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Sunday morning, 9am: I have nothing to do but paint the house, so I geared up and told my wife I'd be back by 2...my buddy was racing the Steele Creek round of the AMA GNCC, and I had told him I would come out and route for him, so I head off. After five miles or so on the Interstate, I said fuk that, and hit the backroads, figuring at 75 or so it wouldn't take much longer, anyway.

The sun was out, record highs predicted. There wasn't a soul on the roads I took for the next 40 miles - twisty, up & down, not many trick corners, BEAUTIFUL. Stop for gas, call John & tell him I'd be a little later than I thought, and head up NC80, which climbs steadily from 1500 feet, topping out around 4000. A few cars now, but none that slow me down. A few decreasing-radius 2nd gear switchbacks near the top, and I'm on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's closed for a section to the south, so up here there's very little traffic, as well.

Resolving to keep it under 75 so I can check up if I see a Ranger, I head off to the north. The twisties beckon, and too soon I find myself accelerating out of corners in the upper 80's...so out the window goes my resolve to ride responsibly, and I crank it on up. Soon enough, I'm beyond the ton mark on the longer straights. The bike is handling as if on rails, I got the boy-racer weight shifts going on, and the rhododendron lining the Parkway has become a steady green blur, strobed out by the midmorning sun. There aren't any sub-60mph corners on this entire stretch of the BRP - most I hit much slower than needed, as I'm not familiar with this section. Just past Linville, I bang a right to 183, which quickly tees into NC181.

Just east of Linville Gorge Wilderness, NC181 is a ridiculous road for motorcycles. Two-lane, with the occasional third lane for passing, but it has lane-wide shoulders, for snow removal I guess, all along it. It's pretty much a hundred-mile-an-hour road. Or should be. I scared some old ladies heading to church right near the top, but then I had clear road through all the curves. I'm somewhat familiar with this road, and there is only a single series of maybe five sub-80mph curves (and someone more skilled than me could probably do them faster...), so the speedo didn't drop below 85 for the next ten miles. It was here that I noticed how despite my effort and perceived high rate of speed and the howling exhaust note, the Speedy wasn't even breathing hard - I had my head low and forward, just above the grip, through several of the faster corners, and the engine powertrain - cylinder, tappet, cam noise - was so smooth and quiet it seemed she was just off idle, even though the tach said 7k+ - incredible!

I realized just how much farther this bike can take me than I'm necessarily willing to go...track day in six weeks!

(ooh - is that the time? I have to do some work. part 2 later.)
 

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no wonder ya didn't answer yer f'n cell phone! :violent1: ;D I tried call'n ya about meet'n up next Thurs at the Gap like we had talked about. I'll try ya one afternoon this week. Looks like Dirt will definitely be there Thurs! ;D
 

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Those roads are some of my favorites. There's lots of fun stuff in that area.

I almost headed for 181 yesterday, and went towards Wilkesboro instead.

I love hitting the parkway early in the morning. :drink:
 
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