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.

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.
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