|Duane's Commentary: Part 1
impunity .... AND I will.
Ah, to be back in Tennessee, the state that reared me. I can’t say how many times I’ve been to Chattanooga, but this is definitely one time I’ll remember for
the rest of my life. (Platt: Loosely interpreted as "the statute of limitation ran out" from my ill spent youth)
As we roll into the city with its familiar hills, river, and downtown skyline such as it is, the whole tone of the trip starts to change. We’re HERE at the “starting point” of the trip. Where’s that
exit…THERE it is! Within 5 minutes of getting situated in a parking spot we’re unloading the bikes, getting geared up and anticipating a great 1300-1400 mile trip on two wheels.
Yeah, it’s cooler than expected. (Platt: almost everywhere is cooler than expected when you are from Houston) Yeah, it’s raining but we can still see down the road so it’s all
good. The right gear makes all the difference (some words that will bite me in the butt later in the trip).
Once we got the tow rig secured and the bikes loaded up with all our stuff, we were off. Curvy roads, here we come! As Platt said, “Let’s RIDE!” (Platt: Yeah, LET"S RIDE!!!!!)
An hour later as I’m chasing Platt’s taillight, I’m reflecting on how a ride changes when the road is wet. This was the first time I’d had my Dunlop Qualifiers out in the wet stuff on actual
asphalt for any length of time (Houston area roads are usually concrete) so the first couple of sharper curves were trust-building to say the least. It wasn’t much longer and the weather
conditions started to get downright ugly. Fog that only allowed 50 or so feet of visibility, more rain, colder temps…maybe those heated grips ARE a good idea after all. Let me just flip
mine on…oh yeah, My ZRX doesn’t HAVE any heated grips. (Platt: Bandit owners understand HEATED GRIPS! and creature comforts) To keep my mind off that little fact, I started
paying more attention to the lines Platt chose through the curves, which is really easy when the roads are wet.
A few rest stops and photo ops later (Platt: Duane's phone camera was great for taking impromptu pictures) we’re sitting at Wendy’s and their chili was looking awfully good. The
rain had stopped, but the temps were still falling. Once at the Two Wheel Inn we caught the weather and the overnight low was to be 39*.
Off we went to Deal’s Gap and into more rain, which was a good thing for a novice rider like myself. As my trust in my bike grew, so did my confidence. Again, I was paying attention to
Platt’s lines through the curves on the wet roads…smooth long arcs, smooth short arcs, no mistakes. We covered the 20 miles in what seemed like 5 minutes. Time flies when you’re
having fun? Yes it does!
Even though I hadn’t yet “earned” my dragon sticker I went ahead and bought two, and a mug, and two t-shirts. Packed ‘em all in the saddlebags and rode back to the Two Wheel Inn.
Ever notice how dry clothes actually feel warmer when you first put them on? After riding in wet stuff all day, it’s an attention getter.