Pull up a seat for today's story of whacky weather, perfect parkways, amazing nature, near disaster, and great people.
Woke up at seven, and ate breakfast, then hit the BRP from Roanoke to finish the last 120 or so miles. From Roanoke,it is about fifty miles to get to the exit for the natural bridge, then maybe fifteen or twenty miles to the bridge. From Roanoke, we climbed into the mountains, which were blanketed in a thick cloud, so that majority of the morning was spent with very limited visibility, but some awesome scenery regardless. Even though there were many vistas that we missed, a lot of that part of the road is in the woods, and it looked really cool to have a thick fog sitting in the woods. At the end of the climb, we broke above the cloud layer and into sunshine for a brief few minutes before heading back downhill and into the fog. Hardly any traffic to speak of.
We detoured to the natural bridge, which was a very awesome sight to behold. I have seen pictures, but they do no justice to the scale of this thing. It was nice to get off the bike for a little and stretch the legs. After we had our fill of that, back on the BRP for the last seventy miles. These last miles were fantastic. Amazing scenery, perfect blue skies, couldn't complain. Finally reached the end, and started heading towards Charlottesville for lunch before going our separate ways.
Several miles on 250, we stop and fuel up, and continued toward Charlottesville. Rick pipes up on the headset that something looks funny with my tire. He describes it as shiny. Uh oh. There's only one reason I know of to fit that description. He pulls behind me at a light, and tells me we gotta get off the road now. Pull over and see the following horrowshow
So, I have no idea how these tires got looking like that. I checked before I left STL, of course, and they were showing a slight flat spot, but still plenty of tread in the center, compared to other tires I have had. The last time I had visually inspected them was in Cherokee, 500 miles prior, and same thing, slightly flat, plenty of tread. I did not inspect in Roanoke. But nothing that I have seen before would put that kind of damage on a tire in just 500 miles The only things I can think of are a combination of several little things...a lot of luggage weight on the tail, way too soft to use as a touring tire, last fifty or so miles of the BRP was nasty pavement, the really rough kind where it is almost gravel embedded into asphalt instead of nice smooth blacktop. So now I have learned a valuable lesson. On long trips, tires are getting checked at every fill up. And I'm going to invest in some touring tires for trips.
So, call all the motorcycle shops in Charlottesville and none are open of course, being Sunday. So I find one that looks promising, and happens to have a hotel near, and decide to stay the night and pound their door down as soon as they open on Monday. Rick and I have lunch, then he heads out to go back home. I limp to the hotel, and decide to drive to the shop to make sure I know where it is. Long story shorter, a guy is out back unloading some stuff, so I show him the damage, and he tells me I may be in luck, because the boss is coming in, and may be willing to swap it. I wait for about a half hour,then he shows up, and says he can help, and has a tire of the right size! I take my wheel off, he mounts it, and then tries to only charge me the price of the tire itself! I of course insisted that he charge me something above that, but it took me twisting his arm to make it happen. Anyway, was out the door and back on the road by six. I thank my lucky stars for saving my ass before Rick split off, and for the nice people who took time out of their day off to help me out. It could have been really really bad.
The rest of the drive was uneventful, but finally made it to Nags Head by about ten thirty. In bed ready to pass out... what a trip this has been!