TLZone Forums banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,443 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The trip started on Sept 26th with the attempt to load a TL and an R1 into the bed of a full size GMC truck by two guys who hadn't loaded two bikes into this particular truck. The original plan was to load one facing the front and the other the rear except who would've guessed that the R1 is longer than the TL and that the bed liner in the truck would cause the R1 to prohibit the closing of the tailgate? After several tries it was decided to keep the TL in the truck and put the R1 in my trailer.

8am on the 27th and we were off on the 12 hour drive (without fuel/food stops) from Hamilton, On to Fontana Village, NC. The weather was good and the roads not busy. All was good as we pulled into a gas station in Cleveland to fill up... but that soon changed as, while filling up the truck, I noticed fork oil on my left fork tube.

And so began the myriad of phone calls (roaming charges are gonna kill me this month) as we continued down the highway using the GPS to find bike shops along the route that may be able to help me out in my hour of need. It proved to be not so simple;

- No, we're a Honda dealer, that's a Suzuki. We won't touch it.
- No, we don't have time for that (without so much as a check of his appointments). I'm sorry to say I begged here, not for them to do the work, but for him to simply check his appointments to see if there was the slightest possibility of getting in today), he all but hung up on me.
- A couple "sorry"s.

A call was put in to Wheeler's near Deal's Gap who said he could get it done the next day (my first riding day) but that I'd have to leave the bike there and he'd get to it when he could... and he didn't open until 10. There goes day one of three available. I decided to try to source a steering stem stand (I had my stands in the truck but I only have a fork stand) so that Jeff and I could get up early, take the forks off and plunk them on Wheeler's counter at 10am so that maybe he could get them done quicker. The GPS located a shop in Columbus, Oh that had a stand and it was near the route so didn't require much of a detour.

We arrived and, on a whim, I explained the situation and asked if they could replace my fork seals; "I think I can get it done, but I don't know if I have the seals." After some checking around a set of seals was found however the quality of the seals was questioned... by the MECHANIC (a suspension guru with his own suspension tuning shop)! Some further digging located a set of seals the mechanic agreed with at 1/3 the cost of the first set of seals. That shop;



ASK Powersports. Many thanks to Jamie, James and Brad for taking GREAT care of me and my bike and saving my first Deal's Gap trip.

We had some time to wander around and view an impressive museum above the showroom floor;



Brad working on the TL (from roll in to roll out - 2.5 hrs for both seals);



All the while the R1 waited outside on the trailer, no doubt laughing;



While loading the bike back into the truck I hear; "Is that Vandriver's or Rifleman's cover" in asking about my clear clutch cover. Enter TLZook... I love meeting members of TLZone.net. We had a quick chat but we had to get moving as we'd already lost a lot of time. Sorry if I came across as rude.

Forks sorted, we headed back on the road with a much brighter look on the trip... until Cincinnati. Just before crossing the Ohio River the storm hit us. Torrential rain and wind, debris flying everywhere. Crossing the river had the truck and trailer all over the road. Add the transports and vision was WAY down... therefore so was our speed.

16 hours after leaving home I began my first run of the Dragon... at 2am... in a full sized pickup... with a trailer... in the rain... That's it, I'm going home.

We got to Fontana Village, checked in, found our cabin, loosened the straps on the bikes, unpacked (including the beer into the fridge, of which I REALLY needed one) and noted that there was garbage in the garbage cans, the beds weren't made, and the place generally was not clean. A call to the registration desk revealed that we have dyslexia; our cabin was 552 and we were in 522. The fact that the key worked was only as the door wasn't locked in the first place (remember, we've been on the road a long time in less than favourable conditions). Pack everything back up, tighten the straps on the bikes, find our proper cabin, unpack, have a beer, collapse into bed.

Next morning.

Here's a shot of our (proper) cabin.



Notice the roads are partially wet. It kept raining a bit then stopping. We're here to ride, let's go!

The bikes at the lookout following my first bike run through the Dragon. Half way I was scared shitless and wondering how much longer could this really be???!!!!



The ride back to the Crossroads was MUCH better and I had a riot remembering skills not often used in Ontario. Incidentally, the dirt bike seen above (with knobbies) stuffed both of us and an RV in a corner making both of us talk for days of the likelihood of us both acquiring motards in the near future.

We got back to the Crossroads just in time;



What you can't see in the pic is the buckets of water coming down and the leaves, branches, small animals and hunting dogs getting blown around by the wind. Two hours later the rain subsided enough for us to make the eight mile ride down Hwy 28 back to Fontana.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,443 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
The next day was MUCH better. The bikes on the Fontana Dam;



Under the dam;





Jeff railing at the top of the Cherohala Skyway;



Me in the same corner still preserving my sliders for the purpose of checking my oil :banghead ;



During our two hour wait at the Crossroads the day prior, we met Mike and his son-in-law, John. Mike owns both the Sportster and the RC (with superbike bars fitted) and impressed us with the way he moves that sportster around. Here's Mike with his imaginary "ape-hangers", Jeff looking pissed off and John at the top of the Cherohala;



We continued along the Cherohala and let's just say, Jeff and I had a complete BLAST. Following lunch in Tellico Plains we continued on "The Loop" which brought us back to the lookout prior to heading back into the Dragon. Jeff and I;



Mike (centre) and John (right) and some guy (left) who couldn't figure out to get out of the shot;



The following run through the Dragon was bitter-sweet. I was getting more comfortable with the road and having fun however John went down, colliding with another bike resulting in a complete break of his left arm (not compounded thankfully) and a broken left hand. He required plates and pins. Luckily, the other rider only required stitches to a couple fingers. Both bikes faired remarkably well.

Here's hoping all are well. It was great to have met Mike and John and hope to see you next year... John, good luck with the campaign to convince the wife it's time for another bike!

Hellbender's at Fontana Village has gone through a big reno, converting the garage into a store/restaurant/bar which the TL and R1 took a liking to;



First one to ID what this bike was originally wins bragging rights;



Obligatory pics of the Crossroads/Deal's Gap Resort;





And of Jeff and I in front of the sign (the other sign was socked in with bikes/people);



And of the Tree of Shame (too bad I know parts in there);



And finally, a shot of the TL in the truck and the R1 in the trailer during the (uneventful) trip back home;



Now I must wait to see if the photographers on the Dragon caught any good shots of Jeff and I.

I'll definitely be on the Dragon again... next year! Great roads to ride/hone skills. Great people to meet and chat with, including Ben and Francoise (Deal's Gap Motorcycle Resort owners) who have great stories, and lots of exotic/interesting bikes to see (too bad my camera was often in the tail of the bike).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,892 Posts
ST1300 origionally, now more like a monster Ruckus.

Sounds like a fun trip, hope John heals up quickly:thumbup
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,892 Posts
I think the ST1300 fighter is realy cool looking (in the same way that scooters are cool). Was the guy actually riding it? Any idea where its fuel is carried? I've seen pictures of it before (and the big longitudinal V-4 is a give away that its an ST:)) and was always interested:)
 

·
Moderator,
Joined
·
8,243 Posts
BikePilot said:
ST1300 origionally, now more like a monster Ruckus.

Rats! I was thinking Honda Civic. :laugh
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,443 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
BikePilot said:
I think the ST1300 fighter is realy cool looking (in the same way that scooters are cool). Was the guy actually riding it? Any idea where its fuel is carried? I've seen pictures of it before (and the big longitudinal V-4 is a give away that its an ST:)) and was always interested:)
He was ripping through the Dragon with it for 2 days. The fuel is in a tank under the seat, you can see the fill spout sticking out the back of the frame;

 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,892 Posts
Cool:thumbup
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,457 Posts
Nice writeup. Now I don't feel so bad that it takes me 8-9 hours to get there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
677 Posts
Damn, I am so jelous right now! Great write up, awesome pics. :thumbup

If you ever need to borrow a 2-bike trailer, let me know. You can borrow mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
coyo said:
He was ripping through the Dragon with it for 2 days.

Did you catch his name by chance? Ted I think:O

There is a local guy here that heavily modifies the oddest bikes :devious
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,443 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
otla said:
Did you catch his name by chance? Ted I think:O

There is a local guy here that heavily modifies the oddest bikes :devious
I chatted with him several times (we always seemed to meet up at either end of the Dragon) but for the life of me I can't remember his name.

This bike was a near new write off and in stripping the bike he removed 230 lbs from it's dry weight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,443 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
UPDATE:

This evening I received a call from James at ASK Powersports asking me how the bike was and how the trip went. I was floored. I'll be singing praise to that shop and it's staff for a LONG time.

James is a stand up guy, period. Although it may have something to do with the fact that he's a former TLS owner (and regrets ever selling it)!

:hail ASK Powersports :hail
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
Care to share what they charge?

My TLR needs fork work and I never thought to go to ask for quality service:dowhat

Glad you had a great trip!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,443 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
chraika1 said:
very nice.. we stayed on the other side.of the deals gap.. it was a blast
You were there this past week? I did see a yellow TLR but never got around to chatting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
freaking nice. DUDE!!! you guys stay at the exact cabin we stayed in Fontana Village. :)
nice pictures, is it cold up there?
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top