The update today from Nick was significantly easier to hear. Warmer temps, sunny skies, twisting roads, and Nick is like a new man.
It's amazing what 30 degrees does to your psyche. Had it been another cold morning, I probably wouldn't have emerged from my hotel in Huntington.
I hit the road kind of early, well not really early at all, with hopes of salvaging the delays from the previous day. Shooting up the ramp to I-64 towards Charleston, West Virginia, I pinned the throttle back hard lifting my front tire. The mountains of the Virginia's may not have the elevation of out west, but they make up for it with their steep grades. Those steep grades had apparently been taking a toll on my bike the previous day.
It felt like that horrible feeling when you're putting power down to the pedals and you switch gear, only to find your derailleur can't find the gear you've requested. That clunking, as the chain hops, skips, and does not hit home. Imagine that at 60mph trying to make 75 with a truck bearing down on you. It was not pleasant.
After 25 miles I finally convinced myself it wasn't going to work itself out. I pulled off the highway and searched "motorcycle" on my phone; desperate to find anything I could make sense of. "Mr. Holeshot" was the first search result Google pulled for me, this couldn't be a coincidence. I nursed the bike through winding back roads, I passed a sewage treatment plant and yet another coal power plant, and finally arrived at the garage of the shop.
The door shot open, and two incredibly welcoming gentlemen brought me into their shop. A quick look and it was easy to see the cause of the skipping, and what I had assumed, was a loose chain. The chain had stretched out so much that it was at the last adjustment point on the swingarm's tensioner. Ken, I assume he was the owner, refused to let me pay anything for the service so we shot the shit for awhile before I hit the road again.
It was just after noon when I made it back to the highway. I took a quick look at my directions, and realized I would be cutting it close to making it to NAHBS before they closed for the day. With that in mind, I decided that I was going to get some good shots and make up for the lack of photos from yesterday.
The Virginia's are beautiful. Huge meandering mounds of mountains are sprinkled with pastoral valleys, and industrial cities, following rivers and creeks South East. The highways are fast and curvy, fun on a bike. I ventured from the slab a number of times. I found gravel roads, dirt tracks, and eventually the Blue Ridge Parkway for a bit. It wasn't the day that I wanted, but it came out just fine.
Arriving in Charlotte, I realized that my watch was still on Central Time, and I was nearly an hour late for the Chris King hosted party at Uptown Bikes. Exhausted I said my hellos and took some snaps before retiring to my glorious room in the Westin, NAHBS' host hotel.
photos by Nicholas Gajewski