Day 3 - June 23
I got an early start this morning to drive the short distance to Rock Hill. My trusty GPS got me to the street that Pete lived on, but unfortunately his address was in my computer and not the GPS. I gave him a call, and he was waiting for me. As it turned out, I was only a block away. We had a nice chat and he showed me around his place, including his motorcycle museum in his garage. It wasn't exactly a museum, but let's say that he has enough motorcycle to ride a different one every day of the week.
After a little more chatting we hoped in his car to take a tour of his town, which is a nice medium sized town with a lot of charm. One of the stops that we made was at a mutual friends place, Dave Parsons. Dave was also on the Copper Canyon ride. Pete and Dave drove all the way to El Peso, Texas together, which was the starting point of the ride to Mexico. The both rode BMW's on Copper Canyon ride, which are great road bike, but a little much for the ride down to the bottom of the Copper Canyon. Dave was out of town, but he wanted Pete to show me his motorcycle collection. Dave has a barn just for his collection. which included a bunch of vintage motorcycles.
It was about lunchtime, so Pete headed for one of his favorite restaurants, that served family style food. After stuffing myself with fantastic food I could see why it was one of his favorites. We rode around a bit more and then we headed back to his place. After some more chatting, I felt that I should be hitting the road once again. I wanted to make it to North Carolina before I stopped for the night.
Once I got on the road I made some good time and was across the border into NC in no time. I sidestepped Charlotte and all the other major towns in NC, and before I knew it I was going through Airy NC, and a short distance up the road I was crossing into Virginia. Not too far North of the board was one of the roads that I definitely wanted to ride...the Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP). I got onto the BRP about 3:00pm, and figured I'd ride it for a few hours before stopping for the night. I had just got on to the BRP and I started to see deer already. This was not a good sign that they were out that early in the afternoon, but speed limit on the BRP is 30 mph, so I knew that I would be going slow enough to avoid any wayward deer's. For those that read my California Adventure trip of last year will already know that I had an encounter with a deer in the northern high desert of California. The outcome of that encounter was unfortunate for the deer, and close to unfortunate for me. While I was able to control the bike after the collision, the deer did over $2500 damage to the right side of my bike. I came through it with a sore leg and short-lived phobia for deer.
I road until dusk and decided to come off the mountain to seek gas and a place for the night. I did find gas, but there was no place at the local inn (singular, not plural). The next town was quite a distance away, and the local innkeeper said that there wasn't a motel in that town. Not wanting to miss any of the BRP, I hopped back on where I exited and continued down the road. It got dark quite fast and the deer were coming out like someone open the gate to a corral. They were all over the place and I was braking for roadside deer at almost every turn. The night went on and I was starting to get tired. My gas gauge was also starting to get rather low and I checked my GPS for a gas station and motel. I did find a gas station off the mountain to the left, but there were no motels. I got off the mountain and luckily the gas station was still open. Unfortunately the station attendant didn't know of any motels in the area. I got back on the BRP and went a little farther down the road where the BRP turns into the Skyline Parkway, which was also on my to do list. At this point I was committed to an all-nighter.
It seemed like a zillion miles and hundreds of deer later before I came to the end of the Skyline Parkway and headed down the mountain. By this time it was 1:30 in the morning, and I was bushed. As I got out of the curvy roads and deer land, I got my second wind and figured I towards one of my journey destinations, Gainesville, VA. The daughter of one of my closest friends lives there with her family, and I had arranged to visit with them while I was in their neck of the woods. I continued to ride until sunrise, and then looked for the first McDonald's, Burger King, or any other place that had coffee. I spotted a McDonald's and pulled in. The lights were on, but it didn't open for another 10 minutes. Once in, I ordered the biggest cup of coffee they had and the big breakfast plate. I figured I would rest there for as long as I could, so I got my computer and connected to the Mc's WiFi and proceeded to check my mail and get a little work done.
After an hour and a half in Mc's place I hit the road again. I arrived at my destination about 10am and started to look around for a room. Unfortunately, the earliest I could get a check-in was noon, so I rode around town for a while before I could check in. Since my friends didn't expect me until the next day I decided to get some well-needed rest. After a nice hot shower, and some snacks that I bought earlier, I hit the sack and thought I wouldn't wake up until the next day. Unfortunately, I woke up about 6pm and was wide awake and hungry, so I headed out in search of a someplace to eat. I spotted a Don Pablo's sign and headed straight for it. After a great Mexican dinner, I started to feel a little tired again, so headed back to the motel for a good nights sleep.