Finally! Warm weather! - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 12:23 AM Thread Starter
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Finally! Warm weather!


So... we finally got some good weather after weeks of snow and freezing temps. I could have dropped off of the Blue Wall to the south and enjoyed temps in the 60s, but decided to go high instead, heading for the Blue Ridge Parkway. Man, it felt good to be heading out for a long ride again after weeks of brief jaunts through the surrounding countryside between snow storms.
I cut up through Brevard and hit Hwy. 215 up to Balsam Grove. From there I cut across the mountain and dropped down into the valley of Wolf Lake and the Canada community in the Charlies Creek region.



Down low, the roads were in pretty good shape, but even on Hwy. 215, there was still plenty of ice and snow left in the shady corners, especially in the deep valley of the North Fork of the French Broad River. When I left 215 and started to climb over the ridge towards Wolf Lake, the biggest problem was the red mud that had washed out onto the road from some logging operations in the area. That stuff was slicker than the ice and nasty to boot.


Above, looking down at Wolf Lake from a high ridge.

Below, there was still lots of ice on the roads up in the Charlies Creek region. The snow wasn't so bad, but where it had been packed and then re-frozen, I had to be careful to hit it at just the right angle to keep the bike from swapping ends.


In some places on south-facing slopes, the snow was gone already, but on the north side of the higher ridges, there were still lots of 6 foot deep drifts lining the road.



You know how it is - you're riding along enjoying the day, and suddenly it hits you that you really, really need a pit stop. But there's that little issue of having 3 or 4 feet of snow piled up beside the road - where the heck will you leave the bike while you scurry off out of sight of the road? I found a likely spot high on Hwy. 215, not far south of the Parkway, where some ice-climbers had parked and sort of packed down the snow. Hurrah! I slipped and slid in from the road, parked in some mud and hauled it over to the treeline - ah, relief!
Then, as I started to circle out of the parking area, I managed to slip into some deep snow, doing a pretty impressive imitation of an ice-racer in the process. Then, it dug in - deep. I ended up having to get off and scuff out a narrow path with my boots to duckwalk the bike back to open ground, where I was able to slide out onto the highway again. Several Jeeps were parked there and the occupants really enjoyed the show, but I wonder how much they liked me splattering their windshields with mud as I exited the parking lot.


It's been a great winter for ice climbing in the mountains of western North Carolina. Deep snow and sub-freezing temps for weeks made for lots of frozen waterfalls and cliff faces along the Pisgah Ledge. Climbers like the climbs on Hwy. 215 because of the easy access and the 'fan clubs' that gather along the road to watch the show.







Crossing over to the north side of the Parkway, I dropped off the mountain, winding down along the Middle Prong of the Pigeon, with snow-covered 6,000 ft. peaks rising high above the road. In the photo below, Sam Knob is the high peak in the background. That's one of my favorite winter campsites, offering 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains from its 6,000 ft. peak. It sits on the edge of the Shining Rock Wilderness area.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is closed because of heavy snowfall, but the access off of Hwy. 215 was lined with the cars of hikers and cross country skiers enjoying a day on the snow.


Below, Lake Logan off of Hwy. 215, just west of the Shining Rock Wilderness area.


I only saw 3 other bikes out on the roads today - that surprised me, considering the great weather. However, they may have had the good sense to go low to enjoy the warmer temps. I passed two Gold Wings as I rode down 276 from the Parkway towards Brevard, and earlier in the day, a sport bike passed by while I watched the ice climbers over on Hwy. 215. Tomorrow, I'll hook up with the crew for a ride down below the Wall in South Carolina, where it's supposed to be in the mid-60s - hurrah!

It's great to be back on the roads, but the salt is a real bummer. My bike was nearly white with the crap by the time I made it back home this evening. I'll have to hit the car wash after tomorrow's ride.


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Don't you think that it's a ^%#$&# shame that Hunter S. Thompson wasn't an adventure rider? Imagine the ride reports...!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 01:05 AM
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I was sledding with my son this morning. High below 30F and snow. About three more inches to come between now and Sunday. Bike is in a nice warm spot in the garage.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 01:39 AM
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Effectively my first ride ...

As you may have seen from the Olympic coverage Vancouver has been blessed with some stunning weather.

I put plates & insurance on the Versys, some air in the tires and went for my first real ride (c.f. test ride & delivery).

I didn't go far but was out for 2 hours and had fun exploring the area from a different perspective.

I also got an hour on my bicycle becasue the weather was too good to waste.

Although I have had Miss Jaffa (Burnt Orange 2007 Versys) for a while, I still have a lot to learn.


"The happiest people donít have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything."
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-23-2010, 06:12 PM
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After a couple days of warmer ( upper 30's ) weather, forecast is now for 3 days of snow with totals up around a foot ( or more if you are where I am ). The bike will remain snowbound.....but my first load of accessories comes in next week....think spring!

Toys : 2009 Versys ( Blue ), 2006 Mazda MX-5 Miata
Needs : 2016 Mazda CX-5 ( RIP Mazda5 ), 2007 Honda Civic
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 01:27 AM Thread Starter
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Sunday was a lot warmer



On Sunday, we rode down through the mountains along the NC/SC border to Clayton, Georgia. 74 degrees down there!!! There was quite a bit of sand and salt on Warwoman Road, so we really had to watch the corners. Had an interesting experience there while following a Kawa Concours at a good clip when we crested a hill and passed a local deputy. I'm glad there was nowhere for him to make a quick turn so that I had time to get on into Clayton without getting 'interviewed'.
After leaving Clayton, we decided to dodge the sand and salt and headed on down 76 to circle back through Walhalla and around Lake Keowee. It was a pretty good circle, but I'd rather deal with sandy turns than the heavy traffic near the lake. We stopped off at the pull off south of Clayton to check out Bull Sluice Rapids on the Chattooga River (remember Deliverance?)
(Note the big logs lying on top of the huge boulder - I think that those are probably left over from when Hurricane Ivan passed over the mountains a few years ago. That had to be a hell of a flood to wash those up that high.)




I'm leaving Thursday for a 4 day loop down into Georgia and back up into Tennessee - Suches, Tellico Plains, the Dragon, and on back through Nantahala Gorge. It's gonna be cold, but hopefully, not wet. We're expecting up to 3 inches of snow tomorrow, but I'm hoping that I can get out of it once I drop off the mountain into South Carolina.


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Don't you think that it's a ^%#$&# shame that Hunter S. Thompson wasn't an adventure rider? Imagine the ride reports...!

Last edited by VeeWNC; 03-02-2010 at 12:56 PM.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 03-02-2010, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Getting more snow here today too

Quote:
Originally Posted by outdoorvtguy View Post
After a couple days of warmer ( upper 30's ) weather, forecast is now for 3 days of snow with totals up around a foot ( or more if you are where I am ). The bike will remain snowbound.....but my first load of accessories comes in next week....think spring!
After a great weekend, we're getting dumped on again today, with several inches of snow forecast before the latest storm moves on. Luckily, it looks like the next 10 days will get progressively warmer - that should finally get rid of the snow that has been around since Dec. 18.
I'm hoping to make it up to your area sometime in May, weather permitting. I've never been to New England, so I'd like to do a good loop through New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine while I'm there. The big question now is whether to go in May or to wait until autumn - I prefer autumn, but that's a long time to wait.


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Don't you think that it's a ^%#$&# shame that Hunter S. Thompson wasn't an adventure rider? Imagine the ride reports...!
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