The wife and I took our first long trip on the CTX1300 over the Memorial Day Weekend. We put on a total of 525 miles - and the bike is a great little touring machine. Just in time for our trip, my tall windshield and luggage rack came in. Because I travel for a living, I was out of town and could not install them myself, so I had my son drive the bike to the dealer and had them put the new bits on. I also cobbled up a way to attach my old tank bag, put on my old rear bag, and the wife had made some liners for the saddle bags.
We left late Friday afternoon and had to suffer through the North Metro Atlanta traffic - but were still able to make it to Clayton, GA before dark - about 90 miles. I was totally amazed with the new windshield! I have never had a windshield before - and in fact had heard so much bad about buffeting that I had shied away from ever getting one for the Magna - but all the good reviews of the CTX1300 tall windshield are completely true - it makes it a dream to drive!
Saturday morning we headed up Warwoman Road out of Clayton, then connected to State Road 28 (this road is unique in that it keeps the same name through SC, GA, NC, TN). Rode this through Highlands, NC, Franklin, NC, Fontana Village, NC, and connected to US129 in Deals Gap at the South end of the Dragon Tail. We have ridden through here before, but this time we stopped and made the pilgrimage, bought the t-shirt and hat, and took the pictures... We stopped for the night in Townsend, TN, one of the "gateways" to the Smokies - about 140 miles.
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At this point in my story I have an observation. I am not a real aggressive driver, but the vib on the Dragon Tail sort of pushes you a bit. When riding on twisties, we all counter-steer without even thinking about it, but if you want to be more aggressive you need to put a bit more thought into your counter-steering. When I did this, I found that the CTX1300 had somewhat of an awkward feeling to counter-steer. I would love to hear what you all think and if you have had a similar feeling.
On Sunday morning, we entered the park and enjoyed the Little River Rd going toward Gatlinburg while everybody else was heading toward Cades Cove. We had brunch in Gatlinburg which turned out to be a bad idea because we drove all the way through before picking a restaurant - and then had to cope with the b to b traffic all the way back to the park entrance. Just as we got to the visitor center, it started to rain, so we stopped and put on the rain suits. It rained all the way to the top, and all the way down. 62 degrees at the top as indicated by the CTX1300's instrument.
We continued on through Cherokee, and Bryson City, back around on NC28 and NC 143 to Robbinsville and then down to Murphy, NC for the night. About 160 miles for the day.
Monday, after a late breakfast of BBQ (strange, but it is what the wife wanted) we headed toward home. We rode the Wolf Pen Gap Rd and GA60 down to Dahlonega where we made a short stop at the Fudge Factory to stock up on essentials. About another 135 miles.
We made a similar trip with the Magna a couple years ago, but that poor bike was so seriously overloaded - and not at all comfortable. The CTX1300 did it in style! I was worried when I bought the bike that the saddle bags were a bit small, but we found that we could pack for three days with no problem. Of course you have to find someplace with laundry on the third night! I noticed that the front of the bags was being stretched open a little bit by the tight packing, but we did not get any rain in the bags even with that.
We had a blast and can't wait to do it again! The mountain roads that I chose were perfect for just "cruising" and the CTX1300 is very happy to go slow, but at one point, when the road opened up a bit, I did run it up to over 110 mph even fully loaded. It had more to give (just slow in delivering) but I ran out of room and the ponding on my back from my wife was getting a bit annoying. We always wanted to do trips like this, but really couldn't do it before, but now it will be easy to plan long weekend getaways on the bike - and that is exactly what I was hoping for with the CTX1300 - and it has not disappointed! We love it!!