The 2nd Annual
[JON DIAZ] [BILL SHAW] [JIM FLETCHER]
Subject: BMW: Chattanooga "Second 'First' Gathering!
Well, fellow presidents, the Second "First" Gathering is now a pleasant memory, but I feel that it is going to be the 'hot ticket' in Sept. from now on. Nearly 50 presidents rode through rain filled skies to make the meeting. Most only had 1-2 hours of the wet stuff, while unfortunate Mike Cornett, in his quest for Nat'l Park stamps, was in it all day :-(
GSPD Ian, Tom Bowman, Linda and I set out under grey skies on the road to Chattanooga. We decided to stop at Chickamauga Nat'l Battleground on the way and just happened to be there on the 133rd anniversary of the battles that took place there and were treated to re-enactors firing cannons, muskets and showing the battle tehniques of the period. Just as the Confederate brigade was finished with it's demonstration, the skies opened and we took our leave for the 20 minute ride to Chattanooga.
Only 2 bikes were in the parking lot when we arrived (about 2:30 or so-the hotel had roped off a large area up front just for us). Dashing through huge puddles we arrived in the lobby to the bewilderment of the hotel clerk; we must have looked like a bunch of soggy loons to her :-) Check-in was a breeze and there was Corky Reed, looking out the windows of the lobby, amused at the sight of us.
In one's and two's, the presidents began rolling in over the next hour. The skies began to clear and rumor had it that since it had stopped raining, Jon Diaz must have turned around to avoid the "rainman ribbing' he usually gets at wet presidential functions :-)
He made it just fine and now is claiming the title of the anti-rainman since the skies were clearing on his arrival.
There are so many presidents to list here I think it would be better to allow someone who wrote them all down to do so, suffice it to say the hospitality suite was hopping until the rain stopped then the party moved outside to the parking lot. By 7:15, some rode, some loaded up in cars and a large number of us walked the mile to the Mexican restaurant. The food was very good as was the comraderie. After dinner, we met back in the parking lot for more lie telling, cigars, beer, pictures and the t-shirt swap emceed by T-Mia (who arrived about 20 minutes before dinner).We asked him to walk with us, he laughed at us, thinking that we were quite daft, but we who walked BEAT him to the restaurant :-)
The party moved inside at an undetermined time, and one by one folks slipped out to go to sleep. Many (like Pinkman, had put on major miles to get there). After 11PM, who but Steve Anderson strolled in, where he had been fighting thick fog for the past 2 hours on the way down.
I didn't receive a wake-up call today, so I overslept and missed many presses leaving for breakfast at 0700, but there were enough of us stragglers left to have a nice time for a couple fo hours before hitting the road. Many came back after breakfast so the goodbyes got longer and longer.
As Linda and I rode off, we saw T-Mia riding Bob Bell's K1 around the parking lot with a HUGE grin on his face. Kevin and Donna K. and Mike and Demi waved us off, and we headed south to home.
I am sure others, as they arrive home, will fill in the many blanks here (like Larry Fears' sex life lately, Jim Shaw's incredible trip, Rick Landi's multi-vehicular 'escape' from Alaska, the on-going contest (duel) between PinkMan and Mike C. on who can amass more Federal stamps in their Nat'l park passports, DCMike's beautiful new red K11RS and the mysterious marks on his left hand saddlebag HE says came from Deal's Gap, where exactly IS Reed's Landing, Scott Adam's stint as an unemployed barrister-folks, he's taking it REAL well;-),, Sue's new black R11RS (sharp!), Dave K's K1 (which he left at home), who was that mysterious young man riding 2 up with Jim Hair and did they get him home?. Tom Haynes' 5 gallon NASCAR fuel cell on the rear of his K, Tom Keen's gift from DCMIKE, T-Mia's Legends autographed hat, Esq. Ted's future ;-), were the kids puking on the second floor(in their rooms, thankfully) this morning the ones that made off with the liquor while we were all at dinner?? and so many more points of rabid interest concerning the presidents in attendance.
Going to the garage to unload my "e-ticket" :-)
Subject: BMW: Chattanooga Thank You
OK.....I made it back to Louisiana....
I made it to Chatanooga and met a batch of those folks I have been downloading for the last few months. No surprises, cept for Corky....I had him pictured a lot differently. Wish he could have ridden with us.
Several things, people.....
Impressions.....Dick Heads. I sat at dinner with two of them within arms reach. I intentionally sat in front of the emergency exit in case things got out of hand and I had to egress instantly OR if one of the couthless DHs tried to use the exit to get out of the bill. Didn't need to, both of them were virtual models of decorum and manners. In fact, one of them refused to be a dick head and smoke at the table. He got up and went outside as a gentleman would. I was disappointed by his allowing such a chance to escape to validate the qualities of "dickheadiness" and set a poor example for others to follow.(I will, if requested by E-Mail, entertain giving their numbers to others of the infamous organization if the others wish to take them to task for raising the depth to which they would not sink. Perhaps mailing to them a greasy, worn out brake pad with insufficient postage? Put their names on the Harley mailing list? You know, something apropo(s))
Other than leaving my helmet sitting on the bike in "gator flush" rain storm while I walked 4400', 1100' underground to watch water fall with Bill at Ruby Falls and on the return, watching him, literally, riding beneath the curl of a wave on the highway, giving away all my JR synthetic Macanudos, running out two cigarette lighters of combustibles keeping Scott's JR lit, trying to find someone older than me and a bike older than my /7 (failed in both), scaring a cable car full of tourists with remarks from Scott, Steve (he with the bottle of Glen Marangie and a perfect TBS and uncupped tires) and Jim. (I refrained from making comments to spare other's feelings. Besides I wasn't there and I'm sticking to that story), watching a Fuente bing freely given, taken back and offered to another, refused and again given back to the first party, (shocking episode even from a Yankee!), someone showing up at the dinner in a black tie, falling enamored with a pair of laughing eyes (if she rode an "R" bike, I would have followed her home), watching bike owners WALKING to dinner a mile away (saving their TBSs, ABSs, cupped tires, DOT 5 users?), group hug proposal, Scott's red and blue strobes he attaches to the corners of his windshield to clear traffic, and a thousand other things all happening in one hellavaday. Enjoyed it, people.
Left out at 0600 in a dense fog, with the faceshield raised so I could see to ride, loosing my muffler at the Gerogia state line, riding 5 miles to a turnoff, 7 miles back to another and a couple miles back to the place it fell off, finding the muffler in a wide clear "T" under a road light with lots of room to park, undamaged except for a couple scratches, slipped right back on and tightened up the clamp, added some bailing wire to secure it (always carry a foot or so with the vise grips and duct tape in a Crown Royal sack) and back on my way.
Found out that my bike wobbles at 90 or so. Steady as a rock until I hit 90 and then it starts to wobble. Didn't check the tire pressure yet, but I wonder if that Parabellum could cause it. Any ideas out there? I got in the middle of a pack of crazies running bumper to bumper with a sombitch in the left lane staying with another car in the right lane. Put up with that shit until they boxed me in and they started jockying around. I took the shoulder and passed the whole crew when the wobble started. No tank slapper, just a 2 cycle per second wobble. Hello? What causes that? Held it to 85 or so after that. Happened twice. Didn't recognize it the first time cuz I was following a big truck going downhill the first time and thought that it may have been turbulence from the truck's wake.
1. 1 ea mink
HEY!!!! SOMEONE CALL ANOTHER MEETING!!!
Subject: BMW: Chattanooga !! Trip Report ! (Long!)
(From deep inside the Secret Bunker.........a Trip Report!! Like, we need *another* one.)
Cosmo rolls up the miles on a little spool inside his speed-o-meter and keeps them there to savor for a while; for a trip, or at least a tankful of fuel. For this trip, the First Annual Presidents' Dinner - Part Deux, it would be fairly short for him. Pat and Linda Roddy on their K-whiner Luxo-Tourer (LT), and Ian Schmeisser, on his "Beast" (R80G/S), and I, on Cosmo (my 93 R100 GSPD) set out early on Saturday morning for Choo-town. The big Civil War National Park, Chickamauga, was to be a side trip. From the north and south, east and west, other Presidents came. From Chicago and Missouri and Louisiana and Florida and Ohio and New Jersey and Virginia, they came.. Through rain and sun, wind and traffic, they came. Singly and two-up, they came. Some came on worn tires. Some came in leather, some came in nylon. Some were behind fairings, some not. Some brought friends or S.O.'s. Some came in groups, some alone. Some came hungry, some thirsty. Some brought gifts; at least one did not. Two came on four wheels, but they came, which was important and appreciated. No one I know of visited the National Knife Museum.
Religion was not discussed, nor was politics, save for the few tongue-in-cheek Clinton jabs. There might have been more Clinton jokes, but Jim Colburn didn't show. There was no discussion on the Middle East or U.S. military power in The Gulf, although there was debate over the relative merits of several well-known small arms. Aerostich was a big topic, as was cigars. K-bikes were well-represented. Oilheads came in a fog of EMF from the vast arrays of computers on-board. Various Airheads loped in, their long legs taking huge strides down the pavement.
Among the bike personalities, PAKMUL was there, and ZUMZM (?). Don Grayling's choice (and high-mileage) `95 R100 GS Classic was there in Basic Black. Formal and pristine, it is, and I came over to appreciate it, and it whispered its name to me: Greta Garbo. Quasimodo came on the back of a K-model. Others came incognito, with only alphanums on their plates. Cosmo was there, as I've said, and several that haven't yet divulged their names to their new owners. Descartes (The Continent-Killer) so thrashed the Pink-Man in his frenzy to get more Parks than Mike Cornett, that he had to regroup before the evening's festivities. Soldier that he is, he was there in full regalia, wit and wisdom intact despite the hours in the saddle.
Several displayed Iron Butt Association license plate frames, and at least two have seen both coasts in less than two days. Awesome. Some displayed battle scars, and at least one sat quietly nursing a mirror in a duct-tape sling, victim of a lack of friction coefficient at an inclined stop. Two that were absent had started for Georgia last May and are now dead and buried: thankfully, both their owners were present and in better shape than their old mounts, though one winced at every attempted slap on the back (Rick Landi), and one still recoils from the Masonic handshake (Larry Fears).
The first libations of the day were indulged in mid-afternoon. The sun was surely "over the yard-arm" somewhere. The Advance Scouts had done their work well: the parking lot had been cordoned-off in anticipation of the arrival of the VIP's, and the meeting room cleared of non-essential personnel. Reconnaisance had revealed the presence nearby of a highly-organized commercial enterprise suitable for a Presidential feed, and reservations secured (in a separate room, presumably, so that any wayward Harley riders who blundered in wouldn't be taunted).
Sustenance had been secured for the early arrivals. Presidents live off the land, or when they can, on whatever Lucullan repast may be laid before them, be it kingly and regal, or humble peasant fare. Chili or hot dogs; burritos or Power Bars; steak & potato or the finest smoked trout (especially tasty when brought from the very shadows of the hallowed Deal's Gap - thanks, Jim Shaw); shrimp on the Redneck Riviera, laid out by the very Mayor of the place; cheese and crackers, pretzels, or goldfish, Prezzes munch out. Darwinism even intrudes here: some brought helmets so highly-evolved that the entire face folds up out of the way for Twinkie clearance while on the move.
The Scouts had prepared well: well-chilled Malt Beverages of the finest quality were laid down in heavily-insulated coolers beside distilled spirits and exotica, complementing the nutritious appetizers on silver salvers. Touring Cases were opened and shining implements of mixology laid side-by-side upon the burled walnut of the heavily-laden, linen-covered serving tables. Small vials of seldom-seen and little known elixirs were produced, to the amazement of the Presidents and Scouts. Incantations were uttered, slowly, underneath the breath, as rapid movements of hands sheathed in voluminous sleeves combined the ingredients into potent attars, their perfume causing the innocent bystanders to mumur: "What the Hell is THAT?" and "Goddamn, that's good!" A good martini should be like a frozen cloud: right, Pat Roddy?
Some donned leather holsters containing bottle-cap removers, commited as they were to "Nothing with a screw-top." Rick Povich was heard to swear that he would break the arms of anyone trying to make him drink a Rolling Rock. "None of that *swill*!!" he ranted. Jim Shaw regaled with tales of The Great North (Alaska), between sips of Glenmorangie. An air of contentment began to spread over the swelling throng, as rider after rider was spotted by the lookouts, perched as they were high on the third floor, leaning out, peering into the hazy, misty rain, each thought to be Jon Diaz, the dark clouds hovering exactly three thousand feet above his entourage, dressed in wet suits as they slogged through the murk, their rain tires spraying high-pressure blasts of water at each lumbering Volvo-full of peons between Chicago and Tennessee. Each newly-arrived rider soon appeared, framed in the large, arching doorway of the ballroom, to the thunderous applause of the swelling throng of Presidents. Each was ushered to the white board to sign in, and add their name to the illustrious roster.
Occasionally, a non-BMW guest would wander by, peering sidelong at the crowd, whilst trying to hug the wall opposite the festivities and not get caught in the fallout. Hotel staff, having been briefed on what to expect beforehand, simply went about their duties smiling and shaking their heads, or muttering under their breath. Some travellers (this is unsure, but rumored) may have driven into the parking lot only to speed away at the sight of the precisely-oriented lines of motorcycles, their gleaming Teutonic countenances stern and forbidding. The burly security guards posted to keep small children and Rec.Moto imbeciles away glowered at idle passers-by suspiciously. A few hardy non-Presidential souls checked in cautiously, their heads on swivels, sidling up to the desk between newly-arriving Presidents in their wet outfits.
As the conversation and camaraderie swelled to a crescendo in the packed meeting room upstairs, the Grayling Gang and Nation's Capital contingent arrived to cheers. Buttons were handed out announcing "I'm not Joe Senner", and "I'm Not Jon Diaz", and "I'm HUGE! Who are YOU?" One wearer was labelled "I'm the Intelligent One?" Larry Fears, who couldn't be mistaken for *anyone* else, wore buttons to confirm that he was neither Jon Diaz nor Joe Senner. The slamming of the beer cooler lid was thunderous and non-stop. Some Presidents drifted downstairs to be closer to the mounts and the stream of new Prezzes coming in. Amazingly, just before the Diaz contingent arrived, the clouds broke and the sun shone through. The curse had been broken! The Rain Man's sign had moved into another, drier, constellation, hopefully, never to return.
At this juncture, another amazing thing happened! Shortly after the Diaz group arrived, T-Mia and TLE zoomed in, the wheels of the big K-bike seemingly not touching the pavement. The tires were s-s-s-s-smok-in'! The cast of characters was nearly complete. Elsie and Susan, Tom Keen (who IS Joe Senner......or Jon Diaz.....I forget which), Prezz Roger, Bill and Jeannie (?) Ranck, Joe Hair, Eric (who had left his wounded steed behind and ridden buddy to get there, I heard), Jim "Dude" Fletcher, Oilhead Bob, BudAmy, Corky Reed (Mayor of Reed's Landing), were all in full song, and Mike and Demi (not THAT one, you moron! But almost as nice....) were experiencing Presidential hospitality for the first time Through the good graces of The Advance Scouts, the appointed feeding place was nearby, enough so that some, should they be energetic or wary of their reflexes after a few beverages, might choose to walk. Not an odour of rain was there, as The Rain Man's curse was apparently broken. The Troop split into two large contingents for the trip, each as potent as the elements of a nuclear reactor, which are wisely separated until just before being brought together to achieve critical mass.
Swept into the large restaurant by Major-Domo@ElMeso'n.eats, and arrayed like the powerful knights of a distant, olden, and most secret court, the Adepts were seated in two large groups at heavy, dark, oaken tables, decorated and braced with wrought iron fixtures. A small army of scurrying servants kept tankards, flagons, and bottles replenished as course after course of rich, heavily-spiced food was brought to be eagerly consumed. Knots of intrigue and currents of barely-believeable Tall Tales swept the rooms.
The Tales: Oh, my! The Tales!!
In this medieval setting the time passed quickly, and we laughed until our sides hurt, and ate, and drank in the fellowship with the ale. As that stage of the meal came known as "Filling Up The Corners", we prepared for the rest of the evening's festivities, and rode, rattled, clanked, and shuffled back to the MegaTel for the Piece de Resistance; the Coup de Gras: the *T-Shirt Giveaway!*
Once again the parking lot had become the scene of a throng like that of, say, a Planet Hollywood opening. Blue smoke and brown bottles were de rigeur as Presidents mingled and swapped lies. DC Mike was resplendent in Tres Chic formal shirt, tie, and black leather trousers, lending an air of sophistication to an otherwise very pragmatic group. SoD numbers became the topic of conversation as Richard Bernecker strolled, casually evaluating the attendees for inclusion in the oh-so-exclusive SoD ranks. Some are called: fewer are chosen. Jon Diaz (who is NOT Joe Senner), was wearing a tee shirt proclaiming "Laverda-Breganze", in red and green, and was secretly extolling the virtues of Italian handling, while Tom Keen (who IS Joe Senner), quietly smoked and gazed out of those other-worldly, gunfighter eyes, waiting to pounce with rapier-like wit and encyclopaedic knowledge of the superior handling traits of the R100. A car full of suits wandered the lot looking for Greg Pink, and claiming to be from the Pulitzer Committee. Something about the "Siege at Senner" thread being nominated for some kind of prize? The girl at the desk asked me three times if I knew Ted Verrill, and would I ask him to come by. She said it with a twinkle in her eye, too.
The suspense built and built until finally, ballots were handed around for the tee-shirt exchange. Someone's "top box" was pressed into service as a vessel from which the names could be drawn. T-Mia stepped into the limelight to assume the duties of Master of Ceremonies, his droll commentary provoking hoots and shrieks as each new tee-shirt was revealed and handed to a beaming participant. Esquire Ted couldn't decide which to let go, his stogie or his beer, when his name was called, and finally had to yell for help from Dave "I'm HUGE" Keuch (whose name I thought as pronounced "Kooch", but turns out to be 'Keech"). The prizes ranged from the sublime (an authentic autographed Battle of the Legends hat and tee-shirt, and a custom-made license plate proclaiming "IBMWR Prezz"), to the ridiculous (a "Dog-Run, 1996" Harley poker run tee-shirt - which I happen to like TYVM - and an "I Survived The Chicago Flood" tee-shirt). Everyone got something, and the whole thing pegged the hilarity meter with all the verbal jousting and ripostes.
All too soon, it was time to think forward to a few hours' good rest and the morning's ride, and by ones and twos we retired, smiling. The MegaTel's housekeepers had been properly bribed beforehand to be sure that the meeting room was returned to good order, so there was nothing left to do but turn in. Morning came too early, and those out at the limits of a day's ride were quietly floating off into the early-morning mist at O-Dark-Thirty. Some would linger to extend their pleasure over breakfast: some of us would be down the road by their second cup of coffee.
My National Parks Passport got another stamp (and got a little wet). We were there, luckily, on the one hundred and thirty-second anniversary of the big, decisive, battle, and were treated to displays of cannon and rifle fire, lectures, and demonstrations of a bit of history that were special. My memory cache has some good, special memories of nearly fifty great Presidential people. There was good fellowship, equanimity, and good humor, fraternity, and a common bond.
To all of those who attended: thank you! It was a great event! To the Advance Scouts: Well Done!! And Thank You! Chatannooga, Morganton, or East Jibip: a President's Meeting is something not to be missed!! A real "E-Ticket" ride!!
Subject: BMW: Chattanooga - Long
With Carol coming down with the flu at the last minute I was going to have to make the trip myself. Take the K1... Damn needs fluids changed.. I'll take the RT. Took off at 4:45am it's cool and damp, by the time I hit 81 south I'm wondering why I didn't bring the liner for my jacket. I decide to pull off and put on my rain jacket to help.
At Woodstock I pull off the interstate and figuring a couple D.C. folks are probably behind me pull 3/4 way down the on ramp so I can see anybody go by. I stop next to a ditch start to reach back and get into my right bag then a number of trucks come down the ramp. Still sitting on the bike I back it up 3 steps (1 too many) my right foot hits some gravel slides toward and into the 2-3 foot ditch Decision time.. try to save bike and possibly break ankle or leg or hit eject button. I opted for the eject button.. 2 seconds later I'm on the ground looking at my bike, wheels in the air.. it fell into the ditch.. It's pitch black no one else around and the bikes upside down with its parking lights on, and gas is pouring out of the tank.... S#%@
On the third try I finally right it. (Butch Hayes did say I was HUGE) I quick inspection with flashlight and damage isn't too bad... hmmm now where'd that mirror go?? Go back into the ditch and pick up the mirror it broke off in one piece. Stuff mirror into Gas soaked tankbag put on rainjacket and see lone biker go by... I take off..
Couple minutes later as I catch up to the bike I realize the windscreen was knocked loose and has come out of the left side clamp.. I pull off into a rest area. I see the biker has stopped at the on ramp to the rest area and has turned around and is coming in the exit. It's Richard Bernecker. After telling my tale we take off me in the lead.. Richard doesn't like leading...
With only one mirror Richard plays hide and seek with me for the next 50 miles.. We stop for gas and pull out the duck tape.. not perfect but it works.. At Knoxsville it begins to rain slightly, we suit up for the wet weather and head to Chattanooga. We arrive at exit 5 and pull into the Microtel, with 7 bikes already there. Leaving major puddles in the lobby we register and head for the rooms. IBMWR has secured the 3rd floor meeting room. I walk in to find Corky, Pat and Linda R., Tom B., Jim Shaw and Scott Adams along with various liquid refreshments. After shaking hands and BS'in Corky and I pickup where we left off from the 4 Corners trip.. Drinking Salty Dogs :-)
As the various Prez's filter in and the rain subsides we moved to the parking lot. Around 7 it's time for dinner, a number of us decide to walk only thing ways we weren't really sure where the resturant was.. After having a great meal we walk back dicussing the various aspects of Nat'l Park Stamps, the multitude of great riding roads in the area, etc.
10:30 and Dr. Evans handles the T-shirt exchange. I got an Atlanta Fireman T-shirt given by Mike and Demi Nolan.. (Thanks Mike!!) Being that I was leaving at 6am I headed to bed at 11:30. Up at 5:30am wished Rick Landi (my roommate for the evening) a safe trip home and headed out. Bill Shaw and Bob Cox were coming with me.. and as it turned out Richard Bernecker.
Thick fog made for a slow start (we kept it at 80-85mph) It was funny that after we passed the sign saying "End of Fog Advisory Area" the fog really got thick!?? An hour later and we were in clear air and heading north at a 90mph pace. Made it home in 8 hrs. 45 mins. This was a great time!!! Thanks Tom and Scott for all the leg work on this!!! It's a must do for next year!!
OBTW: Between the exploding Prez's incident in San Fran. and my upside down RT I've now joined the ranks of SoD... who'd a thunk it!!??
Dave "HUGE" Keuch 91 K1 Black SoD#14
Comus, Md. 95 R100RT Red
Subject: BMW: The Smokies....and oh yeah, a Presidents meeting (long)
Its hard to imagine things getting bigger and better each time we get together, but once again it happened. Since others have expertly documented the events of the evening in unbelivable detail, I think I will pass on that and comment mostly on our ride. I left Thursday pm and headed for Indianapolis. The local club meets for pizza every Thursday night down there, and since I enjoy being around them more than my local club, its become standard practice for me to make this stop. I arrived around 5:30pm after a nice cruise down I-65, and as soon as my kickstand was down, shop manager Archey bound out the door with a new RT tankbag in his hand. We had talked on the phone about me buying one earlier in the week, and when I saw it in his hand, I said, 'yes, I think I want one of those.' Well, it turns out that I really didn't have a choice to make....Susie had called ahead and bought it for me. Neato. :) Jim Buchanan had also emerged from his Kokomo black hole for the evening, presumably to control my pizza consumption and/or dispel the rumors that he has colored his hair black and started listening to country music.
Since I was so early, I had a new set of MEZ's installed and spent the next couple of hours chatting and scarfing pizza. Bill and I left around 8:30. I needed to fill the bike on the way home, and was anxious to find something since I had ridden with the low fuel light on for close to 70 miles. The Shell pump near Bill's gratefully delivered 7.146 gallons into my 7.2 gallon tank (need some calibration there folks?), and it was off to bed for an early start the next day.
We left around 7am and headed straight into the sun down I-74. This ride never fails to bore, and by the time we met Walker and Tom at our usual meeting spot on i-75 south of Cincy I was ready for some backroads. But not without a meal stop first. I asked Walker to lead us to Exit 90 for a stop at the Cracker Barrel, and he graciously obliged, with only one near miss around Lexington. The trooper must have been asleep.
We got to Exit 90 and found this particular Cracker Barrel undergoing a severe facelift. Apparently the previous incarnation must have collapsed under the weight of all the crap they sell there, or maybe it was being updated to reflect the 'modern redneck' feeling that is overtaking Kentucky. :) At any rate, we weren't going to be seated at any time this month, so it was off to the next exit to see what we could find. We got off i-75 and headed east. I saw the Shoney's and turned to go into their parking lot, but something pulled me to the right to a sign that said 'home cooking,' one of the twelve key words that Alex Jomarron taught me about restaurant selection. The place looked a little dumpy, but the food was terrific. The guy in front of us in line said he'd eaten lunch there every day for the past six weeks. I wish I remembered the name of the place......its worth a stop.
Suitably nourished, it was off to US421 for the run into the hills. Smooth curves with lots of traffic were everywhere, and we turned off on 1482 at Burning Springs to get away from the flotsam. This road was fast and terrific, with the RT just falling into its rhythm about 81mph. We only saw a few cars, and scared the hell out of each one of them, but no one shot as us, so I guess we couldn't have scared them too terribly. 66 south was another jewel, and the one thing I remember about this road was the 'corner that went on forever.' It seemed like I was leaned over for about ten minutes, and I'm sure I triple apexed it. Guess I gotta look farther ahead. We gassed up in Hyden at the local cruise spot, and jumped back on 421 for the drive down to Harlan. This section of road is also used as the route from the coal mine to the processing station, and full of junk. The view is spectacular from the top tho, and the ride down very entertaining with tight curves and no runoff.
At Harlan we headed east on 160. I thought I had taken this road on my way back from Morganton, but didn't recognize it. The bottom section was tight, with mud and leaves dotting the pavement. Spinning the rear tire out of the tighter corners was, um, interesting, but once we got to the top the pavement had cleared nicely. Another great vista overlooking the valley. After getting back on the road for the trip down, however, things went to hell. Sections of road became one lane of dirt and gravel, and after a couple of miles of that, we came to a construction zone where Tom muttered those memorable words, 'Jon, there's no road here!' Which wasn't true...there was a road, it just happened to be in lousy shape. We had apparently just missed the dynamiting session. :( So we chatted with the flag worker and when the last giant truck loaded up, bounced thru the pieces of broken rock and sand to the other side. And then the road cleared up and got fun again. :)
The rest of the run to Kingsport was uneventful. We holed up in the Westside Inn, a place I can wholeheartedly NOT recommend for future stays, but the Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen were great, and are places that I can recommend. I fell asleep after a very busy day at the handlebar amid a maelstrom of pepperoni and Heath-bar blizzard fighting one another in my stomach.
We were out the door at 7 Saturday morning, and down the road to Johnson City for breakfast. The plan was to follow us23 south for a few miles, and then split west on a couple of backroads to get to the BRP. However, my map did not show the new section of US23 that has been created, and we missed the turnoff for the roads I wanted us to take. So we backtracked. Just a little tho, and came riding into this town called Hot Springs. With a campground that said, 'Welcome BMW Riders.' Shit, we're at Maggie Valley!
An hour was spent there chatting with people at the registration area, and then it was off on 209 south to get to the road I wanted. 209 was nuts. Tight tight curves with bikes coming the opposite direction, so passing had to be done very carefully. Well, not too carefully, as I had to keep Walker from running me over most of the time! I guess he wanted to get to Chatt. fast and take all those t-shirt orders!
We got to the end of 209 and took 274 over to 215 to go up to the BRP. This road is great, although I got fooled a couple of times on some 90 degree right handers. But the tires indicated that they were working at max lean, so maybe those shocks finally paid off after all as nothing scraped the whole weekend. We got to the top and the fog and cold had rolled in. Took the obligatory picture and headed down the hill on 215, which was another great stretch. 215 ended at US64, which was our designated route all the way to Chatt. Sue and I had been on it during the Georgia rally earlier in the year, but now that the colors were out it was slow. My particulary favorite memory were the two old ladies in the Camry driving 20mph under the speed limit, just chatting away and completely unaware of the ten cars lined up behind them. The speed limit was only 45. You do the math. :)
As soon as the traffic cleared and the curves ended on US64, the rains came. We stopped at a convenient gas station to put all rain gear on, and headed back into a driving storm that lasted for 50 miles. It finally let up near the Olympic venue for whitewater rafting before Ocoee Lake, and the rest of the trip into Chatt. was quite dry. A little cold, but dry. We got to the motel well after everyone else judging from the liquor consumed, but got right into it to catch up.
The collection of bikes was impressive.....and the cigar fumes lingering about the parking lot brought a tear of joy to nearly all the eyes of us K bike owners. If you went wanting anything at this event, it was your own fault....the generosity of several individuals should be noted. Next time we are going to get there at noon, dammit! :)
Dinner was particularly noteworthy in that the service for our large group was outstanding. They kept us bathed in chips, salsa, and that melted queso stuff that by the time my meal got there, I wasn't really hungry. But I ate anyway. The cheese sauce was so good, that I probably would have bit my own finger off without ever realizing it had I dipped my hand in the stuff. Then we waddled back to the motel parking lot for the t-shirt ceremony (thanks to Jim Shaw for the autographed Legends shirt, and of course PinkG for the reunion t-shirts....but Sue wants to know how she got that nickname).
I appreciate that no one asked about Oilhead oil consumption. You know who you are Bill.
Our trip home the next day was nicely uneventful....back roads to Louisville (over Signal Mtn in Chatt.....we gotta go up there for dinner next year!) and I-65 the rest of the way.
Thank you to everyone who attended, and Tom and Scott for the great planning in Chattanooga itself.
Subj: The Chatanooga Gathering (Long)
Although primarily a lurker, the Chatanooga Gathering (as I call it) was so unique, I wanted to contribute some of my anecdotes to this ongoing thread. Before I begin, I want to say how unfortunate it is that our "wrong coast brethren" couldn't make it over to Tennessee. It's been stated many times before, but there are some truly great people associated with this list. As it turns out, the ONLY ones who showed up in Chatanooga on Saturday were the great ones. ;-) In an effort not intended to bore everyone, here goes...
I hooked up with Don "Four Corners" Graling and "Motel Bob" Ryan for the trip down to Chatanooga (BTW, how come West Coast Prez's have nicknames for their bikes, and East Coaster's have nicknames for other Prez's?). :-) It was an uneventful beginning to the trip until we stopped just east of Roanoke, VA for our first gas stop at a Texaco station off 81. As we were dismounting from our bikes, a Jeep Jerokee pulled up next to us. The seedy driver appeared to be giving us a close inspection. Unsure of the quality of life that resides in that area, and given the time of day (~8:30AM), I was getting a little nervous. So I mustered up all my courage and decided to non-verbally confront the interloper by staring back at him. The seedy scum turned out to be Bob Higdon!!! :-) We had passed him earlier, and he had been waiting for us to pull over so he could give us the T-shirt he bought for the Chat Gathering. He apparently didn't feel well enough to ride, and while caging it down decided he wasn't getting any better, but wanted to make sure his contribution was safely delivered. Unable to convince Bob to persevere, we separated company, and continued on our sojourn.
A short 181 miles later in Abingdon, VA, we made our second gas stop. Just after filling up and while re-donning our gear, Bob "K-1" Bell pulls up to the pumps. He was several exits east of us when he saw us fly by. He quickly jumped back on 81, and tracked us down. In an effort to get into our good graces, Bob bribed us by buying lunch at the local Burger King. ;-) It worked and he joined our merry little group the rest of the way down. Bob also provided a little levity by doing a great impersonation on his K-1 of Don on his PD doing Lady Godiva (Don has an interesting way of relieving the stress in his butt by hanging it off the side of his bike while riding - a la Lady Godiva). It must work - he completed the four corners ride in style.
Nothing eventful happened at our last gas stop, but it started to sprinkle. Bob Bell put his rain suit over his naugahyde ;-), and we continued through the worst deluge which I have ever ridden in. We arrived safe, and more than a little damp. In twisting my arm to go on this trip, Graling never mentioned that my Stitch would get wet or my bike would get dirty. Damn these sales guys. ;-)
After the rain stopped and we gathered in the parking lot, I did take a little ribbing about how dirty my bike looked. Now that I have a K bike, I can legitimately whine a little. This undeserved "Mr Clean" reputation I have is not in keeping with the reputation of other Prez's. I would like to be known as a nice guy like Dave Keuch, Jon Diaz, Don Graling, Brian Curry, Bob Bell, Greg Pink, etc., etc., etc., or an intellectual like Ted Verrill and Bob Higdon, or even like T-Mia (OK, maybe I went too far on this one, but I've made my point). ;-) But to be known as the "Mr Clean" or the "detail guy" just doesn't have the same panache as some other cool nicknames. I guess I could move to California, and give my bike a nickname. But I really do like the people I've met out here. Or, if I really wanted to be contemptible, I could start a sophomoric "society" within the list, and to feign exclusivity, issue individual numbers. Then when I get a large enough following, I could either serve grape CoolAid (tm) to my "flock", or move to another state. BTW Richard, where the hell in NC is Elizabeth City any ways? ;-) But I digress from the purpose of this missive.
I do want to thank all those who contributed to putting this event together (Tom, et al). I also want to thank Don and Larry Fears, both of whom are considerate, generous and gracious roommates; to Bob Ryan for his companionship and his wife's chocolate and peanut butter cookies; to Dave "Huge" Keuch and "Campground Bob" Cox for guiding me home; to Bob "Outer-loop Beltway" Bell (formerly Bob "K-1" Bell) for letting Don, Bob Ryan and myself buy him dinner Saturday night; and to Jon Diaz for having a great pair of legs. ;-)
Back by popular demand... Toodles,
Subject: BMW: Chattanooga trip report
What a great idea! A perfect excuse for a Presidents gathering.
I hooked up with DCMike just outside of DC (of course) friday afternoon. Our goal was to get as far south as possible so we could ride Deals Gap before the impending rains forecasted on Saturday. We decided to take a short diversion through the Blue Ridge Mountains on rt. 211 so Mike could try out his new K1100RS on a twisty. Traffic was light on Slab # 81 south, so we made fantastic time and made it to within an hour of Knoxville that night. We left our whereabouts on the MOA 800 number in case Ted Verrill and Elsie Smith caught up with us.
The next morning we got moving early to stay ahead of the rain. I got a chance to try Mike's K11 on the way (fast Dude, like real fast, I want one!). We turned off 81 towards Gattlingburg towards the Smokie Mountains. We passed countless Elvis venues on the way, but it was Dollyworld that reminded us of the Great Smokie Mountains nearby, so we pushed on.
By now Mike was getting more confident on his new bike. Although he waited patiently behind the mountain tourist traffic (about 2 seconds per car) I was able to keep up. Route 28 towards the Gap was a great warm up. As we got closer to the Gap more squids would appear but we didn't get over taken, which told me we still had it in us. Finally we pulled into a cafe/ motorcycle campground called the "CrossRoads of Time" at rt. 129. As we pulled in I pulled off my helmet and asked mike "is this it?" A nearby racer type with knee pucks on his leathers looked at my and said "this is it... this is where you make your deal with the devil". Oh great.
Deals Gap, for those of you who have not heard of it, is a snake of a road called "the dragon" which rolls through the Smokie Mountains. Eleven miles, 318 curves. At the Crossroads there are lots of cool bikes. Ducs and Japanese sport bikes abound. One dude pulled up in a Bimota powered by a BMW (Rotax) F650 engine. He had about 1500 miles on it, most of them logged on the Gap, way cool!
As we get ready to leave, Ted Verrill and Elsie Smith pull up! We swap trip stories, watch them eat, take some pictures like the tourists we are, and off we go. Now Mike is fully confident with the K11, plus he is an exceptional rider, so he passes the first car and is gone. My tape player decides to eat Pink Floyd's "Dark side of the moon", so I slow a bit to put in the Stones "Hot Rocks" and I'm off. We see Ted and Elsie at the other end. They were held up by a dude in a Car who not let them pass. He clearly was not in the spirit of this great road. Anyway, we were able to do the Gap on a nice dry road. It started raining soon after.
We pulled into Chattanooga greeted by several Presidents who already had a meeting room set up with refreshments (Thanks a bunch !). Lots of old friends and got to meet some new ones. Got to see the four corners guys and many folks who were at Morganton. Dinner was terrific, followed by a superb cigar supplied by Ted Verrill. Some cool T-shirts were swapped. I was hoping someone from Cleaveland would get my Baltimore Ravens shirt.
The next morning Mike, Jim Bissette, Motel Bob and I caught the Interstate Bullet Train led by Rick Povich (Fast and efficient). Made such great time, Mike and I were able to do one last trip through the Blue Ridge and stop for a great burger at a small town diner.
Had a great time, this Presidents lunch/dinner will be habit for me.
88 K75RS (Autobahn)
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