2007 Asheville motorcycle trip

June 15

The eastern horizon was showing a hint of sunrise and the stars were out as I packed the motorcycle trailer. I checked my list again, locked the trailer, fired up the bike, and was soon eastbound to John's to start our 2007 motorcycle trip.

After last year's Kentucky trip we began discussing a return trip to Asheville. Some of us had been there in 2005. This year's riders and bikes would be the same as last year. John and Debby on their Yamaha Royal Star, Mike and Lisa on their Honda VTX1300, and me on my Nomad. The plan is to spend 4 days in the Asheville area and then spend 4 more days in Pigeon Forge, TN.

Bedford, IN. 6:04, initial mileage is 5864 - The weather forecast is sunny and in the 80's. It should be a great day for riding. Mike and Lisa put some of their luggage in my trailer. A few cigarettes are burned. Finally we mount up and start the trip we have been looking forward to for many months. I lead, John follows, and Mike brings up the rear.

We were about 20 miles out and everything was going fine when my bike just quit. I tried to restart it but it wouldn't. I was also in a bad location...going uphill between two blind curves. We were able to push the bike uphill (with the trailer attached) to a driveway and get off the roadway. When I tried to restart it I noticed I did not hear the fuel pump. As luck would have it, I had my laptop in the trailer and I had a .pdf copy of the service manual on it. That was a lifesaver. We removed the seats and found the fuel injection fuse was blown. We put in another fuse and turned on the key. Pop! We replaced the fuse, unplugged the fuel pump, and tried the key again. Pop! Damn. By this time we were running out of fuses and were robbing them from the fuse panel. The service manual showed the only things powered by this circuit were the fuel pump and fuel injectors. I removed the tank and unplugged the fuel injectors. We tried another fuse. It didn't blow. I plugged in the fuel injectors and turned the power on. The fuse didn't blow. I put the tank back on and plugged in the fuel pump. The fuel pump ran and the fuse still didn't blow. Then...it started! We reassembled the bike, repacked the laptop, and headed down the road. John and Mike said my bike troubles were due to the Harley parts (fairing and tour trunk) I had put on. Funny guys!

This episode cost us an hour and now I was paranoid my bike would quit again. We stopped in Brownstown and I got a few packs of fuses. I replaced some of the fuses I'd robbed.

Sellersburg, IN. 8:46, mileage 5927 - Our normal first stop for fuel. We had taken a slightly different route this time. In the past we've taken US50 to Seymour and came down I-65. Today we took SR250 over to I-65. It is a nice scenic road and cut several miles and minutes off our route. I replaced the Stebel horn fuse I had forgotten to replace in Brownstown.

Frankfort, KY. 10:17, mileage 5980 - A gas, pop, and cigarette stop. So far my bike is running okay. Well, I noticed my cruise control isn't working, but I can live with that.

As we were turning onto the I-64 entry ramp the bike died again. But this time the whole bike seemed to die, not the just the fuel pump. I suspected the problem was the main fuse. With NASCAR pit crew-like speed we had the side cover off. During the earlier troubleshooting we had popped the main fuse moving wires around and replaced the 30 amp fuse with a 20 amp since that is all we had. When I checked the 20 amp fuse it wasn't just blown, it was melted. I replaced it with a proper 30 amp fuse, reassembled the bike, and we were on our way in less than 5 minutes.

Berea, KY. 12:07, mileage 6034 - On our 2005 trip this was our KFC lunch stop and it will be today also. The bike is still running well. The KFC was finger licking good. The temperature is getting hot.

When I fired up the bike I knew there was a problem. It wouldn't idle unless I gave it lots of gas and it sounded like it was only firing on one cylinder. It was also smoking like crazy. I found a small stick and moved around the fuel injector wires under the tank. I noticed the wires to the rear injector sparked when I moved them around. Ah ha! I had found the problem.

In the above picture you can see the fuel injection wires (green arrows). The rear fuel injector wires were kind of tight where they went over the Tee for the water temperature sender. I guess the heat and vibration had taken their toll on the tape wrapping the wires where it went over the sharp edge of the Tee. Earlier the power wire had grounded and popped the fuse. Now the trigger wire was grounding and making the injector constantly inject fuel and flood the cylinder. I pushed on the wires a little to give them some slack. The bike ran normally now except for smoke from the previous excessive gas.

We rode down the road and gassed up, then went across the road to Walmart. I bought some ziploom. I took off the tank, re-routed the wires under the Tee giving them lots of slack, and wrapped the wires in ziploom. That solved the problem for the rest of the trip. It also burned up another hour of our time. There was a carwash nearby and the girls hollering at cars were annoying and borderline rude. The others relaxed in the shade.

On I-75 between Berea and Corbin, KY.

John & Debby, Me

Corbin, KY. 14:43, mileage 6081 - The bike has been running fine since its repair. The terrain is getting hilly as we get into the Smoky Mountains. We'll be leaving I-75 and take US25 through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel. It's a nice break from the slab.

Several miles down US25 the sky started to darken and we saw an occasional lightening flash. We pulled over in the town of Barbourville and donned our rain gear. It was a wise move as we started getting into rain 5-10 minutes later. It was mostly sprinkles at first but then the skies opened up on us.

We finally pulled into a car wash in Pineville, KY to wait out the rain since we were having a hard time seeing due to wetness in our eyes.

While we were waiting another couple on a Heritage Softail Classic pulled into the stall next to us. They came over and chatted. He told us of some good places to ride. We cleaned our glasses and windshields and drank pop.

Even though the rain was a pain hanging out in a carwash was just part of the fun of vacation. After an hour or so the rain subsided to sprinkles so we ventured out again. By the time we'd reached Middlesboro and the Cumberland Tunnel the rain had quit.

We pulled over at Veteran's Overlook just north of Bean Station and removed the rain gear.

By now heat had replaced the rain and the rain gear was very uncomfortable. From the overlook we could see where we'd soon be.

We admired the view, some cigarettes were smoked, then we headed down the mountain to Bean Station.

Bean Station, TN. 18:19, mileage 6154 - Gas and more cigarettes.

The ride from Bean Station through Morristown to I-40 was much the same as I remembered from two years ago. Scenic, relaxing 2-lane road. US25 now bypasses Morristown so I didn't see Rusty Wallace Ford like I did last time.

We pulled off at a rest stop across the North Carolina line to discuss our next course of action...namely supper. We decided to go to Waynesville and see what we could find.

Waynesville exit, TN. 20:15, mileage 6220 - Gas, smoke more cigarettes, and directions. We found out Waynesville is actually several miles down the road, so we decide to push on to Asheville. When we reach Asheville we turn off on US25...a road we are familiar with from our previous trip. We had supper at the Huddle House.

The cabin we rented is near Saluda, about 30 miles south of Asheville. After supper we drove down US25 for a few miles until the turnoff for I-26. Along the way we passed Mr. Motorcycle. We drove south on I-26 until exit 59. The instructions we were given said to turn left when it should have been right so we did some "exploring". When we reached downtown Saluda we figured out the mistake we'd made. We backtracked to the main road and eventually found the cabin. (Cabin location) The driveway was gravel and steep in one spot which made for some interesting trailer pulling.

By now it was after 22:30 so we unpacked, checked out the cabin, and hung out for awhile. Cell phone reception was very marginal but I was able to get the dailup working on my laptop so I sent the "Arrived safely" emails to family back home.

Here is a picture of my loft bedroom. It was a neat place to sleep. We went to sleep quickly after our long travel day.

The rain had cost us at least an hour today, and my bike repairs at least two hours. I was aggravated my bike broke down, but I was glad I was able to fix it while I was still a few hours from home in case the problems were fatal. Mike had noticed some funny wear on his front tire which was affecting the handling on curves. We decided we would head up to Mr. Motorcycle in the morning and see about changing it.

450 miles to Saluda.

Click here for our next day's adventure.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8 Day 9 Epilogue

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