Friday. Rode as planned for 98 miles from Jefferson then added a 5-mile twisties deviation through Caesar’s Head Park and Dupont Forest (destinations for club rides in September) then east to original route in Flat Rock. Gas and lunch in Hendersonville. Towards the Blue Ridge Parkway an 8-mile stretch of US25 through Fletcher in stop-go urban traffic was not fun. Light traffic on parkway from MM 389 to MM 277 with a drop into Blowing Rock at MM 292 for gas. 7 miles in 4 sections of ongoing and recent chipseal-type repaving on the parkway slowed progress due to varying levels of loose chippings. High Country Campground was quiet with only one other camper and a few folks in cabins. Sunny and comfortably warm all day. 335 miles. 7¼ hours ride time. 3 hours stopped for gas and dining.
Saturday. Started as planned but did not stay that way. Just before Banner Elk on NC194 the clutch slave cylinder on Jonathan’s R1150GS failed meaning he had no way to operate the clutch. After reviewing options, Jonathan elected to ride home clutchless. We picked out a route to limit the number of stops, and consequential bunny-hop type starts he’d have to make, that was basically via US19E/I26/SC11/I85. Steady progress was interrupted by thunderstorm cells and further malady for Jonathan. Three of the storms required us to pull over for a total of 2¼ hours to wait them out. Then just outside Westminster, SC we stopped as Jonathan’s bike front tire had started to lose air pressure. No obvious debris in the tire, just a small cut. Decision time again. Jonathan chose to inflate the tire (using the trusty 12v compressor he carries as part of his gear) to its 42psi maximum with the intention of seeing how it fared. A few miles and a gas stop a little later confirmed it was a manageable slow leak, and we switched the TPS system from my bike to his so he could monitor the tire pressure in real time. No more drama on the way home. 340 miles. 6¾ hours ride time. 5¼ hours stopped for maintenance, rain, gas and dining.
2-day total: 675 miles and 14 hours ride time.
The riding we did complete this weekend reminded us that North Carolina’s mountain scenic byways offer some of the finest riding available to us if we’re prepared to put in those extra few miles past Blue Ridge Camp and Ironhorse to reach into the area. I’m hoping to reschedule a trip like that originally planned for later in the year. Watch this space.