Final day - nothing but super-slab (about 300+ miles of it). Total mileage for the trip clocked in at 1475 miles - not bad for four days.
No pictures due to said super-slab - nothing exciting except getting home and jumping in the pool.
A little about the route...I used Map Source to set the route and loaded it to my Garmin 350LM. Spot on the entire route. I had four segments of the trip - of course they were segmented by day.
Monday, September 3, 2012
Sunday, September 2, 2012
|Harley in the sky with diamonds?|
I put together a list of topics that I wanted to blog about. Then I realized that my blog is heavy in words and light in pictures. After this realization, I went back and updated Day 2 with more pictures. Kept the retrospective of course. However, going forward, light retrospective heavy pictures. Except for this post - Day 3 had lots of riding and little pictures.
Last night we stayed at the venerable (at least in my mind) Lodge at Buckberry Creek in the mountains above Gatlinburg, TN. Wife and I like this place for the following reasons:
2. in smokey mountains near gatlinburg, but away from the tourists.
3. lodge vs (m)||(h)+otel
4. breakfast/dinner outside overlooking the smokey mountains
5. usually very little children
6. late night down by the creek (see pictures)
Here are a few shots from the Buckberry Creek Lodge
|Where's the Harley Parking Sign?|
|Home for the night|
|The view during dinner|
|I see Jack and Coke and White Russian|
|Lobby - come here lil puppy...|
I will admit that by around 10-11pm, NandI were pretty much smashed. Then it hit her - "i want to go down by the creek." But...but...that is like a 2 mile hike directly down a very steep hill and all I have are these flip flops and i'm drunk and there are bears and no one else will be down there and and and...ahh, screw it, let's go. (if i haven't said this before - NandI is my nickname for N and I)
So we went back to the room and I grabbed my .40 Glock 27 and a flashlight and we proceeded to walk back down to the trail. We were stopped by a couple (women) and the night-time maintenance guy. Each of them expressed the "dangers" that were possible down by the creek/pavilion. I know I was pretty lit, but the wife was too as her immediate response was related to the fact that I was carrying. Doh! Drunk and armed...yes I am. Prepared to screw with bears...yes I am.
Hiking down the mountain was a good time, we laughed about all the eyes we were seeing with my mega-lumen-flashlight (surefire i believe). Eventually, we get down there and it was dark as hell. There were remnants of a fire earlier in the day, but no lights were on. I proceeded to find as many light switches as possible and then tended to the smoldering fireplace until I had something nice and cozy. While all this was happening, N found some rocking chairs and placed them in front of the fireplace. N was pretty excited about being back down here at the pavilion (we visited the lodge one time previously back in 2007).
None of these pictures are high quality - I ended up turning off lights and just hanging out by the fire. We had a great time :)
|The fireplace in the outdoor pavilion|
|I think i was trying to show off that this rock chimney was tall - in the end, it is a drunk picture.|
Did you hear the crickets?? :)
Ok, next we slept in a very well appointed suite on a very large comfy bed.
A few observations from yesterday's ride:
1. Mileage was pretty low overall (~150), but we were very happy with the roads!
2. Many Many cops on these popular roads - in both TN and NC
3. While in TN, I was happy to see at least three different people exercising their right to open carry.
Ok, so that was all yesterday (day 2) - on to day 3.
Very little pictures on day 3, we were on a mission to ride out of the smokey mountains via the parkway and some super-slab. With a goal of about "halfway home", we stayed in Perry, GA at a place called Henderson Village. I believe we stayed in the old "slave cabins"...
|Our Cabin at the Henderson Village|
|Fields at Henderson - Old Plantation?|
|Love this shower...my Grandma had one just like it.|
One thing about Henderson Village, while the accommodations were nice and we enjoyed the surroundings, there was no dinner to be had on a Sunday night. The restaurant was closed down and there isn't anything near here for at least 10 miles. For dinner, I pulled out the phone and traveled over to a local steak house. On the way, with no gear on the bike, a sudden rain storm. Of course...
Anyways, we completed about 350 miles today.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
|Running the Dragon|
After unpacking the bike, we rode over to the lodge for some grub and libations. The lodge itself is quite large, well decorated, caters to motorcyclists (specific parking spots right up front), and they have live music on certain nights of the week. We decided to skip out on the music that night due to the long day behind and ahead of us (I believe it was the hot tub calling us). While dinner was cooking, I drank their last two yuengling in the bottle...lady tried to sell me on yuengling in the can, but I wasn't having it. Looking forward, I asked the bartendress if I could purchase a bottle of red wine and take it back to the cabin. She had to ask the owner.
Overall, a great evening spent at the lodge. With the next day's events on my mind, it was a relatively early evening. Though the bartendress attempted to light my fuse with a free shot of grandpa mimm's "legalized moonshine.". 100 proof...and it tasted like it too. I think she does that to get people to stay and drink...normally, a shot like that would trigger the drinking side of me. The bottle of red would suffice tonight.
This entire trip revolves around Day Two. While the journey was certainly the overall goal - it wasn't until day two that the riding really begins. Some of the best roads in the US exist in these mountains and Day Two was our opportunity to traverse sweeping curves, switchbacks, and enough elevation change to re-moniker the Harley, "the sherpa."
The wife, determined to bring a cooler with us on the bike, made certain accommodations (restrictions on her own packing list) to ensure it would fit. The first thing on the agenda after packing up the bike and breakfast at the lodge was the local gas/convenience store. Ice and Gatorade. And some more four dollar petrol...(on a side note, getting about 42-45 mpg on the Harley). Wife brings out a large bag of ice with the drinks and I think to myself, hopefully she has a plan. Six bottles of water and a couple gatorades, of which, half fit in the cooler. All good, we make more accommodations, despite the humor I was finding in all this, I know we need the liquids. The extra ice was given to some boys in a jeep with a boat on the back. Figured they could use it.
The entry road to the lodge was fraught with stop lights, with which I was determined to avoid on my way out. A slight redirection of the plan put us on some great warm up roads. Great mountain scenery and no stop lights. Kind of forgot to mention...cops were everywhere. Compensating for poor budgetary planning through additional taxation of holiday travelers. Back on topic. Taking the back way to tellico, lining us up for Cherohala, the Tail of the Dragon, and the parkway into Gatlinburg was the perfect alteration of the overall plan.
This being my first real motorcycle experience out of Florida on roads that don't go completely straight, I was pretty excited to get moving. Have I mentioned that I purchased the Harley on May 1, 2012? I passed the Harley Rider's Edge course in January 2010 so the government could endorse me to ride motorcycles. I have rented at least 10 different motorycles since my endorsement in January 2010. However, all but one of my trips were here in Florida.
Today's ride was only about 200 miles, but covered some of the best roads in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina! The Cherohala Skyway was a great ride with breathtaking views. It is quickly becoming a road enthusiast's dream come true with the sweeping corners, scenic views, and cool summer temperatures! The Skyway covers 15 miles in NC and 21 in TN - it crosses through the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests - thus the name "Chero - hala". Apparently the road was under construction for around 34 years and cost NC around $100,000,000. Not cheap, but to me (a non-NC tax payer), well worth it!!
In my regular perusal of the Internet, I found a woman motorcyclist that has an interesting blog about her travels. It is a little difficult to admit, but true: "I frequent a blog named Fuzzy Galore", and no...not porn related - which the author accurately depicts as a "Girlie Motorcycle Blog". (I should mention that at least her blog name has some originality...mine is boring). Her perspective however, is kinda comical and the riding / adventures are inspiring. Anyway, my reason for bringing this up - she mentions in her blog how she prefers to take timed pictures while riding with her GoPro versus the video option. I took her lead and setup my camera for a picture every two seconds while I rode the Cherohala Skyway. To each their own, but in this case, my own opinion is that the effort to review is much too high and the amount of "good" content is very little for the effort. Also...the images use MUCH more space than a video due to the quality of the images and the sheer amount. Either way, I took time out of my life to find pictures of a couple cemeteries and a few cops.
Final cut of the video and some random pictures from Day 2
|Leaving Blairsville, GA - I see dead people|
|I see more dead people.|
|Fields of the wood. Hrmm.|
|Stuck behind mr. 25 mph and more cops!|
|No more cops. Bye bye old dood.|
|Cherohala Skyway - In Full Speed|
|Wife and I|
|Great views on the Cherohala|
|Rain is trying to get me down - got me worried about the tail of the dragon.|
|Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort|
|Not a bad lean for full luggage and 2up.|
|Tail of the Dragon|
|Motorcycle hangout with no amenities|
|Finally...after all the Youtube videos, we've completed the Tail of the Dragon, What's Next?|
|Down the Road We Go!|
|NandI - Getting our drink on before dinner|