This year I attended the Thumper Thaw which was held at the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground in Cruso, North Carolina. The Thumper Thaw is an event held by member of F650.com. F650.com is a site for owners of the BMW F650 motorcycle. People from all over the east coast showed up at the Thumper Thaw to spend a few days riding the Blue Ridge Parkway and through the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.
I left Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with my friend Daneen and Mike. We headed south through Virginia to the town of Buchanan where we had a motel reserved for the night.
Our first stop was Woodstock, Virginia where we ate at Adobe’s Mexican Grill. This is the crew who cooked us lunch.
We then took some back roads that ran south along 81 to get to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Here we are at the entrance to the north part of the parkway.
As we were getting ready to leave we found that Daneen’s motorcycle had a dead battery. She was running all of her heated gear on high which seemed to have drained the battery. We got her going with a push start. It was cold and windy on the parkway. But quite beautiful.
We made it to our hotel and grabbed some dinner at the restaurant at the base of the hill. We had a cute waitress! But no photos of her. In the morning we ate at the same place, then packed our gear. We had a long day ahead of us.
We got lost in Roanoke, Virginia trying to find a side road that headed south between I81 and the Blue Ridge Parkway. We probably should have just taken the parkway. Finally we hit North Carolina and travelled the parkway south until we got to Little Switzerland. There the parkway was closed so we headed off the parkway on the steepest, most twisted road I have ever been on. We descended for miles. Finally at the bottom we pulled over to take a break. The temperature at the lower altitude was 85 degrees! I had to shed some layers as I was now roasting!
We then found I40 and headed towards Asheville, North Carolina followed by Cruso.
We got to the campground and unpacked into our cabins.
The following few days were spent riding through the mountains of this beautiful area and relaxing at the campground.
I took a trip over the mountain towards Brevard, North Carolina just to photograph the Looking Glass Falls.
I had dinner on Saturday night with Ike and a few others at a nearby diner.
I had the fresh trout which was delicious!
And had to take my photo with our cute waitress.
The sun sets on the mountains of North Carolina.
Sunday morning came quick and it was time to pack up and head north.
We headed north of Asheville and rode through Tennessee and into southern Virginia. It was getting hot so we decided to grab a motel at Natural Bridge, Virginia. I had the worst dinner and service of my life there. But it was nice to get in out of the heat. The following morning we woke up and were on the road before 7am. Virginia is a long state and riding on I81 was quite boring. We were home by noon. It was nice to be home.
The weather this morning really got my mind working on what riding a motorcycle means to me. It is still Winter, but with a warm day I am reminded that Spring is just a few weeks away.
One thing I thought about is that riding is at it’s simplest not a convience. Grabbing your car keys, hopping in your car and driving away is a convienence. Choosing to ride adds complexity to transportation which makes travel an adventure every time.
I enjoy looking over my motorcycle before a ride. Checking the lights and tire pressure. Knowing that I have the tools to fix almost anything that could happen on the bike gives me a sense of responibility. I enjoy lacing up my boots, slipping into my riding pants, pulling the riding jacket on, slipping the helmet over my head and pulling my gloves over my hands. Pull the bike off of it’s center stand and throw my leg over the seat. Turn the key to the on position, pull in the clutch and hit the start button. The engine of the BMW purrs to life ready to take me anywhere I want to go.
There is no protection from the elements when you ride. That’s why it is important to be ready for anything. I carry my rain gear with me and have pulled off under an overpass more than once to pull this rain gear over my riding gear. Then I continue to ride. There are places to go and things to see. No need to wait for the weather to clear. The looks from the people I pass as they travel in their cars and trucks, protected by a rood and windows, is simply priceless. And better yet, passing a group of riders who are huddled under an overpass waiting for the rain to stop. Just ride!
First of all, I am a year older now. The posts have been pretty scarce so I need to catch up a bit on that.
Tomorrow I will be doing my first charityish ride for a co-worker. His son was in a severe accident not long ago in which he was thrown from the vehicle. The insurance company only covers a small fraction of the medical bills. So we are riding to raise money to help the family.
My bike is in dire need of a sprocket and chain. I’m going to double-check it tonight and see if it is safe for an 80 mile ride tomorrow. If not, my friend Ron has decided that I can ride his wife’s Harley-Davidson Sportster. She’s new to riding and not comfortable riding in a large group so she’ll be riding with Ron. I REALLY don’t like Harley’s, but I am in need of some two-wheel therapy and getting out with some friends on such a beautiful weekend seems like it may really cheer me up.
We’ll be meeting at Susquehanna Valley Harley-Davidson at 10am tomorrow, kickstands up at 11am. The ride is going to be about 80 miles through Cumberland, Perry, and Dauphin counties. And it looks like it’s going to be fantastic weather!