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Yermo's 2016 Trans-Am Trail Trip

'Wednesday August 10th, 2016 10:00'
This adventure is over.

It had been my intention to write about the days events,musings, thoughts about the Trans Am Trail, the reasons why ...

Unfortunately, I had to spend a number of hours trying to figure out how I broke my software (specifically the feature that lets me search for and insert a photo into an article, such as the ones you see below). It turned out to be something called a "race condition". Instead of saying, "first get the photo from the server and insert it, and then close the window", I had unintentionally told it to "get the photo from the server and close the window.". On my computer at home, it apparently was fast enough that I never noticed, the "get the photo" part finishing the race first. Here the connectivity is horrible and the "get the photo from the server" part took significantly longer so didn't win the race. "Why aren't these %#!@$#@!$ photos appearing?!?" Oops. 

I suspect the first several days of this trip will be plagued by tracking down and fixing things and/or finishing things that were left undone. I do have a bug in the "daily digest" which unfortunately sent out a huge email to all members of the site yesterday. Another Oops. I've turned that off until I figure how I broke it. 

Contrary to what I would have expected, despite having the last few items done to it the morning of the first day of the ride, this grossly overloaded and untested Suzuki DR650 is performing quite well. On street and gravel, I really don't notice the weight. The new suspension, tires, and brakes make a huge difference and the Saddlemen Seat is slowly breaking in and becoming comfortable.  



It was strongly suggested to me that I carry of Spot Tracker. Every 10 minutes, this gadget sends my position via satellite back to the company where you can see my progress, or lack there of, on a map. You can click this link if you'd like to see it. I do have to remember to turn it on and start the tracking manually every day. It's also somewhat easy to press the wrong button with gloves on so I'm hoping I don't accidentally call the calvary when I intend to say "all is ok".

On my way out, I stopped by to say goodbye to Audrey who works at Ikea. She kindly braved the sunshine and heat to take some photos which she posted on Facebook. 

I rode around the Beltway and out onto I66 West. The Mighty DR is not a highway bike. At speeds over 65mph it becomes uncomfortable and I find it challenging to accelerate away from fast moving traffic. Actually, challenging is th wrong word. At some points, I felt more like a obstacle caught between battling semi-trucks. But, with one small exception, traffic was largely light and it wasn't too hot. There's this one point as you get close to Front Royal where the landscape changes and suddenly the scene opens up. This is the point, when leaving town, where it begins to feel like I'm underway. 

I expected to be quite sad and dark today, but it hasn't desecended on me yet. I was in unusually good spirits despite lack of sleep, software and equipment problems. It's amazing to me how much simple acts of kindness by people who matter can affect me. The converse is also true.

The road was calm. The weather was simply gorgeous and improved as the day progressed.

Of course, I had to stop at the Starbucks in Front Royal. I had hoped this photo would turn out better. In this suit, especially with this helmet, I look like a Storm Trooper. 

"Got Droids?"

Every time I stop here, I think of the time when Ducan, Bruce, and I were heading to Deal's Gap and Joel surprised us by arriving just before we did to join us on our trip. That was such a pleasant surprise. 

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I was in no mood for I81 with its incessant tractor trailers and retread so I opted for one of my favorite local roads, Fort Valley Road just Southwest of Front Royal. It's a winding country road hidden in this valley that doesn't seem like it should exist. Just a few miles in, the valley narrows into a proper little canyon with sheer cliffs as the road carves its way along a babbling mountain stream. 

A little further south, the valley opens up to beautiful vistas. It's crazy to think this is 90 minutes from DC.

After some miles, Fort Valley Road forks. One can go left and head down to Lurray or turn right and head to I81 and points crowded.

And then there's this little gravel road I've never really paid attention to before that heads straight. Deadlines. Obligation. The pull to be elsewhere.  Unlike the usual me, mired in my daily life unaware of the voices directing me this way or that, today I recognized these thoughts tugging at my soul trying to pull me elsewhere instead of where I happened to be. 

Before me was a gravel road.

And I was on a dirt bike. 

And the sun was shining. 

Why not pause for a moment?

"Now when you see that trail going up that mountain and it seems like a good idea ...", Duncan would say. 

But it was just a little gravel road. I checked the GPS and noticed that after some miles it did look like it went all the way through to another major road. 

 A truck passed in the opposite direction throwing up a huge cloud of dust. Sun beams shone through trees and dust producing an otherworldly effect.

This photo in no way captures any of that.

At one point the trees opened and suddenly I realized I had climbed up some elevation. 

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 Towards the end of the road after it had turned back to pavement, there is a natural stone wall in an impressive 180 degree steep corner. This photo hints at how cool it is.

The road dumped out onto route 211. Again avoiding I81 I turned left instead of right and wended my way down to route 340 which I followed all the way to Waynesboro which I picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of my all time favorite roads. 

The road and scenery is simply beautiful.

The dude in this photo not so much. 

(It's now 01:30 in the morning and after some hours trying to fix software after having ridden all day and not slept much the night before, I fear I may be cracking.) 

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Photo (12095))

 Every now and again as the sun set over the mountains there would be these tunnels of trees that opened up into bright light. 

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Photo (12097))

 As I mentioned I had intended to write more, so I ended the evening while it was still light out. Unlike my Beloved  Blue Oil Burner, a '92 K100RS, the 2009 Suzuki DR650SE is a coveted machine and I have heard many reports of them getting stolen. So while I don't think I've ever bothered to secure my K100, I thought it best to make it at least cursorly difficult to someone to make off with my machine.

Aerostich sells these cool foldable lock bars. It took a while to figure out a good way to position it, but this seems to work. It's not that heavy and packs down very small.


More tomorrow.


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