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August 4th Edition

In This Issue:


Riding BE-cause ~ Charitable & Educational Events in the Carolinas

Lil' Weather

Free Thinking with FancyFree

Gary: Part 3 - Safety Gear

Your Myrtle Beach Discount Card

Event Report: Carolina Bike Fest by Ron

BIG RIDE 2 Rides Out!

Bub: Uh Oh, I'm in Deep Doo Doo!

Loose Talk with Jon

CLICK BELOW to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!

CLICK ABOVE to buy your money-saving "Carolina Rider" discount card for Myrtle Beach businesses!


The Little Weather Quickie for the Greater Charlotte Area

for Week of August 5-11, 2015

Wednesday 98h & m-cloudy, Thursday 94h & 40% rain, Friday 91h & clear, Saturday 94h & clear, Sunday 93h & clear, Monday 93h & 40% rain, Tuesday 93h & 50% rain (as per on 08/04/15)

Sightings, Newborn Riders, & Updates

Sighted at Antique Bikes on Main in Chesnee ... Valencia and Archie who have been kind to supply us with photos from their own rides and event participation....

Gary Sharp Reports in

One of the long-distance riders we reported on recently, checked in on 7/28 via email:

"I finished my ride last night!"

48 States; 7,996 miles; 
9 days, 19 hours, 58 minutes!


Newborn Riders in The Carolina Rider Family!

Got an email from our Greenville-Spartanburg columnist and regional rep, Lester, last week reporting on the new addition to his family. Seeing as how everyone in Lester's family rides, we should all expect his first grandchild, Briley, pictured here with her rider-father and rider-grandfather, to be a passionate rider too! ... one of these days, that is.....

Lester's news came in just after our Footloose welcomed his first grandchild into the world. Grandbaby Kylie's father rides and has gotten Jon's daughter, Lauren on the back (and "wishing for a more comfy back seat," she's told us;) so perhaps Kylie will find her way onto 2-wheels one day too.

Welcome Newborn Riders!

I'm on Facebook ... "friend me!"

EDITOR'S NOTE: In the previous segment of this series, Gary talked at length about his motorcycle and bike gear of choice as he considers his long-distance travels. Just as he takes route planning and vehicle choice seriously, Gary works very hard to keep himself injury-free throughout his travels. In this part of his series, he explains in great detail about the full protective safety gear that he wears when he rides. Read on to delve into Gary's choices based on some deep research into the highest quality products and materials available for rider safety ....


Scorpion EXO 900 Modular helmet - flip up full face that is DOT and “ECE” rated.  Snell Rating is a good thing to have also but only one manufacturer was to come out with Modular Snell Rated Helmet.  I was to receive one of the first units but the sales person changed jobs, etc.  Most riders wear DOT helmets.  Some helmets are called skid lids and I wonder how they pass a safety rating.  Snell is / was a racing grade and has a higher impact rating.  ECE is better and apparently the best now.  I have had Snell helmets and will probably buy another someday with both the Snell and ECE rating.

They say the cost of a helmet should reflect what you think your head is worth...

Currently Snell is only available in full face and open face.   Very few Modular helmets are ECE rated. Open face seems to leave you unprotected and modular is a compromise.  Full face also means you have to take your glasses off to put on and take off.  Not something you want to do when you are already hot and straddling a 125 horsepower engine.

Modular helmets flip up and are great when you need to talk to someone or are slowed down keeping you cool (or not as hot) and / or when Customs wants to see you.  My Scorpion EXO 900 is DOT / ECE rated.  It is an early / more expensive version then the current EXO 900 that is not ECE rated.

The helmet has a flip down / fighter pilot EverClear® No Fog Face shield which is an optically-clear shield with state-of-the art fog free technology.  This coating is on the both sides of the shield/

My face shield has an Anti-Scratch hardened coating with 100% UV protection.  I wear polarized and non-polarized sunglasses to make the long East or West rides safer / less tiring especially when you can be facing the sun 6+/- a day.  Suntan lotion is almost a must every few hours some days, as you do not want to look like a chipmunk and / or suffer from skin burn / cancer, etc.  It also has No Fog Face shield protection on the inside of the face shield.

I have tape across visor also to protect my eyes and face from the sun. Less than a dollar’s worth of tape is one of the best pound per pound / dollar for dollar worth of protection from skin cancer and to a significant degree safety – just as the visors in your car provide a degree of safety.  Low angle sun in the extreme north can be brutal and when you can ride directly into the sun for a third of the day.

The helmet is white with patches of reflective material which helps you be seen especially over a black helmet.  Wearing black may look good but you cannot be seen especially at night.


My Fieldsheer gloves are a combination kangaroo / Kevlar® on palm and cow hide with armor on the knuckles on the back side. .  These gloves also use abrasion resistive Aromortex ® fabric.  These were about $100. The interesting fact is after you wear through cow and kangaroo leather, the textile lining offers you additional protection.  Remember road rash can kill. You can pay as much as $200 gloves but I think these offer near maximum protection.  Fieldsheer no longer sells the kangaroo / cowhide gloves.    I am not sure why - as kangaroo has about four times the tensile strength of equivalent cowhide. 

My cold weather gloves are Sliders with cow leather and reinforced goat suede leather and Genuine DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid panels along with leather palm reinforcement.

Textiles are a subject in themselves as Kevlar® is no longer the best for all applications.  DuPont™ Kevlar® aramid fiber is used in ballistic and stab-resistant body armor. DuPont / BAE Systems/ Armor Holdings / Integrated Textile Systems  in Monroe  draws / tempers ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene polymer making it “stronger / better” than Kevlar® .  Better being the operative word primarily from being explosion proof in vehicle armor when used with steel plate.  Did I tell you this is one of my 672 factories visited?

DuPont™ Tensylon™ is an Ultra High Molecular Weight, High Performance Polyethylene Material (UHMWPE) material that offers significant advantages when compared to other high-performance materials.

Tensylon, a wholly owned subsidiary of BAE Systems, Inc., based in Monroe, N.C., produces ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) tapes that provide strong and lightweight armor solutions for the military and other applications.  Nanocomp, a leading developer and producer of carbon nanotube (CNT) yarns and sheets based in Concord, N.H., manufactures CNT products for a variety of end uses, ranging from electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding and data transmission cables to armor and honeycomb core structures.  The new technology platforms alone, and in combination with existing and new DuPont™ Kevlar® technologies will enhance DuPont’s efforts to develop new ballistic, panel and core structure solutions for military, law enforcement and industrial applications, including ropes and cables for oil and gas and lightweight honeycomb type structures for aerospace.  DuPont estimates the total industry opportunity at more than $1 billion.”

Needless to say it is not easy to know what is best today – best is often a combination of old, new and newer technology.  Ratings are needed for helping serious riders judge what is best for them.  Best to me is 65 mph or less and 250+ pounds.  Best to a motorcycle racer is 200 mph and 150+/- pounds.

I trust most of the manufacturers but there are fakes out there and take care to avoid them. 

Dainese tests their leather to withstand 5+ seconds of sliding on a hard abrasive surface (belt sander) while traveling at 70 mph.  Their choice of textile jackets is GORE-TEX®.  I have seen some information in which leather is 5+/- times better than most textiles. 

I would like to see more information on the performance of textiles and a comparison of Invista’s CORDURA® versus DuPont™ Kevlar® versus GORE-TEX® versus any other worthy textile fiber.  The best I have gotten out of DuPont™ Kevlar®, CORDURA® and GORE-TEX® is to check with the manufacturers that use their product.  Unfortunately I have contacted several with no avail.

I would also welcome a breathability test on the above as I sweat in my beautiful GORE-TEX® golf rain suit.  I never said that being safe / safer was not without compromise on comfort.  I definitely prefer cool weather riding.

Upon writing this article and thanks to Sandra James of Dupont, I discovered Draggin’ Jeans, an Australian-based company with a store in Hickory, NC.  I am thinking on upgrading to their jeans but particularly adding their shirts and maybe their liners (long johns.) I am hoping that the shirt and liner concept are a great way to be comfortable and have full / greater abrasion resistance.

Draggin Jeans are MSRP $450 and sell for $400 at Revzilla.  They are rated for 7.5 seconds of being dragged on your butt - not sure what speed and are essentially about 4 times better and 4 times the price of other Kevlar jeans.


My boots  have shin / ankle protection and although I would like more protection – these are about as good as you can buy and still walk in them.  Motocross boots offer more protection but you really cannot walk in them. 

My boots contain shock absorbing latex foam on flex panels, a TecnoGI® thermoplastic heel cup and toe cap and a preformed orthopedic vibration absorbing foot bed

My pants  have Kevlar®  in seat, hips and  knees with CE rated knee pads, when cool enough I wear additional pants by Olympia $300 pants -  with knee / hip pads. 
Olympia makes some of the best protective gear with Invista’s CORDURA® in key areas.

I wish pants were “skid” rated as you do not know how good they are and how much Kevlar® is in them.  (While working with GoJo I found out they sprinkled a little bit of Aloe Vera in their “Aloe Vera” Purell hand sanitizer.)  How much Kevlar®  is in the pants is something I always worry about as do I have enough or have I washed / wore them too much.

Grant Mackintosh of Draggin Jeans Australia has stepped up technically to many of my concerns. Grant’s “Draggin Jeans” pass both CE level 1 and level 2 with CE2 is the highest level of safety apparel.  Certified European - CE testing procedures attempt to duplicate what can happen in a crash. CE tests include impact/abrasion, burst (fabric and seams) and tear and cut.

Draggin uses microscopic cameras to see split second images on how fabrics perform.  Draggin has improved their fabrics from their from lasting 4 seconds on their impact abrasion machine, to 7 seconds and now to 12+ seconds.  Dainese leathers are tested to last over 5 seconds on “their equivalent to a 70 mph speed fall”.  I am not sure how these test compare but both are impressive in that your typical jeans last only milliseconds.

Grant states that “The vast majority of competitive products last around 2 seconds in the impact abrasion test and are totally unacceptable for motorcycle riders”.

They to test in temperatures of up to 40C down to minus 20C, humidity of 90% down to zero, in wet conditions and dry as we understand comfort is a vital part of motorcycle clothing.  Moisture (and temperature) can have a significant impact on the performance of gear.

They work closely with DuPont™ jointly with their R & D program.  The test garments up to 10 years old that have been washed and worn many times and have found that they test extremely well.  Grant does not like polyester or nylon derivatives because they are usually highly flammable and can melt into the skin.  (Kevlar® does not melt and is inflammable).  I am sure you have heard stories of having to scrapping nylon out of open wounds.

According to Grant - Draggin Jeans is the only Preferred Licensee of DuPont in the jean / cargo pant motorcycles market.  Typical “Kevlar®” pants sell for $100+/- – Draggin Jeans sell for $300+/-.  There is something to be said for “You get what you pay for.”  They operate under DRAYKO in the States….everywhere else Draggin Jeans.  They apparently started with Draggin Jeans in Hickory and should not be confused with them.

Draggin Jeans are available in the States from Drayko. Their Hole Shot Jeans provide race-level protection with 7.45 seconds road abrasion and CE Approved Level 2 armor protection for about $400.  Now that is an expensive pair of jeans but I sense very much worth the price.

Draggin also incorporates DSM’s the World’s Strongest Fiber™ in their jeans.

SuperFabric®’s fabric coating is 4 times more abrasion resistant then Kevlar in abrasion testing.  SuperFabric® personal protection / performance life surpasses the strength, durability, abrasion and scrap resistance of synthetic materials through the use of tough armor plating embedded in the fabric.  The Klim Adventure Rally Jacket and the Rev’it Poseidon jackets may offer the best protection of any textile jacket.  They are certainly on my short list to upgrade my current jacket but the search continues as I want to cool in hot weather. 

My British Motorcycle Gear jacket has CORDURA® and plastic pebble grain on shoulders / elbows to enhance sliding.  

In writing this article I discovered a pocket in my BMG jacket that contains a strap on the back of the jacket that you place between your crotch and attach via snaps to the front of the jacket.  A snap is on each side of the zipper.  Most jackets have zippers that you can attach your “textile pants” to your jacket.  This allows the pants / jacket to work as a “one piece” riding suit keeping your jacket from riding up or your pants from riding down and exposing the lower portion of your back and / or upper portion of your butt.  For comfort in warm weather I seldom wear my Olympia pants and only wear my Kevlar reinforced Cargo pants.  This little strap could be a life saver and I am glad I found it.  When I bought my jacket there was no instruction for this strap nor did the President of British Motorcycle Gear, Paul Brooks, tell me about it when I purchased it at the International Motorcycle Show in Charlotte.

I have Knox armor in the shoulders and elbows.  Since the jacket did not come with back armor, I purchased a viscoelastic Level 2 - D3O® VIPER PRO BACK PROTECTOR which is designed to stiffen on impact and absorb / distribute force.  

Viscoelastic armor on impact it reacts quickly to form a rigid mass. D3O® armor hardens edge-to-edge. (I had to cut the top portion of my back protector to fit my jacket and hope I have not reduced my edge-to-edge protection.)

Viscoelastic armor prevents injury three methods:

  • Shock Absorption: Material absorbs impact energy through phase change (hardening).
  • Shock Delay: Material delays the transmittance of some shock to the human body over a longer period of time.
  • Dissipation: Impacts are dissipated over larger areas of the body.

Sas-Tec armor is a progressive reactive armor in that it hardens to a degree sufficient to counter the force.

Knowing what is best while not spending a fortune is one of my problems.  Level 2 protection in my knees, elbows and shoulders is very much desired.  I would like to buy better pads for my knees, elbows and shoulders and probably will in time and depending on my jacket upgrade decisions.  Armor after you hit (and you no longer need impact protection) provides another layer of abrasion resistance.

3M Scotchlite piping is amazing as you really light up / glow in the dark when lights / head lights reflect off of it.  This adds tremendously to safety, particularly night time safety.
Rain gear - pants, jacket, gloves and boots such that rain does not affect my comfort. My gear is a combination of British Motorcycle Gear – BMG and Olympia along with Cycle Gear Tornado Boots, which I assume a little misleading if you have ever seen firsthand the damage a tornado can do.

EVENT REPORT: Carolina Bike Fest, Orangeburg, July 24-26

Carolina Bike Fest – at the Orangeburg County Fair Grounds July 24-26.  This was scheduled as a 3-day weekend jammed with live music, stunt performances, bikini contest, ugly biker contest, live music and much more.  (They didn’t advertise the drift trikes which I found the most entertaining.)  They also said they were going to have a poker run with entries going to the winner.  The flyer said they would have free vendor space to the motorcycle industry (manufacturers, dealers, shops, etc.) and daily motorcycle equipment and cash giveaways.   Lucas Quattlebaum was the contact person, which I had some difficulty contacting prior to the event. 

I had seen a flyer at Orangeburg Cycle some weeks ago and tried to go to the website but for some reason I couldn’t get any information.  It may be operator error, but I never did get to a website.  I even went to Orangeburg fairground site to get a list of events and didn’t see it.  I tried the phone number and also didn’t get a response. My hope was to get them in touch with Jan and Jon of The Carolina Rider to spread the word.  But hopefully for next year they will make contact.  I gave them all of the information and encouraged him to sign up for the Weekly Magazine and contact our Publisher and Editor to help spread the word.  I also reminded him that he was conflicting with Antique Bikes on Main and Kamikaze in Chesnee.

I was reminded of the event when one of my staff said that she knew the person coordinating the event and he had given us 20 tickets for our residents.  This was great because many of our residents (I work for an agency that serves individuals with mental handicaps and head and spinal cord injuries.) love motorcycles and would really enjoy it.  I also learned that he donated another dozen tickets to The Oaks which is a retirement facility outside of Orangeburg- also very generous.

So Marcia and I went up on Friday night.  This kind of activity is different for Marcia and I.  We usually ride, but seldom get to the social events of biking, but good bands and bbq and bikes are always worth checking out.  Actually we reminisced that we had only been to one other such event.  Many years ago in we mid 80’s we went with some friends to Myrtle Beach and some old airstrip outside of town and there were hundreds and hundreds of bikes.

Orangeburg Bike Fest had a number of food vendors, beer tent, bar and bands.  We stopped at Beasley’s BBQ (ain’t no joke when we smoke) out of Walterboro and had a good bbq, I had the ribs and it had a good dry rub (I’m not a sauce guy).  The band (Down and Back out of Charleston) was a country band and enjoyable.  We went over to the swap meet area and there was one person there with a lot of items on display.  He said he normally went up to Chesnee but thought he would try this one since it was closer. Random Cycle Repair out of Charleston was there and we made a purchase of a back pack, which thrilled him since we were his only sale of the day.

We also talked to Cody Baker of Outlaw Drift Trikes.  He makes them and is part of a group that races them.  He said they had a race scheduled for Saturday at 1:00.  We listened to the band for a time and left for home.  The crowd was much smaller than they expected or hoped for, but it is the first year and will take some time.

Saturday morning I went up expecting much larger crowds and I wanted to see the drift trikes.  I stopped by the Shriners Bike Giveaway and purchased some tickets for the drawing in November.  Some of my residents were there to listen to the band and look over the bikes.  I talked with a man that came down from Moorhead City NC on his tri-glide.  He said he likes country music and come down for the music.  I went down to the drift trike area to check them out.  I had never seen them and it was a good thing Marcia had another engagement and was coming later as she had the checkbook or I would have bought one.  They look like just too much fun.  A 6 ½ hp motor on a tricycle and pvc pipe on the tires to give it the ‘drifting’ ability.  There was one man that did purchase one from Outlaw Drift Trikes and ended up winning the day.  I have some friends that are welders and good at that kind of thing and will be talking with them.  Marcia did come out in time for the racing and I tried to convince her that we both should get a trike then we could race them on our road.  Being that she is over 130 pounds lighter than I she would probably beat me regularly.  She isn’t convinced she would like it as much as I, but they sure look like fun.  They did say there was one rule, everyone had to wear a costume. I think we could have a Carolina Rider drift trike race somewhere.  We would even invite everyone down here to Orangeburg and find a parking lot – sounds like fun to me!

We went up to hear the band, “Triple Threat” also out of Charleston to listen for a while.  I talked with Steve from Cross SC. He had recently moved from New York and saw a banner at the Wal Mart in Summerville.  We got some Frisk’s fries and a drink and funnel cake, one of Marcia’s favorites, and talked with Steve exchanging riding stories.  We talked especially about challenges of riding in hot weather and he told me of an experience his wife had a few years ago with dehydration while riding back from Summerville one day.

We decided we wanted a pizza and headed to Aiken, about 58 miles to the Pizza Joint.  Yes, they have pizza in Orangeburg and it is good, and they have a pizza place in Bamberg only about 12 miles.  But Aiken means we get to ride, and in the end for us it is riding that we enjoy.

The Bike Fest tried to have a lot of things that it sounds like a good bike fest should have and did have good bands, some good food vendors.  On Saturday I did count about 65 bikes at one time, far short of the 5,000 they were expecting.  I talked with them some about next year.  He said he has the fairgrounds for the next 4 years and is planning on a fall and spring event.  I used to do car shows as fundraisers when I was in NC and mentioned some things that worked for us and that I learned from it.  One item of recommendation I had was that I never could find a schedule of events that gave times of when things were supposed to happen.  So we didn’t know when the bikini contest was supposed to be, the poker run, or any of the other events or activities.  But they are trying and hopefully they can make it work out....

EDITOR'S NOTE: I got to hear Bub's tale in person from him while hanging out in Chesnee recently. When you read this, you really need to get that Bub was truly in the poop on this lone ride. We're grateful that he was able to get back on his steel horse to prove this road can NOT defeat him!

Many moons ago, Oct of 2010 to be exact, ...

... Mickey and I were riding in the mountains north of Marion NC around the Blue Ridge and we decided to head over to Spruce Pine.  I had a GPS, can’t remember if Mickey did or not but it directed us on some roads (NOTE: this was an automotive unit - not mcy specfic,) and we followed the route it showed us.  Soon the road became a narrow 2-lane and then a narrow 1-lane and then dirt.  I was riding my Suzuki Vstrom and Mickey was on his BMW GS 1150.  Both supposedly road and dirt machines. If you look at the pix with my Vstrom you can see what the road was like, and this was the “good” section and the GPS showed a NC state route number!!  Soon we were riding on a boulder-filled "road??" My bike dragged bottom many times and I was hoping we wouldn’t get stuck on top of one!

Fast forward to July 1 of this year ... 

Mickey and I had been trying to find this road again, but could not remember how to find it ... mental block maybe?  I’d been looking on Google maps and could not find anything that connected from the Blue Ridge to Spruce Pine.  Then one evening as I was looking at the Swiss Village site and clicked on map, a Bing map popped up. Hey! lots more definition on this one and would you look at that!!!  It looks like a connection between Swiss Village and Spruce Pine.  I jotted down the road names and numbers and vowed to try it out.  All of the other CPRs were busy, hurt, or in Colorado to ride on the 1st so I decided to go check it out alone and if the road got too bad I’d just turn around .... ha!

Early on the 1st of July I fueled up my Kawasaki 650 Versys and headed up to the mountains.  I’m gradually converting this bike over to a dual sport.  Kawasaki touts it as a standard road bike and it does a good job at that.  650 cc, 64 hp  and 400 lbs.  Perfect for what I want to do. I’ve modified the exhaust to where it exits up high on the right side, installed hand guards, working on a skid plate and will put dual sport tires on.

Anyway I’m on the road and it’s a beautiful morning, sunny, no clouds and I’m riding my sickle and chewing a “pickle”?? (Wish something else rhymed with sickle.) The ride up NC 226a is great as usual. That is one fine bike road.  I’m at Swiss Village at the restaurant at the sharp curve and looking  for Chestnut Grove Church Rd. There it is, where you turn off 226a to join the Blue Ridge. Hey this is nice, sure glad I came up. Follow it around to where it becomes Dock Howell Rd and oops, I’m supposed to be joining up with Emerald Mine Rd and this road is coming to a dead end. There’s a lady trimming the roses by her entrance gate, I’ll stop and ask her.  No, she doesn’t know about Emerald Mine Rd but she says there is an emerald mine you can get to on Mckinney Mine Rd.  And, ... she says there is a road just before you reach her place that is named Carver’s Knob Rd but a sign says it’s a dead end.  I think I’ll try Carver’s Knob as Mckinney goes over to Crab Creek Rd which I know goes over to 19E several miles west of Spruce Pine.  By the way, did I mention that it is beautiful here? Beautiful homes and smooth roads and the view over the mountain tops is breathtaking!

And then Breathtaking (Beauty) turns into Breath-taking (Anxiety) ...

I turn onto Carver’s Knob and sure enough there is a dead end road sign but look up the road a little I see another road going off to the right and it’s Emerald Mine Rd !!  It also has a dead end sign but from what I seen on the Bing map it goes all the way and there is only one way to find out. So, I’m finally on the road I was looking for and it is paved and smooth, maybe NC spent some of their gas tax money and paved this road, but then the road ends. The paved road part and a narrow dirt road faces me, oh well.  Hey, this is a nice road as you can see by the pix of my bike parked on the road ... traffic wasn’t heavy ... LOL!  And the next couple of pix with the top of the windshield and the rear view mirror show a fairly nice hard-packed dirt road, some large rocks scattered around but nothing bad .... YET!  I come across and dodge some scat and hope that it is horse scat. I’m for sure no tracker and don’t know the difference between goose scat and horse scat or any other that belongs to a large critter that might be living in these parts.

Look at the picture with just the top of the windshield showing, notice that the road/trail disappears as it drops and turns right.  This is where the fun ends and the doo doo begins!  Why didn’t I bring my video camera??  There are no pictures of the next few miles because I was too afraid to stop. The road dropped fairly steep and became rutted across from run off, not little ruts, but deep whoop-de-do ruts and the road was still wet from recent rains up there.  The ruts were so steep and deep that the bottom of the engine would drag and I was afraid I’d become stuck on the top or the bottom of one.  They also had water laying in them and to add to the scene, mud puddles with bottoms I hoped would allow me to cross.

Why didn’t I turn around??

  The road was steep and narrow, the ruts and mud holes plentiful, right side was upside mountain and left side was downside mountain, ie: deep and steep canyons.  AND I was afraid to stop, afraid that I wouldn’t be able to get moving again!  Had to keep moving, thinking that if I fell down, especially to the left as the road sloped to the left, I wouldn’t be able to pick the bike up.  And of course being where I was you can be assured that there was no cell signal.  Why did I come up here alone?  Why didn’t I tell Margie where I was going or attempting to go?  If I crashed would I be able to walk out?  Were there any hungry bears around?

The ruts and mud puddles ended. Good, right? Wrong!  Now there were large rocks everywhere.  Which way does the road go?  Maybe I’ll see some scrape marks or tire rubber where a 4-wheeler spun his tires. There’s some crushed rock over there, I’ll go that way and soon the makings of a trail became obvious. Whew, oh yes! During this the GPS is showing a purple trail through here although a couple of times it showed the road going over the side down into a gorge. GPS and mountain trails don’t always match. Grounded the bike out several times but I was going slow so no damage.

I really goofed up on this one, should have never attempted this alone, the adage that age makes one wiser is not always right. At least in my case.


Finally! after what seemed like hours and hundreds of miles the road got back to being a proper dirt road.

Cruise along and soon it becomes a  paved road. Wow, does that asphalt looks good!  And the GPS is showing the correct road as there are soon several, a rural neighborhood, and I make it out to US 19E a mile or so west of Spruce Pine.  Found the long missing road from Swiss Village and Spruce Pine.  Yea!!

So, boys and girls, here are the lessons:

  1.   try not to ride alone into unknown areas
  2. and if you insist at least tell someone where you’re going and about what time you’ll return,
  3. carry your cell which I don’t always do as where we live there is no signal and I forget about it,
  4. wear the proper gear so if you do fall or wreck your body will be somewhat protected and I was in the ATGATT mood,
  5. and just be careful out there---it can be beautiful and dangerous.
  6. And for Pete’s sake----take your camera!


I finally convince Mickey to go with me up on the mountain dirt road, I really think he thought that if I went up there alone (which I would never do again,) that if I got in trouble he would have to come and get me.  We found the road. I’d put into the GPS- and we’re doing pretty good sometimes. There must have been lots of rain up there as the whoop-de-dos are filled in and in their place is lots of slippery, gooey mud.  I’m not real happy about the mud as I still have street tires on and the mud grip is almost zero.  I have to have enough speed to make it through but not too much that will make me slide. We have to stop a couple of times to find the “good” spot to go through or around the mud.  The rocky sections are hairy and we do a lot of bouncing around and swerving to avoid the big ones. My rear tire slid some but not too severe, Mickey almost dropped his bike as he tried to dodge a rock and had to use his front brake as he was using both feet to stay up. I was doing the same and we know you’re not supposed to use the front brake in dirt, but if you’re going downhill and your speed is building too fast and the feet are keeping the bike up you have no choice.  Yes, we were using the gears to control speed but some places were too steep even for first gear to hold the bike back.

Que the Video!

Enjoy the video. I spent a couple of hours editing 20 minutes into 13 minutes with fancy titles and subtitles but somehow Utube grabbed the raw video instead. If you want to see the fancy version call and make an appointment.  Have you ever tried to change a video on Utube? I have and it never worked.  I was surprised at the sound, I wasn’t trying to have it in the video but my camera picked it up through my helmet.  You can tell we had a good time!



The BIG RIDE 2 Leaned into the Curves??

Driving those curvy, back-switching roads is definitely not as much fun as riding them .. unless you're in a spunky sportscar. Well, driving our 38' BIG RIDE 2 up and down and around mountain roads is truly not as much fun! But it can be done and we made it back safe from our twisty run up to the Lake Toxaway area this past weekend .. but it was work to keep all wheels where they should be .. especially since we also had my F-150 in tow.

Hope you got to enjoy leaning into some curves this past weekend!

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