Darkside Fall Ride 2013
(GoldWing - Road Trip)

Road Trip Background - This was a short notice impromptu road trip which by the way is the absolutely best kind. Buddy of mine, Gene in Missouri, had called me and reminded me about a Ride In that was taking place in Wise, Virginia on Sept 26-29th. This was a Darkside ride which is a sub group of avid Goldwing riders that run a Car Tire on the rear of their Goldwings. I had switched to one on the rear of my old Wing but am now waiting to mount a new one the next time I need tires on the new one. Even though I’m not officially a Darksider at the moment all riders are welcome so I went to the boss and begged to go. My wife said yes and Gene and I made plans to attend together with him riding over from Missouri to grab me and then together head to east Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia hills for 4 days of some great riding. Homebase will be Wise, Virginia.

SPOT Navigation Device Link if you want to track where we are at or see what roads we explore -->

Tuesday, Sept 24’ 2013

Gene left home a o dark thirty and was over to Dover, Tennessee for our meet up around 8:30 a.m. this morning. The plan was for us to hit the slab and head over to around the Knoxville area where we were to meet up with Craig another Winger from Woodstock, Virginia that was heading to the ride as well. Gene I hooked up on time and ready to roll and out we went.

Gene and I had met before earlier in the year on an Arkansas Ride In but this would be our first chance to ride with each other on a road trip together. Nothing like meeting new people and sharing new experiences. First thing I generally do when I ride with someone for any distance for the first time is I evaluate how they ride. We seem to mesh up pretty good together right away as we both displayed similar riding techniques as well as distance, speed spacing and the thousands of other things it takes to maneuver a Goldwing successfully down the highway.

Smooth as silk. That’s what riding a Goldwing is like. I was feeling it as we rode along knowing this was my first road trip on the new 13 Wing I just picked up less than a month ago. My old 04 had served me extraordinarily well over 9 years now it was time to see if this new one was up to the test. As for me I always feel great when I’m on the road again and it felt great to feel the road again with a new steed under me.

We breezed through the miles with surprising little traffic and hit the motel near Knoxville by early afternoon. Little while later Craig and his son Keith arrived at the motel. Keith is Craig’s son and he lives here. Keith has a lovely family and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and visit with them this evening before retiring back to the motel. We cruise north in the morning to Wise, Virginia.

Wednesday, Sept 25’ 2013

Three Wings strong now and ready to roll north this morning we were greeted early by a little liquid sunshine. Rain was in the forecast and this time the forecast was actually right … who could have predicted that :-) What the hay … fortunately neither us nor the wings melt when ridden in the wet stuff so off we went. Riding mode = exercise extra caution.

As it turned out the rain didn’t prove to be a factor but rather only an annoyance that passed in and out of our riding this day. We quickly adapted our ride but before we went too far we figured we would take a stop in Oak Ridge, Tennessee just a few miles north. Does that name and location sound familiar to you? If not there’s probably a pretty good reason. Here’s a hint “Manhattan Project”.

It was a secret city along with 3 manufacturing plants that were built here in 1942 in support of building the bomb that would end the war. This site was one along with others in Hanover,Washington and Los Alamos, New Mexico.
AMSE (The American Museum of Science & Energy)
Pretty interesting place and a piece of our history that we should all remember.
Mounting back up in the parking lot the rain was still trickling down. Wise, Virginia was only a few hours riding northeast so we had plenty of time. With that in mind a leisurely pace was in order and soon ensued as we rode on with Craig leading the way.
Looks like we own the road … I like it that way.

We rolled into the Best Western motel in Wise, Virginia early afternoon and parked out bikes right up front under the canopy next to the office. I love motels that are understanding about that. Every biker understands the importance of trying, whenever possible, to protect our rides from the elements overnight. We checked in and had a good steak dinner next door at Reno’s Steak house. Of course this was after we all socialize in the parking lot greeting each new Winger as they arrived. Its pretty much a come when you want do what you want and leave when you want event. We met quite a few more people and fellow wingers and more will arrive tomorrow and even Friday.

For us we have 3 solid days of full out and out riding ahead of us. Murgie (organizer of the Ride In) has laid out 3 or 4 different routes that he’s ridden many times and we’ll be picking one to do tomorrow with our group. What could be better? We are meeting early in the morning ready to roll out on our first expedition. Hoping for dryer weather and more sunshine tomorrow. Least that’s what the weather forecasters are calling for. Let’s see if they can continue their streak.

Forecast for Wise, Virginia for for the next 3 days is mid 70’s for highs and mid 50’s for lows and sunny with only slight chances of rain.

Perfect conditions for riding, perfect location for riding … eat your heart out :-)

Resting in Wise, Virginia tonight.
Funny I don’t feel any wiser but am feeling blessed to be able to ride.

Thursday, Sept 26’ 2013

Out of the 4 rides that Murgie had identified for this area to explore we selected the one he called “Hungry Mother”. It was the longest route of twisties and was about 340 miles long. It was interesting to speculate on how it got such an interesting name but we later found out that there is a State Park the ride hits at one point called “Hungry Mother” so that answered that for all the inquiring minds that were thinking other things :-)
All of us were up early and after breakfast we were rolling out of the parking lot of the motel by 7:30 a.m. Grabbed gas and Craig lead the way having the most accurate GPS info and route.
Shot of the early morning ride with some cool looking low hanging clouds still lingering around.

The air was crisp but not really cold maybe 59 to start the day. We managed to find time to stop riding just long enough to strike a pose.
Gene on the left and Craig on the right - Riding The Crooked Road

We eventually broke for lunch and had some very good catfish and then it was back to our regularly scheduled program of twisties for the rest of the afternoon.
Here’s the best I can do to make it feel like you are here. Do you feel the lean of the machine when you look at this picture?
Now … if this doesn’t look inviting somethings wrong with ya.
Beautiful Day! One of the rare straight spots along our route today

All of the roads today were exceptional and we thoroughly enjoyed them however we did have a little mishap with some unidentified road debris towards the end of the ride. Always got to be on the look out for that but you can’t always see everything in the road and today I clipped something in the road. It hit under my Wing and nicked my Coolant Reservoir and then kicked up and then Gene’s Wing that was following behind me took a direct hit. He said the impact knocked his foot loose from the peg. Neither of us thought enough of it at the moment to stop but we both knew we had impacted something in the road. Later when we got back to the motel we surveyed the damage to Gene’s Wing below
Gene’s Wing right side underneath. Can see impact and resulting hot spot.
What ever it was it packed a punch. Even his Belly Pan wasn’t able to protect this spot as it’s on the side.

Just a reminder how dangerous it is out here on the road doing what we love …. but the important thing is … We are doing what we love to do.

Gene was wearing a T-shirt today that said “RIDE, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT”

Enough said … let’s do it again tomorrow.

Friday, Sept 27’ 2013

As morning broke on our second day of riding we were having trouble deciding exactly which route we wanted to take this day. Meeting and chatting with a few other gl1800riders.com forum members, Fred and Tom, we all decided to group up together today and head west and jump over into to some Kentucky roads. We all figured and heard that Highway 160 was a great ride so away we went to see if that was true.
Little more concentrated riding area today.

I had the good fortune to lead the pack today.

Herding and keeping 4 other Wings in tow on a ride with no route planned is no easy task. I think if most of us had our choice we would prefer to be one of the pack rather than lead a ride. No responsibility back there just follow the lead and enjoy the ride. On the other hand it is nice to be out in front every once in a while and I usually have no trouble finding good roads. However, adding to the challenge I was the only one in the group
not to have a CB for communications. Great.
Putting CB on my long list of needed accessories :-)

Getting to Highway 160 was fairly easy and quick and it proved to be a very respectable road as we spent much of the morning paying our respect to it by laying some tread on it. After a good stretch of time we took a spin up the mountain to Kingdom Come State Park. Sure are some interestingly named State Parks in these parts.
From left to right Craig, Gene, Tom and Fred - Kingdom Come State Park
Not perfect lighting for this shot in the shade but the view below was beautiful.
Clear blue skies and temps approaching upper 70’s
That’s fog in the valley in the distance. There’s also some bear down there as some of the guys spotted a bear and couple of cubs along the road later this day.

Eventually highway 160 seem to come to an end and then it was time to explore a little. We had already enjoyed some nice easy quick sweeping turns to this point and it was quite a refreshing change from the type of ride we had the day earlier on the Hungry Mothers run. We had lunch in Whitesburg, Kentuck after I lead a short chinese fire drill through the downtown area and back :-) All these guys are great and were very understanding. We all enjoyed each others company and seem to get along great together. Always extending the circle of friends. A man can never have enough of them.

After lunch we doubled back on some roads as we did earlier and eventually made our way back to the southwest around Harlan, Kentucky. From there we explored some new to us roads (Kentucky Highway 38/Virginia Highway 68) that would wind us back over to Virginia and to the motel.
Nice easy cruising roads today you can just sweep through with only a hint of sharp twisties thrown in occasionally to make sure you are paying attention ;-)

We all safely pulled in the motel around 3:30 p.m. having covered only about 200 miles this day. Had a meal together and hung out and met a few more Goldwingers that arrived tonight. I think Gene said he counted 21 bikes here the other night and with the few more arriving tonight it’s a pretty good turnout.

Another great run today under our belts. Tomorrow will be our last full day to ride and the weather continues to impress.

Saturday, Sept 28’ 2013

For our final day of riding our numbers grew to 6 Wings and 7 people as Mike and Jodi joined us as we rolled out this morning. They were heading home today but were able to ride part way with us and have lunch with us. Today Fred led the pack with his Trike and purposefully took us the round about way to get down to Kyles Ford, Tennessee for lunch at the River Place on the Clinch
http://riverplaceontheclinch.com/ just so we could enjoy the roads on the way.
About 270 miles today
Ready for lunch … that’s Mike and Jodi on the right
A shot of all of us enjoying lunch together thanks to another guest
Wow … just a walk down from the River Place restaurant standing on a bridge looking over the Clinch River

Mounting back up we said our good bye’s to Mike and Jodi and they headed for home. Our home was still the motel in Wise .. least for another night so we continued the ride following behind Fred on some easy relaxing winding roads.
Our afternoon break had a great view

After Fred checked the map we were off again on the last leg of today’s ride heading back toward the motel. Or so we thought.
Taking the long way home … A little misdirection but we finally made it back safely around 6:00 p.m. In the process we ran some good curvy roads. Actually the entire day had been that way. Definitely some fine roads and beautiful scenery around here. So much to explore.

We had dinner and resigned ourselves to our rooms in preparation for the trip home tomorrow. Craig is heading north to his home in north Virginia and Gene and I will head west taking the back roads to our homes in northwestern Tennessee for me and the Missouri Boot Hills for Gene.

Great riding but boy those 3 days went by fast … heavy sigh.

Sunday, Sept 29’ 2013

Today was going home day . Since Gene and I lived fairly close together we road together skirting along the very bottom of Kentucky, near the Kentucky and Tennessee border as we took in some great secondary roads home. Primarily Kentucky highways 119, 92, 90 & 100 got us over to our part of the world and within striking distance of home.
We did have to put up with a front of rain that moved through for the last 100 miles or so but it didn’t present a problem. I had a senior moment on the way after our lunch break. Seems I forgot to pack away my gerbing heated liner and left it on top of my bag sitting in the backseat. It flew off my bike and on to the highway about a few miles down the road after we left from our lunch stop in Monticello, Kentucky. Since Gene was leading at this point neither of us noticed until about 10 miles later when my mind caught up with my actions and I realized what had happened. I informed Gene and he pulled off and waited as I went back to look for it. Fortunately, it fell along the side of the road and was no worse for wear and I was able to retrieve it and we continued on.

I arrived home around 4:00 p.m. and not much later Gene texted me and let me know he had made it safely as well. Another Great Road Trip in the books. This one covered 1,686 miles and now my new Wing has been broken in with it’s first full road trip and the odometer stands just shy of 5,000 miles already.

Next week I plan to head to the Harrison, Arkansas for another Goldwing Ride In there for a few days to enjoy some Arkansas roads.

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