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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made the long trek from the greater DC metroplex to Shenandoah National Park on a mission to traverse Skyline Drive. The first challenge is getting there. The only way I know to get there is on I-66 to Front Royal. Well, the Grom is highway capable, so off I went. It's a bit frightening when in heavy traffic as semis are passing at about 75. Once away from the populated areas then it's okay. The usual Grom on Highway caveats apply. It was a simple route, but I will find a different way to get there next time.

Climbing the mountain goes with some difficulty, but 3rd gear was up to the challenge without being a hindrance to traffic. The 35 MPH speed limit helps. I'd like to thank the Outback that tried to wave me past, but we were already going 40 uphill and the Grom just doesn't have the ponies to overtake before the next blind curve. Besides, I was not in a hurry. The curves were actually very entertaining. You can roll through a couple of esses before the next hard turn. If it's an uphill you'll be on the power and cutting it will stop you pretty fast. Be more careful on the downhills since the braking power on the Grom seems to go from almost useful to breaking traction on the front wheel very quickly. There's one "High Crash Area" sign in the southern third, but I didn't notice anything different there than anywhere else. I did get passed by several guys on sportbikes and even saw one get pulled over. Most people are just out for a good drive. It is noticeably cooler up there, specially if the clouds are hiding the sun for any length of time, so take at least an extra long sleeve shirt.

The biggest challenge for the Grom is gas. The park is 108 miles long. That's uncomfortably close to longest range I've gone without refueling. Not knowing what the effects of handling the elevation changes would be, or how far the next gas station would be, I decided to tank up at Big Meadows which has the only gas station in the park. Older maps show a gas station at Wayside, but it's not there anymore. I think it's a relatively recent change since I saw the remnants of the pump island. After exiting the park I headed east on US250 and found a gas station in about 3 miles. Adding up both fuel ups I get 0.96 gallons. I'll leave it up to you to decide your fueling plan.

Then it was time to get home. It's an almost straight line back to DC to take the Seminole Turnpike north from Charlottesville. It's a boringly straight ribbon of asphalt, but the undulating hills were havoc on the poor Grom; uphill slowing down to almost 40 and downhill at almost 65. The worst part though were the bugs. It took some effort to clean my helmet visor. I don't even want to think about the insect bodies encrusted in my mesh jacket.

Overall, a good trip. My conclusions are: I wish for a bigger fuel tank, the seat is not very comfortable for long trips, and the blackberry ice cream is pretty good.


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