October 2007 - The Stable Grows

Bryan and I have both had motorcycles and could go riding together since I got back into the sport and he first became a rider on his fifth birthday in April of 1992.

That changed when Julie and I bought the Nomad in August of 2004.

We still had the dirt bikes and did ride and race them some after that, but when it came time to hit the road as opposed to the woods Bryan couldn't go. Which broke my heart. Especially since he made a point to get a motorcycle endorsement on his driver licence as soon as he was able to.

Bryan rode the Nomad every once in a while. He'd take it out on afternoon rides around the county some, and he and Jordan made a trip or two on it too. He seemed to enjoy riding on road, but since we couldn't ride together it was hard to really tell.

This past August Bryan and Jordan went with Julie and I on a three day, two night road trip to the western North Carolina mountains. My buddy Billy stepped up to the plate and allowed us to use his VTX1300 for the kids to ride on the trip. We all had a great time and it was easy to see that not only did Bryan enjoy it, but Jordan did too!

The problem was that with Bryan attending college buying him a new bike, or even used bike just didn't seem to be in the cards for us.

That changed in late October. The shop I was working at took a 2005 Yamaha FZ6 in on trade and they got it for a song.
The first week the shop had the bike I put a dealer tag on it and borrowed it for the week-end. He, Julie and I took off for a day ride up into the northern North Carolina mountains for a 'test ride'. Bryan loved the bike and it performed flawlessly, the hook was set for he and I both now.

Long story short, we figured out how to get it for him and in late October Bryan officially became a street rider too.


Bryan's first trip up "The Snake", U.S. 421 from Boone, North Carolina to Shady Valley, Tennessee.
Jordan and Bryan get ready for a ride.


Bryan (and Jordan!) have enjoyed the bike tremendously. It works well for short day rides and with the addition of a luggage rack, some bags and a communications device it works as a sport tourer too.

Overall, it has been a good addition to the family.

Bruce

October 2007 - The Gomer Pyle Bridge

This, unfortunately won’t be a “ride report” as much as a “destination report”. I once heard it said that younger or new riders choose destinations while older and experienced riders choose directions. My wife and I picked a destination, and while any day on a motorcycle is certainly better than most any day… period, it wasn't one of our best rides.

But it was a cool place.

It all started a few weeks ago when we made that West Virginia trip. Both of us wanted to go back and spend more time in WV as opposed to looping into and right back out again. But we only had the option of a day ride, so time and mileage would be a factor.

When I told a very good friend about our last trip up that way he suggested that the next time we should go see (Remember as you read this we’re southerners) the “Gauley Bridge”.

I responded “Golly Bridge? You mean like Gomer Pile? Welllll Golllll-eeee?”

“No you idiot.” My friend said. “Gauley Bridge. It’s the bridge that spans the New River Gorge up in WV.”

Doing a quick Internet search I found that my friend was the ‘idiot’ (at least he is also an idiot) because what he was talking about is called “The New RiverGorge Bridge” and it is located outside of Fayetteville, WV. As it turns out there is a town named “Gauley Bridge" fairly close by, so I guess I have to give him some credit for at least being, ummm, close.

I figured the mileage from our place up to Fayetteville and found that it was a bit over 200 miles, via the interstate. That being the case my wife and I decided that if we were going to make this trip, we’d leave early (cough, cough) and bust a trail straight up to it, check it out, then decide which way to come back.

We managed to pull out of the house at 9:00 am… Using our last WV trip as a guide we followed the same basic route, which put on a four lane U.S. highway, then I-77, which we would take all the way to Beckley, WV, then we’d get on U.S. 19, as the bridge is part of U.S. 19 I figured it would be fairly easy to spot.

It was. http://www.roadstothefuture.com/New_River_Gorge_Br.html
It’s actually a good thing that we rode over the bridge before we got to the overlook and visitors center, because if I had seen this thing before going over it, I’m not sure I would have!

We toured the visitors center and were impressed with the displays showing how this mega-structure was built. The visitors center also had some things on the local history, which as you might expect, was mostly coal mining. There was also a ‘porch’ on the back side of the building that afforded a wonderful view of the New River. After that we walked the scenic trail out to the observation point.

It is truly an amazing sight.
When we left the center we followed ‘the old road’ that was the only way to cross the river before the bridge was built. On this road we found ourselves at the base of the arch of the bridge and I have to tell you that from that vantage point it was awe inspiring. How man can construct such a thing is amazing.
Then, because of time constraints and the mileage involved we headed home…on the exact same route we went up. So my actual ‘ride’ report goes something like this;

Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa...

The endless droning of the V&H pipes at roughly 80 mph for four hours each way (counting fuel and food breaks) as we flowed with traffic on one of our countries great interstate systems.

We pulled back into the house at roughly 7:00 pm, and the trip meter read 434.5 miles.

I suppose the casual observer might think “You rode over 400 miles to see a bridge? ”No, we rode over 400 miles AND saw a bridge. There's a difference.

Truth is, we’ll never make that trip again. Riding only four lanes and interstates just isn’t our thing. We absolutely know that for sure now. My ears are still ringing. But as I said earlier, a day riding is better than a day not riding.

If you ever find yourself near the area, the bridge is a sight to behold, and that part of the country is beautiful. I highly recommend a detour to see it. As for us, we just won’t be headed back that way again for the sole purpose of seeing it, and only it.

Bruce