I was in need of a tune up of new spark plugs 15,000 or so miles into my trip last week and my friends at Yamaha said to head to 5 Star Powersports in Duncanville Pa. So off I went.
Josh Mazzei is the General Manager and has a young but very competent crew with Dalton behind the counter and Justin working on my bike.
Josh was telling me that they are one of the largest Yamaha side-by-side ATV dealers country. Yamaha has the new YXZ 1000 out now. I got to take one for a spin later that afternoon, but I’ll tell more about that in my next blog 😉
Josh went out of his way to make sure I was taken care of, something I find that’s rare these days… Personal service, I didn’t feel like a number. The guys in the shop all wanted to hear about my trip and would ask me questions about it.
Thank you Josh for your time, your crew is top notch!
One of the stops on my trip I had always planned to make was The old Navy Yard in Philadelphia to see the guys at RevZilla. I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a tour but as luck would have it, I DID and it was awesome! I made it to the shop in the mid afternoon and the parking lot was full of bikes
I walked in and saw a familiar face, It was none other than ” The Gear Chic” Joanne Donn, She is a very popular blogger and extremely knowledgeable when it comes to women’s riding gear.
Joanne has worked at RevZilla for a few years now, since moving from her home in San Fransisco for this job. She said she loves the job but misses the great roads around the Bay Area. I can truly attest that the riding is better out there as well.
She introduced me to the Boutique manager Brian Harris who took about 30 min from his super busy schedule to show me around. Thanks Brian! 1st stop was the studio to see where the magic happens. Its where their very popular You tube channel gets filmed and edited. They had just finished shooting for the day so they got a few shots of me in the studio.
We walked through the back office spaces, It’s mostly open with a few offices around the perimeter. There must have been 30+ “gear geeks” on duty answering questions and taking orders. The term gear geek is not one taken lightly. 1st off, you MUST have a motorcycle endorsement and actually ride. Most, if not all, ride multiple styles of bikes( Cruiser, ADV, Sport, Scooter, touring and/or dirt) Riding by the the employee parking, I saw just about every style represented. To get Geek status, you also must pass the RevZilla University training, an intensive 60 day training.
You won’t get near a phone till at least your 30 day mark and you’ll have an instructor with you when you do. They take the training pretty serious. All of the geeks have a huge walk in closet with gear to check out and are even encouraged to wear the gear while out on their bikes, because how can they be knowledgable about the products they sell and not really know how they fit and feel. Another reason why they are the biggest internet motorcycle company in the world….
Like many internet “start up” companies (since 2007), Revzilla has a work hard, play hard mentality, there is a gym, break room, cafeteria, basketball court and even a skateboard half-pipe for the employees to use at their convince. They were just named the best business to work at in Philadelphia, I can see why!
At the end of the tour, we walked past one of the founders, Anthony Bucci’s office and he was there but on the phone, Brian asked his secretary if he had a few minuets free and she said he could meet me in about 10 🙂
Anthony is a really approachable person, he was jealous of my trip and what I had done already. He asked if I needed anything, but having already spent about $7k there since 2009 on gear for Elsa and I , I said I was good. 😉 I’m not sure I’d ever live on the east coast or around Philadelphia but Revzilla would be a great place to work if I did. Seeing the behind the scenes there, really ties it all together after being on the phone with the geeks and always getting superb customer service going above and beyond to answer all my questions I had.
I spent the Tuesday riding “The Dragon” along US 129, that hops the border between North Carolina and Tennessee. It’s claim to fame is an 11 mile section that has an amazing 318 curves! The pavement is pristine, corners are banked and during the week, there isn’t much traffic.( read motorcycle nirvana!) There was rain in the forecast off and on all day so I was careful to do a few runs back and forth between downpours. I stayed at the Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort which is at North Carolina “start” of the 11 mile curvy section. Just about every brand of motorcycle and sports car can be seen there if you only sit for an hour or so. Every kind of rider can be seen as well, from the T-shirt, shorts and sandles rider on a cruiser to the full racing leather clad sports bike rider and everything in between. I even got behind a guy in leathers on a Honda Grom for a mile or so before he was kind enough to pull offer so I could pass 😉 The Resort hosts events most weekends and I was told by several PNWSTOG members to avoid the weekends like the plague, I’m glad I did, thanks guys!
My room was directly across from “The tree of shame” where the unlucky riders that loose various bike parts on the dragon get to immortalize their carnage. The tree is a very popular photo spot as is the “Dragon” made by a local artist.
Deep in the Smokey mountains, US 129 is mostly a tree covered tunnel with only a few vistas to get a peek at the rolling green hills. There are a few reservoirs in the area so several dams to check out if that is your thing. I was enjoying the pavement and the curves so much to slow down long enough for lots of pics. There are also a few enterprising businessmen that camp out in the corners to snap your picture as you pass by to post online for sale. Killboy.com and 129photo.com are the two main ones.
It’s been a great week overall but there was one bad day. Last week started watching Elsa head back to Seatac from Key West, it was good to see her as I hit the 1/2 way point at corner #3.
I slogged back across the Keys to Homestead AFB where I had stayed a few days earlier. It very convenient to use the military bases as I make my way. They are secure, comfortable and a real bargain.
While I was making my way down Florida, Jeff Millerman contacted me to say I was welcome at his place in Fort Lauderdale when I was heading back north. He’s a Tenere owner and a super great guy to boot! He even treated me to dinner, THANKS Jeff!
Leaving Fort Lauderdale the next day was quite challenging, my I phone slipped out of my tank bag as I was making a bee-line for my sisters in Saint Augustine. It was in the middle of rush hour traffic at highway speeds, I knew it was long gone when my Senna Bluetooth stopped in the middle of a song I found an AT&T store north of Palm beach to quickly replace the 6 S +
I was only in Saint Augustine for a night then I headed north through Georgia to my 1st cousins in Columbia, South Carolina where Adrain and Lara live just outside town on Lake Murray.
While there I was able to reconnect with two classmates from Jr High and High School. It was great catching up after 27+ years of time. I can credit it to Facebook for making it happen.
This time of year on Lake Murray, thousands of Purple Martins now roost on an island that Col. Jimmy Doolittle used to bomb for practice during WWII. We had two very nice sunsets on the water watching the birds.
As I left the lake, the landscape changed to more hills and curves as I made my way through the extreme NE corner of Georgia and into North Carolina. The last 20-30 miles before Deals Gap and The Dragon were spectacular! Even in the intermittent rain showers, I can see why so many people flock to this area.
This weekend, my wife Elsa flew into Key West Florida just as I reached corner number 3 on my journey. We were able to get a room at the Navy lodge on the Truman Annex of NAS Key West. The cool thing about this place is it’s actually more south than the “Southernmost marker buoy” that all the tourists get their picture taken at. Unbeknownst to us, it was also Ernest Hemmingway’s birthday weekend and the entire Key is awash with look-a-likes for the annual competition. I’ve only had 5 or 6 locals tell me “I thought you were dead” lol. Elsa even had a little fun photo shopping my face over this years winner. I gotta say there is a resemblance.
Its Elsa’s birthday soon(the big five-zero) and I’ll be somewhere near Maine then so this is her birthday weekend for us on the tropical beach.
I’ll start my journey north tomorrow from mile marker ZERO on US 1 as I head up the east coast to Madawaska Maine by the end of August.
My stats as of 17 July 2016
2 months, 3 days(65 days)
2 oil changes
2 new tires
2 new rear wheel bearings
850 photos taken
29 blog posts
254 photos posted
We had a great week of family,food and fun. I was nervous about putting my Klim pants back on, but it was ok ;-). I flew in my teenage daughters Emily(16) and Madison(19) to Lafayette for the week to hang out with mom and I. It was one of the agreements we had made for me to take this trip.
The girls and I have a usual list of places to eat at when they get to moms, Canes chicken, Chris’s Poyboys and Deno’s pizza are at the top. Mom also makes crawfish etoufee and beef brisket.Emily was actively helping and taking notes as mom cooked. It’s good that the traditions are continuing.
It’s also great to hang out with the friends and family when we are home. Katy and Doris invited me over for boiled crabs and later I the week we had a family diner with 25 of our closest cousins at Deno’s for great pizza.
Madi and Emily have taken on the Pokemon go ap and we spend the better part of one day looking for those things, We found out that all of the decorative Pelicans around town are a stop so we went around looking for as many as we can find.