Duc Tourismo through North Carolina

  Now that I have a Tourismo Motorcycle, I needed to go to the mountains and unknown roads and scenes of another state. Lots of motorcyclists talk about "The Tail of the Dragon" in NC and Tennessee. That's just many several hundred miles from me, with much of it on the Blue Ridge Parkway. And given that I would be on a Sport Tourismo motorcycle, I figured I would get lots of exercise at the same time.

  Click for a Larger Image Here is the machine all loaded and ready to go. Believe it or not, I did have some stuff in those side bags (called panniers). Just stuff I didn't need frequently. Or ever, as it turned out. I pretty much lived out of the backpack and wore the same clothes the whole time.

  Heading down the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is my first rest area. Since the parkway runs on top of a mountain, I had to go downhill to get to a safe defluidization zone. I snapped this pick on the way back up. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Given I took all my seat real estate for my gear, the helmet and gloves were stored on the tarmac.

  First campground, somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway. No power, no water. That's camping. And I hadn't really figured out that there were a couple of other poles that went through the fly to hold it off the tent. I thought they were spare poles. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image I stopped pretty much every 50 to 75 miles to keep from getting to tired. That worked out pretty well, though my intervals sometimes got longer. No real reason to stop - no cupholders anyway.

  This is my campground which became base camp - Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground. Stayed there three or four nights. Again, no power, no water. But only motorcycles were allowed. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image This camp was much nicer than the other. Had a river running through it - Pidgeon River. That made it cool and kept the bugs down. Rained the first few nights and then wet every morning.

  Here is a dam somewhere near the Tail of the Dragon. There are lots of dams in that area. I think this one is actually in North Carolina, but I lost track of where I was most of the time.

Click here to see me riding Scooto-Rosso on the Tail of the Dragon.

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  Click for a Larger Image OK, back to the campground. Here is how it looked inside. Note my assortment of headgear. And evening refreshments. I think those are my special riding underwear in the foreground. They don't get all bunched up under my special riding pants.

  Here's another dam. I think this one may be in Tennessee. These things are all over the place, it seems. I liked this one cause all the workings were right there and visible. I'm guessing that building is where the generators generate. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image The Cherohala Skyway was my favorite road around there. A little faster than the Tail of the Dragon. Turns flowed from one to the next. It ran along the top of a mountain from NC into Tennessee. I rode it several times. That's how I like riding roads.

  Back at Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground. This is the inside of the Pavillion building. Lots of scooter license plates. They had a fire everynight where these guys would hang around and smoke cigars and drink some beverages. I drank Mt. Dew. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Out with my standard load. This is back on the Cherohala Skyway. This is on an overlook right near the beginning on the NC side. That was my favorite part. Plus it was closer to the other stuff in the area I liked.

  This is how morning showed up at my spot at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground. Usually wet from a rain shower or dew or fog or generally wet mornings. I always hated turning on Scooto-Rosso in the early mornings, cause the pipes are loud and the clutch is like a bucket of loose washers and nuts rattling around. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Back on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here are a couple of really big animals with big antlers. They didn't seem to mind me pulling up next to them and hanging out. Takes me about five minutes to undo enough of my riding gear to get the phone out and snap a couple of shots. I'm glad they didn't stampede me.

  Typical lunch and dinner hangout. I spent lots of time at places like this. The best ones were where they had two Diet Mountain Dew 20ozs. for $3.00. Sometimes I got corn nuts, but usually only for dinner. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Here is a little frog. It was clinging to glass. There were a bunch of them on the window of a foodery. This one was the clearest. And the stillest. And he didn't mind people looking at his tummy.

  Standard load again. I had gotten pretty good at loading at this point. Water proofed the sleeping bag every morning and lashed on the backpack so it rode on the handrail. Everything was lashed on by those crappy bungees that strapped to the brackets that held the panniers that just gave me side counterweights. It all worked really, really well. Never budged, until . . . Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image . . . the last day. I was driving across a bridge after riding the entire width of the state. It was a long bridge. When something happened. The engine bogged down. I just needed to make it the next half mile to get off the bridge. But the bike just kept laboring. Smoke was billowing out the back. Thought I'd burned a valve. Then something let go. Turned out it was the back tire. Split all the way around the circumference. The bike gently coasted to the side, with no real directional control. The wall of the bridge against my right side brought me to a gentle, upright stop. A nice person stopped behind me to keep traffic off me while the cops and tow truck came.

  Guess the backpack (shreds of which are in bottom left) slipped loose and got sucked in between the tire and fender (upper right). The backpack pulled in the blue sleeping bag. Lots of the backpack contents were stuck in various places, including my Slim Jims, chargers, extension wires,and iPad (lower right). It was a mess there on the bridge. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image Back in the garage, here is the fenderless motorcycle with the split rear tire. The right pannier took a hit as it scrapped into the bridge, but it survived, just needing a new coat of paint. Other than that, Scooto-Rosso did well. It stayed under control and kept me safe. I'm glad for that.

  Here, the wheel is off (in the background, waiting for the new rubber to come in). Chain is off. Fender remnents are all cleaned up. Everything inspected and in great shape. New fender had arrived from eBay for $25 (really??!??!?!). Its a good bike. Click for a Larger Image

  Click for a Larger Image The clock. I spent a lot of time looking at this showing between 60 and 80. I think the speedo is about 10mph fast. Which means the mileage shows more than the little scooter really has. Sometimes age is just relative.

  Everything back together, including the new Michelin 180/55x17, readjusted chain, and new $25 fender. Its a good bike. I'm glad I was riding it. All in all, a good trip, along with a story. Click for a Larger Image

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