This is a report of a motorcycle trip taken June 19th-23rd 1997
by Jay Wolf, to a get-together of Internet people that are on the
Motolist list serve. It was named Motomeet East. MME
MME day one
Joe Todd and I gassed up and left Vincennes a little after noon. We didnt make it 15 mile on 50 till we were sitting in the HOT sun stopped waiting on construction. 50 in southern Indiana is not that good only marginally better than interstate. We stopped at a Yamaha Suzuki Dealer that was in Seymour. Shot the shit for a few hours with the owner. He told us, we were crazy for riding the skyway, and it was the worst road he ever was on. There was so many turns you were wore out after 5 miles, he got off at the first exit and drove the interstate that paralleled it. Lots of turns sounded bad to us, but we thought we would do it anyway??
Joe Todd's Yamaha Royal Star
We hit Cincinnati at about rush hour. We stayed on 50 (Business 50) (For Larry) Lots of neat stuff but between looking for signs and the traffic, I missed about ½ of it. We went through 2 neat little historic towns just east of Cincinnati. US 50 improved once we were in Ohio. We road over to Hillsboro, it was a little farther than I thought about 260 mile. Larry Ludwig (The good-looking one) was already at the Grey Stone motel, so we checked in and waited on Professor (The man with the book formerly known as Dave Monnier) and Steve Rosenbaum (our knee draggin Harley rider) and dinner. At about 8:30 we gave up And went to dinner, we ask the locals in the motel where to go, they did know much they had only lived there 2 years. (I guess they hadnt eaten out much in 2 years.) Finally they gave us direction to small dive down town. It wasnt there. (I think the dudes have a little trouble telling the difference between right and left.) We finally found it but it was closed. So we decide to go to the second choice, We found it and there were only 2 cars in the lot and it was a large place. People were coming out so I ask if the food was good. They said it was great, but the place was closing. The man said he would go back in and see if they would feed us. The answer was no so we went the Big Boy. This is where Larry be came Larry the Good looking one. But that is another story. We ate and return to the Grey Stone. Dave and Steve were just getting ready to leave to find us when we got there. We looked over Dave and Steves new bikes, Steve went and got some beer and we set on the steps of the motel and BSed, then planned our trip for Friday.
The Greystone Motel in Hillsboro OH.________________________Dave Monnier's 1200 Wing
End of day one.
MME day 2 Friday.
Left the Grey stone at about 7:00 am (EST) (You know what time this is Bill) Steve was leading and heading to Mound City National park to get a stamp.
Mound City National Park
We stopped and had breakfast then stopped at the park. Larry took over leading and we headed for the Guy who helped him out with the /5 last trips house. We were all really glad we took the detour to get Larrys title.
Larry Ludwig's Old BMW /5 in the garage of it's new owner ____________________The Group leavening Larry's friends House
We all enjoyed Old 50 and the road the this guys house was great, very narrow with a sign that said "yield to oncoming traffic". The road was 7 foot wide with 20-foot ditches on both sides, Just where in hell are you going to yield to. We didnt hit any traffic and I doubt you do very often. The old guy was great, lots of story and neat stuff at his house including a Vincent Black Shadow.
A Vincent Black Shadow being restored
We had a drink looked at his motor cycles, pictures, autographs and even his Thompson Sub Machine gun. I dont even remember how long we stayed or what time it was, But every one was enjoying themselves and it was a great day. From there US 50 turned great, if not for the gravel it would have been one of the greatest roads on the trip. At one point we got behind a big truck, we could not believe this guy got this truck around some of those curves, but he did tires a smoken, We followed in the trail of brake dust and tire smoke. I think it was about 2 when we stopped for Lunch in Aurora WV about 4 miles from MD. We stopped at a fine looking place called The Fairlea Re__urant, although there was no sign of life they had an open sign.
The Fairlea Restaurant on US 50 in Aurora, WV
We went in to find the place empty, Joe ask if we should seat ourselves or wait to be seated, From the look we got from the waitress, we knew she was there, but nobody was home. We ordered food from the hand written menu, food was good but a bit pricey, I had a ham and Cheese, Fries and a drink and my bill was close to $2.50. Steve got homemade pie and his bill was over $3. The food was good so we were big tippers. While we were there a man came in a ask is she would give him a piece of pie, She went in the back and ask her mom and then told him he would have to buy it. The Professor was wearing a Berkeley tee shirt and told the waitress he would give her a dollar if she could tell him what school his son was going to. This was more that the waitress could handle, I left before it concluded, but I think he gave her the dollar anyway, and we were back on the road headed for Front Royal. Things went well until we got to Winchester. We saw the whole town and a lot of the Sears Parking Lot. It took us 1 hour 15 minute to get from Winchester to Front Royal. Once finding the correct road we made it to the campground without and trouble. There we met Bill, got the cabins. Cabin were "Cute" but next time well do a motel.
The Cabins at the KOA Campground in Front Royal VA
Their redeeming quality was the air conditioning. If I remember right Al cooper was already there. The location and gavel at the cabin made parking and turning around a big bike challenging.
Al Cooper take a break at the cabins
We spent the next few hours convincing Our Leader (Bill) we really didnt care where we went we would follow. Later we went in to town to a Steak place to eat, Food was Ok at best service was a little less than OK. The waitress took about ½ our orders then left for over ½ hour. Getting the bill turned in to a long process to. There was some misunderstanding we all thought Bill was buying after all he invited us. Paying at the register was odd to say the least, for some reason no more that 7 of us could pay with a credit card. The rest had to pay cash. Then one lady went around and ask everybody else in the restaurant if they were cash or plastic, we at least it worked out. We road back to camp Sat on the picnic tables a talk to the fat little camp guy said we were to loud. Scott tried to quite us down, without much luck, beside most of us felt we could have taken the Guy, after all he had a flashlight not a gun. After a while I decide to go that a shower, that is when things changed, Yes the big GREEN monster, Robe envy. I had my big green fluffy Bill Bass terrycloth robe, heading for the showers. The rest were sitting in 90 deg heat 100 % humidity saying "I thought they would have towels". I could tell Trish really wanted in my robe. By the time I got back all the women wanted in my robe. Not many people know this or will admit it, but, it was my robe that necessitated the blue light ride. I think Trish took a picture of me in my robe, I know not what kind of deviate plans she has for that robe shot, I can only hope she has the discretion to use it wisely. On this note I will end day 2. I think at this time we had 15 motolisters and friends.
MME Day 3 Saturday
After sleeping facilities rivaled only by Turkish prisons we all awoke refreshed a ready to go. Well at least ready to go take a nap. Some did the campground plastic food, but we were ready for some life giving cholesterol, About a dozen of road in to town, Found a diner with sign that said "Welcome Bikers" So we went in a found 2 empty seats at the bar and no tables, Someone went to the BP (which seems to be the center attraction of Front Royal) to get directions. Then headed for the Golden something. I was following so what difference did it make. They had a big breakfast bar. Sitting in close confines of a table, I suggested, that maybe some of them (in the name of group harmony) should take showers. Poor babies didnt have any towels. By the end of the day I would have bought them towels. It was decide to hit K-mart and get these unprepared campers some towels. The Professor ask the cashier how to get to K-mart, She told him to go to the BP station and turn right Dave, who had been in the town like 3 times, Said " you mean left dont you?" She said "no Right", Dave Said" I dont think you can go right it is a T?" She turned around a faced the way the road was held up her left hand and said this way. Dave old her in Indiana we call that left., She said she always had trouble with left and right. (So did those boys in OH, maybe there is a pattern.). So we went to K mart, mostly to get towels, me to get a long sleeve shirt, my arms got some sunburn Thursday, and I only brought one long sleeve shirt and I wore it Friday. I found the finest long sleeve shirt $6 will buy and wore it Saturday. The manager was nice, but still wouldnt have a Blue Light Special, Even though I told him I would buy what ever it was. He said they dont have as many as they used to, I long for the good old day. Back to camp for the aromatic ones to take showers. Again it was hard to get people motivated or even to make a decision. Finally Bill gave up and said I am going to Laray Cavern, follow me go where ever you want to. Deciding it would be cool we followed. Some how the 80-mile ride to the caverns was only about 25 miles, (youll have to asks Bill about this one.) We did the cave the Ice-cream, the car museum and even heard Pink Floyd played on the Pan flute.
L-R Joe, Diana, The Professor, ? Al, Steve and Jon in the Cave________________________Just a cave shot I liked.
The parking lot of this place was hot, but as we got ready to leave we ran in the Ben Z. Dave Choat lead us on the trip back to camp on some nice back roads. He did a great job as the roads were not well marked, we rode a nice speed were you had time to look around a see the sites. I was one, of the ones, who would have hit the mountain streams in a second, we almost went back. Back at camp Sans-leader the decision, as where to eat was not any easier. We decide when all else failed go read the wall by the phone, Trish and I went to the phone called La Fiesta , the guy was almost impossible to understand, but some how I made reservations for 12 at this place. It took about an hour to get people back on their bikes and headed for Mexican. Trish rode with me (I think it something to do with the green robe.) (once she seen me in the robe, Scott was out of her mind.)
We went in to town went to place we thought we had called, looked at the sign, it was not La Fiesta. It was Juonon?? Mexican restaurant, we both knew we call La Fiesta so as the other pulling in we motioned them on, and proceeded to travel the whole town never finding a La Fiesta. We stopped and ask and found out La Fiesta changed its name, so it was back to the first place. The guys directions did include the BP. The place was OK. Note much happened that day except the Professor could get his bike off the center stand and had to come over as ask someone to help him. I guess he learned not to put a wing on the center stand on a hill. He said I knew I was in trouble when it went on so easy. One other notable comment was Trish really seen some things she liked in the cavern, but I will let her tell you about them.
MME Day 4 Sunday
It was decided that we would leave and head south Sunday At 6:00 am EST, Steve, Joe, The Professor, Larry,
Trish and her Hawk
Trish the dish, Scott (who is so full of BS he has been sentenced to try to keep Trish in line for life Not an easy job from what I have seen) and me. We rolled out at 10 till or 5:50 EST for you Bill. It was a great group and we had a great time riding together we will have to hook up again somewhere. The goal was to ride the Sky line Drive and the Blue Ridge parkway in one day all 468 mile of it. I got that information from the net. The flaw in the plan is the Blue Ridge parkway is 469 without the Skyline drive another 120, But that comes later. On the skyline, deer and large birds were abundant, as were police.. If you have never been there in the early morning, every squirrel in the park goes out on the road and plays dodge tire, some win some loose. The professor was our deer blocker, we figured anyone with that much insurance would live. Scott had a place picked out for breakfast but it wasnt open when we got there. As a matter of fact the park wasnt open when we got there, so there wasnt anyone to take our money, so we made Trish promise to return and pay for all of us later. (Have you done that yet Trish?) The professor was leading without any idea where he was going and the rest of the trip turned out to be pick on the leader, by Monday no one wanted to lead. We were cruising a a leisurely pace about speed limit +10, when we came to a y in the road, The professor didnt want to go the wrong way after all the shit he took last time he did, and total indecision came in. He went straight in to the gravel and was heading straight for a stop sign, we all thought he had bought the sign. But after sliding wheels locked thought the gavel he got it turned in the grass just enough to miss the sign and stay upright. We were all laughing thinking we were going to see a "laugh-in" style Tommy tipover. The Professor just smiled and said " I dont care, I am just thrilled I got through this and it isnt going to cost me anything". We finally stopped at some lodge and had breakfast. The food was good and in fact the Syrup was so tasty Trish decided to wear some. Both the Professor and I got what they called the Mountain sampler, it was biscuits, ham, sausage, eggs all covered in gravy, the professor said he wanted his eggs over easy, I tried to tell him it wasnt his choice, but it confused the RSVP waitress. But the order went anyway, for the next part you would have to know Dave (The Professor). When the order can he just shook his head and look down and said in his little whiny my life sucks voice" Look, the damn thing is hard.". He meant the egg yokes, who knows what the waitress thought, she left anyway. We finished eating and were rung up a paid at the speed of light.
After Breakfast on the Skyline Drive we remount.
After toppling a few trees, we continued on down the Skyline/Blue Ridge, got off at Buena Vista to get gas and all of us decided the weather was a lot nicer on top of the mountain then down below, I bet there was a 30 degree temperature difference. We decide to ride down to Roanoke eat lunch and split up with Scott and Trish.
Saying Good-by to Scoot and Trish in Roanoke WV
We Stopped at a Steak Place and did lunch. We had a great lunch as we were at the stage of tired that things were very funny then, just dont seem that funny now. Trish was a little neater she didnt put all he food on here lap, just part.
We split up in the parking lot, and it was back to the 5 of us heading down the Blue Ridge. From here the day kept getting longer, our clean apex turns were turning in to turns with 4 or 5 apexes. We stopped at one of the Vistas and decide we were not going to be able to make the end of the Parkway tonight, So we should plan on an extra day. With the Cell I called my wife told her to call my Dean and secretary and see if I really needed to be there Tues. Larry had and extra day, Steve told them he may need and extra day and Joe always has an extra day, and The Professor did see any problems. So we rode off with that plan. We made good time it the afternoon and we started thinking we were going to make it with out the extra day. I called my wife back she said I was free to take as long as I needed, kind of makes me wonder if they really need me? Then the Professor remembered he had a tour to give so he couldnt take the extra day. So we were just planning on going as far as we could, completing the Parkway and doing Deals Gap the next day the slabbing it home. As darkness fell we all had lost our edge and Joe almost bought it, Ill let Steve tell you this story as he was behind him and seen the whole thing. We decided that if we made it to Asheville we would be all right. I finally got in to a rhythm and enjoyed the twistys in the darkness, only thing I wish my headlight turned with my bars as I drove in to some pretty dark holes. Then on top of the darkness we hit fog or at least a low cloud. The fun kind it left us going 25-mile per hour staring at the yellow line about 5 foot in front of your bike. At this point we decide the next exit we can find we will get off. After about an hour we dropped elevation and the fog was gone, the next exit was Asheville. We got gas and decide to call it a day after about 16 hours of riding. We got a motel room and walked over to the Wafflehouse to eat. Whether it was the time or fatigue it got really funny at our 11:00 dinner. The professor order eggs over easy, I told him he could have them this way this time, we the waitress ask if he hadnt gotten his eggs the way he wanted them before, We told he that he didnt get and over easy egg on his Eggmcmuffin. She said she would take care of him they always gave their customers there eggs the way the customers wanted them. She made a big deal about it. Well Steve ordered Eggs over hard with broken yokes, We all lost it when Steves Eggs came over easy, the poor waitress, sure was quick to get Steve corrected eggs. We made our plans to just slab it down the Deals gap then head home on the slab and have Steve home for work at 10:00 pm Monday. Went back to the motel about midnight, planning on leaving at 6:00 am. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion of MME Tomorrow day 5 The final day. The final day. A little deception leads to some great roads.
MME Day 5 Monday
Well I was ready to roll on time but it took the other about 15 minutes to pack, Larry still wanted to do the new skyway, the Professor said go ahead he would just head back from there. We said no we would just do Deals Gap, But with Larry leading, we went the now famous Business route to Deals Gap, by way of every small town and the Cherohala Skyway, then 129 to Deals gap. I think Dave figured it out when we hit Tellico Plains. That he had been had. Before we got to Tellico Plains we took a road, I think it was 68 and it was my favorite road of the trip, it was up the side of a mountain with big sweepers one right after the other, just a fun full throttle romp. We stopped and got gas then it was on to Cherohala Skyway, a high speed fun road with a great view, not quite as fast as 68.
A shot looking back Cherohala Skyway _________________Steve during a break on the Skyway
We rode the first 25 miles of it pretty hard, as I love up hill turns, Im not near a keen on the downhill decreasing radius, white knuckers. We stopped at several overlooks, the group kind of split up and then regrouped at the end. One place I stopped and look at the road head and I seen Steve just Harleying along. I seen and other open spot in the road just ahead of where he was, so I thought I will wait and shoot a shot with him on the road at that spot. I waited and waited like 5 min still no Steve, I guess the road between those two spots werent to straight, so I shot the picture without Steve. Then Joe and I headed on starting, the down him. We reach elevations of almost 6000 feet, much higher than the blue Ridges or Skyline. I would rate the Cherohala and 68 as must dos some time in MC life.
The skyway The little Gray line near the top of the hill is where Steve should be. ____________This is a shot of the Skyway I found on the net.
The road on the East side of Cherahala is not a good one, very poor pavement, and tight turns, lots of traffic. 129 before you get to Deals Gap was real twisty and had much more elevation change than the Dragon, but the pavement was a patched up crumbled mess, that took a lot of the fun out of it. Deals Gap, 129, The Dragon, Not what I was expecting. Larry pulled in to a small gas/store. I ask why are we stopping here? He said this is IT. A little balloon deflation here. We went in to the store to get some shirts, not a real impressive place, I guess it kind of put Deals Gap in the status it deserves to me. I may be wrong (I was once in 1968). But in MHO 129 was an old road that was to bad for traffic so this store/campground/gas/motel created all the hype and turned it in the motorcycle amusement attraction it is. Dont get me wrong I had a blast running The Dragon, but I was expecting a high-speed sweepers 100 mph place where you could kill yourself at every turn. What I found was the tightest set of low speed turns, I have ever seen. I never got out of 2nd gear never went over 50mph. I bought a shirt the has a guy with a sword on top of a hill that says" I slew the Deal's Gap Dragon, 318 turns in 11 miles, U.S. 129, Crossroads of Time Motel & Motorcycle Campground Deals Gap, NC. On the back it has a dragon picking his teeth with a tail pipe and broken plastic all around and it says "At Deals Gap Sometimes the Dragon Wins". Map of how to get to the Dragon.
The back of my shirt __________Joe at Crossroads
Bikers get gas before hitting the Dragon________________ The Dragons Den a Motorcycle club house at the Dragon
Two bike that passed us while we were riding the Dragon_________The only bike I passed while riding the Dragon
After that we headed for the Dragon, I was leading, with Larry close behind. At first I had a hard time getting in to the rhythm, but then I up my speed to about 40 and I really started getting in to the rhythm, no time to think or look around, just one turn after the other. I was doing real well, (or at least for me). When I hit this tight downhill left hand switchback with a stone wall on outside and the pavement ending about 2 foot before the wall and a downhill gavel slope to it. For the first time on the trip I thought, I have gotten in over my head and I am going to crash. I just kept pushing harder and harder down on the left grip, the Beemer kept laying over farther and farther and the wall just kept getting closer, I knew I was way to far over to even think about brakes, the time for braking was long past. I thought I might as well lay it over father and low side and hit the wall as opposed to just hitting the wall, the lowside would hurt less. I give one last push I here the highway pegs scrape the pavement, but I had made it through the turn still upright. From that point on, I back down just a notch, but still enjoyed the ride. At the end Larry and I pulled over to wait on the others, I ask Larry did you see me almost hit that wall, he said No I didnt have time to look at anything other than the road in front of me. I have to say that is a true statement, on the Dragon even at 40 mph you dont have time for anything but setting up for the next turn. Soon we could hear the scrapings of Dave, Joe and Steve catching up with us. It was fun I would have liked to run it a few more time, but we had a lot of miles to go be the end of day.
The professor, Larry Joe and the owner of Home Cooing, try to figure out where we are.
We went on down to a little restaurant call Home Cooking, food was good, and the waitress enjoyed watching Steve take his pants off. (But that's another story) Then for the grind, the slab back home, Lots of construction, in the construction the CB came in handy to find out what lane to get in. South of Lexington we sat in the hot sun on new black pavement for quite awhile, I thought I would melt. At Lexington we got gas and split up with the Professor and Steve, they head North headed we headed West. We took interstates up to Louisville then went back to 2 lane curvy roads (150). That didnt turn out to be the best idea as we hit fog. This really slowed our progress. We stopped for dinner at a drive-in in Shoals IN. Got off the bike and stood by the picnic tables. We split up with Joe just east of Vincennes, he headed to town and Larry and I headed north. I looked at he BMW clock as I got off the bike 23:20 EST. Since six am, it had been a long but enjoyable day.
MME Final comments.
I really had a great time, I want to thank Bill for his efforts and everybody else for attending.
It is the longest trip I have ever been on that I never hit any rain, hail, storms or other bad weather, just 2 patches of fog.
It was the largest group of Motolisters I have ever met together at one place at the same time.
Saturday worked out great as we had time to talk and get to know people, as opposed to just knowing what their rear tire or their headlight in your mirror looked like.
The only bike problem our group had was I blew a Blaupunkt, It didnt cause and accident, but I was forced to listen to a rattling in front left speaker the whole way home.
There was some talk about the way the K75 backfires and pops under compressing braking. After our night ride trough the twistys they tell me it can throw a pretty good fireball too.
My main regret was Nance didnt make it so I was the only charter member there. I have met Woody and Brian, but Nance has again alluded me, maybe in Daytona.
I guess it is time to start making plans for next years Motomeet in Daytona. Have we picked a place to go to yet? I would guess we better get our reservation in soon.
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