Thanksgiving Trip to West Virginia

Nov 23-26 2006
LOCATIONS: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virgina

I took a 4 day trip to visit West Virgina and ride some more Blue Ridge Parkway. I didn’t ride much in WV eariler in the summer when I was there in August so I wanted to check it out a bit.

I rode 401 miles on the 23rd to get to Uniontown south of Pittsburgh. I had packed up camping gear and thought I was going to camp some of the nights at least. I didn’t camp one night due to the sun going down at around 5 Pm and the sub freezing weather. I did stop at a camp site on friday night but couldn’t get and fire wood so I found a hotel instead.

after the first morning. 25 degrees

A shot of Seneca Rocks, WV

Some of the nicer rodes I rode in WV. 219, 55, 33

I stayed in a Budget Inn at Princeton, WV the second night after checking out Greenbrier State Forest Campgrounds, no firewood means no camping.

This is by the side of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah Park right off of 33. The Drive was closed due to ice storms earlier that week. If you look at the top of the trees you will see that most are cracked off.

I met up with Dave and Maria. They picked up a used Triumph speed triple in NC.

We stayed the 25th at a super 8 in Waynesboro, VA right near the BRP and Skyline Drive.

I Dropped the DL for the first time on Sunday. I left the brake lock on and tried to ride off. At least nothing broke. The long slab ride home was pretty boring from Front Royal, VA to Brookyn, NY. It was about 300 miles. I need a touring seat.


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Full Hard Case Test Ride

Nov 4 2006
LOCATION: West Connecticut MAP OF AREA

I test rode with my new hard cases. I rode to CT and took these pictures near a lake off 53. The bags where pretty much empty so I didn’t really feel much difference once I was riding at normal speeds. The bike seems a little heavier at very slow speeds.

Both systems are very sturdy and seem to be high quality.

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sand riding in Wharton Area

OCT 14 2006
LOCATION: Central New Jersey  MAP OF AREA

I rode down to central NJ to check out the area of Wharton State Park, NJ

an abandoned farm house.

I rode a couple off pavement roads. I will be avoiding sand in the future unless i have a pair of TCK 80s mounted. The gravel roads were no problem for the stock tires, but i still didn’t want to push into any turns.

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South then North 2006, Day 26

AUG 31 2006

START: Burlington, VT
FINISH: Brooklyn, NY

Here’s my brand new v strom packed up and ready to ride back to NYC. The tank bag didn’t fit right on the DL but was good enough to get home. The side bags acctually fit better on the DL than the SV. Riding home was a pain due to the fact that i was braking the engine in and wasn’t supposed to be at any one RPM range for too long, very annoying.

Not a bad end to my first motorcycle camping trip. Many more to come.

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South then North 2006, Day 23-25

AUG 28-30 2006
LOCATIONS: Grand Isle, Burlington VT

START: Grand Isle State Park, VT
FINISH: Grand Isle State Park, VT

I ended up moving to a new lean to, one with a better view.

These were a couple of busy days for me. I really wanted to upgrade my bike the whole trip and now was the time. I really thought I wanted a Honda ST1300 and went to the local honda dealer to check it out. They did not have one but they did have a DL 650 a serious contender.

My main gripes with the SV650 was:

  1. tank size
  2. poor 2 up capability
  3. cramped in the legs for all day touring

lesser gripes were:

  1. no gas gauge
  2. no individual turn signal icons

I meet a guy, Rick from PA, outside the Honda dealer. He was getting a speedo cable for his old Harley speedster. We got to talking and rode down to the BMW dealer to look around. When we got there they had a used 05 ST 1300 for $10k with only 200 miles on it. It was sold under consignment so i couldn’t test ride it. So in stead i test rode a 04 R1150RT with like 2k miles going for like $11,000. I have to say i didn’t like the RT that much, sure it’d make a great all day touring which is what it’s made for but I’m not ready to have that as my only bike. the Honda was just too heavy I could barely move it off it’s center stand. Long story short after many test rides (2006 R1200RT, K1200S) it was clear i’m not getting a BMW, they are used not for me with the servo brakes and computer controlled suspension.

so before i bought anything i killed some time at the Champlain Valley Expo. Vermonts biggest fair. There was a lot going on but the best was the freestyle motocrosss show


It took a while but it became clear as day get the Vstrom. I only have a few issues with the SV and they are all addressed by the DL. I went back to Land Air which is also a suzuki dealer and checked out the DL. they had 2 used ones in back so i took one out for a test ride and didn’t come back for and hour, mainly cuz i got lost. I only had to decide between either of the used ones of the new one. It didn’ t talk long to tell them to wrap up the new 2006. They gave me a crappy trade in on my SV because of the high mileage and that it had some major tuning coming to it, but i was happy to be able to ride a new bike home and not deal with the selling and hassle of the SV. I will miss that bike, i did consider keeping it and if i didn’t live in NYC i definitely would have.

While i was packing up DL i met eric and megan they where locals and stopped at Land Air to pick up his 04 DL 650. We got to talking and ended up getting dinner in Burlington. They were cool and showed me around, bought me dinner and took me to a camp site. They work at a non profit compost farm, true VT hippies.

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South then North 2006, Day 22

AUG 27 2006

START: Mt. Greylock, MA
FINISH: Grand Isle State Park, VT

the only bald eagle i saw the whole trip was this one at the audubon society I stopped at

I saw a sign for Fort Ticonderoga while riding up 22 and thought a little tourist action would be fun. Plus it’d be nice to hear someone talk. The fort has some interesting history (which I won’t get into) and it reminded me of how much history there is all around us.

I took a ferry accross Lake Champlin to get to Vermont. Aww my first motorcycle ferry ride. It was raining on and off all day. This was the only time my suit sprang a leak. Right into the crotch. the Dreaded Aerostich crotch leak.

I started a conversation with someone on the ferry so I asked them to take this picture. take a guess… yes old dude with his old wife and even older mom or mother in law. they were from NC.

I ended up camping at Grand Isle State Park in a lean-to. It was so nice not have to sleep in the tent anylonger. This night was super windy and great, no bugs at all.

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South then North 2006, Day 21

AUG 26 2006

START: Pines Private Campground, MA
FINISH: Mt. Greylock, MA

I got up early and had a nice shower. When I came back a couple next to my site was humping in their tent loudly.

I took 2A west and stopped at are really nice moto apparel shop. They had high-end gear and a coffee shop. I had cappuccino, Very civilized.

After several miles on 2A I started getting out of my travel blues and felt much more happy and grateful to be on a trip this long. Somewhere in north west MA still on 2 I flew by a bmw sign. I turned my head and saw some bikes. U turn. I talked to the shop guys for a while and to an owner of a newish R1200ST. He really liked it, and it was a bike I was interested in. The shop was JA BMW.

I went through North Adams and south on 7 around Mt Greylock. and took a small road i think Rockwell Rd up to the peak to find camping. So far this was the best campsite I had been to in terms of it being like deep woods camping. there were many sites but when you looked about you really felt isolated and as if you were to only one in a 50 mile radius. Incidentally this was the only time I got a little spooked camping alone. The forest felt so old and full of life force and history. I really commands respect and by the time night fell and a light storm was rolled through I didn’t want to stray to far from my fire lest to find a severed human hand or something, at least that’s how I felt. So I stayed by my fire and heated and ate canned chilli. A little tip heat the can in the fire first then open it. Took me a while to figure that one out.

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