Sunday, October 14, 2012

2012 Blue Ridge Parkway Ride

On October 10-12, 2012, I enjoyed another trip to the North Carolina mountains with my regular riding buddies, and fellow club members, Ed O'Neil and Dick Williams, to enjoy the Fall colors.  This trip came on the heels of a four-day trip to attend the Fall Appalachian Riding Tour (FART) Rally in Maggie Valley on October 4-7, 2012.

Prior to the trip, at our October club meeting, Bob Thomson mentioned that he had a back road route for riding from Wilmington to the Meadows of Dan area in Virginia, which was close to our destination for the first day of the trip.  Bob shared a GPS file with me, and it turned to be a great route for the ride.  We used U.S. 421, along with some back roads, to ride to Greensboro.  There, we stopped at Carolina BMW to say hello to the owner, Jason Emmert.

Afterwards, we headed northwestward on Highways 68, 65, 89, and 8, stopping along the way at Hanging Rock State Park to collect a photo for the club's NC State Park Challenge Ride.

As we closed in on the Blue Ridge Parkway, we passed a field that full of ripe pumpkins.  We had to stop for a couple of photos.

Our final destination for the day was Grassy Creek Cabooses.  Grassy Creek Cabooses is located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway about five miles north of Fancy Gap, Virginia.  The owner has set up three railroad cabooses as cabins.  

The accommodations were cute and comfortable.  

We made a quick trip down the Parkway to eat dinner at the Lakeview Restaurant at Fancy Gap, and then headed back to the cabooses for the night.

The second day started out as brisk 34 degree morning.  We stopped for breakfast at the Lakeview Restaurant at Fancy Gap, before continuing our ride along the Parkway.

The Fall colors were amazing, especially in the area around Boone and the Lynn Cove viaduct.

We stopped for lunch at the Little Switzerland Café .

Afterwards, we took a quick detour to ride "The Diamondback," a triangle formed by Highways 226A, 226, and the Parkway.  Highway 226A, in particular, is an especially twisty series of switchbacks.  It's a road worthy of a side trip, if you are in the area.

Of course, there were more stops along the parkway, to enjoy the Fall scenery.

We continued our ride along the Parkway, stopping at BMW Asheville late in the afternoon.  This dealership opened about one and half years ago, and the showroom looks outstanding.

Afterwards, we returned to the Parkway, riding down to Highway 276 and our staying the second evening in Brevard, NC.

On the morning of the third and final day of our trip, we rode Highway 276 through Caesars Head State Park in South Carolina, on our way to visit Touring Sport BMW in Greenville, SC.  The section of Highway 276 through Caesars Head State Park is another fine series of twisting switchbacks that is worth a visit (the park is beautiful too).

Touring Sport BMW is another motorcycling enthusiast's destination that is worth stopping for a visit.

After visiting Touring Sport BMW, we made our way back to Wilmington, mainly using Highway 9 across South Carolina.  It was a great 950 mile trip with Ed O'Neil and Dick Williams.

Additional pictures from our trip, and maps showing our ride route, can be viewed in my Picasa web album.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Trip Report: FART 2012

FART 2012 (the Fall Appalachian Riding Tour) was held on October 4-7, 2012, in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.  FART 2012 (the first FART) is the Fall counterpart to the Spring HeleN Back event, both organized by Ken Insley, a member of the web discussion board.

I shared the ride to and from FART with fellow club members Paul Winter and Becky Hucks.  After meeting Paul and Becky at the Highway 211/74 overpass, we rode Highway 74 to Polkton and used Highway 218 to bypass the usual traffic slow-down in Monroe.  Then we used I-285 around Charlotte, I-85 and US 64 westward, and then I-26 north to Asheville.  At Hendersonville, we headed up to the Blue Ridge Parkway via Highway 276 and enjoyed riding the parkway to Maggie Valley.

The Fall 2012 FART was held at the Jonathan Creek Inn.  When we arrived, we were greeted with a festive, fall display.

Based on my casual count of bikes in the parking lot, I would estimate that FART was attended by sixty riders (more or less,).  A few FART attendees stayed in other nearby hotels and/or campgrounds.

During FART, I was able to share some riding time with riding companions from Florida whom I had met at past Blue Ridge Rendezvous and and El Paseo events (the predecessors to FART and HeleN Back).  This riding group included some of my riding companions from my summer ride in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona.

The riding during FART was spectacular, especially the leaves, which were beginning to change color.  

The weather was wonderful and afforded us two days of "vigorous" riding.

The first day's ride included a stop at the General Store at Deal's Gap.

The second day's ride included a stop in Hot Springs, where we saw a group of adventure riders preparing to head out into the wilderness.

The weekend's weather was great, the Fall colors were beautiful, and the views along the Blue Ridge Parkway were spectacular.

Early Sunday morning, we had T-storms pass through Maggie Valley.  Fortunately, by the time Paul, Beck, and I departed, the rain had stopped and all we had to contend with was road spray.  We were fortunate enough to arrive home about an hour before T-storms developed in Wilmington.

FART, and it's Spring counterpart, HeleN Back, are great events and encourage you to try to attend one of these at some point.  Watch the web forum for announcements of these future events.

You can enjoy more of my photos from FART via two Google Picasa albums (my group riding album and some general FART event photos).

Monday, October 1, 2012

October 2012 Newsletter

October Club Meeting 

The October club meeting will be held on Monday, October 8th, 6:30 p.m., at PTs Olde Fashion Grille, 1437 Military Cutoff Road, in Wilmington, NC 28401.  The GPS coordinates for PTs Grille are N34.22530 W77.82960.

View Larger Map

Let's take advantage of the beautiful Fall weather and enjoy dinner outside on the patio at PT's Grill.  Be sure to bring your jacket or sweater!

September Meeting

We enjoyed a welcome break from the summer heat and had a great turnout for our September 10th club meeting at Fishy Fishy Cafe.  Here are a couple of photos from the meeting.

Oktoberfest Party

Speaking of October, club member Becky Hucks is inviting all club members to an Oktoberfest party at her home near Supply, NC.  The party will be on Saturday, October 20th (rain date Sunday, October 21st), from 12 Noon until approximately 4 p.m..

Becky Hucks has a beautiful back yard that overlooks the Lockwood Folly River.  She is planning a cookout, and club members Tony Barcia and Jerry Dockery have offered to be the Grillmeisters for us.  Paul Winter is planning to have bratwurst shipped in for the event, from an "undisclosed midwest location."  Iced tea will be available, and everyone is welcome to bring a supply of their own favorite "Oktoberfest beverage."

All club members are invited, and everyone will receive another invitation via email.  RSVPs are being requested, well in advance, to allow Becky and Paul to gauge how much food to prepare.  If you are planning on attending, please send your RSVP to no later than Sunday, October 7th.

Becky lives in a gated community, and everyone coming to the Oktoberfest Party will be sent another email, in advance of the party, with the gate access code.

This will be a great event, and we hope you will be able to come!

Club Member Passes

Club member George Martin passed away on September 11, 2012, in an RV accident near Sedalia, Missouri.  Britt Motorsports held a memorial service for George on Saturday, September 22nd.  Their announcement photo includes a great photo of George "Doc Wobblin" Martin with his dog.

Al Curtner, a member of the Christan Motorcyclists Association shared some great photos from George's memorial service.  You can view the pictures at Al's Flickr site.

Progressive International Motorcycle Shows 

Last month we told you about the 2012-2013 Progressive International Motorcycle Shows.  Since then, BMW is offering a discount on show tickets if you are purchasing online.  Use the promo code BMWRIDERS when you buy your ticket to receive a $3 discount on the single day price ($10 versus $13). Remember, the Atlanta show is coming on November 2-4, 2012.

2012 BMW MOA Mileage Contest 

This year's BMW MOA Mileage Contest will be coming to a close at midnight on October 14th, 2012.  The 2012 Mileage Ending Form has not yet been posted online, but will be linked to this article once it becomes available.  If you are a BMW MOA member and participating in this year's contest, bring your mileage form to the Oktoberfest Party on October 21st, or to our November club meeting for signing.  (The form must be signed by two active BMW MOA members, of by our club officer.)

BMW MOA Anonymous Book Updates 

The BMW MOA is working on their update for the 2012 BMW Owners Anonymous Book.  They are asking for all BMW MOA owners to review and provide changes to their contact information.  You can do this by sending the changes to them via email, as  Updates must be submitted by November 1st.

GPS Updates (aka Tip-of-the-Month) 

Last month, we mentioned two new firmware updates for the Garmin Montana GPS.  Unfortunately, both updates turned out to be beggy.  The good news is that Garmin has released another firmware update, and this one seems to have fixed the previous bugs while not introducing any significant new ones.  You can obtain the latest firmware by using the Garmin WebUpdater program.

Garmin has also released an update of their POI Loader program.  If you are not familiar with POIs (Points of Interest), these are collections of locations, like Waypoints, that you can store on your GPS and which do not count against the number of Waypoints that can be stored on your GPS.  POI Loader is Garmin's software for loading POIs on your GPS.  You can download the free POI Loader software from the Garmin web site.

Montana GPS Owners -- Garmin's firmware v4.60 is now available.  Unlike versions 4.20 and 4.40, this one appears to be pretty stable.  Use the WebUpdater program to install this version to your Montana GPS.

BMW Sales Figures 

According to an article on the BMW MOA web site, BMW sold more motorcycles during the month of August than ever in a month, and is on track for a record motorcycle sales year.  You may be interested in reading this short online article.

Water-Cooled Boxer 

According to the BMW MOA, BMW Motorrad is scheduled to unveil the new water-cooled R1200GS on October 2nd.  Check the BMW MOA web site after the announcement, to get the details.  The November BMW Owners News will reported provide further details, as well.

Until next month, ride safely and ride far!