1St Blistered Bottom Ride is Finished.
First break and gas stop. Jeff bought everyone something to drink. Billy getting to know everyones comfort level and riding style from the several different types of roads.
Oh, This can't be put in just one post so I'll have to break it up into two or three small ones.
On friday we all met at Bernie's Bar-B-Que in Greensboro at noon. Billy had an early morning appointment so I met him at his house, then we rode together over to Bernie's. The parking lot was full with the bussle of lunchers and at first I didn't see any bikes. Billy pulled in with me right behind and it was then that I saw two bikes with cars flanking them both. We went inside and found our three riders sitting in a booth already getting acquainted, Peewee, a short man with a red chin beard and wearing a bandanna, Paul, tallish built and a rascal to waitresses and finally Jeff, our ex military soldier who had the look of anticipation on his mug and a wound on his arm. Jeff had dumped his bike when pulling into the heavy gravel parking lot, these things happen. Billy squeezed into the booth beside Peewee and I pulled up a chair partially blocking the isle. Billy got something to eat and I had a cup of coffee. After introductions all around, except for Paul, and some talking, we paid our bill and wondered outside. Jeff was parked around back and we all trudged over to check the damage. His bars were tweaked in the rubber grommets and the front fender was slighty miss-alighned. The fender was an easy fix but those bars needed more leverage, we went back to Billy's and with a large pipe to assist with the bars Billy and Jeff had the bike ready to roll.
Winding our way through some back roads following Billy, we jumped on the hiway for a short distance then back on the back roads. Jeff's bike had a small carburetor issue but he was able to sort it out. He wasn't about to give up as he had already ridden five hours alone to join up with us, his can do military and personal attitude showed over the course of the ride.
(Taking an hour break on the Parkway. The coolness of the shade and the thickness of the grass made for some comfy relaxation. Many a good story was told here by the bunch of us. Peewee and Paul had some tales from earlier days about laying asphalt in the area's nearby towns during winter).
A few hours later had us on the Blueridge Parkway in Floyd Virginia looking for a camping spot. Now, I'm not sure of the name of the site we camped in but Billy, Jeff and I had site number A26. Peewee and Paul were on the opposite side of the park road. We setup camp and while Billy and Paul ran a few miles down the road to the store, the rest of us gathered up firewood, Jeff built us a fire and got some water boiling. (We made a mental/verbal note to bring Jeff with us on all our rides). He wasn't loaded down with gear like the rest of us and made do with very little. After everyone ate hot dogs and chips, except me; I had my Mountain House freeze dried Beef stroganoff and damn was it good. Of course, we sat around shooting the breeze and before long it got dark. Gathered around the picnic table with no light I dug in my saddle bags and came out with a Coleman Glow stick. I was showing it off talking how great they are while shaking it up then snapping it so it would illuminate the table area. But, nothing happened, it barely glowed at all. That was the catalyst for laughs. It was the older one of two I had from 1998 and it's shelf life had obviously expired. ( After I got home my son told me if you heat them in water it will reactivate the chemicals for it to glow. They'd learned it in science class. So now I know). An hour later we began hitting the tents, I told Jeff if it started to rain he could share my tent. I got a little chilly until I realised my fleece sleeping bag wasn't unrolled all the way. Once my tired brain discovered this, it was pulled up over my head and I drifted back off.
After our breakfast it was time to gear up and hit the road. Billy , our tour guide, would take us on wonderful twisting roads that rival the Tail of the dragon. The roads went from meandering to sweeping to hard switch backs down through shade and sun uphill and down. Some parts had rock outcroppings so close to the road I'm surprised we didn't have helmet scrapes. Well, maybe not as close as percieved but close enough to feel it in your mind. Wild flowers and wild life abounded and we had to stop for a Doe and her Fawn which had a stare down with Billy before finally allowing us to proceed. These were backroads, well maintained, but very little traffic making it perfect for looking around to take in the scenic beauty of it all. Every now and again we'd pass a little ancient store tucked just off the road complete with locals lounging on the porch, sometimes another couple of riders would be there. Picture perfect riding picked by Billy to sooth the soul and make your worries fall away.