This is the story of my road trip from Pekin, IL to Gatlinburg, TN on my Honda CBR 600 RR motorcycle.
After drinking a Fat Tire with dinner last night, I took a nap. Well, that was a mistake. I woke up a few hours later and couldn’t fall back asleep until 3AM. This forced me to get off to a late start this morning and put me leaving the motel at 10AM. The real problem this morning wasn’t lack of sleep so much as deciding where the heck I was going. After deliberating for a few minutes I decided that I would hit up The Dragon again and spend some quality time riding the road back and forth.
The ride through Great Smoky Mountains National Park this morning was aggravating. As usual, I got stuck behind some sightseers who don’t know how to let people pass and went 20MPH the entire way from Gatlinburg to Townsend. After a quick stop to rest my legs and fill up on gas I headed for Foothills Parkway and then The Dragon. I was a little nervous on my first run through because the roads were still quite wet, but my Pilot Power 2CTs performed flawlessly. The only time I had trouble with slippage was when I took a bad line into a turn and ended up touching the yellow line halfway through. That paint is not the least bit forgiving.
I got some lunch at Deal’s Gap Resort and ran back down The Dragon, feeling more confident with each run through. I stopped at the overlook to rest and turn around and ran into a trio of sports cars: a Porsche Carrera 4S, Mazda RX-7 and Honda S-2000. The guy in the Porsche just reeked of douche and the guys in the other cars weren’t too different. After they took off, I suited up and headed back to Deal’s Gap resort. By this time the road was pretty dry in most spots and I started powering through the turns harder than ever before. When I was resting in the parking lot I noticed a dog sitting in a basket in the back of a trike. The guy sitting next to me on the bench was actually parked next to the trike I was looking at and they were all riding as a group. He told me that the dog’s name is Lucy and she’s logged over 100,000 miles on motorcycles and trikes. Insane.
After resting this time I headed back down The Dragon and absolutely tore it up. Not that it particularly matters, but my chicken strips are down to half a centimeter on the rear, hooray! 😛 I can’t wait to see the shots that some of the photographers snapped today. I stopped at the overlook on the way back and talked to a couple of guys who were down from Ohio. They’ve been coming down here for over 10 years and said that it’s more fun each and every time. I can confidently say that I will be making this a tradition also.
I took Foothills Parkway and then 73 all the way back to Gatlinburg and called it a day. Nothing new, really, but I’m definitely improving my riding style on the twisties. I’m picking up on the little things and learning how to pick better lines, etc. It’s good stuff.
I think tomorrow will involve more Dragon runs. I’m afraid to ride too far away because I don’t want to be completely sore for my ride home on Saturday. I’ll try and dig up some interesting scenes to photograph tomorrow.
You can see all of the photos from my trip in my Facebook album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2068810&id=197102025&l=9f9eff78bb