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Ride in the Appalachiean Mts.


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Appalachia Mtn. Ride
Sep. 26,2017, I flew to Atlanta GA, and rented a motorcycle to ride the Appalachia Mountains just North. First days ride took me over such roads as: GA60 & 68, TN360 & 72 and finishing at Deals Gap Resort on US 129, with the claim to fame of the Dragon with 318 turns in 11 miles. Riding alone, I really enjoyed GA60. It was a good warm up for me to adjust to the Suzuki DL1000 which I rented. I met up with two other riders after reaching Deals Gap Resort, who heard I was going to be stopping there for the night and discussed riding on the next day to Wytheville, VA for a FJR gather (EOM). We headed back out on the Dragon at day break the following day. There wasn't anyone on the road in front of us and we took a spirited ride to the Foothills Parkway turn off. We stopped at the Dam overlook and talked to a man (old guy) who was driving a blue Honda S2000. I asked how many times he has done the Dragon. He replied “thousands”. That's what happens when you retire, you just live and live and live. This was the first time in 15 years I had done the Dragon, and what I noticed is that there are turnout today and places you can actually pull off the main road. It wasn't like that 15 years ago. I did pass one Policeman who had stopped two sport bikes when going South but had plenty of helmet tapping from oncoming riders prior to the scene. The LEO was on a HD motorcycle. I bet he is pretty darn good on that bike and maybe it is set up to chase down less than capable riders. (?) After Foothills Pky, we got on TN337, 331, 339, then US 25 to Johnson City. At Johnson City we jumped on I-81 so we could get to the Event by 3-4pm, to socialize with the other 80 plus people expected to show up.
I met up with old friends that I have know over 13 years, by attending these kind of events, and joined in on a ride for Friday that would take us on roads I had never done before. 3 of us left the motel on I-81 going West and got off at VA16 going North. What a fun road VA 16 is. It is very twisty up one side of a mountain and down the other with most curves measured at 15-20mph. No straights, just saying. We wondered along on back roads to Shady Valley, TN and racked up around 150 miles. We headed North out of Shady Valley on US 421, but only got about 2 miles when two of us left the paved highway surface. I came back on but lost control and crashed. Broken ankle and lots of bruises on my lower back and butt. My friend who was in front of me went a little further off the road and ran into a man's mail box and ended up in a drainage gully that ran perpendicular to the road. I ran parallel to the road, on the shoulder, and ran over a reflector pole which caused the bike to radically change direction back onto the highway. My front tire hit the reflector pole's base, which was solid steel and stuck up 4-6 inches. End of six days of riding the Appalachian Mtn.
So, the FJ sits in the Garage with new chain and sprockets, new tires, oil change and ready to ride. I was suppose to leave on a 4500 mile, 14 day Calif. Ride Oct. 3, but am now nursing a broken leg/ankle. So I will be missing some exceptional riding in the next few months (Winter). Bloody rehab again. I have been rebuilding my body one way or another, it's getting old. Positive side is that I had three great riding days while they lasted. Got to see and meet new friends. Was escorted around by these new friends, from the hospital to the motel, and from the motel to the airport. Flew home first class. I am happy to be alive and will be able to ride again. A few pictures.
Dan and Me at the Tree of Shame.
Evening look at the Deals Gap Resort.  Nice clean rooms with dbl and bunk beds.  Sleeps 3.  Reasonable $.
Me in the morning light overlooking the dam below.
The VStrom I rented.  Before the crash.
Enter the Dragon.
Friday ride that would come to a stop in less than an hour.

Ken, Candy Ass L.D.R. Sleeps 8 hours
(2)2005 FJR1300abs:  230,000 m
2015 FJ-09:  114,000 m (Replaced engine at 106K)

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Sorry to hear about the crash. I always tell people that 421 through there is like the Gap, but with gravel in the curves. Every time I ride it there always seems to be gravel...... I hope you get better quick. Get back on two wheels will help.

Let’s go Brandon

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