So my plan was leave Sunday early afternoon, ride for 3 glorious days in W. VA and then come home Thursday. I knew that there was going to be a very rainy day, possibly Wednesday so I of course wore my Rev'it Legacy Gore-Tex suit for the trip. I decided to wear my Gear 2' pants down there since it was pretty nice out and I packed my Legacy pants into one of the US-10 packs.
In preparation for the trip, I actually purchased 2 fantastic upgrades. The first one was the Sena SMH-10R Bluetooth Headset. I wanted a better unit than my SMH5, but not a bigger one. I love the slim look and feel of the unit and am still in the process of finishing my review. Check out what I have so far here and stay tuned for an update on my social feeds and a blog post when it's ready.
The second upgrade was a pair of Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex Xtrafit gloves. I've never owned a pair of Gore-Tex gloves, because I could never find anything that fits me right. These are especially amazing because they're not winter gloves, they're simply leather street gloves with a bonded Gore-Tex membrane! That's right, they completely bond the membrane to the leather so you have a clean, lightweight glove that isn't bulky or heavy. It's the perfect arrangement for wet, hot, summer riding. Both performed beautifully, especially when I got caught in a heavy downpour for 150 miles on the freeway.
Now let's talk about the fun stuff. The Riding!
Oh My God. West Virginia feels like home for me; my long lost motorcycle home. So many twists and turns, curves, uphill/downhill, everything I want and need when I go riding. I CAN'T wait to go back so I've already planned another trip for mid June. I was supposed to meet my good friend Tamela Rich Sunday night at a beautiful bed and breakfast in the mountains of the Monongahela National Forest. It's located right in the middle of the most heavenly roads I've seen on the East coast.
250 is downright heavenly. It's too bad I had to ride in pitch black darkness. I left so late (1pm) that by the time I got to 250 it was ~8pm. :-( Nothing like riding twisties in total darkness. So it took me a couple hours to ride what would've been an hour in daylight. I tried to grab a couple pics along the way when I could. I believe this is right before I turned onto 84.
It was still a great ride and I enjoyed every minute. I even dodged a possum that decided to visit the middle of my lane. I rolled in to a lovely white building with bright lights (which was great given how remote and dark it was). Gotta love a hotel that has perfect motorcycle parking.
I had no idea what I would be getting to until I woke up that morning to this glorious view from my room:
It was so quiet, calm and downright peaceful. We were the only ones there that night since everyone had left earlier that day. It just worked out that previous visitors had left and no one else was checking in until the later in the week. If you and your moto-loving partner are looking for a relaxing riding weekend, my friend Tamela is hosting a moto retreat in the 2nd week of June called Ride to Reboot. My hubby and I will be there, hopefully we'll see you there! Here are a few pics of the ranch I snapped before I left.
The next morning my friend Tamela and I headed South.
Following Tamela on the short gravel road as we leave Mountain Quest. There's a small bridge just past where she stopped, it's a little creaky so I found standing on my pegs helped make that bumpy section feel a little smoother.
On Monday afternoon Tamela and I headed out towards Oak Hill, WV. She's on her BMW F650GS and of course I'm on my Street Triple R. From the Inn, we headed North on 92, East on 66, then South on 219/55 to Slaty Fork. There's a really cool spot called Sharp's Country Store that we had to stop at and check out. I guess it used to be a service station so there are cool old gas pumps, and some knick knacks in the window. During business hours you can walk through the store and buy a few souvenirs. Unfortunately they're closed on Mondays!
Sadly, this is where my report gets a little sad. After this, we headed towards lunch in Marlinton, WV. It was in town that my bike died at a stop light. Everything just shut off. I thought I dumped my clutch but in fact, my bike turned off. Luckily it was right in front of the gas station so I pulled in and tried to troubleshoot. I didn't see anything visibly wrong on the battery so I put my luggage and seat back on and then tried to start it again. Nothing was turning on, no lights, nothing. After about 10 minutes, she started up again. I let it run for about 5 minutes and it didn't die so I figured it wasn't too major. So off we went to our final destination, Oak Hill WV.
I believe this is the ride route we took. "G" is Marlinton. "H" is the hotel. I believe we stopped somewhere along 41 to take some cute pictures of ourselves and our bikes.
I can't help it, I love selfies. Especially when my friends are in them! If you don't know Tamela, read her story. She's an incredible woman who's ridden across the country more than a few times. Travel is her middle name, so check her out.
We booked a room at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill. Thanks to the lodge for allowing us to park right outside the front door :)
Sadly, Monday was the best riding I was able to get in all week. The next morning, I was spooked out from the electrical issue so I decided to head home Wednesday :-(. I tried calling a local dealer but they were too busy to see me so I decided to leave a day early. Tamela headed home that morning, and I decided to head to Harrisonburg, WV for the night. Then it would only be a ~6 hour journey home on Wednesday.
I booked a room at the Country Inn & Suites (my favorite hotel chain) and headed that way in the pouring rain. It rained like crazy but only on Tuesday! I've never ridden that long in the rain before: 150 miles, 3.5 hours. Since it was pouring I averaged about 55-60mph. The temperature wasn't too chilly (high 50s, low 60s) but I didn't want to risk another electrical issue so I didn't use my heated liner.
I did get a little wet sadly, even though I was decked out in head to toe Gore-Tex. Here's what I wore:
I've always said that wearing anything Gore-Tex is the only way to truly stay dry. And even if you don't stay dry you have that lifetime guarantee! The only caveat is that you must be the original owner of the product, for them to verify the history of the item. It makes sense, if you bought something secondhand how do they know the original owner didn't screw something up? So I wasn't able to warranty my Ladystars, because I scored them on eBay hardly worn a few years ago. But since I only paid ~$90 for them, I'm not going to worry about it. I may just have to buy a brand new pair at some point. :D
I also get a little wet on my left sleeve because I wore my sleeve over my gloves instead of inside. I thought the velcro was snug enough to keep water out, but I guess not going 65mph on the freeway. The other spot I got wet was right above my left butt cheek. I was wearing my heated jacket liner and I think the bottom of the liner got wet and seeped up inside. I'm going to try and ride in the pouring rain again soon so I can test this theory out. Otherwise, I will definitely be contacting Gore-Tex for a warranty claim.
I forgot to mention of course, that all of my Kriega packs came with me as they work beautifully on naked bikes like mine. They also performed perfectly in the pouring rain.
The Sena headset is NOT waterproof. It's water resistant so if you get stuck in the rain it'll be okay. Turns out the unit is far more robust than Sena says because it actually held up for 3 hours in the pouring rain, on the freeway! But the battery died on me the next day. So both parts survived the journey but the next day when I rode home, it shut off without warning and wouldn't stay on for more than a few seconds. Luckily, I bought a dual pack so my husband could upgrade his unit as well. So I stole his battery for the time being and replaced it. The unit has worked perfectly since then.
Thank you Sena for making a unit that is practically waterproof! I was scared that I ruined the main unit, but the battery was a small sacrifice :D
The next morning, when I went to start up the bike it wouldn't start. So I took the seat off and tightened the battery terminal, it was a tiny bit loose. After that she started right up! The rest of my ride home was uneventful, as I slabbed it home on the Interstates to get back before dark.
Long Distance on a Street Triple
I have to say that although the STR isn't a long distance tourer, I definitely enjoyed the ride. Since I'm used to touring on the SV's, this is a welcome upgrade. It's definitely not something that works as well as say, an FZ1 or F800GS. But in comparison to my SV's, it's fabulous. The added horsepower is nice, and certainly noticeable especially while jumping on the freeway. But I really appreciate the suspension and handling. It's smooth, responsive and not too twitchy at the throttle. One thing I read in many reviews of this bike is that in 2012 they adjusted the throttle response so it's a smoother transition when rolling off and on.
The stock seat is great and far more comfortable. I can go a solid hour before my booty starts to complain and I have to pull over. But as with any naked bike with a minimal windscreen, any substantial riding in high winds is tiring. When I was riding in the rain it was terribly windy. I was exhausted as if I'd ridden all day in 100 degree heat. I pulled over about 3-4 times to keep up with the added fatigue along with being wet and chilly. No fun.
As I've always recommended in the past, I definitely appreciated my Techspec Gripster Pads for a little extra grip and stability against the tank. Other than that, I had nothing else to help me along. I logged a little under 1,000 miles and would've happily ridden another 500-600 if everything went the way I'd planned. Originally, I was going to spend Wednesday riding in the mountains and then take the slow route home Thursday. Oh well. I've already started planning routes for June!
Thanks for reading, look for a full ride review of the STR soon.
Also check out Moterrific for Episode 64, for an audio version of this ride report!