Wow, what a trip! I was of course on the Strom 1K, Lonny was on an '05 Triumph sprint 1050 and Dave was on an '01 'Busa. We left last tuesday morning at 8 am in the rain, and it rained on us well past Little Rock where the weather started to break up a bit. We ended up leaving a day earlier than was planned so that we could enjoy day one without killing ourselves. We stopped in Memphis at 6 pm for a day 1 ride total of 600 miles, not a bad day at all even with the rain.
Up early and out by 8am on day 2, we only had 285 miles today to get 2 our hotel destination that was right smack dab in the middle of the Dragons tail just south of Deals Gap in Southeast Tennessee. It wasnt to be though, yup, trouble was a brew'in.
We pulled into Marysville which is just north of the beginning of the 120 mile loop that includes the Dragon's tail and gassed up, as we followed the route towards the loop the twisties started in earnest and I was in heaven for sure! I can totally recommend The Michilen Pilot 2's they never once let me down, even when I went in a time or 2 a little too hot, they stuck with me. So as we got into the real deal I noticed in my mirrors that Dave had went wide on a few turns, not a good thang for sure. We hit a few more and then a long straight where I decided to pull over and wait for Dave so I could tell him to ride at his pace and not ours if he wasnt comfortable. It was to late, he should have come around the corner within a few seconds after I stopped and he didnt. Fearing the worst, I turned around, went back bout 3/4 of a mile and found a line of cars stopped in both directions. My first hope was that Dave stopped to help someone else since he is a fire fighter/EMT here in Lawton but that was short lived as I got closer and saw him sitting in the culvert all dazed and confused. The bike was half in and half out of the culvert and plastic was lying everywhere.
'Busa on the rocks:
...and the brand new Shoei was toast:
I pulled up and parked my bike in a safe area and went to get his bike out of the road, kicking plastic parts out of the way as I went, I took it across the road to where my bike was at. It looked pretty rough. Just as I was crossing the road back to Dave, Lonny pulled up. He's also an EMT, thank goodness. He went into the mode that comes second nature to him and in no time had confirmed at least a broken or separated collarbone, a slight concusion and several spots of road rash. (we made a small detour on the first day and stopped by Cycle Gear in OKC where Dave purchased a new Shoei RF 1000 helmet that he trashed in the accident, it did its job well though) Dave was very lucky to say the least that his injuries were so slight although Im sure it didnt seem slight at the time to him. As of the time that we arrived, 4 motorcyclists had lost thier lives on that loop.
Just as we were wondering how to handle getting Dave back to a hospital a very sweet young lady named April was on her way to work when she stopped and insisted on taking Dave to the hospital about 15 miles away since she worked only a few blocks from there anyway. So off they went while we locked the bike to a tree with a small cable that Lonny had on his bike. At the hospital, we were informed that if the local sheriff were to find the bike, they would impound it and charge as much as $400 to do so. So Lonny and I hopped back on our bikes went to the closest motel, got a room, dumped our stuff and climbed onto my Strom and made a run for the border trying to beat the law to the bike.(Lonny was not real pleased bout riding Biotch at all and informed Dave later that he owed him big time) We had already saved Dave the cost of an ambulance ride so now we were going for 2. I had started the bike in order to move it quickly from the road so we knew that it at least ran, didnt know if it would ride though. It did though and quite nicely too so we got it back to the motel and went back just as Dave was being realeased with his special "collarbone holder backer brace" and a sling.
So you'd think that after all of that, Dave would be ready for some drugs and a bed right? Wrong, He wanted to go find the bar and grill that April worked at and thank her properly for her good deed. Needless to say she was very suprised to see us walk in and treated us like royalty for the rest of the night. True southern hospitality for sure.
Here's Dave with his savior for the weekend: (its amazing what a cutie can do for your spirits, huh?)
Day 3 was gonna be mine and Lonny's while Dave laid around waiting on his wife Dub and my wife Sandy to drive the 1000 miles from home to retrieve Dave and his bike..... and ride we did by gosh! Without a doubt, this place is pure motorcycle heaven. There are more switch backs on this 120 miles loop than all of our summertime New Mexico/Colorado trip had combined.
These shots came with the package that I bought from the Killboy photographer:
This one is mine from a short break that we took to let the forearm pump subside at bit!
Lonny had a bike cam mounted on his bike and we got about an hour or so of the best parts of the ride, hopefully we can get that downloaded for review online somewhere. For a couple of old guys, we rode hard had a blast. one time we caught up to about 5 Z06 Corvetts, I thought they were just cruzin cause when we came up behind them I started hearing those big V-8's go to work and the tires start to squealing. The funny part is that they could not pull away from us to save thier lives and we were only riding bout 60 or 70% of the pace that we were before coming up on them. After a mile or so (which is forever in those turns) they finally pulled over and let us by. We arrived at deals gap about 20 minutes later and they were 10 minutes behind us. Just goes to show ya how much faster a bike can negotiate that kind of road as opposed to a car.
Another Kill boy shot that I purchased of me on the Strom;
Lonny right on my tail with his 1050 Triumph Sprint;
Here's a really good shot of Lonny lean'in 'er in, you can see the camera mounted on the fairing by the turn signal shot:
Deals Gap is a cool place for anybody on 2 wheels, they have hundreds of motorcycle only parking spaces available along with the tree of shame, food, T-shirts and ofcourse fuel too. A sweet place to hang out and see about every kind of bike that runs the roads.
The famous Tree of Shame, it was amazing how many bike parts were here!
A shot of Deals gap looking at the north half of the bike parking lot:
Friday we left the area and headed for Burmingham, Alabama for the main event of the trip. The Barber Motorsports Vintage weekend where we saw an unbelievable assortment of motorcyles from the last 125 years. The museum was worth the ride all by itself, it is a modern 5 story monstrosity with literally hundreds of bikes stacked and presented as many as 12 high from all time periods and locations. We witnessed racing at its best with motorcycles that I had forgotten about or never new of on a track that had me wanting to take a few laps on the Strom in a bad way.
We had to get the girls back for work today so we enjoyed the show on Saturday to the fullest cause we knew sunday was gonna be a long haul back to Oklahoma, all in one trip. We left Burmingham at 8 am yesterday morning and pulled into our driveway at 9:45 last nite with the GPS showng 889 (2389 for the whole trip) miles traveled for the day! Needles to say, our butts were toast. The last 2 1/2 hours were in the dark but luckily the evening was pleasant and we didnt get to chilled.
I will be adding pics as soon as I get them sorted and downloaded so dont go away too long.