Wednesday 5/12/2010 - Thursday 5/13/2010
I hate interstates and flatlands... and there's a whole lot of both between here and the final destination (Harriman TN), so I decided to take the car and trailer, beeline it to Harriman and save my self the travel time, using the extra time I gained to hit the nice roads instead.
Well, although I did hit some pretty heavy rain on the way there, on and off, it was nice and sunny in Harriman. I arrived on Wednesday the 12th, but most everyone else was going to arrive on Thursday. So, regardless of what would happen the rest of the days, I had Thursday and the sunshine. I unloaded my bike, went to dinner and went back to the hotel room to make final changes to my Thursday riding route.
The plan was pretty simple... stay off the interstate and follow the squiggly lines, prime among those was the legendary Tail of The Dragon ; route 129. After quick breakfast, courtesy of the Harriman Best Western where the bash was being held, I was on the road at about 8:15. I was sunny, the reads were great and then cam the first sign of the promised land; the Punkin Center on 129:
Yeah, let me zoom in on that:
Yeah, that's right... the sign says 318 curves in 11 miles of road... now that's a bike road... So, I zoomed off only to be met by this a few miles later:
Yeah, the road runs along the river there, and that's a crane. Guess I missed the news that 129 was closed because there was a rock slide. The only way to access it was to come from the South, not the North as I was doing. So, they detoured us up the Foothills Parkway and basically the day went like this:
I say it went like that because I don't really know where I was sometimes, course it didn't really matter, because I quickly found out there's not such thing as a bad bike road around those parts. Let's just say that I got my share of squiggly lines even without going down 129. It was just a perfect day. I didn't really take many pictures cause I was having too much fun to stop, but here are the few decent one's to give an idea of where I was.
That photo pretty much sums it up... lots of curvy roads, disappearing into the trees, going up and down the hills.
For lunch I stopped in Bryson City near the Tuckasegee River. By this time it was getting downright hot, hitting near 90 degrees. So, I took shelter in a roadside gazebo while I ate my lunch... the usual granola bars and fruit...
After lunch it was pretty much the same; grins from ear to ear.
I had a couple gravel road excursions. This one seemed to start out OK, but it quickly got rough and slimy, and after the GPS told me I had at least six more miles of that, I decided to back track and get on some pavement.
Somewhere just under 400 miles and 10 hours later I was back at the hotel, just in time to join some of the other guys for dinner (images below plagiarized).
And then after dinner, and hassling the waitress (He says you remind him of his third wife, but he's only been married twice... arrr arr arrr.. ) there was congregating, drinking of beers, and the usual BS.
Shhhhh... don't tell Gypsy I got her in a photo...
There's some fine outstanding gentlemen... well, not Steve... he's just trouble... arrr arrrr arrrr...