Pursuit Horizon Blog 13 – It was bound to happen.12 Aug 2012, Posted by The Journey in
Triumph US HQ. Blue Ridge Parkway. A large man tugs Zach’s “Tool”. Bend it with a CatsPaw. Romantic Late night boat ride in a possible new home.
Blue Ridge, Multiple Crashes, Hole, Baltimore, Crisis?
Off from Georgia and heading north, to Asheville NC where a TWIT fan has reached out and offered us a place to stay. We stay inside ImageSmith Communications, a massive print operation ran by an incredibly nice family. They welcome us, show us a bit of Asheville, take us out to eat, where Z has his first hush puppies, show us our room inside this gigantic warehouse (yes they left us alone in a printing operation.. hehe) and give me a plush Zebra ( their mascot) before we head off the next day.
I’m excited to ride the Blue Ridge Parkway, some of my first road experiences were on it. Zach has never been and I am excited to show this great piece of road to him and all the other riders out there who haven’t been. It has sweeping vistas, tunnels, great turns, and only one down side…the speed limit; it’s limited at 35mph. But I am still in love with this 469 mile asphalt snake.
It’s time for a gas stop; and it’s in a small podunk little town about 7 miles off the road; so we cruise until we Z sees a suspended foot bridge. We stop and start to set up the cameras, and as we cross this rusty old throwback, we notice a wooden bridge crossing the stream beneath. The wooden bridge is half underwater, wood twisted as it swelled and green from the algae attached to it. But we have seen 2 or 3 cars cross it and it will be awesome footage. So off Z goes to grab his bike, I proclaim that I will just film. No need to take my bike across. (Did I mention I’m starting to get nervous about taking my baby on the TAT? (Trans America Trail) First pass goes exactly to plan, but the money shot is him riding towards me, splashing water and looking bada** and all adventure-y. Until it goes horribly wrong at the last moment, as Z tries to turn off the bridge. Down he goes at about 25mph. And the most awful “thunk” resonates as the bike scrapes across the river rocks.
Ok this sucks, dropping his bike means trying to wrestle it up for 20 or so minutes. We have experienced this about 3 days ago, when pulling a U-turn on an uneven surface at a campground in South Carolina. Z lost his footing and had a very slow motion drop. Luckily a big guy appeared from his 5th wheel and helped us. Who is going to help us in this tucked down little road?! So I go to the main road to get help as Z curses quite loudly, bike half submerged under the stream. I finally flag down a gas tanker driver and he helps us get it out. We do a quick look over of the bike, and everything seems ok, few scratches on the Pelican case, but nothing major. Or so we thought. We get back on the road; dangerously low on gas now, and when Z grabs a handful of front brake, notices something is wrong. Commence more vibrant cursing. When we pull into said gas station, Z examines his brake rotor to find it has been bent and badly. (So that’s what the “thunk” was.) He manages to get a small crowbar from the three older gentlemen posted up in the place, and fixes it enough to get back on the road.
Figuring we should be close to civilization (In case the brakes go) we ask for directions to the nearest major highway. We followed these back woods directions to a T and ended up in Tennessee and then Virginia, where we were headed. So no more Blue Ridge for us. This Sucks.
We travel to Lynchburg and Powhatan, Virginia where I lived for a few years and visit some of my dearest friends(thanks for letting us crash!), and take a day or two to recuperate. Z and I are starting to get dark circles under our eyes, and we are looking haggard. The morning we are to depart I notice a funny spot in my tire.
Great; I have a giant a** nail embedded in my brand new rear Dunlop Q2. So we decide to plug it…….Now I know, I know… this is NOT the greatest, or safest idea. I would ALWAYS advise people to get a new tire and never ride a punctured one when I was a parts tech. But we are on a strict budget, which we have already blown by quite a bit. The plug seems to be holding air pressure quite well, and we have arrived in Washington D.C. Which is easily 200 miles from where I think I got the puncture.
D.C. oh how you have changed. I remember climbing the stairs in the Washington Monument, (Now it’s closed) The reflecting pool had water in it, ( Now it’s empty) And driving down Pennsylvania Ave in a school bus and taking a tour of the White House (Now there are snipers on the roof and Pennsylvania is shut down and an ID check point is in place. This place can never be what it was. It feels more dangerous, and the danger to me doesn’t feel like it is coming from the people on the streets like before. But I guess childhood memories of an place are hard to beat. Zach has picked up a side film job at the State Department, so I sat on a street corner in Rosslyn, Va and people watched. Maybe I could see myself living in a big city for a small time.
Zach is falling in love with this place. I have always been drawn to Baltimore. Maybe it’s because of the feel of the inner harbor, the shopping, the architecture or the history. All I know is that ever since I was a little girl, I found it magical. Apparently Z does too; he is blabbering like a small child when we get to Fells Point via the water taxi. He loves the row houses, the cobblestone streets, and the general atmosphere of the city. We chose to explore most of the night, and found there was an O’s game, a beach volleyball court in full swing, a concert on the pier, street performers about, and lots of nightlife. This is highly atypical of what Z knows. He is so enthralled with everything around him, and remarks “This place just feels alive doesn’t it?” I love seeing him happy. He needed this. It is a romantic night for us and I fall more in love with him all night. We merrily walk hand in hand until 1am, and decide to turn in.
Wake up and Z is already looking at realty here. Wow… the city left a definite impression I see. But as the day goes on; Zach’s mood changes. He is worried. The TAT is coming up. We need to shed weight and get ready for this monster of a challenge we have accepted. His nervousness is making me second guess myself. O crap a CBR on the TAT? Ok breakdown time. Call mom, reassured, everything is moving forward.
The box in front of me is gigantic….and weighs maybe 30lbs? We will find out tomorrow when we ship all the things we had shed in the effort to get ready for the TAT.
Are we really ready????
OK I know this blog is late but I have made a definite shift to focusing my attention to getting footage for the film. Sorry.
Newnan GA a small plain little town and home of Triumph North America. It’s 8am and I’m up early and looking forward with much anticipation to the day. I can’t wait for the meeting at Triumph and the chance to one up Amanda’s Honda HQ visit. One last glance at the photo their building on their website, set the GPS, and we’re off. Here we are, hmm better check the address; it says we’re here. Looking around and we are in a warehouse industrial complex, the ones that look like every other plain industrial complex across the US. Wait there is the sign “Triumph” but the building looks nothing like the one on the website; turns out that the photo on the US website is of the HQ in England. Now this is where I’m going to stop as the visit to Triumph HQ just won’t stack up to Amanda’s visit to Honda HQ. Peter Carleo at Triumph was most gracious and showed us around what was mostly offices. At least they were kind enough to outfit me with several new Triumph shirts, I promptly put on a Triumph fashion catwalk show for Amanda in the parking lot outside the offices. I think the people inside thought I was off a bit.
Damn, I guess I’ll just have to take my Triumph 800XC to England to visit the Triumph HQ there.
BIKE DOWN – It had to happen eventually. I was making a slow U-Turn at the campground on an uneven road, missed my footing, and down she went. Amanda and I tried hard to lift it with no luck. Thankfully the south is plentiful with nice and well, umm large people. A nice southern guy walked up and with one just tug from the opposite side of the bike we easily got the bike upright. Just one small scratch.
IT’S A TOOL – That’s what I have been telling myself as to not get to attached to my Triumph. I know it’s going to get some bruises on the trip. So the tool now has its first scratch.
Blue Ridge Parkway “Blue” seems appropriate after just leaving Triumph USA HQ and dropping my bike. Thankfully this road did not disappoint, in fact this road is awesome. There are signs claiming it as “America’s most beautiful drive” and they are right. Every mile of it is impeccably maintained and scenically beautiful. It should be added as a must to any motorcyclist bucket list.
Oh lookie! – “Amanda turn around it’s a suspension bridge off to the right of the road.” It gets better there is also a broken wooden bridge half submerged in water. “Quick grab the camera I’ll ride across it.” As I’m crossing it hits me, Water+Wood+Moss=Slippery=Crash and into the river rocks. The bike is on its side again but this time in water. Amanda flags down a truck driver and we’re all good. The TOOL has a few more small scratches.
Pull the brake – F@!K, Da#!, Son of a B$#@!, and on and on for a minute I exploited in my helmet. I feel a huge knock while pulling the brake. I glance down at the front tire and the front brake disk rotor looks to be about 3/4″ off. We roll into a hillbilly gas station that was luckily right there. Look at it and it’s bent! Argggg!!!! What am I going to do there is nothing within a 3hr ride of here and a brake disk is really expensive. All I can do is stare at it. Screw it I have an idea. Into the hillbilly gas station and ask for a catspaw/ tiny crowbar. I figure I might as well try. I know the brake disk is a high precision machined part but why not try and crudely bend it back. It’s bending, now give it the ole straight eye, looks straight, give it a once over, now to test it. Yeah it worked. It actually worked really well. Looks like less that an 1/8″ deviation. After riding it and heating up the disk it went completely straight and no pulse in lever. The Tool is getting some use.
Washington D.C. – I got called to film an interview at the State Dept. The Press Pass hanging on my neck looks so studious and this makes me giggle inside. What did I film, sorry can’t talk about it.
In DC well we walked around and looked at the usual monuments and building so we got some good shots of us walking around them in helmets but that’s about it.
Baltimore – This city is cool! A big harbor city with a section called Fell’s Point that had cobble stone streets and the feel of Europe. We spend three days in Baltimore, a few more than planned. I decided to look a home prices and spend a quite evening with Amanda walking the streets and touring the harbor. Part of this trip was to scout for a new place to live. Baltimore is now at the top of the list.