Girl Meets World on a Yamaha FZ-07 Part 9: Headed West Again

A fond farewell to the south.

Tiff and I met at the track, where she races her Ninja 250 with more enjoyment and positivity than anyone else on the grid. When Tiffani got word that she’d be getting laid off from her job in Los Angeles, she didn’t fret. In typical ultra-optimistic Tiff style, she saw it as an opportunity to hit the road on her newly acquired Yamaha FZ-07. What follows are Tiffani’s reports from the road, originally posted for her friends on Facebook but shared here with her permission for all to enjoy. — Ari Henning

It’s going to be really hard to top the high of making it to Florida, but the last few days have finally involved motorcycle things and people who actually knew what an FZ-07 is, so it’s been pretty exciting for me. Let’s do the day by day!

Upon leaving Daytona, I headed up to Georgia to start making my way back. As I was riding along on the interstate, all of a sudden, the sky got super dark, and the weather went from a cloudy afternoon to a deluge of rain and wind out of nowhere. Visibility was instantly non-existent, and I was getting blown all over a soaked freeway. I watched every car in front of me immediately throw on their emergency flashers, and we all huddled in a gas station at the first off ramp. I thought it was pretty weird that people in cars would freak out over rain, but then I learned that a tornado warning was in effect. Whoops!

My chosen camp was still 60 miles off, and the idea of camping that night now seemed dumb even by my questionable standards, so I booked a room in a Super 8 and sprinted the last 6 miles to wait out the storm.

The next day was completely uneventful. The weather cleared up, and I rode up the state to camp on a freezing-cold mountain in northern Georgia.

Tiffano Burkett FZ-07 adventure
This is my “you have no idea how cold I am” face.©Motorcyclist

Day 22 was another day that I’m calling a favorite. The point of this day was to ride something fun, so I made my way up to Deals Gap to ride the Tail of the Dragon in North Carolina. Temps were in the 30s this time, and I was absolutely freezing. I had to constantly stop to get warm before continuing, and broke out every bit of winter gear I had (including double layering down jackets and a balaclava). A million hot cocoa stops later, I eventually made it, and man is that road worth it. Between the flow, the technicality, and the scenery, I can’t think of anywhere I’ve ridden that was more fun than those 11 miles.

Tail of the Dragon
Just being a lame, cheesy tourist at Tail of the Dragon. Don’t mind me.©Motorcyclist

But what really made the experience great was that this was the first time this whole trip where people knew what the FZ-07 was. (I’m not sure if it was just too early in the season or what, but I encountered very few other riders thus far, and the only other riders I did run into were older Harley and BMW guys who asked me about my “Super Tenere” or just met me with blank stares if I said anything other than “it’s a Yamaha.”) One guy came up to me tripping that, while the FZ had been turned into racebikes and flat trackers, he had never seen it turned into an adventure bike. He laughed at me noting I must really love my bike, because I was blushing just talking about it. (I mean, my FZ IS my one true love… Also, I don’t think he realized how hot he was. Smooth, Tiff. Real smooth.)

But here was the really trippy part—when people saw my California plate, they naturally kept asking if I really rode there from California. When I told them my story, they wanted to take my picture. This happened multiple times with several completely unrelated people while I was riding around those roads, and had happened a few times in Florida as well. Seriously weirded me out, because I tried to explain that it was totally doable for anyone if I could do it. But if they wanted to collect pictures of random weirdos on the road, who am I to say no?

Just the same, it still felt good to get some congrats, some love for the FZ that I had put so much time and effort into building, and to just be among riders who were actually riding. I spent the better part of 5 hours there talking to people and riding the road back and forth before hunting down a KOA in Tennessee.

Touring Tennessee on the FZ-07
This was on my bike when I woke up the next day in Tennessee. This state is alright in my book.©Motorcyclist

The next morning was even more motorcycle things! I booked a room in Birmingham, Alabama, then headed to Barber. The moment I walked through the door to the museum and just saw bikes everywhere I’m pretty sure my eyes bugged out of my head. I probably spent a good hour or two in the racing section alone. The only hard part was that I had to look at the track out the window, and I didn’t get to ride it.

After spending the whole day there and getting to talk to some more people who were ogling my FZ on my way out, I spent the rest of the night relaxing and the next day made my way south to New Orleans, setting up camp at sunset across the field from a herd of deer.

Motorcycle camping, campfire
This was actually my first time the whole trip where I got to make a camp fire, thanks to the previous campers leaving behind a bunch of kindling.©Motorcyclist

The next day, I rolled into New Orleans bright and early and met up with Max at The Transportation Revolution (ttrno.com) for a tire swap and some basic maintenance. My front Shinko 705 still looked pretty good somehow, but after 7000 miles the rear was worn out. As I was pretty happy with the Shinko 705s, I decided to keep the same tire in the same 170 sizing.

After getting the tire mounted I left to explore New Orleans a bit. I looked around the French Quarter and Jackson Square, explored the farmers market, got some of the best sea salt caramel fudge I’ve ever had at a little candy shop (which I will figure out how to replicate if it kills me), and made a day of it.

Tiffani Burkett FZ-07 cross-country trip
I think this is the most time I spent in an actual city looking at city culture type things this whole trip.©Motorcyclist

Afterwards, I met up with Max and his fiancé for dinner, hung out for a bit, and got to meet a number of pretty amazing people from the motorcycle industry.

And the next day I got up early and pointed the FZ’s front wheel west. Destination, Austin, Texas!