Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Notes From the Road

We're in London, Kentucky this evening... which means we decided not to eat the whole enchilada, getting off the Blue Ridge Parkway somewhere around mile post 279.  That said, I did more than half of the 469 mile route and was well into North Carolina when I began to think that the road was looking a lot like more of the same, not that "the same" is bad in any way, shape, or form.  It is simply a beautiful drive and would be even better on a mo'sickle, about which: I saw hundreds over the last couple o' days.

I had virtually the entire road to myself today, just like yesterday.  Another interesting observation: I saw very, very few young people.  It seemed like every car I saw was filled with Old Gray Heads (including mine... but Wait!  I'm a very light blond, so never mind.).  Even the bikers were geezers (on Harleys, of course) with very few exceptions, most notably the two middle-aged guys on beautiful dual-sport Beemers I chatted with at an overlook.

So.  I decided to head for home and called up OnStar for routing directions.  (A brief parenthetical digression: OnStar doesn't work well everywhere, most notably in heavily forested areas.  It took those friendly folks FOUR attempts to get routing instructions downloaded to my car.  FOUR.)  I was almost at that proverbial "You can't get there from here" point in my journey and the folks at OnStar had some trouble figuring out a route for me, given I told them I wanted to avoid the superslab.  So, we got the "scenic route."  And BOY was it ever scenic, as in twisty two lane mountain roads that were a driver's delight.  Or a biker's.  That link takes you to a few biker tales about riding "The Snake," which is what I did today (if you substitute drive for ride).  Here's a thumbnail view of part o' my route today:

A bonus I didn't anticipate is I had that road pretty much to myself, as well.  A further bonus is I got to seriously exercise The Tart for the first time ever and I gave her (and me) a real workout in those twisty-turnies.  The Tart has a pretty cool transmission that will either shift for herself or let me choose the gears (as in a "manual automatic").  We used the manual for a good long time today, going into those 25 mph corners (posted) in second gear while holding her in the power band... from 4000 ~ 6000 rpm... and upshifting to third on the exit; rinse and repeat for a good 60 miles or so.  There were some straights where we got into sixth gear but those were few and far between.  That lil bit o' automotive exuberance prolly wreaked havoc on my gas mileage... it seemed like every time I looked at the tach to up or down shift my "Instant Economy" readout said 4 or 6 mpg.  I was on her hard.

So.  The Tart is a LOT o' fun.  She's too portly to be tossable but she does handle well and sticks on those turns in the twisties better than I thought she would.  That's actually sayin' a lot, since I expected her to be competent.  I didn't expect her to great, however.  And she IS great.

A couple o' pics from today and then we'll go.

Clearer than yesterday but still pretty hazy.  Somewhere south of Roanoke, VA.

I was surprised to see farms and homes along the Parkway.  Some, like this one, were quite beautiful.  Note the graveyard behind the farm.  I'll bet there are some stories there.

I shot some dashcam video today, but the Wi-Fi connection here at the Hampton Inn is painfully slow.  The Tube O' You estimated 97 minutes to upload a four minute video and it's still going as we type.  I'm gonna go to bed but I'll leave the computer running and post the vid tomorrow morning.


  1. That last photo, sugar coated frosted minnie wheats...now I knows where they come from.

    1. You'd need a LOT o' milk to eat one of those.

  2. Just catching up here, had to search the blog for background on "The Tart". :) Have a safe rest of the trip home!

    1. The Tart is my new love, Laurie.


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