Monday, May 27, 2013

And So it Begins: The 2013 Motorcycle Riding Season

This year's unofficial start of 2013's summer, aka Memorial Day weekend, was allegedly the chilliest in 14 years. I guess that's so. But I can't ever remember a particularly warm Memorial Day weekend around here, and I can recall most in the last several years being rainy...much to the chagrin, I'm sure, to all the motorcyclists coming to town for Rolling Thunder.


No rain this year.


Motorcycles rolled into town.


My wife and I got on our motorcycles and rolled out.

Destination: Smith Mountain Lake

Day 1: We got a mid-morning start owing to picking up a friend at National Airport who was taking the red-eye back from the west coast. It was just as well. The sun was out long enough to raise the cool temperatures to a bit less cool.
Layered for the temps, we head out.

We layered up, got on our bikes, and headed south towards Lynchburg.

View Larger Map

Historically, the traffic in the Washington metro area is famously bad during Memorial Day weekend. This year's traffic was no different. However, giving up speed and distance, it is possible to find routes out of the area that are not choked with cars. Study the map above and you'll see my secret route south.

I don't have a proper GPS unit for my motorcycle--my 1st generation Zumo having given up the ghost at the beginning of last year's riding season--and wasn't able to precisely layout a route south. My current automobile Garmin unit doesn't allow me to upload routes using my normal scheme and so I generally enter a destination and then meander my way to it allowing the GPS to re-route along the way. Unfortunately, a common result is that I end up on roads I'd rather not be on and on this trip, we found ourselves on I-64 heading west for a short distance. Immediately getting on 64, the traffic was stopped. It gave us an opportunity to shed some layers.
Time to get out of the layers.

Cars...for as far as the eye could see.

We learned from a passing tow truck driver that a car up ahead was on fire. So, we took a nearby service road across to the east bound lane and got off the interstate continuing through Charlottesville on to Rte 29 to Lynchburg. We arrived at the hotel a little before dinner time.

Day 2: After church, we spent the day riding around Smith Mountain Lake. The day was uneventful, but my wife did pick up a hitchhiker. Initially thinking she had flicked it off, it apparently made its way down her shirt and stayed there for several miles until we stopped for a break. When she stopped and got off her bike, it "buzzed" causing her to jump about like she was on springs. If this had happened while she was riding, she would have launched herself off her bike as if she were on an ejection seat.
The Hitchhiker
We finally made our way to the Lake. 

Panoramas of Smith Mountain Lake 
Day 3: Monday, Memorial Day. Time to ride home. Supposedly the warmest of the 3 days, it felt like the coolest. Differences of a few degrees are lost at 50-mph.

The stats:

  • total distance = 559.2 miles
  • overall avg speed = 33mph
  • moving avg speed = 44.7 mph
  • max speed = 71.5 mph
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