Well, the riding is going a bit slow this year. Last week contained perfect riding weather, but I somehow got a head and chest cold, making me feel awful for several days. I couldn't be sick while it was COLD; it had to be while the riding conditions were perfect. Oh well.....
I have a friend whose brother does a lot of distance riding. Jack had told me about some of Gene's adventures, and I had wanted to meet and talk with him for some time. I learned recently that Gene and some friends rode to Alaska last year. Since Gary and I are planning a ride there this summer, it made sense to visit with Gene to learn from his experiences. So, I set it up to meet with he and his friends on Saturday, Jan 12 in Greensboro, along with Gary.
Gene and his buddies meet at the same place every Saturday morning at 9:00am, sometimes just for breakfast and tales; sometimes followed by a ride.
In order to get there by 9:00, I had to leave home by 7:15am--the ride was 100 miles, according to my GPS. And I needed gas before getting there.
Getting on the RT, I noted that the temperature was a cold 42 degrees. Not frigid, but not warm. I wore the bumblebee with two fleece jackets, cold weather socks with liner, and long johns under blue jeans. I didn't want to get cold! The layering worked very well, and the only part of me that got cold was my feet. Not bad!
The ride to Greensboro was uneventful. Traffic was light on I-40, and I got to the restaurant about 10 minutes early.
As others arrived, we introduced ourselves and went inside for breakfast and stories.
After we finished eating, the pictures and storytelling began. The group that went last summer included 4 riders and lasted 29 days. Their route turned out to be almost exactly the same route Gary and I are planning, including a stop at Glacier National Park on the way up to Alaska, a ferry ride from Alaska to Washington, and a ride down the Pacific coastline to San Francisco. So, hearing their stories was helpful.
Their trip was pretty amazing in that they encountered no bad weather at all. Coldest temperatures were in the low 40s; almost no rain, and almost no mechanical problems (one flat). They alternated camping and moteling, sleeping 4 to a room, with 2 in beds and 2 on camping pads, alternating who got a bed at each motel stop. Not a bad arrangement, and they averaged spending only $17 per night per person in motels.
They gave us some suggestions on good roads and places to eat along the way.
After breakfast and stories (from 9:15 to almost 11:30), Gary and I left for the local BMW shop. I wanted to look at Gerbing heated liners and socks.
We got there and spent a while looking at the Gerbing things and other stuff.
After a while, I was getting hungry for something from Stamey's Barbecue, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. So, I talked Gary into joining me for lunch. It was good!
After lunch, Gary had to head home, and I wanted to ride back roads to home. So, I took Hwy 220 to Asheboro and on to the Pisgah Covered Bridge, one of my favorite stops in the area.
Found a new route to the bridge from Asheboro, a back-roads way to go off Hwy 49. Much more fun, although I was in no hurry and rode slowly. Actually the GPS found the route!
Got to the bridge and met a couple from High Point riding Harleys--a Road King for him and a Sportster 883 for her. Nice people. He has ridden all his life, and she had recently started riding. We shared stories of mutual places we've ridden. From her, it sounded like she was a tentative rider; afraid to push it much. I encouraged her to keep riding, assuring her that the riding would improve skills and make it more enjoyable.
After a while, it was time to get started home, so I left and meandered in a generally easterly direction on back roads. Good riding on new to me roads. After about 45 minutes, I came up on Hwy 42, one of my favorite roads that just happens to end up 2 blocks from home!
So, I jumped on Hwy 42, headed east towards Clayton. Low traffic most of the way made the ride very enjoyable. Got to Fuquay-Varina and decided to make a bathroom stop and to put on more clothes (almost dark and cooling into the high 40s). When I opened the top case to get a jacked, I discovered that I only had one with me. Thinking back, I remembered taking off the missing jacket inside the BMW shop to try on the jacket liners. Damn! Oh well, I'll call the shop next week and ask them to hold it until my next trip through the area.
The jacket I put on did the trick; I warmed up and had an easy ride the rest of the way home. Had cold feet again; gotta get some heated socks!
Pulling up to the house, I noted that the GPS showed 251 miles since leaving home. A good and easy day!