We had over 60 K1600s this year (not all pictured), along with other BMWs, Ducatis, Triumphs, etc.
Since the various group leaders don’t get a chance to actually ride together, we planned an “organizers” ride on Wednesday before the bulk of the attendees were scheduled to arrive. The ride was open to everyone – we had 25 bikes join us! So after getting the first U-turn out of the way at the first possible decision point (GPS, we don’t need no stinking GPS…) we made it a whole 10 minutes before leaving the group to do another U-turn to retrieve our left mirror. I’ll call it a tie – the turkey took out our mirror, but we took out the turkey! We had one last U-turn due to construction on Wayah Rd – darn, we had to run the beautifully paved, twisty section twice! After this inglorious start, we had a great ride and BBQ at Haywood Smokehouse in Dillsboro NC – if you visit them, be sure to try their Texas-style brisket and ribs.
Thursday through Saturday were group ride days. On Thursday, the spirited group went through the Tail of the Dragon and Foothills Parkway on our way to lunch at Carver’s Applehouse in Cosby TN. After lunch, we ran the Rattler (NC 209), NC 276, and the Blue Ridge Parkway back to the IHML, with a stop at the Trust General Store. Thank you Al & Jan for performing tail gunner duties!
Doc, the TTD organizer, is a huge Deadpool fan, and he sent out a Deadpool mask and trainee jersey with a group each day – Friday was our turn. Rob volunteered / was coerced into wearing the trainee jersey, for which he received free lunch! Due to the number of bikes, we split into 2 groups – Don and Amy lead the other group and Kyle was their tail gunner. Al and Jan again rode tail for my group. An hour or so into the ride, Stephanie became ill, and Bob took over as leader so Stephanie and I could return to the IHML. Many thanks to the leaders and tail gunners! After dropping Stephanie off, I was able to meet up at lunch (Hawg Wild BBQ in Brevard NC) and make the afternoon ride. Alas, I have no pictures of Friday’s ride, but the regular group met the spirited group on Walnut Rd and Andy snapped some pics of us. Don and Amy returned the favor with some video of the regular group on NC 215 ( beginning at 1:42). Stephanie was better after a nap and a shower.
I tried a new tire this spring – Dunlop Roadsmart 3s. I bought 2 sets. We put ~800 miles on the first set, and I switched to the brand new set just before the trip. I considered taking the slightly used set with us, but thought “Nah, I just installed new rubber” (I bet you know where this is headed). Halfway through the afternoon ride, the rear end started to get squirmy, and by the time we were finished, so was the tire! At 1083 miles, it had the worst cupping any of us has seen outside of a track tire (cupping typically occurs at low tire pressures; my gauge and the bike TPMS both indicated the correct 42 lb when cold). After dinner, I drove home, picked up the used rear, headed back to the IHML, and swapped out the wheels. That was a 5 hour round trip, and I’ve learned my lesson – ALWAYS take the spares! Others swear by the RS3s, but I’m going back to my favorites – Pirelli Angel GTs.
Strong thunderstorms threatened on Saturday, so we abandoned the scheduled route and I made it up as we went along. After a great ride down Wayah Rd (no construction this time), I took us on a road that ended in a goat path, resulting in, you guessed it, a U-turn. Soon after, Stephanie and I realized that we were now in a group of one, so I stopped on the side of the road. With no bikes in our (right) mirror after a minute or so, we decided to U-turn and find them. Short story (for me) – I dropped the bike in the middle of the road. I just stepped off the bike, but Stephanie didn’t fare as well (left side drop, left fused ankle, you get the picture). As she rolled off the bike, her airbag vest decided we were crashing and inflated! Of course, the group came upon us as soon as this occurred. On the upside, neither the bike nor the riders were injured, and we were treated to a zero MPH test of the airbag system – all it needed was a new CO2 cartridge (note to self: carrying a spare cartridge is useless when you leave the installation tool at home). We continued on through Highlands to Franklin NC, where the skies opened up. After lunch at Caffe Rel, we had a wet (but fun) ride up NC 28 back to the IHML. Thanks to Kyle for riding tail!
Awards were presented on Saturday night, including a Klim jacket and BMW boots from our sponsor, Touring Sport of Greenville SC. I received a medal for the largest fowl taken at the event!
Until next time – keep the shiny side up!