Thursday, September 1, 2011


I left the trail in charlottesville and headed south on 250 cut down towards Ashland and got directions around richmOnd and headed home. Through the dEbris field of hurricane Irene. Powerlines were being restrung. I Pulled into the driveway with 4032.5 miles on the odometer. ThE bike had two miles on it to begin with. I left Virginia by car on July 30 headed to Tucson Arizona via Chicago on the way out. We ended up in Oceanside California and bought the moped in Fullerton California at Myron's moPeds and left Oceanside on the Wednesday the 10th and arrived august the 31 in west point va. Thanks to those who took an interest and many more thanks to those who actively helpEd.

Christiansburg to outside Richmond

On a strong suggestion I ran up to Blacksburg from christiansburg for breakfast at a coffee shop I had a plate of salsa eggs and potatoes. I got back on the well labeled route and ran through the foothills of Virginia tOwards Charlottesville. In fincastle I ate an Italian sub which helPed warm me up. It deffinately felt like the end of summer. August 30 th. I headed up to the blue ridge parkway. Probably this three mile section from Vesuvius to the parkway I had to pedal with the engine running. Up on the parkway the sun set while I drove the 25 miles to waynesboro. I head down into waynesboro at 9 and ate Mexican. It was cold I Put on my second pair of pants it helped some. I got lost leaving town. The thing about getting lost on a moped is it takes longer to get lost and longer to get unlost. I made it outside Charlottesville before I gave up On my dream of finishing the trip today.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I had ignored a suggestiOn n Lexington to tighten my engine mount bolts an operation that would be a hassle since I had to move around the rats nest of wiring this bike seems to need but on a long downhill in Kentucky I had to stop and tighten them. The vibrations had gotten serious and I sheared an exhaust bolt. What had been a decently quite bike dominated mostly by engine noise now sounded like a nightmare of every scooter that used to awaken me in college winding up the hill outside my apartment at 4 am. The fact that it could have been avoided makes it even worse. I had taken to standing on the exhaust pipe to stretch my legs. Something I can no longer do. It also seems to have robbed some power although the ride was an almost constant climb to christiansburg. The roads that followed the crooked road were terrible easily the worst of the trip but road crews were out in full force repairing places were the shoulder had clearly been undermined and slid off the hillside. The route quickly joined little one one roads through rural cattle farms. The nicest thin I've noticed is eastern Kentucky and Virginia have prominent signage forthe bikecentenial trail and warnings for drivers to share the road with bikers. Drive was pretty and gave no idea that a hurricane had past just east of here the day before. I feel bad I ve steadily taken less pictures. In some part the scenery had been monotonous in the middle of the country. Here another problem cropped up. Familiarity wih Appalachia and a haziness to the sky I didn't get out west where I could easily grab crisp panoramas with my camera phone. The weather was perfect as it's been almost the whole trip but the cold from yesterday continued I had to layer on almost as many clothesi reached christiansburg the end of this section of my map and got a hotel and warm kea to ready myself for a 300 mile slog home tomorrow.

Coal Country to the Virginia state line.

Leaving out of berea took me through a few more hours of horse country. But I was into the Appalachian coal country of my roots by the time I reached hazard Kentucky. And got to change out my old rear tire for a new knobby Kenda I d bought in Lexington. It had been 70 degrees all day a little cold traveling at 35 with the mesh jacket that I ve been riding in. After hazard I traveled on some steep roads with even steeper drop offs and corners pot holed by coal trucks. The Kenda definitely will be more resistant to flats than the street tire that was worn to the belts but it's extra tread caused it to bottom out on the fender more often in the bumps and the harder compound had me locking the rear brake up more often. Even the coal trucks through this section seemed alright with a slow biker and there were some nice towns with artisan and craft juried galleries highlighting Appalachian art. After dark I sough shelter in a diner to wait out the shift change at a local mine which had unleashed a torrent of pickup trucks. I d been passing beside and over trout streams and past fish hatcheries all day which had me in the mind for a good mountain trought. I had to settle for catfish wig a side of halfrunner beans and a cornbread stuffing that turned out to be just cornbread. It was a good meal my first in ten hours. Upon leaving I piled on every stitch of clothing I owned it was down in the fifties. 4 more hours of pressing my luck in the curves I reached the Kentucky Virginia state line. And the breaks interstate park. A nice campground with some amazing natural features and a pavilion that as part of the crooked road music trail holds concerts nearly every night. I bedded down next to a little fie and woke at four shivering to add more wood. A lady the next morning told me it had been in the forties overnight.

Berea after a lecture about using the right kind of oil

I woke up In bowling green and rode the moped through bowling green past the old district along the river. At the hertz I picked up an suv which may have been the tiniest suv I ve ever seen a Nissan rogue. The only thing it had in common with SUVs I m used to was gas mileage an abysmal 19 mpg. The moped with my toolbox luggage on back just barely fit. I made the 90 mile trip to Louisville only to find that the dealership tomos lists on there site is in the process of winding down. He said he couldnt afford to keep a mechanic on payroll. I was on the brink of giving up. And driving the rest of the way home even as Irene was making landfall just south of home. I found a moped repair shop number in Lexington Kentucky Fayette moped and lawnmower repair. The owner answered and because of the time change he was getting ready to close up for the weekend. I explained my situation and he told me to come on he d give me some parts frOm a wrecked bike he had. When I got there the shop was full of old mopeds and new twist and go scooters. Like Myron's mopeds he'd been in the same space for 30 years. Catching the tail end of the fist moped boom. He didn't have any tomos in stock but he scavenged some parts and between a used clutch and part of the gear cluster he got me back on the road. The gear clusters Had galled on the shafts and cold welded themselves together. One of the countershafts felt like a fancy candle holder it was full of divots. When I reassembled the case the day before a gear had been modalities and the teeth had eaten off and the oil in the transmission was full of metal shavings. When the owner saw this he decided he had better do the work himself. I can't say enough good things about the fact that h gave up his Saturday to help me. The transmission is way louder now it vibrates badly it is even more reluctant to shift in second and only stays in first up to 7 mph since it now has the original transmission spring in it. All that being said I m back on the road.
Lexington is a nice city it reminds me of richmond i think it is just starting to see the urban revitalization that richmond recieved over the last two decades Leaving the rental car at the airport i headed south to berea to pjck the bikecentenial trail back up it was apparently an hour and a half ride but I lost my navigation when cellphone coverage dropped off and my paper map lacked the detail needed to find my way. The first part of the journey was on a busy fourlane which was going through major renovation so it was down to two lanes at most points with an 18 inch dropped the shoulders scary on a Saturday night around 10 o'clock. I picked up some backeoads and quickly realized they don't use street signs out here. I spent the next three hours driving through the landscape of winters bones I got chased for a mile by a boa kept which might have been some hellhound from the crossroads. That was one fast dog. I road up some hills which dropped my speed to the point where I had to pedal. All in all it was fun but I ran a whole tank of gas out going the wrong way and around in circles. I didn't get to berea till after two. I almost over slept my checkout the next morning. I left berea after enjoying the Kentucky folk art center and a good plate of tomatoe pie.

Friday, August 26, 2011


After bashing my luggage this morning I got lost a couple times and decided since I was already pushing into the day I would head down to mammoth cave national park take in the sites and maybe camp again heading to Berra tomorrow. But on a steep down hill grade in the park I came to a ferry crossing the green river which reminded me of that song paradise. When I shut the bike off it seized. I figured it was the engine but as I pushed the bike off the ferry it came on with a handful of throttle it drug me Along till I figured out what was happening. After rearing down the transmission as far as I could with tools at hand and consultation with Shaun at myrons moped we decided the first gear freewheel bearing that allows the transmission to shift into second had locked up. I had had problems with the pedals not engaging when the bike was new and a stutter sometimes wen pulling from a stop when the bike was new but these had moderated. Somewhere in Kansas I thought that the transmissiom noise and cibrations had increased but I chalked that up to nerves. But after topping the tranmission up in Missouri the whine from the transmission had increased. I messed that up when I added sae30 oil to 10w30. After a hundred more miles I had stopped in st Louis and emptied the old oil and replaced it with type f transmission fluid. This quoted the transmission and really improved the shifts but type fis deffinately thinner than 10 w 30 and maybe having broke the bearings in with heavyweight oil the lightweight oil could have left too much play in the bearings. It's anyone's guess if it was the oil a manufacturers defect or the ten to twelve hour days bashing along in second gear causing the first gear bearing to constantly freewheel that killed it. Anyway you slice it I was stranded in mammoth park after the last tour. With a bike that was good for 12 mph tops. My support crew helped get me a rental car in bowling green and found the number for the tomos dealer in Louisville ky. So headed the 26 miles down there. A funny thing about the way the transmission seized is that second gear was constantly trying to engage. This resulted in enormous heat in the transmission and completely burning through the the clutch ling on the second gear. The smell of burnt cork made me sad for the first two or three miles but they were nothing in comparison to the gut wrenching sound of metal on metal after the lining wore away. I can just imagine the metal shavings working their way into ecry bearing in the transmission. Worse still is the heat undoubtedly ruined second gears clutch drum. The clutches had looked fine after the first few minutes of problems and the preceding 3000 + miles but the half mile drive had already blues the clutch drum and I can only imagine what it looks like now 30 miles later. I missed a mammoth cave tour but ate a half of a fried chicken and had a few conversations in the parking lot of mammoth cave hotel. A bunch of bikers who had trailered in their bikes talked about there old bikes and trips none knew what to make of my trip. But all offered help and condolences. The fates willing I can get the part I need in Louisville and be back aboard by tomorrow evening. I used to think that things like this that foiled my established plans would herald some great life event or change but. The more I grow the less I believe that The only way to change your life is to make changes not go searching for random happenstance.

Into the heart of bluegrass country

Illinois flew by on tiny little back roads I got lost a couple times. But all in all a nice area reminded me me of Appalachia even though it's the little ozarks the only east west mountain range in the east. At cave in the rock a nice little town i crossed the ohio on a ferry. Other than a flat tire leaving a gas station around 10 o'clock Kentucky Was a lot like Sothern illinos. I spent the night at rough river state park. Probably the nicest state lark I've been to they have a couple golf courses there as well as fishing and boating. This morning I found out how slick Kentucky bluegrass is pulling off on the shoulder to read my map the bike plum slid out from under me. To make up for the shock I decided a full breakfast was in order at the next diner I had the best fried potatoes of the trip done proper in a cast iron skillet in bacon grease. I may stop by mammoth cave later today on my way to berea Kentucky