Monday, August 17, 2015

Maggie Valley

All I had to do today was ride from Murphy to Maggie Valley.  I don't have a map in front of me but I'd guess it's about 50 or 60 miles. Of course I didn't take that route. What I did today was cover some of the popular touristy roads while I had good weather. I headed north and hopped on the Cherohala Skyway. Seriously, except for a black bear that crossed my path I was the only one up there. I then made my way to deals gap resort and had lunch. The next road was "the dragon". If you're not familiar it's 318 curves in 11 miles. Nobody was in my way and I used this opportunity to familiarize myself with the handling of the big Ultra Limited in the twisties. I was having problems making the bike do what I wanted.
With my other bikes I approach a corner hot while analyzing the turn. Then I scrub off excess speed and negotiate the turn. Roll on some throttle at the apex and hustle down to the next turn. Lather, rinse, repeat.
This bike is different. Not because of the weight. I've slayed the dragon on full size touring rigs before. It's different because of the linked brakes. Feeding in a little rear brake and getting some front brake was totally fouling me up. I finally gave up on my old method and tried something more like "the pace". Brakes? Forgetaboutem. I dropped into a lower gear, turned up some angry rock on the radio and ran the hog a little closer to red line the rest of the way. I wasn't breaking any speed records but I was able to better enjoy the ride. Engine braking was all I used and the throttle by wire wasn't glitchy at all.
I exited US129 onto the Foothills parkway.  Again it was very quiet and relaxing up there. A quick stop for fuel and then I made the 30 mile run through the Smoky mountain national park. Things did move a little slower here and that's fine. Just before hitting Cherokee nc I hung a left and took the blue ridge parkway to Maggie Valley where I'm sitting in a wooden rocking chair writing this.
It was another good day on the bike. At one popular rest stop I found a place for a GSR sticker!

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