In 2004 there was an article published in the AMA magazine about riding the Eastern Continental Divide. I decided to give that a try on the way down to Knoxville and Ride Smart.
I spent several hours doing what proved to be a mediocre job of transferring the route to the new Garmin ;>) and took off on Sunday afternoon. I got a Marsee Corona 11 liter bag, the E kit and sorted out mounting the Garmin on the Gadget Guy mount so that I can actually see all the dash, the GPS is not where I would really like it but still useable and it does not contact the bag enough to worry about. I was unable to use the BMA bag even buying an Explorer bag and the 5" platen.
The Escort is planted in the bag. the direct wires were shortened to fit in the bag with the connectors and the bag wired to the battery. I found some nice little connectors that allow male/male mini plugs so I can make the Escort audible without threading wires thru the zipper, and I can unplug the entire bag and walk off with it.
I also got a low seat from Chicago BMW...it was immediately better for me than the regular one but has still proved to be a major PIA...no pun intended.
I left about 2 pm from Kingston and got to Keyser W.Va around 8:30, found a motel and sat outside drinking scotch and smoking a cigar and watching the lightning bugs dance for a couple of hours to unwind from the interstate driving. That is where the alternate roads took over.
I took 220 south to US 50 down to a very small town called Mt. Storm, the 42 south to Rt. 93. Basically you wiggle your way south on 32/93 to 32 then 32/5 to 33 to Hiwy 55 until you get to Seneca Rocks and re 28. Follow Rt 28 back to 33 and back to 28 down to Rt 250 and 250 into Monterey Va. from there south again on 220 towards Hot Springs all the way to Covington Va. took Rt 60 west to Rt 311, and that south towards Roanoke. The route on the Garmin needs work but...
The roads are very much like the Blue Ridge parkway...less traffic, very few police, a bit of construction and some farm traffic but what a great ride. Comparable in places to the Cherohala and Deals Gap. There was a section of 28 that must have run at least 25 miles where I did not see a single car in any direction. Rt. 250 from Thornwood to Monterey is amazing. Some of the switchbacks were so quick the GPS froze. 220 and 311 are also worth repeating many times. Once you get away from the little towns and construction this area has some seriously great riding…mush less congested than the eastern side of 81. This leg of the ride from Kingston to Knoxville ran about 930 miles.
The bike was spectacular except for the seat...the new GT handles so much better for me than the 03. The seating position is nearly perfect...now to get the seat to match!
I rode thru only 1 large thunderstorm early on Sunday afternoon, the bike did very well in the hi gusts and heavy water. I was pleasantly surprised with the Bridgestone’s....I have been riding on Pilot Roads for the last 25K. I was not expecting them to perform as well. I have 2800 on the bike now and still with slightly more than 1/8" tread on the center...carrying my bulk and 60 lbs of luggage that isn't too bad.
The rain and wind protection were very good. only the outside of my arms got pretty wet until I slowed down to hide from the excessive truck traffic. I am waiting on a CB +5+3 screen to show up in Knoxville for the ride home.
The only things I find lacking are the horn which, which needs to be at least 2x louder, the seat and the fact that with the tour box on back the tail light is somewhat obscured…I added a dual mode set of hyperlites to help overcome that.
I regret to say that I did not really stop to take pictures....also surprised that there were not a lot of places to pull off and shoot them but I was actually having too much fun riding to stop.....
Still quite a ways to go though.....ride smart next weekend and then a winding road back to NY.
Good riding to all of you!