From here to Nashville and back and everything in between, a chronology..

Sidecar Flip

Living Legend
Jul 16, 2006
20150 Mc Carty Rd. Deerfield, Michigan 49238
Here goes:
This is gonna be a long one, after all, the trip was a long one. It's nice to retire from a 9-5 job and then go back to work for an organization where I can say, 'I'm going on a bike trip for a week, maybe more and I'll be back when I get back'

This is in chronological order of events. I rolled in about 2 hours ago, put my soiled and sweaty duds in the laundry basket, unpacked my stuff, took one last picture of the odometer, put the camera away, put my CPAP machine back on my night stand (Rusty, you now know what that is) and got naked and jumped in the pool. I tanned, peeled, tanned, peeled and tanned again. I look like a frigging truckers wallet. I've never been this tanned in all my life, however, I feel good. I liken the 2 day Nashville gathering to an experience that I can only hope to repeat again next year and I will, God willing. However, the first meeting will always be the best. I feel much closer to everyone here than I did before. To put faces with names and interact with everyone was and is priceless. This is a great group of enthusiasts both on the forum and in person, besides, all those Rocks in one place is awesome.

I left here Sunday around noon last week bound for Ed and Carol's house in Middlefield, Ohio to stay the night there and depart early Monday morning. Monday morning came and we finally rolled out from E&C's around 9am. We headed east on 2 lane roads into Pennsylvania and then on US322 across the Keystone State and south along the Susquehanna River into York, Pa., for our first night on the road. We left the motel (Taliban 8)(we always try to stay at the Taliban, we are trying to learn Arabic) and headed south and easterly through Maryland and Virginia, crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel into Norfolk, Virginia. I like the bridge part, the tunnels are less than desirable, however. From Norfolk, we headed south with the intent of making it to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, but traffic coming south, heading to the beaches for the Fourth of July made any progress southward along the shore next to impossible. The traffic, both sane and idiots caused us to turn inland but we still made a southerly tack with our next night spent in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The next morning we set out from Elizabeth City, NC., for Boone, North Carolina and the Blue Ridge parkway. We arrived at Boone, checked into what was, in my opinion, the nicest Super 8, I've ever been in. I can't call this one a Taliban 8. Wood floors, pool, sauna, maid service and a room so clean you could have eaten off the floor. I even tipped the house keeper, something I only do in upscale hotels, but this was an upscale flea bag, really upscale. We had a nice dinner in Boone and turned in for the night, not before a dip in the pool though. Next morning we got up early for our shortest day at 130 miles, all on the Blue Ridge parkway, which, by the way, is a fantastic ride with breathtaking views at every turn, ending up in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. No Taliban 8 in Maggie Valley. We stayed at the nicest mom and pop motel I can remember and the cheapest motel on the whole trip. The couple who own the place are bikers. They even provide towels and water to remove bugs from your bike. The whole Maggie Valley area is attuned to bikes. If I have a vote on next years Rockets across America destination, I'll vote for Maggie Valley. No one will be disappointed, you can bank on that. After spending the night in the valley, we got up and had a fantastic breakfast right next door. Best **** on a shingle I've had in a long time and excellent corn bread too. After eats and due to time constraints we headed up I40 toward Nashville. We had planned on heading south and west toward Robbinsville (home of the start of the notorious Dragon) and westerly across the Cherohola (sic) Skyway to Cleveland, Tennessee and then diagonally into Nashville on 2 lane roads but we'd never had made it by Friday afternoon so we slabbed it into Nashville, arriving about the same time as everyone else with the exception of Britman, who told me he had to go fiddle around while his room was freshened up. I can't say cleaned. It is a Taliban 8 after all.

Nashville was a wonderful experience for myself and E&C. Ed and Carol were welcomed by everyone and treated just like they were part of this group even though they do ride potato bikes. In testament to potato bikes, Ed's Heritage Softail has over 135,000 miles on the original engine and Carol's Heritage has just over 100,000 miles on the original top end. Her lower case developed a crack 2 years ago and was replaced. Ed and Carol have been in every state except New Mexico and California with those bikes. I've been riding with them for over 30 years, the last 15 on their Harley's and with me on a variety of bikes.

Meeting everyone and learning about what they all did and where they have all been was supremely interesting. Looking at all the bikes with different modifications ridden by other's with the same intertwining interest that you have makes for a very enjoyable experience. We got in to Nashville and the Taliban, washed up and headed to Hooters, a line of bikes, most all Rockets and that was pretty neat. We ate, took some pictures and headed back to the Taliban 8 and turned in. It was a long day. I roomed with Rusty and we chewed the technical fat until after midnight or until I put my CPAP mask on. After that, I remember nothing. Saturday morning dawned sunny and HOT. We all got up, fiddle around a little and headed over to the Cracker Barrel across the street for some coffee and the usual talk. Then we headed down to Castle Powersports for a nicely escorted ride through the Tennessee hills. In my opinion, Castle Powersports went above and beyond in accommodating our group. I even got a really nice Tee shirt that says 'Bigger is better' Rocket 2300 on it. (My wife knows the 'bigger is better' is a lie, but what the hell, right?). It was quite a ride. Around 130 miles total, ending up back at Castle Powersports, where, all the while, there was a Harley to Rocket deal being worked out and ultimately another Rocketeer and forum member being materialized. By this time, I had sweated enough and stunk so bad I needed to get back to a shower and clean clothes as did about everyone else. We headed back to the Taliban, leaving Dennis and his contingent at the bike shop with the almost newbie Rocketeer. At the Taliban, I applied my 'poor man's cruise control' to Raymond's bike, a couple of rubber washers between the throttle barrel and the bar end, adjusted the barrel to Raymond's wishes using Britmans metric hex keys (Britman, you are the tool man), all for the grand price of $1.80....poor man's Throttle Meister and a side note for Raymond or anyone else who wants to do what I did to Ray's bike, if you apply a slight twist to the bar end, the barrel will instantly release and the throttle will return to an instant idle....just like the Throttlemeister. Of course, I'll have the digital cruise installed on my R3 this summer and the brackets available for my cost to forum members but that's another thread.

Raymond wanted all of us to head over to the Bikini Beach Bar, but, I for one was whipped, even after a shower, so I headed out to dinner with Piano Man and Rusty while E&C went to Cracker Barrel. I knew Sunday was gonna be a long one and a hot one. It was.

Sunday morning we swung over to Cracker Barrel and said our goodbyes. We all said we'd be there next year, wherever and I, for one, will be there. I hope everyone else will too. E&C and myself bringing up the rear (as usual) headed off across Tennessee toward US127 which we took to Florence, Kentucky and our last night at a Taliban 8. I headed north with Ed and Carol around the Cincinnati bypass with them exiting on US52 toward Marietta, Ohio and I continued on to pick up US127 north through Ohio, into Michigan to M34 and Petersburg and, of course, my farm and cool swimming pool.

I do have a couple of other comments:
Britman; if you want to post that picture of Ray and me, I'll tell you up front that I prefer redheads or blonds not sweaty little brunettes with baseball caps on backward.
Raymond; the picture at Hooters is in there too. It came out really nice and detailed. She had a firm rump and smelled good......I checked it out more than once.
Rocky; sorry I missed you at the bar on Saturday night. We didn't spend much time together but what we did was quality there next year, I will.
Piano man; I truly enjoyed dinner with you and Rusty. Good food and good friends. Life is good.
Rusty; thanks for the enlightening conversations. I'm not a techno geek but a technical geek.

I rode a total of 2,585 miles from portal to portal and the R3 averaged 40.55 miles per gallon. Other than having to do the 12 minute tune in Elizabeth City (I believe I got some heavily ethanol laden gas), the bike ran flawlessly from crawling speeds to over 120 mph (I was the tail of the dragon on the ride to Hooters the first night) Nothing broke, nothing burned out, well, maybe me. Like I said, I look like an old truckers wallet. My CruiserBag was a Godsend. The backrest is great and the lumbar support, just right. Besides, it has a fantastic amount of storage space and it goes right in the motel room. My tires wore very well, my rear isn't flat in the middle at all, which I attribute to mostly twisty 2 lane roads and minimal slab driving. I'm very impressed with the R3 chassis. It handled the Blue Ridge Parkway with dignity and every chance I got to let E&C pull away from me, I drove it into the corners hard, and yes, scraped the hero blobs on the floor boards and never felt that the bike was anything less than controlled. Now that I've cleaned up, tomorrow, the Rocket gets a bath. It's absolutely festooned with bug detritus.

As soon as I proof this post and post it, I'll post all the pictures.
A little more....

Seems as though I can only post 10,000 characters, so it's 2 posts.

I can't fit it all in 10K characters.

I expect, no, demand that our hero and mentor Tomo and his trusty sidekick Pigger show up next year, wherever the R3AA rally is held at. Wherever that is, I'll leave it in the astute hands of Raymond, though my vote is for Maggie valley.

It was unfortunate that one of our fellow rider had some personal belongings stolen, I really dislike thieves and My heart and best wishes go out to Mr. Baggage for a speedy and complete recovery and I expect to see his face at the next years rally.

That's it.:bch:
Why not?? You don't know how??:D

It sounds like you guys had a great time. I'm glad everyone got back safely, holiday traffic scares the crap out of me...

Flip... that's a great post. Sounds like a relaxing time. Gives me something to look forward to when I retire in about a 120 years..
Flip, as I read your words, I heard your voice clearly. There is one thing missing in your typed words though, well, maybe 25 or more things missing: The phrase "For Christ Sake". I know I heard that at least 500 times this past weekend. You are truly unique Flip, For Christ Sake. I had a great time BS-ing with you during the "off road" times. Was a pleasure to meet all of those brave souls who gathered at the Taliban 8.

Take care everyone, and remember to keep Baggage in your thoughts.

See ya.
I was very disappointed that I wasn't able to make it. Glad everyone make it safe and sound and I enjoy reading the tales of the trip.

For some reason I got about a third of the pictures posted last night and I couldn't post anymore. Will try again today, right now to be exact. I have a **** load of 'em. Being a technical geek and not a techno geek I use an old Sony Mavica FD camera but I took many pictures for everyone to enjoy. I like the big camera, it fits in my hands better than the newer, smaller ones (Raymond, I sincerely hope that the picture I took with yours came out okay). If anyone wants to, you can link any of my album pictures to any post, I don't know how to do that. You'll find all the pictures in my album with explanations as to what and where the picture was taken.

I'd like to think that I 'lived up to Raymond's expectations'. He told me beforehand that he 'always had low expectations when meeting someone on a bike'.....:D

Come on R, post them pole pictures. If they are too risqué, Tomo can always edit them...after he has enjoyed them, of course.

I've garnered enough memories to last me until next year when I can recharge and renew those memories for the following year.:)

I was a little disappointed that Tomo and Pig didn't make it. I do understand that everyone has different situations that need to be addressed before one can indulge in personal enjoyment. I just had to worry about Amy watering my garden. It is dry here just as it was in North Carolina and Tennessee.
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The Waffler

Nice read Flip, belongs in a moto mag. Can't wait to see the pictures, and hope that next year I'll be in some of them. My wife and I went to Fredricksburg, Tx for the weekend and had a good time. It was no Smashville, but it helped wash some of the salt ;)out of my (not being able to go) wounds. Did you run into any crapy weather in all of those miles? Glad you all had a good time and made it home safely. Here's to next year (I hope):bch:
Pictures are posted in Chronological order....


All the pictures are posted in my album. The good, the bad and the ugly. I even have Raymond in his usual pose. Raymond's sweetie is a hard body model. I did a first article test of my own. Please enjoy them. I did and will in the future.

Other than a few drops on the windscreen on the Castle Powersports guided ride, Ed, Carol and myself encountered no rain whatsoever in 2500 plus miles. It was hot and most often humid but dry.

I took a picture of the odometer at the start and finish to document that I indeed rode the bike all the way, not like some of the posers out there who trailer to an off site motel and off load the bike to meet up at a rally site. How tasteless.

I stated before that I don't know how to link any of the pictures to a post so if anyone desires to do that, by all means have at it.
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