What is the OPR?

(Olde Phartz Ride)

Ole Phartz at the highest point on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Years ago, a few friends got together and planned a motorcycle trip. The exact route taken has been forgotten in time, but it involved the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway, which is the typical route taken.

Later, having forgotten about the cheap motel rooms, bad restaurants, cold weather, rain and fog during the first trip, we planned another. We have continued to do it again and again. As I mentioned, most of the rides involve the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we have also done a ride through Arkansas (yes, northern Arkansas has some nice mountain roads) and a ride through northern Alabama/Tennessee (crossing the northern part of Alabama is BORING on a motorcycle).

We usually try to include a stop at a "Butcher Shop" restaurant. At a "Butcher Shop", you have to fix your own steak, plus it is fairly expensive, making it even stranger that anyone would want to do this, but the steaks are the best on the planet and it is a tradition. There is one in Orlando that we have yet to get to, hmm, that sounds like a plan.

What are the limits of the destination? There really aren't any, the typical requirement is that everyone is able to get their vacations at the same time. That requirement usually limits the length of time we can take on the ride. The majority of the Olde Phartz work near Kokomo Indiana (you know Indiana, land of 318 miles with 11 turns).

The following is some past OPR event info based on data from the Grand Opr Organizer, Bob Brewer.


On 09/29/91, Bob Brewer and Homer "Doc" Erickson (both from Kokomo Indiana, home of the Steer and Stump) and me (Wayne Orwig from Cambridge, Ohio) rode the Blue Ridge Parkway the full length. We also rode "The Dragon" (Deals Gap) and got the required steak in Knoxville before retracing our route up the BRP and home.

In 1992, Bob and I travel into Canada, and there was no OPR. Of course, we didn't know what an OPR was yet.


On 07/28/93, Mike Hankins (Kokomo) joined use for what was to become an annual event, and I was now living in Georgia. That year we met at Deals Gap then traveled to Guntersville, Alabama. At the airport there is a museum of sorts. They have a number of WWI replica planes. Most of these planes are custom made with modern power plants, but it is still interesting. From there we traveled across northern Alabama to Memphis Tennessee. I will remember this as the hottest, most miserable ride I have every taken. After getting the required steak in Memphis, everyone headed home.


On 05/05/94, we were joined by Steve "Late Again" Carson, and Rod "It ain't bent bad" Carroll (both from Kokomo). This year we met at Pipestem State Park in West Virginia. To get to the lodge that we stayed at, you must take a tram down the mountainside, very isolated. From there we rode to the BRP and up to Front Royal Virginia. We then headed to my old hometown of Cambridge, OH where we split and headed home.


On 05/17/95, we were joined by Gordon "Can we stop and wax our bikes" Smith and Ron "loud pipes save lives" Dixon. We met on Clarksburg, West Virginia. We went to the BRP, traveled south to Knoxville Tenn. (for the steak), then to Deals Gap. Everyone headed home from there.


On 05/16/96, Mike Hankins (now of Brownsville Texas) joined us, we all met in Benton Arkansas. I got there from Georgia by traveling across northern Alabama on the back roads. I guess I had forgotten OPR II and how badly northern Alabama SUCKS. We headed into northern Arkansas to the Ozark mountains. Eventually we headed back to Benton, where we went to Little Rock for our steak. The next day we split up and headed home.


On 05/16/97 we met at the Crossroads Of Time (COT) at Deals Gaps. Steve Quam joined us, and for two days we rode around the area, including the new Cherohala Skyway, nice road. We also rode a portion of the BRP, getting off and heading south to Caesars Head State Park in South Carolina, to Georgia, then back to the COT. So, we were able to hit 4 states with a small amount of travel.

Somewhere on the Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the billions of photos I have taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway. This includes most of the Olde Phartz gang. Notice the pretty blue sky. Notice the dry roads. Notice the rain suits. What is up with those guys?


For this year's ride, we met in Birmingham, Alabama on Thursday, May 14th, 1998. The group consisted of "Doc", Bob Brewer, Gordon Smith, Rod Carroll, Steve Quam and me (Wayne Orwig). A local motorcyclist, Jack Goertz, gave us a taste of the local BBQ Thursday night. On Friday we visited the Barber motorcycle museum. This is a visit that I recommend to everyone. We then traveled to Guntersville, Alabama to visit the WWI replica airplane museum, but it was closed "for the winter" (in May). On Saturday Bill Haynes rode over from Georgia early in the morning and met us. We road to Tellico Plains Tennessee were we took the Cherohala Skyway to get to Deals gap. We traveled into Knoxville that night for our steak. Sunday morning the Indiana riders headed back early. Bill, Steve and I headed south later.



This year we rode (surprise!) the Blue Ridge Parkway. We met in Weston WV on May 15th, 1999. We headed over to Front Royal, (new route to Front Royal) down the Skyline Drive to Waynesboro VA. The next day we headed down the BRP to Fancy Gap VA. From there to Asheville, then to Knoxville.



For the Y2K OPR we did a ride around Lake Superior. Ed Serafin from Easton PA joined use. The starting point was Kokomo Indiana. We rode up into Michigan, where we crossed the Mackinac Bridge, using the grated steel lane of course. Into Canada, and around the north side of Lake Superior. I was very surprised at how beautiful this area is and the roads are in great shape. But, eventually we had to cross back into the US and the roads went to crap again. We stopped in deluge, I mean Duluth, at the Rider Wearhouse, the home of Aerostitch. Then we head back to Indiana from there. It rained every day, until I get close to Georgia, which is in a drought condition.




In 2003 we did the Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive from top to bottom again. We started in Weton Wet Virginia, I mean, Weston West Virginia, and ended in Knoxville. It was very rainy and foggy on top of the Blue Ridge and on all but one day. The picture to the right is from one of the clearer moments. 




The gangThis picture is a group shot on Tuesday, which wasn't too rainy and foggy. Click the photo for an enlarged picture.






The picture to the right is a group shot of us getting ready to enjoy our steak at the Butcher Shop in Knoxville, once we found the place.






The ride home for me from Knoxville to Atlanta was dry and great. This picture is from my ride home atop the Cherohala Skyway. The only rain and clouds were far off in the distance.







Near home, the odometer on the Guzzi wrapped around.









 My Guzzi at Deals Gap


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Last update 5/24/03