Adventures with Perry

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DammitDan
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Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by DammitDan » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:21 pm

Day 4 - Rest Day

Something woke me very early in the morning... I checked the phone and the time read 3:30am. The dark skies to the south had flashed ominously before I collapsed into the hammock, but I hadn't had the energy to finish pinning down the rainfly "just in case". I looked to the south and those flashes now appeared much closer, accompanied by the muted rumbling of an approaching thunderstorm. I willed myself from the hammock and fumbled in the dark to hammer the pegs in with a large rock; I cursed my stupidity for leaving behind two essential camping tools: a hammer, and a headlamp.

I used my solar inflatable Luci lamp to awkwardly light the work area and double checked to make sure both the hammock and Perry's kennel were under the tarp's protective umbrella. Then I rolled back into bed, and to sleep. Less than ten minutes later I was shocked into consciousness by the closest and scariest thunderstorm I have ever weathered in a hammock. One of the disadvantages of camping on a bald in the Virginia highlands is that YOU become one of the tallest features of the surrounding landscape, a.k.a. a lightning rod. Add to this the fact that one of my hammock's supports was a giant metal cylinder reaching higher than all the other objects in the area, and I was truly terrified that I would be either be electrocuted-in-place, or perhaps worse, immolated by a molten nylon hammock that spontaneously combusted around me as it tried (and failed) to conduct a million volts of electricity.

The lightning and thunder were right on top of us on the bald, with only a barely discernible pause between the blinding flash and the roaring crack and boom. The pounding rain shook the rainfly and the wind strained the tie-outs to the point of pulling out of the ground. Our high altitude had effectively put Perry and me INSIDE the passing thunderstorm, and I can only imagine the terror that my poor pup went through... I am once again thankful that I brought along a folding kennel in which he can find shelter. Fortunately the worst of the storm didn't last too long, and after about twenty minutes the rain lightened and the thunder began to roll away from us. We managed to stay dry and unharmed under the tarp, and I'm still not sure exactly why I had woken up just in time and had the wherewithal to finish setting up the rainfly.

I woke up late in the morning feeling much better rested, and after a late breakfast of chicken & dumpling soup I went about tidying up camp. The storm had scattered some of my gear bags and soaked everything in Perry's cockpit, so I laid out his towels and his sidecar seat in the sun to dry. Seeing as how I still had to fix the left muffler on the Ural I decided to take a rest day, especially given the condition of the road going back down after last night's pounding rain. Perry also took the opportunity to lay out in the sun.

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Later in the morning we explored the area; at a kiosk stationed at the nexus of hiking and horseback trails leading through the area I learned some of the history of the area. The highlands around us had once served as grazing land for livestock atop the grassy balds. In the early 1900s cattle farmers found that moving their herds from highland pastures to markets at the foot of the mountain would cause significant weight loss in the livestock, which in turn thinned the farmers' margins. To remedy this they formed The Scales, a meeting place 4,900 feet above sea level where farmers could weigh their cattle *before* the long trip down the mountain. Cattle still make limited use of the area, but the job of maintaining the undergrowth on the balds has now fallen to a group of wild ponies that were introduced by the forest service decades ago.

Perry and I had a good number of visitors throughout the day; being physically attached to the area's prime real estate tends to make for a lot of introductions. A group of four wonderful ladies on horseback stopped by to say hello late in the morning, and after sharing my story with them they took a great photo that is definitely bound for the book. I found out from a hiker named Paul that the Appalachian Trail crosses through The Scales within 100 yards of where I was camped, and he was working on finishing the whole AT in sections by shuttling a Volvo with a Vespa loaded on the rear to various trailheads, then riding to his start point on the Vespa and hiking through back to his car.

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Later in the day I met Sally Anna and Alison from the group Wilderness Trail, an organization that introduces young teens to nature by disconnecting them from "modern" gadgets, and works to improve self reliance and self confidence through experience in hiking and camping. I asked how far they had come that day but neither of them knew exactly; one of the "rules" for the group was no one could ask the distance to the next camp - you just had to keep going till you made it. Sally Anna and Alison were the adult chaperones for the group. From what I could hear, it sounded like a lot of fun for the kids. I also couldn't help but overhear the teenagers saying they had the "coolest adults ever" on this trip while the group sheltered on the front porch of the outhouse watching another storm roll toward us in the late afternoon.

I took the opportunity to fix the muffler before the storm hit, and this time twisted and aimed the can so it had a little more ground clearance. The southern sky began flashing threateningly again, and I got the idea to throw the tonneau cover over Perry's cockpit to keep our stuff dry (that's what it's supposed to be for, right?) In the fading daylight I spotted the wild ponies I had read about earlier in the day and pulled out the Canon to snap a photo. Then I pre-packed as much gear as I could onto the rig, cooked some noodles n' sauce for dinner and settled in for the evening, braced for another potentially rough night of thunderstorms.

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Dammit, Dan!
Clarksville, TN

Current Bikes
2016 Ural Gear Up
2006 Kawaski ZG1000 Concours "The Racing Mule"

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1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing
1981 Yamaha XS650 twin cafe bike
1983 Honda CB650 four aka The Redheaded Stepchild

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DammitDan
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Adventures with Perry

Post by DammitDan » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:25 pm

Days 5 - The Blue Ridge Parkway

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There was another thunderstorm that night, not as scary as the night before but with a longer period of steady rain. I didn’t rest well in the wet conditions yet still managed to sleep through the alarm I had set on my phone. The rain had stopped falling by the time I was out of the hammock but the storm had left behind a thick soup of fog in its wake. I could only just see the folks from the Wilderness Trail group up and breaking their camp 50 yards across the meadow. One of the college student counselors greeted me as she made her way to the restroom - keep in mind, I’m attached to the toilet vent pipe - and I asked how everyone did during the storm last night. She told me all the campers made it through just fine, and they were headed on up the Appalachian Trail to their next campsite. We wished each other luck as I continued packing up camp.

I had the gear loaded and strapped down by 8am, but I found myself having to take some extra time patiently explaining to Perry why we couldn’t just live on top of this mountain from now on. With some gentle coaxing I led him to the sidecar, and with an enthusiastic, “Load up!” he gingerly stepped up on the footplate and into the cockpit. I snapped a rare selfie in the thick morning fog and headed down the mountain following the same path we had climbed two days before.

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The ride down wasn’t nearly as jarring as the ride up had been, and I finally figured out why my left muffler had fallen victim to my incompetence so many times: when the sidecar’s wheel is lifted on a rock or a ledge, the whole bike leans left, and anything hanging off the left side of the bike is pushed toward the ground. This also explained why my right muffler remained mysteriously unscathed - a higher sidecar wheel simultaneously raises the right muffler while lowering the left muffler. With a little late experimentation I learned the secret to riding a rough road on a Ural - keep an eye the path for the sidecar wheel, but ALWAYS put the path with the most clearance on the outside edge of my left boot. After four miles of bouncing and swaying I stopped to pick up the vise grips abandoned on the way UP the mountain, and within a half mile the fog cleared to blue skies and sunshine as we made our way out of the highlands. Soon enough Perry and I were back on the highway headed toward the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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In the late morning we turned onto the Parkway just north of the Virginia state line. The BRP is one of a small family of roads maintained by the National Park Service that is reserved solely for the enjoyment of folks traveling in private passenger vehicles. There are no stop signs or highway intersections in all its 469 miles, with mature trees lining its shoulders and shading the road for most of the way. As the BRP crisscrosses the ridgeline those shade trees fall back to reveal gorgeous vistas of the surrounding green valleys and mountains. We were treated to many overlooks of the lush southern Virginia mountains as we made our way north.

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Several hours and 180 miles of rolling ridge lines later Perry and I made it to our next campsite - Oronoco Campground in the George Washington National Forest. Oronoco is a pack-in/pack-out free campground maintained by the Forest Service, and it lies about 500 vertical feet down from its turnoff point on the Parkway; this led to an exciting end to the day’s drive as the loaded Ural careened around the hairpin curves leading to the campground. The previous year I had stayed at the same campground on my southbound Parkway trek on the Kawasaki Concours, so at least I knew what to expect. The campground itself was clean and quiet, and I left Perry to sniff out the area as I set up camp.

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Before the late afternoon light faded - it gets late early in hill country - we headed out again in search fuel, water and some camping supplies, mainly hot chocolate, from the nearby town of Buena Vista. The town showed up on my GPS as just a few miles away - and on the other side of the ridge. Perry and I climbed back up to the Parkway, passed through a short tunnel underpass and tipped down to the other side of the ridgeline. Buena Vista was a tiny village nestled in a draw coming up from the valley, and while my quest for fuel was unsuccessful I did manage to find a Family Dollar general store to stock up on supplies.

I parked in the building’s shade cast by the early evening sun and left Perry leashed in the sidecar while I ran inside. On the way out I learned that Perry had obtained an audience… a station wagon parked nearby had three young boys hanging out of the windows staring at him, and an older local man approached as I packed the supplies and asked about the Ural and where we were headed. He wished us both good luck on our journey, and with a wave to the boys in the car Perry and I headed back up and down the ridge to camp. We stopped off at the nearby overlook to catch a picture of the waning sunset.

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The evening turned hot and muggy as the wind died down, and soon enough the mosquitoes emerged in force from their dungeon lairs. I went heavy on the bug spray and took the opportunity to catch up on some writing, followed by a hearty dinner of Chef Boyardee mini raviolis, canned loaded potato soup and a big satisfying cup of hot chocolate. I find camping to be exponentially less enjoyable when my food supply is devoid of powdered hot chocolate mix… I only drink it when I’m camping, but without that hot chocolate nightcap my belly just isn't happy. Tonight, my belly was very happy.


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Last edited by DammitDan on Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:02 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Dammit, Dan!
Clarksville, TN

Current Bikes
2016 Ural Gear Up
2006 Kawaski ZG1000 Concours "The Racing Mule"

Former Bikes
1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing
1981 Yamaha XS650 twin cafe bike
1983 Honda CB650 four aka The Redheaded Stepchild

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DammitDan
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Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by DammitDan » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:35 pm

From here on out I’ll be posting a new photoblog post every Sunday and Wednesday... I hope you enjoy it!


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Dammit, Dan!
Clarksville, TN

Current Bikes
2016 Ural Gear Up
2006 Kawaski ZG1000 Concours "The Racing Mule"

Former Bikes
1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing
1981 Yamaha XS650 twin cafe bike
1983 Honda CB650 four aka The Redheaded Stepchild

hotflash44
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Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by hotflash44 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:53 pm

DammitDan, oh yeah very interesting wish i was able to do what you do, also watching Fran and wife Yvonne on a 2016 Gu like yours do the around the US and Mexico/south America trip Fran is also a member on SS his adventure is titled, The big trip. his wife also is blogging the adventure. between you and Fran i will be very entertained for sure. :cheers:
2016 gear up asphalt grey, name Seryy Medved ,Air America CIA circa 1967/8 Vung Tau Viet Nam USS Tutuila ARG-4 (AND JUST A TOUCH OF AGENT ORANGE!)

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Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by chopfather » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:32 pm

Yes, please keep posting. I'm living vicariously through your adventures. My wife and I are planning a trip in late Spring or early Summer to Arkansa around Eureka Springs but I wish I could just load up and take off for a month or two.
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Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by Penrod » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:38 pm

rps20170417_143745.jpg
I am enjoying your blog. Keep it up. I'm thinking about riding my cT from Maine down to Shenandoah National Park this June.
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DammitDan
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Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by DammitDan » Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:47 pm

Penrod wrote:I'm thinking about riding my cT from Maine down to Shenandoah National Park this June.
I drove from Shenandoah to Maine on this trip, following US-1 from Portsmouth all the way up to Fort Kent... some parts of the highway got a little rough - the badly sloped and broken pavement upped the pucker factor at times, especially since everyone wanted to go faster than me - but otherwise it was a blast. I’d highly recommend it!


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Dammit, Dan!
Clarksville, TN

Current Bikes
2016 Ural Gear Up
2006 Kawaski ZG1000 Concours "The Racing Mule"

Former Bikes
1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing
1981 Yamaha XS650 twin cafe bike
1983 Honda CB650 four aka The Redheaded Stepchild

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Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by outrider » Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:04 pm

Really enjoying your report here Dan. Thanks for the effort to post great photos along with your narrative.
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Adventures with Perry

Post by DammitDan » Wed Feb 21, 2018 3:02 pm

Day 6 - Shenandoah National Park & Skyline Drive

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Perry’s first experience with wildlife on this trip was promising. As I broke camp he spotted a white tailed deer across the campground, and with his hackles raised he let out a low menacing growl. The deer whipped its head around and spotted the threat, then almost casually picked its way across the open campsites toward the trees behind the outhouse. Perry stood cast in stone as he watched the deer slowly traverse the campground; he would occasionally huff and make the deer pause, they would watch each other for a moment then the deer would continue on its way. Perry had a similar experience with the domesticated ponies living wild atop the Grayson Highlands in Virginia, but they were much bigger than he was. It was reassuring to see him react in a defensive manner rather than follow his hunting instincts with an animal closer to his size… I suppose his reaction to the deer makes me trust him a bit more to be off on his own.

Before we headed out I spotted a small handheld LED flashlight lying on the ground near our campsite – a perfect replacement for the headlamp I had left at home. I picked it up and turned it on and off, then stowed it in my electronics bag for future use. No more awkwardly holding an inflatable lamp between my chin and chest and I struggled to look through bags in the dark - with a hat and a little electrical tape just about any handheld flashlight can be turned into a headlamp.

Perry and I left the sleepy campground just before 9:30 and headed back up the ridgeline to continue our way north along the Blue Ridge Parkway. As the road curved and climbed ever upward, the Ural gave a sudden kick, lost power and lurched to the left, then kicked forward again; I gave it more throttle but the bike refused to continue, and the engine began to burble and slow in the middle of a steep uphill straightaway. I hit the kill switch and pulled in the clutch, and with a final cough the engine went silent. The was road cut into the side of the mountain, leaving little room for a shoulder; even as I coasted the rig into the grass as far to the right as possible, only a scant few inches separated the bike from the highway’s edge. I would have to do this fast.

I had experienced this phenomenon before, which is why I hit the kill switch as soon as I had a rough diagnosis of the problem. The glaring fuel lamp provided a less-than-subtle hint; I really wished I had found a gas station in Buena Vista last night. Fortunately the 10-liter jerry can strapped to the sidecar was filled with 93 octane – another lesson I had learned previously: never go anywhere with an empty jerry can – I quickly had to get the can out of its carrier, attach the filler spout, pour in the fuel and we would be back on our way in no time. I got an unpleasant surprise when I pulled the can and popped open the lid; fuel exploded from the opening in a spray that soaked my gloved hands. High altitude creates a significant pressure build-up in a sealed container, and considering the can had been difficult to pull out of its carrier, I should have known better. I attributed the jerry can’s stuck-ness to the weight of the fuel, while in fact it was bulging outward against the metal basket on the sidecar because of built-up pressure. I got the filler spout attached and had just picked up the can when a pickup truck swung around the corner behind us. The elderly driver slowed and rolled down the window as he stopped to ask if everything was alright. I banged on the jerry can and said, “Bad place to run out of gas.” He nodded knowingly and put on his flashers, “Well, I’ll sit here till you get it filled so you don’t get hit.” I thanked him and we chatted while I emptied the can into the tank – he hailed from Buena Vista and said there WAS a two-pump gas station on the far edge of town; if I had driven a bit further past the general store I would have seen it. Oh well.

With the engine restarted and the jerry can and spout stowed in their proper places, I gave another thanks to the pickup’s driver and Perry and I headed up to the Parkway toward the first gas station we could find. Fortunately there was a turn-off towards Waynesboro just a few miles up the road, and a small pull-off gas station not far beyond. It was here that I met a man named Ed Lavender, “Just like the color,” he explained of his name. Ed, an older man, approached the rig as we pulled up, and as soon as I had taken the helmet off he hit me with a barrage of questions… “Where ya’ll comin’ from? Where ya goin’? How long ya’ll been on the road? What’s this thing you’re riding? Russian, huh… You ain’t colludin’ are ya?” The last question made me laugh as I began refueling, and then Ed took charge as my publicity agent, fielding questions from others at the gas station - and whether they were young, old, black or white, Ed seemed to know everybody and everybody knew Ed. This is an interesting phenomenon I hadn’t really seen at previous fuel stops - in small communities, the town’s gas station seems to double as something of a quick-stop social club. Since gasoline is universal in its demand, it makes sense that small communities would use them as gathering places to share news and shoot the breeze with neighbors. Sadly these community gathering places are slowly going extinct, along with their communities, as the world gets ever bigger and moves ever faster.

The smells of summer permeated the air as we headed further north… fresh cut hay and wildflowers, tilled earth and green grass; traveling on a motorcycle is a unique sensory experience. Unlike travel in an enclosed air-conditioned vehicle, a motorcyclist is exposed to the elements while traveling. The environment envelopes your senses; you feel the shifts in temperature and humidity from shade to sunlight, from hilltop to riverside. You smell the environment that surrounds you, both the good and the bad - from the overwhelming scent of fresh pine and earth at the base of Mount Rainier to the rank odor of a massive cattle ranch in western Kansas. Unlike in an enclosed vehicle, on a motorcycle you get to hear the world singing all around you, and you occasionally even get to taste it – for better or for worse, a motorcyclist experiences it all. It may be dangerous, but the experience is worth it.

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The sensory experiences through Shenandoah National Park were especially pleasant, with the combination of fresh mountain air and green life flourishing all around us. As we pulled up to the southern entrance, the park ranger leaned out of her ticket window with a dog treat for Perry in hand. She said, “I only give them to the friendly dogs. The ones that growl or bark at me go hungry!” Anita told me she had seen a lot of different dogs come through her gate but she had never, ever seen one riding in a sidecar, and it made me happy to put a smile on her face. I mentioned how wonderful the ride thus far had smelled, and her face lit up when I mentioned the smell of pine at Mount Rainier. She said, “I know exactly what you’re talking about. If you ever get the chance, you should experience the smell of the sugar pines at Lake Tahoe in California. You’ll never forget it.” Another item to add to the bucket list! I purchased an annual National Park pass from Anita at the Shenandoah gate and we continued on to Skyline Drive in Northern Virginia.

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Skyline Drive is an uninterrupted 105-mile stretch of road that bisects the length of Shenandoah National Park as it traces the ridgeline of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A few years ago I had ridden South along Skyline Drive on my Kawasaki Concours, but the northernmost section had been closed due to weather damage and I missed out on one of the most spectacular stretches of highway east of the Mississippi. This time the entire length was open to passenger vehicles, and I wasn’t disappointed by the hype. The road alternates to either side of the ridgeline, offering stunning views of the pastoral Shenandoah Valley to the west and the wild forested Piedmont region of Virginia to the east. The clear blue skies made for wonderous visibility, and it seemed I could see everything from my vantage point nearly half a mile above the valley floor. I stopped at several of the overlooks trying to find that one great “Shenandoah photo”, and near the end of the day’s drive - along the stretch of road that had been closed years before - I managed to capture it.

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That evening’s stop was a free campsite on the border of West Virginia called Hawk Campground. Following my carefully mapped GPS route, I turned off of the highway onto a graded gravel road that dove into a dark pine woods. The gravel lane twisted and turned through the lush forest for a few miles, when suddenly the gravel turned to a paved road surrounded by pristinely manicured yards and clean white clapboard buildings - and a bunch of well-dressed white people milling about everywhere. Perry and I got some odd looks as we puttered through this surreal change in environment; it felt like we had just stumbled through the back entrance of some kind of secretive rich people cult. I nervously continued following the GPS for another mile, into a neighborhood with a hand-painted sign that read “The Hawk’s Nest”, right up to the edge of a field whereupon the GPS announced that I had reached my destination; clearly I hadn’t reached my destination - the pin for the Hawk Campground was still a half-mile away, with no roads by which to reach it. While the Ural would have probably been up for the challenge, I decided against trundling through a stranger’s field and turned back the way I had come.

As Perry and I retraced the route toward the hand-painted sign, two men were were standing at the end of their driveway awaiting our return. Cliff and Todd asked what I was up to, and as I explained my predicament they chuckled knowingly. It’s apparently common for Hawk Campground campers to get turned around, and they offered directions that would actually get me where I wanted to go; I had missed a turn-off from the gravel road about a mile up from the resort I had traversed - not a cult, after all. Cliff offered me a cold beer and said he wanted his wife to meet Perry. I politely declined the alcohol, but I drove the rig up his driveway to meet Susan (and Patches the one-eyed cat) and we all chatted for a few minutes about the trip. The family gave us a fond farewell, and Perry and I headed back through the white clapboard resort and onto the gravel forest road. Soon enough I spotted the correct turn - the sign pointing toward the campground had been facing the wrong direction on our way in - and we made our way to the campground in the evening light.

Considering how difficult it had been to find, the campground was surprisingly full. I managed to find a site across from the well hand-pump and I went about setting up camp. Perry wanted to roam, but with so many fellow campers I opted to call him back and put him on a line, so he laid in his kennel and observed while I finished erecting the campsite. By nightfall I had prepared a simple dinner of noodles n’ sauce with sauteed mushrooms, after which Perry and I lounged for a bit enjoying the serenity of nature. Tomorrow would mark my first visit to Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and a return to Steinbeck’s original route to New York City.



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Dammit, Dan!
Clarksville, TN

Current Bikes
2016 Ural Gear Up
2006 Kawaski ZG1000 Concours "The Racing Mule"

Former Bikes
1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing
1981 Yamaha XS650 twin cafe bike
1983 Honda CB650 four aka The Redheaded Stepchild

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DammitDan
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Adventures with Perry

Post by DammitDan » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:14 pm

Day 7

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The West Virginia morning was cool and comfortable, and as Perry vacuumed up his breakfast, I made my way across the lane to the hand pump to get some water. It took quite a few pumps to get the water flowing, but once started the pump rapidly filled Perry’s water jug. Looking down, I noticed something odd about the water... I lifted the clear plastic jug to the rising sun and noticed it wasn’t nearly as clear as it should have been. The water had a dirty, brown tinge containing suspended reddish particles. It seemed to smell okay, but given the fact that we were in West Virginia coal country, the dirty well water concerned me. I decided against tasting it - or testing it with a lighter for flammability - and fortunately I had just enough clean water left to satisfy Perry’s thirst that morning. I dumped the dirty water out of his jug and made a mental note to refill his reserve as soon as possible. Upon dumping the jug, however, I noticed a dirty, reddish sheen stuck to the inside of the jug. I added a new water jug to the list of things I would need to find.

Perry and I headed north out of the woods and back onto the highway. The rolling hills revealed a beautiful, pastoral scene: well-tended fields sprinkled with huge, rolled bales of hay, accompanied by pristine, white clapboard Virginian farmhouses. This area of the country was overtly conservative… I lost count of the number of “Don’t Tread on Me” signs, flags and bumper stickers, and the residents clearly took pride in what they owned and weren’t afraid to let everyone know it. Perry and I pulled off the highway for a break alongside a bucolic Virginian hayfield. As Perry ran joyously amongst the rolled bales, I prepared the camera to capture a candid shot. I noticed that Perry tended to stay away from the field itself; the sharp field stubble stuck up through the grass hurting his paws. He opted instead to sprint up and down the shoulder of the dirt road and into the nearby underbrush and creek across the lane.

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My side goal for the day was to find replacement rear brake pads for the Ural. I had made the mistake of driving off with the parking brake still engaged one-too-many times… The parking brake was simply a cam mechanism that clamps the brake pads against the rear wheel’s rotor, and if it wasn’t released before driving off, it caused the brake pads to drag and instantaneously added several hundred miles’ worth of wear the brake pads. Seeing as how I had forgotten to disengage the parking brake more than a dozen times since I first purchased the rig, the rear pads were almost completely worn away. I knew there were no Ural dealerships to be found along our path between Virginia and NYC, but I did some research and found the brake pads are the same as those found on a 2008-2009 Can-Am Spyder - another kind of three-wheeled motorcycle. As luck would have it, Perry and I would be passing a Can-Am dealership on our way through West Virginia, so I set my GPS to direct us toward Ridersville Cycle in Berkeley Springs, WV.

We pulled into the Can-Am dealership late in the morning, and with Perry unloaded we headed into the shop. I approached the counter and was quickly greeted by an employee, but after starting to explain my situation things quickly went downhill. He interrupted, “What’s a Ural? Never heard of it… We wouldn’t have any parts for it here.” As I patiently explained what I was actually looking for was a set of brake pads from a 08-09 Spyder, part number such-and-such, he said, “Oh, we probably don’t have it…” I looked around, “Isn’t this a Can-Am dealership?” “Oh, yeah, but we don’t have that.” I asked him if he could at least check the computer to make sure, that I was kind of desperate to keep my brakes working. He called over his boss, “This guy’s looking for brake pads for a Ural… I never even heard of that.” No, I said, I was looking for brake pads for an 08-09 Can-Am. “Oh, well, maybe...” the boss said. He told the associate to check the computer while he looked in the back. The associate tapped the keyboard for a moment then said, “Nope. Nothing in our computer on that part number.” The boss returned after an intensive 30-second search with the same report. By this point, I was losing my patience; they clearly didn’t care whether or not I got what I was looking for. “Alright, well thanks for looking,” I said. “Uh-huh,” the boss grunted without looking up, and I turned around and walked out the door without receiving so much as a goodbye. Dealerships… Ugh. I resolved to take it easy on the rear brakes until I could locate the parts from someone who showed more interest in my plight than the friendly folks at Ridersville Cycle had.

Heading back out onto the highway, Perry and I cut north across the northeasternmost section of West Virginia, over the Potomac River for a 2-mile jaunt across Maryland and into Pennsylvania. As we made our way toward the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I was struck by how simultaneously familiar and foreign the area felt - we were in Amish and Mennonite country; farm equipment and horse-drawn buggies shared the highway with other vehicles just like back home. Folks still waved from their front porches as we passed, but the small towns felt completely different. I noticed “Main Street” of many Pennsylvania towns seemed more populated by residential houses than businesses, and the towns themselves were considerably closer together than they are back in Tennessee. There were also some odd naming habits; after turning east to follow alongside the Turnpike, Perry and I first passed through Newburg. Less than ten miles later we passed through Newville. I half expected to pass “Newland” next when the Ural started chugging and losing power… I had pushed a little too far between fueling stops and managed to run out of gas on the outskirts of Carlisle. Pulling over to the shoulder, I paid for my mistake with a plethora of cuts and scrapes from the thick brambles lining the highway, but soon enough we were back on our way.

The traffic through Harrisburg and Hershey was the worst I had yet experienced, and Perry and I lost nearly two hours crawling a mere 20 miles closer to the evening’s camp. Fortunately the traffic eased as we moved further east, and by late afternoon, we reached French Creek State Park. This was the first paid campground I had planned to stay at, and the park was clean and well-tended with flush toilets and coin-operated showers. I claimed a secluded spot and set up camp while Perry explored the nearby woods. We finished dinner as the sun fell behind the trees, and afterwards - with Perry left laying in his kennel - I excitedly made my way to the campground shower facilities. It had been several days since my last shower; I was looking forward to taking my time soaking up the steam. Sadly, there would be no soaking, and my shower would have to wait.

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The bath house’s interior appeared sparkling clean, but upon entering I could tell something was off; a foul odor permeated the interior of the building, like someone had decided to defecate on the floor because they refused to be cast as decent human being - if only that had been the case. Deciding to investigate the smell, I laid my shower gear on the countertop next to the sinks and opened the nearer of two toilet stalls in the corner of the room, revealing a sparkling clean flush toilet. I pushed open the second stall and was hit with a stronger stench, but oddly enough, this toilet looked just as clean as the first. Perplexed, I moved closer and lifted the seat with the edge of my boot and paid for my curiosity with an uncontrollable gag. I had discovered the source as the stench instantly filled the tiny stall; some vile person had decided it would be hilarious if he smeared feces - I can only hope it was his own - over, around, and inside the upper half of the toilet bowl. It was caked on so thick that the white porcelain was totally obscured, and I couldn’t stop myself from doubling over and gagging at the smell. There was no way I could stand to take a shower in that fetid room, let alone imagine the awful pranks this subhumanbeing had decided to pull in the shower stalls; the very idea of picking up a disgusting fecal parasite dashed all of my hopes for a hot soaking. Somewhat disappointed, I packed up my shower kit, vacated the bath house as quickly as possible and headed back to the campsite, resigned to the inevitably cold sponge bath awaiting me in the morning.

(My friend *made* me take a photo of the offending toilet, but I decided not to torture you... the image is better left to the imagination)


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Dammit, Dan!
Clarksville, TN

Current Bikes
2016 Ural Gear Up
2006 Kawaski ZG1000 Concours "The Racing Mule"

Former Bikes
1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing
1981 Yamaha XS650 twin cafe bike
1983 Honda CB650 four aka The Redheaded Stepchild

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bgenest
Hero of the Soviet Union - 2020
Hero of the Soviet Union - 2020
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 5:10 pm
Location: Just Outside Boston, MA

Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by bgenest » Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:37 am

It's Thursday, where's Perry's adventure?
2015 Burgundy Patrol "Stickee Monkee"

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DammitDan
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Comrade
Posts: 98
Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 2:34 am
Location: Clarksville, Tennessee

Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by DammitDan » Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:42 am

Just seeing if anyone was paying attention... just kidding [emoji23]

I got distracted by *almost* getting the Ural put back together... I’ll have our trip through Manhattan up today [emoji106]


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--------------
Dammit, Dan!
Clarksville, TN

Current Bikes
2016 Ural Gear Up
2006 Kawaski ZG1000 Concours "The Racing Mule"

Former Bikes
1980 Yamaha XS850 triple
1976 Honda GL1000 Goldwing
1981 Yamaha XS650 twin cafe bike
1983 Honda CB650 four aka The Redheaded Stepchild

hotflash44
Order of Suvarov
Order of Suvarov
Posts: 4677
Joined: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:03 pm

Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by hotflash44 » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:00 pm

DammitDan, you put all the nay Sayers on there heels by fixing the Ural, i was one that offered advice for you to do it. It was a real PITA im sure, but your closer than ever to your bike. im proud of you,happy motoring. :bow: :cheers:
2016 gear up asphalt grey, name Seryy Medved ,Air America CIA circa 1967/8 Vung Tau Viet Nam USS Tutuila ARG-4 (AND JUST A TOUCH OF AGENT ORANGE!)

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Kaliram
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Posts: 282
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:01 pm
Location: Woodland Park, CO

Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by Kaliram » Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:36 pm

What kind of hammock and fly are you hanging with?

I have a Warbonnet Blackbird and love it, with its widened footbox. - it’s hard to think of sleeping on the ground in a tent!

:)
Current ride: 2019 Ural Gear Up, O.D. Green (“Jyoti”)
Blasts in the past: 2016 Ural Gear Up ("Shanti ")
2012 Ural Gear Up ("Tootles")
2009 KLX250, 2009 KLR650, 2004 BMW R1150GSA, 1966 Honda 305 SuperHawk

“Your life comes with a lifetime guarantee.”

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wooden nickel
Hero of the Soviet Union - 2020
Hero of the Soviet Union - 2020
Posts: 2400
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:55 pm
Location: Louisville, KY 40216

Re: Adventures with Perry

Post by wooden nickel » Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:35 pm

I have a 20" high twin sized airbed because getting up off the ground when you have bad knees sucks.
I love this thread. I just traveled the BRP last year and I even pulled off for gas at Buena Vista. I gave up before finding gas there too. I was lucky enough to have enough gas to get to the next statioon.
I may not be good, but I'm slow.
Nick
2014 M70 Retros, the sports car of Urals.

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