west virginia

Ride Report, West Virginia. Again!

At the top of Skyline Drive

At the top of Skyline Drive

What can I say? I love West Virginia. I never thought I'd say that, but when it comes to finding heavenly, twisty roads, I can't help it. 

My husband and I went on a 5 day vacation from Philly to West Virginia a few weeks ago, leaving on Sunday and returning Thursday that week. Here are a few highlights!  

Stopping somewhere in Washington DC by the Potomac on our way down.

Stopping somewhere in Washington DC by the Potomac on our way down.

When we left on Sunday, May 8th, we had a rather late start. I won't even bother to share the ride route. We pretty much slabbed  drove through Washington DC and stopped briefly to take some pictures before heading into Arlington. Since we started so late we decided to stay the night just outside DC at the Hampton Inn Gainesville-Haymarket

I'd highly recommend it, very motorcycle friendly, clean and just overall a very nice place to stay (I usually try to stay at smoke-free hotels, because I just can't stand the smell of smoking hotels). Unfortunately someone left the microwave on or something, and we had a 4:30am wake up call. Luckily, it only lasted about 20 minutes and we were able to get back to sleep. Zzzzzzz. 

The weather was raining on and off Monday, so we headed out late and just decided to head south, towards the border of West Virginia and Virginia. Looking at the radar reports, we tried to go just below the storm paths so we could at least find some dry, twisty roads. Oh and along the way we found tasty Mexican food! Who knew there were delicious, authentic Mexican restaurants in Virginia? We stopped at La Michoacana Taqueria & Restaurant. Delicious! 

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So we headed out and we aimed for Waynesboro, VA. When we stopped to take a look at hotels, we found a room in Staunton, VA at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel. It was beautiful, and we got their Stay 2 Nights and Save Promo. 

Staunton is a really lovely town with a lot of history including an old train station and wonderfully preserved downtown. 

Staunton at night. My husband sure knows how to take photos. 

Staunton at night. My husband sure knows how to take photos. 

Easy parking at the hotel in their garage. I just love how these two look side by side. 

Easy parking at the hotel in their garage. I just love how these two look side by side. 

So we decided to camp out in Staunton and just looked at the maps every day to figure out which way we thought we wanted to go. 

Tuesday was our first day of explorations. The weather was crummy in the early morning so we waited until the rain passed a bit more before heading out. We found some fun scenery including a rickety bridge that you aren't supposed to ride across. So we didn't. 

As we rode off, we found even more scenery, including some horses who didn't seem to mind as we pulled over to take photos next to them. I tried to coax them away from lunch but they just weren't interested. :(

I don't know how, but he manages to get the timing just right on these sometimes. I guess I was stretching...

I don't know how, but he manages to get the timing just right on these sometimes. I guess I was stretching...

I think the horse is looking at us like we're crazy. 

I think the horse is looking at us like we're crazy. 

One of the coolest things we saw a few times were abandoned buildings like this old service station. These photos just don't do this building justice. It was so pretty in person, eerie and stunning at the same time.  

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We didn't get to go inside, but I was able to get a photo through the windows. 

We didn't get to go inside, but I was able to get a photo through the windows. 

Evan poses!

Evan poses!

And another abandoned garage. Way creepier. 

And another abandoned garage. Way creepier. 

Since the weather wasn't that cooperative most of the time, we did some very simple routes, nothing fancy. But some of the best riding on this coast lives here: 

Staunton to West Virginia and Back. 

Staunton to West Virginia and Back. 

We were trying to find some cool covered bridges, but we only found this one which we weren't able to actually drive through. It was called Humpback Covered Bridge in Covington. 

So all we could do was take selfies. 

I highly recommend lunch in Marlinton at the Greenbrier Grill. Tasty, inexpensive and outdoor seating. 

We took 39 back mostly, such a fantastic road. I'll warn you, these roads are twisty so should always take those easy if you're not immediately comfortable. I practically live to ride these roads, I just wish they were closer :(

My friend Tamela recommended Route 311, just south of Covington but unfortunately I somehow got us off track and never got to ride it. It also looked amazing. 

The next day we played around 39 and 250 again. 250 is probably my favorite road on the East Coast so far. 

Unfortunately we didn't get video of 250 because of the crappy weather that day, but in case you missed it, here's a short video my husband shot on his GoPro, Swivit Mount and Gimbal. We finally had some clearing weather and was able to get some beautiful shots while on 39 or 84, I can't remember which road this is. It's mixed in with some footage of Skyline drive as well, but there are bits and pieces of WVA in here. 

Getting all the equipment ready to film. If you've never heard of  Swivit.com , check them out. Their adjustable mount is unique, and was the first of its kind. 

Getting all the equipment ready to film. If you've never heard of Swivit.com, check them out. Their adjustable mount is unique, and was the first of its kind. 

With the Swivit, he was able to get shots like this one, because you can move the camera on the fly. (We were going maybe 15mph, and there was zero traffic!)

With the Swivit, he was able to get shots like this one, because you can move the camera on the fly. (We were going maybe 15mph, and there was zero traffic!)

 I don't know why but we decided to slab it back from Staunton to Philly on Thursday. Although we had an early start, we took the scenic route up Skyline Drive. Since the hubby had never ridden through it before, we thought we'd take a look! Twas foggy on and off. If you watch the video, the tunnel is at the end.

After a bit of fog, we finally got to some clear parts of the mountain. And yes, the speed limit is 35mph. We were following the limits pretty closely, but it was a very quiet day on Skyline so we were lucky enough to have little or not traffic at times. And no performance awards :)

The coolest stop we made was at Fort Johnson. Such a cool, crazy story from the Civil War. I didn't get to climb the entire trail, but I did get to the first tier. Since moving to an older city such as Philadelphia, I am fascinated and constantly amazed by the history that I encounter everywhere I go. Virginia was no exception. So crazy to think that a war was fought on this mountain, where we now stand and take scenic photos. 

Steps to the first level of trenches. 

Steps to the first level of trenches. 

A long line of trench!

A long line of trench!

We even met some fellow motorcyclists who were passing through. 

We even met some fellow motorcyclists who were passing through. 

And then we had to say goodbye! 

We used our Sena SMH10R's to communicate with eachother the entire week and they performed quite well. I used the Garmin quite a bit, along with my music and I forgot to recharge it one night so it died after a second full day. Just by habit, we recharge our headsets every night but you really don't have to. You should be able to get 2 full days; although we don't have our channels open the entire time. We go back and forth between chatting or keeping the channel open for 10-15 minutes, then back to our own music while I listen for Garmin directions at the same time. 

If you're curious as to how that all worked for me, read my review of the Garmin Zumo 390LM here

 

Until next time, West Virginia.... until next time..... 

Until next time, West Virginia.... until next time..... 

Video of Riding Motorcycles in (West) Virginia

Last week, me and my husband went for a fabulous vacation down South to Virginia / West Virginia. A ride report is coming soon. In the meantime, check out this short video of one of our afternoon rides through the mountains. 

Wish I could take credit for the amazing video editing, sound production, camera work and post production. All the credit goes to my husband, founder and CTO of this company. 

Thanks for watching! Stay tuned for a ride report. 

Ride Report, North Carolina and the Women's Sportbike Rally

Bikes lined up at the Fontana Dam

 I had a great time at the 10th Annual Women's Sportbike Rally at Deals Gap two weeks ago. Between doing a track day and getting sick, I'm just getting around to finally sharing my trip.

The Women's Sportbike Rally East has been going on for 10 years now, and this year was the inaugural West Coast event which had a great turnout! I had heard of this event a few years ago but could never take the time off work to make it to Deals Gap. It would have been a daunting trip from California as well.

Riding from Philly made this the longest trip I'd ever ridden solo as well; 6 days and 2,000 miles! Definitely the longest trip on Goldie as well. I decided to take Skyline Drive to the Blueridge Parkway on the way down.

The Rally took place Friday Sept 9th to Sunday Sept 11th. But riding in from Philly was going to take more than a day so I left on Wednesday the 7th and came home the following Tuesday the 13th.

The Rally took place Friday, September 9th to Sunday, September 11th. But riding  from Philly was going to take more than a day so I left on Wednesday the 7th and came home the following Tuesday the 13th.

I mapped out an ambitious route taking my time to get down there so I could hit some of the famous roads before getting to the Gap.

WEDNESDAY

Riding from PA to VA took a bit longer than I expected. I decided to take 95 South to 301 into Annapolis. My friend followed me for a bit, and we stopped for gas and decided to grab a bite to eat (301 Plaza, 920 Middletown Warwick Rd, Middletown, DE 19709) since there wasn’t going to be anything for another hour or so. I really really wanted to get to VA as quickly as possible so I didn’t do any sightseeing in Annapolis, just stopped for some water and got back on the highway heading 66 West towards Front Royal, VA. (I really don't recommend this route, only because it was a little boring. In the future I will either slab it down 95 or take the Westernly route through Western Pennsylvania instead.)

Did I mention it was 90+F that day? It was HOT, hot hot. And yes, I’m wearing my full Gore-Tex suit! I’d like to go off on a tangent here and just share the joys of wearing Gore-Tex. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you that I can be a fussy rider sometimes. (Only sometimes!) I get uncomfortable fairly quickly. This suit greatly helps me stay comfortable enough to get through the ups and downs of quick changes in temperatures without having to pull over and change layers. Baselayering is REALLY crucial here, as it can change the comfort underneath your riding gear (even while wearing mesh textiles!). An inexpensive option is going to Target and buying a basic tech shirt like this one. It’s $20, and it will let you sweat, sweat, sweat, but still keep you comfortable. I know I keep saying comfortable, but it’s all you can really do in extreme heat because it’s going to be hot!

Horizons Unlimited California, 2012

Horizons Unlimited California, 2012

Check out my review of the REV'IT Legacy Suit that I’m wearing here. Although this suit is discontinued as of 3 years ago, they've recently launched a new, improved version!  

As far as my gloves, I knew that it was going to be a really wet trip the next day through VA and WVA, and then a cooler trip the rest of the way into NC. I could’ve easily grabbed a lighter pair to wear before the wet weather but I frankly forgot. It worked out well, these Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex X-Trafit gloves are different in that they are not insulated or fleece lined for extreme cold. They only offer the Gore-Tex membrane to keep you dry. But the reason they’re called X-Trafit is because they bond the membrane to the leather so when my hands were hot and sweaty I could easily get them on and off without a problem. There is only 1 women’s specific pair like this, offered by Rukka called the Vilma. Unfortunately my palms were too wide to wear the size 6 (I have small, wide hands) and my fingers too short to wear the 7 so the men’s Apollo in 6 was perfect! 

Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex Gloves

Rukka Apollo Gore-Tex Gloves

Ok, back to this trip.

Somehow I spent 6 hours to get from Philly to Annapolis. By the time I left and crossed Washington DC via 66 West, I didn’t get to Skyline Drive until ~2pm. Skyline was perfectly paved with very very little traffic. I really didn’t get stuck behind anyone, but there are so many turnoffs to take pictures it didn’t matter. And no, I didn't get any tickets, and I didn't get pulled over. :-)

As always, my trusty Kriega Packs were perfect for a week's worth of riding.

First Skyline Drive Selfie

First Skyline Drive Selfie

With the slower speeds (35mph), it took me awhile to get down just 40 miles. I was starving so I decided to find food and grabbed a bite at Burgers N Things in Sperryville, VA. By that time it was 4:30pm! Ack, where did the time go?

A little foggy, but smooth

A little foggy, but smooth

It started raining as soon as I found my late lunch, so I sat under the tiki table. Since it was raining I didn’t pull over for more photos, just kept going to make it to the motel before sunset. I hate riding at night in the rain! By the end of Day 1 I clocked in about 340 miles.

Trying to stay dry while eating lunch!

Trying to stay dry while eating lunch!

THURSDAY

I stayed the night in the Super 8, 2045 Rosser Ave., Waynesboro, VA. It was nothing special, super cheap, clean and easy to stay. The next morning, it was a quick breakfast at Waffle House! Have I mentioned how much I love Waffle House when I'm on long trips? 

Breakfast at Waffle House. Goldie staring me down as I eat

Breakfast at Waffle House. Goldie staring me down as I eat

And then onward to continue down Blueridge Parkway. After Roanoke I jumped off the Blueridge onto 221 South and hopped on and off a bit without any real plans. I pulled over on the parkway and grabbed a few pics along the way :-) One of the best parts of traveling on your motorcycle! 

Another Skyline Selfie

Another Skyline Selfie

20-Minute Cliff. Definitely Not What I Thought It Was.

20-Minute Cliff. Definitely Not What I Thought It Was.

Off Skyline Drive. Can't Remember Exactly Which Route This Was

Off Skyline Drive. Can't Remember Exactly Which Route This Was

Skyline Drive was lovely, but for me, it was a very scenic ride and not very technical. I've spent a lot of time riding scenic roads in PA and was itching for something technical. 

Then I stayed the night at Holiday Inn Express in Blowing Rock, NC. Somehow Day 2 was a bit shorter, just 275 miles. 

FRIDAY

One of my goals for Friday was to ride Little Switzerland! A slice of heaven in the NC mountains. One of many, really. Looking at Google Maps there were a ton of roads I wanted to ride. But I was trying to avoid riding at night so I wasn’t able to get on all the roads I wanted. But I did make time for this little gem. 

There's nothing like this in PA!

There's nothing like this in PA!

For me, riding in the Smoky Mountains and all around the Blueridge Parkway is exactly what I miss the most about California. This little piece of heaven took me about 40 minutes to finish. I didn’t stop anywhere in the circle, I just headed up the right side of 226 and rode it counter clockwise back to 221 South. There were a couple restaurants and inns inside the circle and they looked really cute. 

After that I rode rather quickly to get into Deals Gap before dinnertime but managed to stay off the freeway. The rally was a mix of socializing, riding and more socializing. I met a lot of cool women and made some fabulous new friends. I just wish they lived closer so we could go riding together more often! :-(

Group Pictures at the Fontana Dam

Group Pictures at the Fontana Dam

Saturday was so much fun. I went riding with some new friends. The route started at Deals Gap, heading South towards Bridal Veil Falls in Highland, NC. We followed 28 South into Franklin, NC and stopped for lunch at Caff’e Rel, a tasty Italian restaurant behind a gas station.

Lined Up at Bridal Veil Falls

Lined Up at Bridal Veil Falls

I took another 2 nights to get home, stopping in Wytheville, VA and then Winchester, VA at the Country Inn & Suites (my favorite hotel chain). By the end I was a bit drained, and ready to get home.

I left rather early Sunday morning and was able to finally make the Killboy.com hall of fame with my photo. This was the only time I rode the infamous Dragon. It was fun, but for me just a shorter version of the wonderful roads I had been riding previously in Northern California (3, 36, 49, 84, etc.). As a California girl, it's really hard for me to be impressed by this road. It's nice and all but the roads South of 129 and in and around North Carolina are even better, in my opinion.

Leaving Deals Gap on Sunday on The Dragon. Photo/  Killboy.com  (the original Dragon photographer!)

Leaving Deals Gap on Sunday on The Dragon. Photo/ Killboy.com (the original Dragon photographer!)

My ride home was pretty uneventful, as I decided not to head north into Kentucky to ride some of their delicious roads. I didn’t want to do any night riding so I made an effort to get into my hotel by 6pm at the latest each night. Each day was about 300 miles, so nothing too painful.

By just focusing on my riding technique and getting back to basics, so to speak, it really made me feel better about my riding skills. Before this trip I’d felt like I had to start all over again. I think I was a little hesitant to ride the more technical roads, so I mainly stayed on the lightly curvy ones. Which for many people would still be too curvy, but I really longed for the technical twisties; decreasing radiuses, hairpins! I thought I was ready to attack them all at once, but I decided to ease up a bit.

I do feel at the end of this trip, it healed me in many ways. I’m far less nervous or anxious than I used to be. One thing that has totally changed the way I feel is that I put on new tires as soon as I got back.

Michelin Pilot Power 3 Front and Rear

I really wish I had them installed before I left. I used these on my first SV for about 25,000 miles. They’re the most comfortable tire I’ve used so far, super sticky and a really wide contact patch. It just feels like the tires are glued to the pavement when I’m cornering. My bike did come with a really nice sport tire, the Diablo Corsas. They’re a really good tire and have great reviews. But for some reason they just didn’t feel good to me. Even when I lowered my tire pressure a bit to 32front/36rear (Triumph recommends 40psi in the front and rear, ridiculous) the tires felt hard, as if they weren’t sticking to the pavement. I know they were but I had zero confidence in them.

Mysterious Sunflower Field in Maryland

Mysterious Sunflower Field in Maryland

For me, and I think for many riders as well, trusting your bike is the only way you can really push yourself to try new things. Or simply having enough trust to lean, to push the handlebars, to counterweight; to really do anything! I’ve always thought of motorcycling as a true relationship.

The enjoyment and learning experience you gain from riding a motorcycle is wholly dependent on the choices you make with it. It should make you happy, help you boost your self confidence and become a partner in the learning process. 

At this point, I feel much better about my riding. I’m still cautious when I see what appears to be water on the roads, in case it isn’t. I’m looking forward to early Spring so I can ride back to Deals Gap but this time with my favorite riding buddy, my husband.

To find out more about the Women's Sportbike Rally, East and West, check out their website.

Ride Report to West Virginia

2012_triumph_street_tripleR A couple weeks ago I took a nice 4 day, 965 mile trip to West Virginia and back. It was shorter than I expected, but I had a great time anyway. All I can say is I LOVEEEEE my bike! (and WV)

Sunday

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.

sena_smh10Rrukka_apollo_goretex_gloves

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.

highway 250 west virginia from philly

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.

triumph street triple west veirgini

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.

The Inn at Mountain Quest in Marlinton, VA

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I had no idea what I would be getting to until I woke up that morning to this glorious view from my room:

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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.

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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.

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Monday

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!

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gastation_slatyfork

slatyfork_westvirginia

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.

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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.

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tamela_rich_bmw_f650gs

We booked a room at the Holiday Lodge Oak Hill. Thanks to the lodge for allowing us to park right outside the front door :)

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Tuesday

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

Wednesday

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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!

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Thanks for reading, look for a full ride review of the STR soon.

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Also check out Moterrific for Episode 64, for an audio version of this ride report!

Reviews TBD: