The Road to Charlotte
New Berlin to North Carolina
Scanton, Pennsylvania
I tried to visit Dunder Mifflin but nobody had heard of it.
Bass Pro Shops
Every been here? Neither had I. It's like Chuck E. Cheese for
people who enjoy camping and shooting stuff.
These folks know what I like.
You may ask yourself, how do you keep thugs from unloading the KX250 from
the Ultimate MX Hauler at night? Here are a few ways to discourage this type
of behavior:

  • Buy a really thick chain. Mine's called The Beast. Three feet long; weighs
    about 10 pounds and is made from hardened steel (the links are 12mm
    thick). One end of the chain is locked to the bike; the other end is locked to
    the Blazer.
  • Ditch the wing nuts used to secure the foot peg pins, in favor of regular
    lock nuts. A thief then has to use a wrench to detach the bike from the
    Ultimate MX Hauler. The lock nuts won't turn by hand (unless you have
    really, really strong fingers), making it a somewhat time-consuming
    process for someone more interested in a quick score.
  • Cover the bike at night with a cheap poly tarp. It serves no real purpose
    except to make lots of noise if someone tries to remove it.

You may also ask yourself, what if a thief decides it would be quicker to break
into the Blazer and drive away with everything? Simple. There's at least 3
different fuses in the under-hood fuse box that, when removed,  prevent the
starter from turning. Then there's the starter relay (my personal favorite). Put
any one of them in your pocket and that vehicle isn't going anywhere under its
own power.
I challenge anyone to find a more perfect fast food
marriage. If you ask nicely, they might just deep fry
your burrito.
Awesome deal on breasts.
Throw in some oysters and you're there, man.
Destination #3
Lake Norman
Denver, North Carolina
I call this image Things I Should Have Done Before
Leaving But Said Naw, It'll Be OK
.
In between the Lake Norman jet skiing and general laziness because
the two guys I was supposed hang out with at a lake house couldn't
make it, I checked out the new
U.S. National Whitewater Center in
Charlotte. It's a totally man made river with Class III & IV rapids.
Who knows, could be a future Olympian.
There's a climbing wall, too.
Surrounding the park is about 10 miles of mountain bike trails.
The dam that makes it all possible.
This trail was called Toilet Bowl.
Destination #4
Onward to Asheville
Setting up in the Pisgah National Forest.
The downside to carrying a bike on
the back of a Blazer: Wet gravel
roads.
Pilot Rock trailhead.
I was supposed to ride Asheville with cousin-by-marriage Jeff Murray,
a mountain biking fanatic in every conceivable way. Tragically, he had
to stay home and mow the lawn or something, but one of his trail
suggestions was Pilot Rock. What he neglected to mention is Pilot
Rock can only be ridden two ways: all uphill or all downhill. There is
no in between. If you start at the bottom and a big wet cloud is
literally on top of you, be prepared for pain. Every root and rock was
slick. In the 3.5-mile uphill climb covering about 1600 feet, I pedaled
the bike approximately 100 yards. Three guys I met riding downhill
helpfully pointed out that the trail is easier to ride when you start at
the top.
First, there was the faceplant.
After 90 minutes of pushing the bike
up the mountain, I took a longer
route back to the bottom via Laurel
Mountain. Somewhere along the
way my face met the trail.
Then came the bees.
Those little bastards live under
rocks in the trail. At this spot I
had to dismount and walk the
bike down slippery rocks. A
few bee stings later, I ran like a
slow white guy in bike shoes,
turned around and saw the
above. Unseen in this blurry
image is about 1,000 pissed-off
bees swarming under my bike
(and how it remained standing
upright, I have no idea). The
good news is bees can't see
the color red in my shirt. The
bad news is they see red as
black, which to them means
"danger". Throw in some black
riding shorts and those bees
saw me as one scary dude.
After a few aborted attempts, I
made a run for the bike,
grabbed it and got the hell out
of there with no further stings.
This pretty much sums up my day.
Final Stop: Lawrenceburg,
Tennessee
Actors make the best
politicians.
If only smells could be digitally recreated....
Epilogue: the last recreational stop on the road trip was Westpoint,
Tennessee for Round #7 of the FMF National Enduro Series. It was a
short race for me. About 5 miles in, my clutch cable broke. From there,
I made one final stop to see a business client in Owensboro, Kentucky
and then headed back home to Chicago. That, folks, is how you drive
3500 miles in 12 days.
Kinda eerie in them woods...
Securing the KX250
And finally, if you haven't already
asked yourself why you're asking
yourself so many questions, you
may ask why would a person lock a
chain to the foot peg? After all, the
only thing securing the foot pegs
to the bike are steel pins that can
be removed by pulling out a cotter
pin. Couldn't a person pull the
cotter pin and walk away with my
KX250? Not exactly. On the right
side peg, pulling the steel pin
requires removing the rear brake
pedal. Then, the clutch cover
must
be removed. Could it be done? Sure.
Would it be done? Unlikely. This little
Kawasaki quirk makes KX250 security
just a bit easier.