Part 2

Tuesday October 5’ 2010 - Day 16 Late start this morning in hopes of giving it a chance to warm up. No dice ... another day of temps in the 40’s and 50’s. Although more sun was seen today the wind and elevations made short order of any warmth it was generating. We modified our focus some today away from riding most of the day and made some stops we would have normally passed up on. We passed Laural Waterfalls on Little River Road that runs into the Smokey Mountain Park and decided to stop and do the 1.3 mile hike to the falls. I’m not to big on things like this but with my excuse to keep riding because we had to be somewhere at a certain time gone I had no choice but to submit to this healthy activity that Yong was clambering to do.

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The sun poked out and the trail was challenging and very beautiful but little did we know that we were both about to witness something even more beautiful ..... just up ahead of us as Yong and I walked the trail up the mountain we saw an elderly gentleman with a walker slowly plodding up the trail. His walker had wheels on it and he was moving at what could only be describes as snails pace when compared to the busy stream of people that were passing him and his elderly wife by. The gentleman’s name was Victor. What a great name and it so easily embodied the man’s spirit I was to find out later. We chatted and he told me he was from Missouri. I said we were from Western Tennessee near the Land Between the Lakes area. He said he wanted to go there someday if I’m still able. I said I was sure that if he wasn’t afraid to tackle this hike then he would surely make it to see Tennessee as well. Here’s Victor standing with my wife on the trail.

We wished him the best and continued on up the trail ... and up the trail ... and up the trail. I swear I don’t know who made that sign for this falls that claims it’s only 1.3 miles but I’d like to get my hands on him. We finally got there and I have to say ... that’s not much of a water fall. I’m sorry. It was beautiful don’t get me wrong but it was certainly nothing like what I imagined especially after hoofing it for over a mile. As we headed back down our thoughts just kept going to Victor and his wife ....It's not possible we thought for him to come all this way. Surely they had turned around realizing they couldn’t make it. Nope there they were about half way there along the trail still heading up. We stopped again and chatted and commented on the difficulty of the trail to come and employed him to perhaps reconsider. He wasn’t having much of it. He said not to worry ...they would go as far as they could and then turn back if they had to. We said our good bye’s and continued walking down the hill as they continued inching upward. As we got back to the bike I thought now that guy’s doesn’t have a Bucket List ... he’s just doing it and he’s not letting anything stand in his way .... got to admire that in a person and Victor I’m sure was victorious today ... he was already a winner in my book .... just being there.... Now that was a beautiful thing to witness ... just plain beautiful. Some beauty you can’t capture with a camera you just have to experience it.

Posting some additional pics on the other page as to not take up room here. We had lunch again today by the river. It’s funny but “by the river” for lunch is becoming our favorite place to eat. Kind of like your favorite restaurant in the city only in reverse out here in the wild. We’re thinking of heading south to get back into the warmer temps. May drop down to South Carolina tomorrow. We decided not to pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway today as the colder temps are not sitting well with the boss and true colorful Fall foliage is still eluding us. Today we only rode about 100 miles ...that has to some kind of minimum record of miles for me in one day :-)

Wednesday October 6’ 2010 - Day 17

Today we were on a quest for total sunshine and mild temps. If that meant heading back South then we were on it. The night before I downloaded a new app for my Iphone called “Greatest Roads”. You basically select an area of the country and hit a button and it shows all the worthy motorcycle roads mapped out in that area. Since I hadn’t ridden in South Carolina much in the past we let it pick many of the roads we took today after deciding to head South. We found many state parks and areas of interest in this corner of South Carolina. Instead of lunch by a river today we picked a lake. This was at the Cowpens National Battlefield Visitor’s Center just off route 11
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We were also very happy and relieved to find temps in the low 70’s and nary a cloud in the sky all day . It appears the storm that had stalled out in the East is finally moving on leaving a nice warming trend all over much of the eastern US. Only problem is no fall colors in mass yet that I can tell. From what I read and hear from the locals it will be another couple of weeks before the parkway ripens.

I finally had to replace the Lithium batteries in my SPOT II GPS Navigation device. I found out that it lasted for about two weeks in the mode I was using it in and that is the automatic tracking mode where it sends a message of my position every 10 minutes. If you adjust the history on my Spotwalla page to show ‘All” you see I’m trying to color the entire map of the US orange with my SPOT track :-)

http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=20304ca295004cff5

New batteries are in and I will be continuing to transmit in this tracking mode each day. Think it will be fun to look back on the entire trek when every I finish riding. With close to 5,000 miles on this trip so far this will no doubt be my longest Road Trip ever (previous record was 6,250 when I was working and just on vacation). Thinking of continuing to trek East toward the right coast and then jog North again to around the Williamston North Carolina area. This was where I was born and lived for the first 10 years or so of my life. Always fun to see what’s not there anymore. Of course my home town of Hamilton, N. C. is just a one stop light small town anyway. This assumes the weather is agreeable.

Thursday October 7’ 2010 - Day 18

Aaaaaahhh ... timing is everything. We were on the road little earlier than usual today and after breakfast decision was made to head North back to the Asheville area and the Blue Ridge Parkway. It didn’t look like there were any motorcycle road worthy highways continuing to head East along South Carolina’s Northern border and with the weather finally clearing North of us it made sense ... that is until about 10:22 a.m. Russ ... you will get a kick out of this story.

It was at 10:22 a.m. this morning after just entering the lovely state of North Carolina on Highway 221 when one of North Carolina’s finest State Troopers, JR Henson, pulled us over. We were zipping along (no I was not speeding) on a two lane road just after a lengthy construction zone had finished and I had made the fatal error of passing a slow moving truck against the dreaded double yellow line. There is nothing a motorcyclists hates more than to be stuck behind a slow moving vehicle on a great road with no legit way to pass. I hate this scenario probably much more than most as I’m a very impatient man .... Retired or not. He’s a big no nonsense type guy and asks only for my drivers license which I promptly present. He heads back to his car leaving us to twitch in wind and wondering if a ticket was coming forthwith. I was encourage by the fact that he had not asked me for my proof of insurance and vehicle registration. Silly me ... I was to find out later they don’t need no stink-in registration or proof of insurance to write you a ticket. He was fast tracking me and was back with my ticket licked split. I glanced it over and was amazed the fine was only $50 bucks yet the courts cost were $141.00. How can this be? .... Like most people I’m not going to court but instead will mail in my remittance .... Shouldn't I get a discount on the court cost for not tying up the courts? I have never understood that. Well .... he didn’t care one way or the other and fortunately I was thinking all this in my head and not talking or complaining about it to him. Then ... just like that he was gone. Whole thing couldn’t have taken much more that 5 minutes from start to finish. In hindsight, I guess there wasn’t much room for discussion as there is when you get a speeding ticket you can haggle over the exact speeds. With this type of violation it’s pretty cut and dry. How could my timing be so bad that I picked the precise moment to pass that slow moving truck that coincides with the exact location where he had to be parked along that road with view of the incident. Usually the worst part of getting a ticket is the yelling you get from your significant other after it’s over. Yong was amazingly forgiving on this one. I think it’s because she wanted me to pass that truck as well. Ha ... if that’s true it would have been perfect if she had tapped me on the shoulder just prior to my deciding to pass that truck and said “Go ahead and pass this guy” ... Now that would have been GREAT TIMING :-)

Oh well ... we weren’t going to let that spoil our day. At least it will cause me to think twice next time I want to perform that maneuver although I’m kind of doubting it will stop me. We got up close to the parkway and then took a neat road up in elevation to get to it ....226a. It was then down (south) on the BR Parkway to Asheville and then back up (north) on the parkway to Boone N. C. It was so nice up there today we couldn’t tear ourselves away long enough to try some near by roads. ... you know the drill ...... so many roads and so little time. Finally starting to see some color as we rode up to Mt Mitchell summit today and the view was spectacular! There’s also a shot of us along the BR Parkway. Many other pictures posted on the more pictures link. Beautiful Fall Days!
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pasted-graphic-4 Friday October 8’ 2010 - Day 19

Today marked the 6th day on the road for Yong. For me it was day 19 since leaving Buckeye, Arizona back on Sept 20th. Although she enjoys the riding on the open road with me she doesn’t quite enjoy it as much as I do (not many people do) and quite often ends up scratching her head to understand why I want to ride so often and so much. Since we can’t do a brain scan on me yet to figure out the answer to that question suffice to say a break for a couple of days makes sense on a trip like this. In fact, it was in the fine print when I got her to sign on for this trip. We agreed to spend 2 days at the same location giving her a day free from the saddle in the backseat of the Wing. Fortunately I was able to insert a secondary clause in the agreement that stated that there was nothing from preventing me from riding around that said location searching out new roads waiting to be ridden while she rested. She wanted peace and quite and no ride time and I wanted some quite time myself to ride so it was a good match. With that in mind we beat up on the BR Parkway again today .... hummmm or was it the other way around? It was a good beating either way. I only wish I could run the entire parkway without the 45MPH limit. That road is begging for speed although I will say there are sections that contain bone jarring bumps and holes. Anyway after another day of cruising up and down and all around we settled on Sparta, North Carolina to call home for a few days. We happened to have found a motorcycle friendly motel there called the Alleghany Inn. It had all we needed and was set in a perfect small town setting just a stones throw from the Virginian border. Once settled in the local High School, which happened to be within easy walking distance of the motel, was having their homecoming football game and activities. It turned out to be a great way to relax for the evening as I was able to take in a local High School Football game and once again experienced the drama that is “High School” Oh .... My .... God ......nothing has changed. Unfortunately, the home town favorite, Allengany Trogan’s were no match for the visiting East Wilkes Cardinals. Score was 42 - 12 by halftime. At any rate it was a nice break from cycling for a few hours. Tomorrow as Yong rest I will have the honor to take my 2004 Black Goldwing over the 200K threshold. It is now sitting at 199,802 so should hit the magic mark sometime today. I’m hoping to record the event on the odometer as silly as that may sound to some. It’s been and continues to be an awesome bike. Here’s wishing it another 100K. Few pics from the football field and homecoming. pasted-graphic-5 pasted-graphic-6 Saturday October 9’ 2010 - Day 20 Today was the type of day a motorcyclist dreams of .... least this cyclist. You wake up at a totally new location you have never been before, weather is perfect for riding, roads are awesome right outside your door and you have the entire day to just explore one great road after another. Not to mention the rural scenery is not to be believed in it’s majestic simplicity. As I cruise along in the crisp morning air I can’t help but feel a tear well up in my eyes. Not sure how you react when you see natural beauty so stunning but for me it brings me to tears sometimes. Every turn, every stretch of road laid out before me is virgin territory that my eyes and senses are taking in at an alarming pace and the WIng hums beneath me as it effortlessly gobbles up mile after mile. Sensor overload in a most wonderful way with every color imaginable on display. By afternoon I was closing in on 200,000 mile mark on my 2004 Black Gold Wing. As I clocked closer to the magical number, glancing back and forth between the road and odometer I reflected back 6 1/2 years ago when I purchased this bike and rolled it out the door. Had no idea at that time it would become a legend ... least in my mind. It’s been a great bike and anyone who has owned one knows from which I speak. I had hoped to have found a stretch of road where I could open it up to about 100 MPH and grab the money shot as it turned 200k but that was not to be as the roads around here couldn’t withstand those speeds. Never mind the safety factory. I settle for what I could get done safely and there it was ...

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Unfortunately, there were no cheering crowds lining the road or marching bands sounding trumpets as she rolled over to 200k...... but I could see them and hear them in my head as she rolled down the road and quietly started clicking off the miles for the next 100 thousand .... 200,001, 200,002, 200,003 .... It was a feeling like no other and I’m so thankful I’m here to tell about it. Mishaps can happen at any second on a bike and I had just completed 200,000 miles without any serious miscues. So much to be thankful for. I don’t know how long I’m going to continue to ride on this trip but as you can see from the picture above the GPS shows 5,225 miles on this trip so far ... let’s see where it ends up. I rolled on taking many pictures and visiting a few parks just over the state line into to Virginia and eventually got back to the motel in Sparta, North Carolina. Here’s a picture of my baby in the fall of her life ... and a motorcyclist favorite road sign.

pasted-graphic-8 pasted-graphic-9 Sunday October 10’ 2010 - Day 21

This was the view as we headed down the road this morning. The further North we go and the higher the elevation we are seeing more and more colors. pasted-graphic-10 How could you not want to wake up and have this view every day once you climb on to your bike? Works for me. We wandered around most of the day just going generally North. Every where there appeared to be a twisted road that was the way we went. We ended up in Lewisburg, West Virginia and since our last name is Lewis figured it was an appropriate place to pull up for the night. The great and unexpected warm weather and temps are beginning to wane and I’m starting to get concerned about continuing on North with rain moving in up there. After I retired I told myself I would always adjust my route to avoid bad or cold weather since time wasn’t a factor. For that reason we are going to trek back South a little and then East some to stay out of the rain least for today. Getting tough to find the time to write and ride but I am determined to continue to do both. It’s funny but I seem to have so many wonderful thoughts that I want to share when I’m riding but they all vanish once I’m sitting if front of the keyboard in the evenings. Riding is such good therapy and I think writing about it is equally important and revealing about how you feel about life and where you are at on that road. Monday October 11’ 2010 - Day 22 Another mild and warm day ... not sure how many more of these we will have. We headed back South to avoid any possibility of running into any rain up North but we ended up going back North any way. The roads were just too inviting that way and we figured as long as the sky ahead of us was blue we would adjust on the fly. Turns out the roads we took were superb and the weather held off. We trekked through Jefferson National Forrest followed by George Washington National Forrest and low and behold we found a real waterfalls .... and one that we didn’t have to walk over a mile to get to it or share with 20 other people at the same time .... check it out ...around a turn and there it was ...viewable from the road. Its name was “Falling Spring Falls” located on Route 220 in George Washington National Forrest. pasted-graphic-11 It was funny in that here this waterfall was right along side the road yet very few people stopped to see it. Yet the Laurel Falls waterfalls that we hiked over a mile to see in the Smokey Mountain park a week ago had the parking lot full and at least 20 people huddled around a stream of water just trickling over a few rocks after the hike. I think there is some psychology in play here. People believe something will be better if they have to exert more of an effort to obtain it or perhaps say it cost more it is supposed to be better. We are often disappointed. Life is so much more exciting when it’s coming straight at you and that’s exactly how I feel when I’m on the road on a motorcycle. We had no idea this waterfalls was even here nor were we even thinking about waterfalls. It’s one thing to find a destination like this, research everything in the world about it before you go, plan a trip to drive to it and then experience it however, it’s quite another to just go and then discover it ... unannounced .... and in awe ... the way we did today. That made it very special. Go to Top or Click here for Part 3 to continue ... Back to Road Trips