
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 in more 
traffic from construction.  Mike got us off the interstate and onto the 
Blue Ridge Parkway, which we took the rest of the way into 
Asheville.  Unfortunately, there was a hellacious fog that froze us up 
quickly and made it a sincere joy to reach the end of the ride.  Eric was 
already at the hotel in Asheville; Torque, Sheree, and Greg soon 
arrived.  We shot the breeze for a while and decided against waiting for 
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.  We returned 
to the hotel just as the others arrived, chilled and tired out by the same 
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.  Good biscuits 
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 Ridge 
Parkway and within the hour we were again in the fog.  The big difference 
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 ride into 
Robbinsville was actually quite OK.  We rode through the Cherokee 
reservation and some fairly twisty road passed beneath us before we found 
the Crossroads of Time gas station/motel/camping/staging area at the NC 
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 left 
over from the night before, all interest in continued riding for the day 
dissipated.  Tony and Merlin disappeared on a beer-and-something-else run 
and by the time they returned, the rest of us were contentedly drinking and 
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 with 
more bullshitting, beer drinking (or whiskey on the parts of K and Tony), 
and some other stuff I can't tell you about.

Sunday -- we slept in and didn't get rolling until about 10 am.  Greg 
headed for home early to avoid impending rain in Alabama and Torque & 
Sheree eschewed the Gap for the same reason, heading home after the rest of 
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.  Passed a 
jeep along the way and some crazed weirdo in a car that was making all his 
turns in the wrong lane.  I got to the meeting point at the bottom of the 
Gap on the TN side, waited about 5 minutes and decided I was in the wrong 
meeting spot, so I headed back to another pull-off a couple miles back up 
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 (the Gap 
road) into Knoxville and I40 east.  Eric left us at I140 to head home and 
hopefully not get too wet along the way.  At the first gas stop after we 
got on I40, Mark, K, and I decided to keep on since we all wanted to get 
home.  I left first and haven't seen any of the others since!  No...Mark & 
K were going to take I40 back to Raleigh.  I took I81 up past Roanoke and 
got on US11 just north of Buena Vista VA.  US340 to Waynesboro, then I64 to 
Charlottesville.  US29, I66, and the Fairfax County Parkway got me to 
Braddock Road, which is just about home.

Did I mention it was 1340 miles?  And a lot of fun?  Nobody crashed and 
nobody's bikes broke down.  Not even K's Harley!

--"secretariat" wes

  Click here for Photos by Wes

By Ron Harris

DG2K started out really great.  Guy and I were to meet in Binghamtom and we
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 ridden many
miles together.

Timing was almost perfect with our meeting up with Marc, Barbara and Tony.
Wow, what a great start.  We rode into Virginia and settled down for a
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 ones thrown
in.  Sat morning we began out trek to Robbinsville.  Some difficult riding
on the BRP.  Fog and cold put a damper on the ride.  Temperatures dropped to
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.  My starting
problems began with some longer cranks and 2-3 attempts.  I knew I would
have to look into it when I got home.

We rode thru Cherokee and on to Robbinsville.  We stopped at the Crossroads
of Time  Motel at Deal's Gap.  Most of us bought Tee Shirts, completing the
purpose of most rides.  It was decided to wait until the next day (Sunday)
to ride The Dragon.

Spent a wonderful Sat afternoon at the Phillips Motel.  Such good fellowship
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 me.
The bike got going and we were off.  We each rode the Dragon in our own
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
day before.

So it is time to head for home, the trip is on the second half from this
point on.  We head for Knoxville to pick up the roads to I-81 and the
highway home.  Rode for a few hours and stopped for lunch at the TR Auto
Truck Plaza in Dandridge, TN.  We enjoyed our lunch and got ready to get
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 bike, this
guy on a Harley comes over to ask if he could be of any assistance.  It
bothered me that this outsider on a Harley was witnessing a Wing with
trouble.  I thought that things should have been reversed with a Harley
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 bike if

I called HRCA and was told that because it was Easter Sunday they could not
get a tow for me until the following morning.  Great news, and Guy, Marc,
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.  I especially
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).  Tom
certainly is one.  This man stops what ever he is doing and takes on my
cause.  He appears with a trailer being pulled by his 2 seat Mercedes.  We
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 knew
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 so grateful.
I settled down to wait for Monday.

Monday:  I call HRCA and they arranged a tow for me to Honda of Knoxville.
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 in the
corner.  They had a beautiful huge service area, but they mostly were
putting chrome on Harleys.  I didn't have high expectations.  They were very
accommodating and did their best.  They got the bike running,  but didn't
know what they did to get it running.  They said I had an intermittent short
in the on-board computer and replacement cost were $2100.  I told them I
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 I got
on my Cordura clothes to get started in the pouring rain.  And it was
pouring.  But I was on the way home.  I had all intentions of riding
non-stop so I didn't have to shut off the motor.  I knew that Honda (Spelled
Harley) of Knoxville hadn't fixed anything.  In all fairness to them, my
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 I was
filling up and I had the same problem. It wouldn't start.  Fucked again.  I
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 the computer.
I screwed with the bike and it acted up again.  This time I got the error
code and it pointed to a device called the Crankshaft Angle sensor.  This
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 pull off
most of the plastic, the radiator, the timing belt covers and then it is
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, a $523
repair.  But Gary put plenty of time into the bike and I was stuck.  What
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, around 45
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.  Fog
lifts, and I am back up to hiway speed.  Temp climbs to 50 degrees.  And at
1:10PM on Thurs, I pull in my driveway.  Only 72 hours late.  Good to be

Some notes:

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.

Ron Harris
86 GL1200SEi
Groton, NY

Ride Safe and Prosper

| Return |