Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day Ten—HOME!

I’m home and safe as I write today’s blog. Part of today’s ride was fun; part was pure drudgery. But the good news is that I made the ride safely.

I woke up earlier than I wanted; it was 5:35am when I woke up. I tried to go back to sleep, but when I started thinking about the day’s ride, sleep went away. So, I got up, got dressed, and packed the bike. It was getting daylight, but there was a fair amount of fog in the air.

Went to the lobby to get some breakfast, but it was so meager that I decided to ride and find something along the way. It was 6:45 when I pulled out of the parking lot.

I had decided to have a little fun riding some of the roads in West Virginia before getting serous about going home. A few years ago on a trip through WV in the Civic, I discovered two fun roads off US 60 and 19. Saturday Road and Sunday road make a loop north of 60 that were great in the Civic. The roads total maybe 20 miles in length, and wind through the woods and fields in this area.

When I did the roads earlier in the Civic, they were relatively smooth (just paved?). The pavement is just over one lane wide, with rocky shoulders on both sides of the road, and when cars meet, both move over just a bit so that the outer wheels of both vehicles are on the gravely shoulders. The road surface is too narrow to hold two vehicles at the same time.

I believe I ran the Civic the hardest I’ve ever drove it on those roads. Most of the time I was in second gear, running up to the redline (8,000), and then slam the brakes just before the curve, and then punching the gas as soon as the apex of the curve had been realized. Man, it was fun!!

I imagined then how much fun it would be to do it on the RT. The RT has so much faster acceleration, and the brakes are tremendous; a road like this was made for a bike like the RT. I had looked forward to doing it with the RT since I first discovered them.

Well, today’s ride was a disappointment. The road surface has deteriorated greatly over much of the distance. Big potholes, broken pavement, gravel on the road made it a very poor riding surface. Also, it was raining and parts of the road were wet; parts dry, with no real pattern. In the Civic, I did a lot of the road at 60mph or so. Today I hit 50 once on the bike. The roads are crappy now.

While I was disappointed today, I do have wonderful memories of doing them with the Civic.

Leaving that area of US 60, I turned south on Hwy 19 towards Beckley. In a few miles, I crossed the huge New River Gorge Bridge. Billed as the longest arch bridge in the western hemisphere, it is something to see. I didn’t do any lookouts or stops; I’ve seen it twice now, so I didn’t need to see it again.

I rode south on Hwy 19 through Beckley and then south, mostly parallel to I-77. It’s a fun road, with lots of curves and elevation changes to make it interesting. The few vehicles that I came up on were quickly passed and left in the dust from my tires. I enjoyed the ride on 19.

After a while, I needed to make some time, so I jumped on I-77 and rode home on the big roads. Nothing much to report about the ride home except it got hot. Not horribly hot, but hot enough. I checked the tire temperatures along the way, and the hottest they got was 104 front, and120 rear. I don’t know how that compares, except that when I was in Canada, they were 95 and 103 respectiely.

Got home about 4:30pm, hot and tired. But I got home safely.

One more blog to write—a wrap-up for the trip.

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