Last year, me and my buddy, Jeff went on a weekend motorcycle trip and we dubbed it the Mancation. We had a blast and decided that we would make the Mancation an annual event.
This was the first overnight trip either of us had ever done so we went through the usual challenge of what to pack. Obviously, motorcycle cargo space is precious. It was warm enough to get by without cold weather gear, but we did need rain gear. We also needed to prepare for any roadside emergencies.
I picked a Dowco tail bag for my luggage and Jeff used his saddlebags. We had a first aid kit, a few tools, tire repair kit, motorcycle covers, and the clothes we would need for the weekend packed in a very tight space, but we were prepared. We also picked up a pair of SENA SMH10 helmet communicators. The communicators made this trip a lot easier. We were able to warn each other of debris in the road and we didn't have to use a bunch of crazy hand signs if we needed to stop and get gas or pull over for a picture.
Day 1 of the Mancation 2012 started around 11:30 AM. We took a half day off on Friday and left from work. I was riding my 2002 Yamaha FZ1 and Jeff was on his 2009 Yamaha V Star 1300 Tourer. The weather was great with a chance of rain about the time we arrived. Our route would take us to Stumphouse tunnel first. Then through Highlands, NC, Franklin, NC, and finally to Bryson City, NC where our hotel was.
The first stop at Stumphouse Tunnel came quickly. We were taking a very relaxed pace and took a break right outside the tunnel. Originally, this tunnel was going to allow the railroad to connect from Charleston to Knoxville. It was started in 1852, but before it was completed the Civil War started up and the tunnel was never completed. Today tourists can check it out and Clemson University uses it to study cheese.
If you want to check it our for yourself here's a link with more info:
After a quick break at the tunnel we continued on to Highlands, NC. There are some great twisty roads around Highlands so we had a great time winding in and out of the curves on the way to grab some lunch.
We cruised around Highlands looking for a good place to eat and ultimately settled on The Ugly Dog Pub. The service was great and so was the food. We both enjoyed a mid-day beer with our lunch and took the opportunity to casually kick off the Mancation!
We set out from Highlands on the way to the hotel in Bryson City. The traffic was lite and the curves were tight! After scraping some floorboards and the toes of our shoes we rolled into the Sleep Inn in Bryson City, NC.
Just as we pulled into the parking lot it started raining. We grabbed our luggage off the bikes and went to check in. The owner of the hotel was there and he is a rider too! He told us that there was a wash down station and plenty of free towels for the bikes if we needed them. As it turns out the free towels were definitely needed.
After checking in we chilled in the room for a while and Jeff had a cigar while we waited on the rain to clear. Now the funny thing is we waited for about an hour after it stopped raining before deciding to round up some dinner. We went out and dried the bikes off so we could go eat. Right after we got them dry.....it started raining again. We repeated this procedure about two hours later and finally took off to eat. Jeff wanted to get some scotch so we found a liquor store and while Jeff was making his purchase the bottom dropped out and it rained heavily for about two hours. We could ride in the pouring rain or just wait outside the store. We decided to wait, and like a bad impression of Jay and Silent Bob we were chilling outside the liquor store.
When the rain finally let up we went straight back to the hotel and ordered Chinese take out. So much for the nice dinner, but the scotch was flowing, cigars were burning, and good times were being had!
There was a big group rally for the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association so we hung out with those guys and talked for a while. These guys were very cool and brought some nice bikes to the mountain.
After it stopped raining again we dried the bikes and covered them in preparation for day 2 of the Mancation 2012.
What I learned:
- Riding in the rain is very inconvenient and will get you filthy.
- On a motorcycle trip you need to pack light and be practical.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anone who falls and has no one to help them up.
These verses struck me in a bit of a literal way considering a motorcycle trip and the possibility of falling down, but there is a lot of wisdom in these words. Take care to cultivate some strong friendships in your life. At some point in life we will all need a good friend and we will all need to be a good friend. In the mean time, maybe you can enjoy a good road trip or share an adventure with your friend.