The 2013 Moto GP season started with a fantastic race in Qatar earlier in April. I think Kevin and I are now officially Moto GP fans, as we’ve watched every race for the last few seasons. This year, there are three US races; the usual two at Indianapolis and Laguna Seca, and the first ever third US race at the brand new Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, TX. COTA is a brand new world-class facility. Its inaugural event was the F1 race in November of last year. Moto GP holds its first race at Cota on April 21st.
Clearly, its time for us to go on another moto trip so we can go watch some racing. We left Tuesday morning about 9am under cloudy skies, but with dry roads, with weather just warm enough to avoid the heated jacket liners.
In the months prior to our epic six-week motocamping adventure though the western US last year, I spent quite a bit of time planning routes, researching places to camp or stay, things to see, and meticulously selecting just the right gear to take with us. A lot of thought went into prepping us and the bikes for the long adventure.
Not so much this time. I did some rough route planning, and reserved a place to stay in Austin for race weekend, but that was about it. About two weeks before we needed to leave, we realized that both bikes needed new rear tires, and that the chains would probably not make it the full 3000 miles we were likely to cover. Oops. Some quick online ordering, and Kevin had us both ready to go with almost a whole day to spare. No time for a check out ride? Eh….it’ll probably be fine.
See below? Fresh rubber and shiny new gold chains! (I actually really dislike the gold, but these are supposedly higher quality than stock, which will hopefully last a bit longer).
It amuses both of us that in comparison to our last big moto adventure, a road trip to Texas seems like merely a weekend trip. No need to plan.
Our route took us through south-western NC, with the goal of making it to GA before finding a campground. After the morning clouds and chill burned off, the weather was just perfect. I know I say this a lot, but the roads in Western NC and north GA are my favorite in the whole country. Even after I’ve ridden so much of it this is still true. We were happy to play in the mountains all afternoon. Days like today are why we go on moto trips.
The only damper on our fun was the unexpected traffic in the touristy mountain towns. We figured that it was early enough in the season that we could still take the fun roads without slowing our pace too much. Nope. We were stuck behind someone going 30-40 mph for 20 miles at a stretch on several occasions. We’re trying to get to Austin in 4 days, which means we need to average something like 375 miles a day. That’s hard to do at 30 mph.
The result was that we did make it across the border into GA, but just barely, and at 308 miles, we didn’t quite make our mileage goal for the day. At the last fuel stop, I was pretty much ready to land, so we scouted the nearest campground. The new primitive campground in the Warwoman Dell near Clayton, GA turned out to be a small slice of heaven.
The entire area is just beautiful, and full of awesome curvy roads. The campground was empty (yea pre-season camping), and we got to pick a site right next to the creek (where Kevin got to play with our new water-purification system). The waterfall below was just downstream from our campsite. Campsites as beautiful and secluded as these don’t come around that often. First night out, and I’m calling it as the best site of the trip.
04/16/2013 – 308 miles. Home to camp in the Warwoman Dell near Clayton, GA.