Itís day three. Woke up this AM at about 5:45 to the smell of new coffee and the sound of rain. Matt leaves for work at about 6:30. Cate and I drove him to the train station so we can have the car for the day. Iím just hoping that I can remember how to get there later, since itís me who will have to pick him up.
The forecast is lots of rain and wind and generally crummy weather, so we decide to hang for a day.
JVD is taking the down time opportunity to do a little electrical work on his Italian biotch. There is a GPS audio wire that is currently taped to his gas tank and which is definitely in the way, visually. Canít have that on an otherwise aesthetically fine Italian lady, no matter how finicky. We German bike enthusiasts donít have such problems. Mechanics take precedence over beauty in the BMW world.
It turned out that the fix for JVDís bike was a Radio shack item. So, we all piled into the Subaru wagon and off we went; Cate, JVD, JA and I. Of course, we didnít bother to call ahead, and RS didnít really have what JVD wanted, but he picked up an audio cable that is 8 feet long (rather than the 2 he wanted) and managed to hide the extra somewhere with cable ties.
It was supposed to be raining all day today, But no! It turned out to be a reasonable day to ride, which we didnít do.
Ah well, a day of rest is OK too. Here, JVD rests with his beaver buddy and leopard throw.
Doesn't he just look comfy.
One of the things we do on off days is to play cribbage. The deal is that of you get skunked, your bike has to wear the symbolic skunk tail until someone else suffers the same fate. Wisely, I have avoided playing at all for a couple of years, using the must play music to entertain excuse. For some reason, I decided to play today, and guess what!
Here, JA removes the tail from his bike where it has resided for over 2 years.
Here it is on mine. I must say it looked much better on his than it does on mine.
I adjusted noisy valves on my machine last night, so it looks like weíre ready to ride tomorrow.
Tonight, we went to Sweetwaterís for dinner. Three of us had the roasted chicken, which was delicious, and JA had a grilled tuna salad, also up to par. This washed down with Sweetwaterís brew pub brew, in my case an all American IPA.
As I write this, the rest of the gang is watching either the Celtics game or the Red Sox game, depending on where the ads are.
Not sure where we will be tomorrow night, but it will likely be South of here.
Ja is breaking out the ice cream as we speak. JVD is headed for bed. He says heís going to play with the beaver.
I got up at 5:30 to see Matt off to work. He and Cate are a great couple, and Iím a proud dad. Iíll be *seeing them again at the end of the month when cb1 and I go down for Memorial Day and Prairie Home Companion. But thatís a different TR.
We packed up, JA left a can of syrup, and we were off. We started out on Wellington St, which turns out to be about 15 miles long, and by the end we knew not where we were. Took a right and found Dumphries St, which also comes from Manassas. Suddenly, we were back with the world.
We went on to Culpeper, as planned, and stopped at a local gas station auto repair where the 75 year old woman behind the register told us the food was good at the local cafť behind the used car lot across the street. After riding by it twice without seeing it, I went out the back end of the mall parking lot and there it was. It turned out to be a good thing. A family owned affair with a good vege. omelet, bacon and a home-made biscuit (actually 2), cut in half and grilled, with home-made apple butter.
Now, fully gorged and stuffed, we waddled outside to the poor undernourished steel steeds and roared off into historic Culpeper.
Does anyone know what a wareroom is?
Dig the Wahooptie Taxi!
Then, off to the West, headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I took a few shots along the way.
Thought this was a nice prairie style/farm house combo.
There were a bunch of churches, but none others like this.
The all american windmill
Riding into spring
A piece of the Blue Ridge.
Barbecued gas anyone?
We rode to Peaks of Otter, where we stopped for lunch. This a highly recommended place to stay if anyone is ever on the BRP looking for accommodations. Itís at milepost 86 on the BRP in Bedford VA. Nice view from the hotel dining room. The food is good. Not great, but good. No TV, no Phone, or cell, No Wifi. Itís almost like camping out!
The Building, with Sharp Top Mountain behind.
The dining room view
We needed gas, so we rode the 5 miles down to Bedford, got gas, and came back up. We then rode another hundred miles to Meadows of Dan.
We stopped at the Floyd County (not country, that's another place) Store, but it was closed. Seems the older woman who ran it had back problems and couldn't stand all day to run it anymore. All this according to the guy walking by with his dogs, who probably just wanted to know what the hell we were doing.
JA says the outhouse still works though.
At Meadows of Dan, we found an honest to god fleabag motel. The Blue Ridge Motel. I didn't dare take a picture - didn't want to scare anyone.
This is not a place I would want to take cb1.
Itís not moldy or anything, but itís got a pretty heavy duty chemical disinfectant smell. Kind of like super pine scent or something. The desk boy called momma to see if there was a room with a roll away bed. Momma said #7, and wanted $70.00 plus tax. After he hung up, JVD talked Baby Huey out of the tax and we got the room for the $70. 00. Itís only worth it because we split it three ways. We had to pay him in cash to get this ďdealĒ.
Momma also owns the only restaurant in town, a buffet joint that was worse than the motel, if that's possible. The ceiling was thick with old brown smoke,and the buffet was laden with unidentifiable items. We ordered from the menu and fared no better than the buffet.
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Ohmygoodness....that sounds like not such a great place to stay!
Well, that is better than playing with the skunk tail!
Don says thanks for the pic of that cool old Triumph. Other than the girly coral colour, very neat! Also that old HD bike....130 MPH!?!? Yikes!
Enjoying your pictures and commentary. Thanks muchly!
We left early, having tired of the smell, the TV next door, and the fear of contracting an incurable disease if we walked barefoot on the floor.
We headed to the BRP, which was only about a half block away, and turned south through the rather cool morning air. The thermometer on my bike read between 51 and 63 degrees, depending on the amount of shade.
JVD is always on the ready.
We ran on until hunger prevailed, and we stopped for breakfast at another home style family place just off the BRP in Fancy Gap. There were three other 2 wheel fanatics having breakfast, so we talked bikes and biking till the food came. Turns out that one of them had followed us for about 20 miles yesterday.
Back on the BRP after breakfast, we rode until a lack of gas forced us to go downhill. JVD said his GPS said there was gas in a couple of miles, so we went in that direction. 20 miles later, we knew where there was a BP station on our own, so we went there. In another 30 miles, we were back on the parkway.
There was a great deal of damage to the trees along the road last winter. The several large snow storms they had took their toll, and there are trees down everywhere. It must have been a real job trying to get them all off the road, which is still closed for about 20 miles while they are working on clearing a rock slide. The guy we talked with yesterday at the Floyd County store said that after it snowed, it didnít melt for weeks.
Waiting for Godot...er, for to go
There is a short section of the BRP called a viaduct. It is a bridge-like section of road that doesn't go over anything like a river or gorge. It just kind of hangs out off the edge of the mountain. It's always interesting to ride over it since you have the feeling that you're just kind if hanging out in mid air.
We had to detour around the closed portion, and we decided to go to Little Switzerland for lunch. So, we're riding along minding our own business, we come around a corner, and there in the middle of the road is a caravan of conestoga wagons being pulled slowly along by hitches of mules. They stopped for a rest just down the road, so after taking a video, we stopped and chatted for a few minutes. There were 4 guys who just go out for a ride a couple of times a year for a week or so. The wagons were outfitted with stereos, fridges, beds, mag wheels..basically all the comforts of home. Even the mules looked pretty happy about the occasion.
Circling up for the Indians?
This is what happy mules look like
Click this for a video
The run back up the mountain on rte 226 is one of the better twisty roads around and we were fully awake by the time we got there. I had a half chicken salad sandwich. Itís their own special blend of chicken, apples, walnuts and curry, and itís real good.
Little Switzerland is only about two hours from C and Jís house, so the balance of the afternoonís ride was easy and pleasant. We arrived in Etowa and I was really happy to see our friends walking and talking at the same time. Itís been a long year for them in recovery from last yearís accident, and they still have a ways to go, but itís all much better than it was.
Weíre having lasagna here tonight. Thatís a good thing.
Scooter has his place all reserved
The king and queen of lasagna.
J, about to slam someone with scalding wit.
Like I said before Ė This dayís TR is going to be mostly photos (but with a few well placed and witty comments to keep your interest. J
We all had oatmeal for breakfast and we gentlemen 4 left for the Wheels Through Time museum in Maggie Valley. Itís on the other side of Mt. Pisgah from Etowa. The ride over there was quite enjoyable. Itís about a hundred miles one way.
The early morning air was a little brisk, but it never got cold even up on the BRP. The road up Mt. Pisgah is full of twists and turns and a lot of fun to ride. It goes through the Pisgah National Forest so there is little development and lots of unpopulated space. At the end is the BRP, upon which we rode for about 40 miles or so. The day warmed and it was about 80 when we got to the museum.
At the top of the BRP
The itinerant travelers
At this elevation, the trees are still dormant.
Another shot of winter damage.
Weíve been to WTT several times before. Itís one of the great motorcycle museums: lots of old and unique American motorcycles in good displays. There are also some cars, the first jet ski, (Sans jet, avec propeller, ridden standing up)
the first motorized toboggan/snowmobile,
and various other forms of machinery.
But, the real reason for greatness is the owner, Dale Walksler, and his attitude about all of it, (and now his son Mattís).
Basically, Dale believes that all of the motorcycles should be ridden and run, even if just for a minute in the museum. There is a long stretch of peel out marks on one side of the building where he has laid rubber with many of the old bikes, and as you walk around looking at stuff, you can hear bikes being started in various parts of the building as Dale and Matt demonstrate how itís done. We actually took turns riding around on an old Harley a couple of years ago.
The BMW opposed twin engine motorcycle was used so successfully by Rommel in the North African campaign that the US military commissioned some shaft drive opposed twin copies from Harley Davidson in the early 1940's. Of course, Harley had no experience with the boxer engine and the results were less than exemplary. This is one of those bikes.
After the museum, a salad bar lunch at the Maggie Valley Restaurant and we headed home. We almost got home before we were greeted by the edge of a thunderstorm and a small amount of rain. No one got really wet, but it was just enough to soften up the layer of bugs that had accumulated on all the bikes and they were easy to wipe off.
Supper was at a really good Mexican restaurant. I had an Avacado burrito, a Corona, and a flan which was shared by all.
No plans for tomorrow yet. Weíll just have to see what happens. There is some talk afoot about going down to Seneca GA to C and Jís summer house to go sailing, but nothing firm yet. Itís about 1 Ĺ hours from here.
The roads down here are more twisted than a cat and a ball of yarn.
We spent the whole day just riding around. We didnít go anywhereÖwe just went. On the Blue Ridge, off the Blue Ridge, over the Blue Ridge, between the Blue Ridge, around the Blue Ridge, under the Blue Ridge. Took Rte 215 up to the BR, took Rte 152 down from and up to the BR, took 215 down from the BR, took* the BR. It was a wonderful riding day. Traffic was light or none, the temp. hovered around 80 down low and 75 in the mountains. We went to Sylva for lunch at a place called Bogartís, although it appears that Humphry hisself is still in Mexico enjoying the Playa Palms, as he wasnít there. (See the March Madness TR for a better explanation.)
There was a landslide on the BRP this winter and the part of the parkway directly north of Ďrte 152 is closed. It seems that quite a few folks take 152 as the detour. This is ok for some, but 152 is a steep drop with a lot of tight u turns and switchbacks. We ran into someone with a 25 foot trailor behind a large 4 door pickup trying to make it down. Iím betting that there were a whole lot of other motorists who were mightily pissed about it. No passing someone going 2 mph for 10 miles.
J&C's mailbox. The neighbors all love it.
Tonight's supper was two kinds of salmon, wild rice and asparagus.
The other salmon recipe.
Don't forget mine!!!
On the plate.
Oh yeah - dessert. Strawberry shortcake, home made biscuits (by me ) and real whipped cream. They were goooooood.
And, Scooter finally got his piece.
JA sees, hears and speaks no evil
I awoke late today. Donít know what happened, but I didnít get up until 8:00. Must be I was tired or something. Everyone else was hanging around liking awake, but not me!!
Anyway, when I did eventually get up, they called off the search party and we had breakfast. The plan was to go for a ride to Seneca, SC where C and J have a house on Lake Keowee. This is a lake whose primary purpose is to cool the nuclear (or nucular if youíre GW) reactor on the lakeís shore. Water from the lake is pumped into the reactor cooling tower and from there it flows downstream, where all the three eyed, five legged frogs live.
We had a fine ride over and arrived at about the same time as J who drove the truck over with a washing machine replacement.
C follows J
Somehow, while I was taking the usual complement of pics while riding, I managed to turn on the video component in my camera and there is now a 15 minute video of my wrist, the back side of the bike fairing, the yellow line in the road, and roadside weeds bouncing by. All this accompanied by engine and shifting noise.
Kudzu takes over. Yes, that's a for sale sign on the lawn.
Pickens, home of the Pickens flea market.
I thought this one was pretty big
Until I saw this one. This is only pat of it. There must be one hell of a traffic jam here sometimes.
First view of Keowee
View from the front door
First order of business, install the washer and mow the lawn. JVD and C installed while JA mowed. I had the hard part, which was recording these events. Proof of the difficulty is in the fact that they are all done and Iím still slaving away.
What are all these extra parts for??
The final adjustment
After finishing, and then cleaning the smelly old water out of the hot tub, we went sailing in C & Jís 25 foot sloop. J went back home, so the guys went for a bonding sail. There was a nice breeze, and the sailing was very enjoyable. We thought that the members of the sailing club where the boat is moored were a little put off by these leather wrapped guests as none of them would talk to or acknowledge us without C in attendance, but they werenít on the boat with us, so we didnít much care.
JVD wonders what the big white canvas thing is
While JA wonders what the poor people are doing today
We sailed for about 2 hours, came in, put everything away, and rode home. All in all, this was a very satisfactory day. Supper was hamburgers beans and corn on the cob.
There have been no plans made for tomorrow. This is as it should be.
Last edited by leedsb; 05-18-2010 at 04:36 PM..
Got back into my normal schedule this AM by rising at about 6:15. Took a shower and checked email. We had home fries with onions and peppers, bacon, and baked eggs for breakfast. It was my first time for baked eggs. They were very good.
Apres breakfast, we sat around for long enough that something else had to happen, so JVD and I got dressed and ready to ride and forced JA to put the book down, get off the bed and go for a ride. He was not impressed with our efforts, but he acquiesced.
Ready to enjoy another Seinfeld day, we rode off to the south in the same direction as yesterday, and even on some of the same roads.
I finally figured out that these huge, finely mowed pastures are sod farms.
We found a different route to essentially the same place, Keowee, and its sister lake, Jocassee.
Devil's Fork State Park. Lake Jocassee
Itís an interesting process. Lake Keowee is the cooling water for the reactor. When the water is high, water is pumped from Keowee up to Jocassee. Later on, as the water level drops, the dam is opened and water flows back into Keowee.
Eventually, we went into Brevard to get gas. Found this elk looking confused in town.
I thought Panthertown might be a southern version of Cougar Town, though we looked, we could find nothing resembling either.
All we found were these Christmas Trees.
So we found a good place to park and stand for a minute.
Onward we rode to lunch at the Cornucopia in Cashiers. Ham sandwich, Cajun shrimp Ceasar salad and a custom made omelet. Our neighbor table was quite impressed that we rode those things all the way from VT to the Carolinas.
More riding and new roads followed in the PM. We stopped on the BRP for a short rest and found that there was a trail to the top of this cliff.
About a 20 min. hike says JA, so off we go. Don't forget that we are all attired in motorcycling gear, which means full leathers for JVD and I. And, it was warm, and it was all straight uphill from the first step. I sat on every bench I passed on the way up, but the views were good.
The Parking lot, from where we came. The fly specks on the left side of the lot are the bikes.
Just to prove I was really there.
Found a bunch of these lichen covered trees.
We got back at about 6:15 and took C&J out to a motherís day dinner in at SQ1 in Hendersonville. More really good food. Iím beginning to fear for the pounds that I lost before starting this trip.
This caped crusader was standing guard outside the restaurant.
and French Onion
Last edited by leedsb; 05-18-2010 at 09:06 PM..
Join Date: May 2010
Thanks for the memories!
Hi all, I just signed-up to the Playa forum so I can check out the veracity of Leeds' posts! He's doing pretty well this year.
I have to say that we missed Leeds' guitar playing this year as he buried his head in the netbook for most of the trip. But, it is great to have his photos and stories to keep my memories alive!
Leeds has an amazing ability to take photos on the move with his left hand, camera upside down...I would fall off my bike if I tried!
So, many thanks, Leeds, for all the photos and posts...keep up the good work!
PS That Skunk tail sure looks good on your bike!! Ha, Ha!
Last edited by jvd; 05-19-2010 at 09:21 AM..
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Saskatchewan, Canada
Welcome, JVD- he is doing pretty well, I think!
All those food pics are making me hungry! Very nice. I love that kitty pic too, was he just yawning...he looked angry?!
Nice ride. Other than getting stuck behind the slow moving vehicle...ugh. That would be frustrating!
That lake looked really pretty, too.
This morning started at the usual time. But, we were totally lazy, and decisions required for the dayís travels took forever. They involved much looking at and discussing of the weather, what it was going to do, where it was going to happen, when it was going happen there, how much of it was going to happen and how good looking was the weather girl - this latter question being by far the most important.
But I digress. We were able to decide, once we forced C to close the laptop, that we would go to Suches, GA for the night. Suchess is where the TWO camp ground is. Some of you might remember that we met an astronaut and his wife there last year. Or should I say an astronautís wife and an astronaut. Either way, we planned to spend the night at the same place.
We left with the full knowledge that it was supposed to rain this afternoon, but it was only a 30% chance, sooooÖ
We never left until about 10:00 and the weather was still cool enough to mean plugging jackets in for warmth. (Yes, we do this. We're manly enough without freezing.) By the time we got up into the mountains, it was only about 53 degrees. But the sun was out and the views were splendid. We rode through the morning to Sylva where we stopped for coffee and a little snack. Mine was a chocolate oatmeal nut cookie. Health food.
We continued on the Cherohala skyway, a wonderful road completed in 1996 and connecting Robbinsville NC with Tellico Plains TN. It gets to about a mile high and is full of reliably consistent corners that a lot of fun to ride through.
Here's a pic of all those nice twisties. You can see that this is destined to be fun. I even got myself hard at work here.
The only reason I include this photo is that I can't believe that I got it while riding bye.
I love the layers of blue as the mountains fade into the distance.
At the Tellico Plains end, we found Catís Cafť. Itís right next to the fried food joint thatís been there for years, and serves much better food. I had a ham salad sandwich and a bowl of pasta fazool instead of the deep fried stuff Iíve always gotten next door.
It started to rain while we were eating.
By the time we were done, it was obvious that we would need rain gear. So we all put it on and rode off into the wet afternoon. Riding in the wet is restricting in many ways. Lots of clothing stiffens joint activity, vision is depleted and traction is reduced. All this makes travel lots slower than when itís dry.
Around 6:00, we arrived at TWO. There was no one else there. We were all alone, locked doors in our hands. After grousing about the lack of accommodation and the need to continue further, even though we called ahead and left a message this morning, we continued on to Dahlonaga, GA. There we found a very clean and helpful Super8 motel where we are spending the night. The General Tsoís I ordered for dinner as explained earlier was actually rather good.
OK, let's see - I ordered the Tofu..no, wait a minute, that's the pork. Lemme see that chicken. Could you pass the curry sauce? Here, you take this while I...Cut the top off that for a plate. Hey, this is pretty good.
We watched a little Antiques Road Show, and a show about the whaling industry. I don't know why the hell I watched that as long as I did, but it was nothing if not totally depressing. The world needs to stop harvesting these giant leviathans.
Hoping for dry maŮana.