One Last Ride

It’s a shame to let a nice day in this area go by without a ride, even if I’ve already seen what I wanted to see within striking distance from here. I wore my cool weather riding gear yesterday, but it was a bit warmer today, so I put on my mesh jacket and pants. I decided to head out to Tail of the Dragon, continue down Moonshiner 28 in the opposite direction I rode it last time, loop back to the Dragon on a nice route I took on my last visit but not this time, and then back to camp. I like to mix things up a bit.

I had a surprisingly clean run down the Dragon, with little traffic causing me to alter my natural pace. I did pull over once for a faster rider in full leathers on a sport bike. And there was one crash, already being handled, that I had to slow down for. Because the Dragon is the kind of road where there’s always a mishap of some kind, generally because someone pushes themselves too hard and runs out of talent.

The Dragon was getting more and more busy. I enjoyed my ride through it, but I was getting a bad vibe about my plan to make a loop and then one last run through the Dragon later on. It would be a Friday afternoon by then, and people getting off work would be coming out to play. I already knew I wanted to avoid it on a weekend when it would be super busy. I decided to change course, and take the Cherohala Skyway back to camp instead, making this the same route as Tuesday but in the opposite direction.

Once again, Google Maps got confused, and I stopped at the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort to mooch some WiFi and reset my course. Even that almost didn’t work because their WiFi was having problems, but just as I was about to give up, it worked. I need to find a real offline map solution, even if it’s investing in another Garmin. More on that another time.

I did not get a clean run down Moonshiner 28. A couple of Harleys kindly waved me by, but a Can-Am Spyder did not. Because it can’t lean, it wasn’t cornering as quickly as I could, but it would also blast down the next straightaway so I couldn’t pass there, either. It was still a fun ride, just not quite as fun as it might have been with a clear road and not having to worry about what the person in front of me was doing.

The Cherohala Skyway was quite clear, however, so I did have fun there. The only traffic on the entire road was a pair of Nissan Z cars that caught up to me. I pulled over and let them pass, and got enthusiastic waves from both of them as they took off. Near the end, I noticed myself making more than one corner entry that wasn’t quite perfect. It was perfectly fine. No one watching me would’ve noticed. But I noticed, and when I kept doing it, I realized my brain was getting tired from the constant cornering over the past few hours. So I slowed down a little bit, enough that such precision wasn’t as important. I ride these roads at a brisk pace, but not at crazy speeds, either. Still, when I started noticing regular small mistakes, it was important to admit it to myself and address it, before small mistakes turned into potentially larger ones. And the fix was easy, just back off the pace a little bit. It was still a fun ride, and very scenic, so it’s not like I wasn’t still enjoying myself.

I made it back to camp just fine. After changing out of my riding gear, I straightened up the trailer a bit, then loaded the bike inside and strapped it down. This was my last day at the campground, and I wanted to get a head start on packing so I’d have less to do in the morning around work and things I needed to leave out until the last minute. It’s been a good visit, once again. Once the V-Strom has some tires more appropriate for dirt roads, I’d like to come back and explore some of those — especially once I have a better offline navigation solution.


  1. Usually, I’m finding Google Maps will tell me it’s downloaded offline maps. I think there are ways to manually control the downloading of the offline data, as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting. Google doesn’t download any maps for me automatically. When I manually downloaded the Tail of the Dragon area, it said it would automatically delete it after two weeks to free up memory, which is fine by me because I’ll forget to. I just wish Google could use those offline maps to get directions and routes! It kind of defeats the purpose when it doesn’t. I may be looking for a way to put my old Garmin back on the bike, without the problematic proprietary cradle and its flaky power connection.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s