After a reunion with my good friend California Don the day before, I started off at 9:30 am instead of the planned 6 am. The journey would take me from Louisville, KY, to Staunton, VA -- 760 kilometers on the same Interstate! The late departure combined with a little fatigue and a major accident on the highway made for an arrival time of 7 pm. On tap: the first section of the Blue Ridge Parkway... a ride of over 160 kilometers that culminates in Roanoke, in Southwestern Virginia.
Despite a speed limit of 75 km/h and a patrol officer potentially hiding behind every tree, the fact remains that the Parkway panorama is magnificent and that riding at full speed prevents one from enjoying the spectacular views. Since I wanted to cover the longest distance possible before dark, all without giving a penny to the State of Virginia, I kept a watchful eye on my speedometer. Actually, I set cruise control at exactly 75 km/h and stayed on the 4th or 5th gear (the 6th gear would have been useless at that speed). As it turned out, I was able to perform "The Pace", a technique that Marc Cantin already told you about.
Believe me, maintaining The Pace while negotiating a blind left corner with no guard rail on the right demanded a lot of concentration and effort. Along with the dark came packs of wandering deers (Virginia deers, of course) that were suddenly made visible by the bike's powerful headlights. I'm telling you, you have to ride there at night -- simply eye-boggling!
What about the fearsome CVO Road Glide? Well, it's now all covered with bugs of all shapes and colors. The carburetion thing on the first day did not happen again. However, I think that the shocks are deteriorating; I'm going to check them up tomorrow before leaving.
On the plus side, handling is as good as it gets and, even when riding at highway speeds over expansion joints on a cornering bridge, there were no signs of the machine hesitating or wobbling. Likewise, it felt just as sharp and solid on the tight corners of the Blue Ridge.
Every time, I kept my ears open for the characteristic sound of metal against the road, but nothing has happened yet. In reality, the first things on this motorcycle that will hit the ground are not the retractable footrests but rather the rear tips of the saddlebags, which feature sacrificial skid plates by the way. Problem is, these saddlebags can't be removed, so any contact with the pavement will be a hard one.
Tomorrow, I'll be back on the Blue Ridge to finish it up in Cherokee, South Carolina. Stay tuned.
The Big Adventure - Days 5 and 6
The Big Adventure - Day 4
The Big Adventure - Day 2
A new adventure - Appalachia aboard a Harley-Davidson CVO Road GlidePhoto Credit : Luc Brière