Saturday, June 10, 2006
Thursday: Through Tennessee
The bike still has not even hiccupped. That's two in a row, and I am relaxing a little.
I got out of Tennessee, but not by much. Aside from Sunday night, this is the only room reservation I had; it's just over the North Carolina border in Deal's Gap. This is the sweet part of the ride, coming home through the Appalachians. I knew I'd be cooler, enjoying incredible scenery, and throwin' it around on the best sportbike roads this side of the Mississippi. --an interesting note is that the only time I actually crossed the Mississippi was on a flatbed. I rode back, though :-)
Today was supposed to be a make-it-up as you go along day, with not much ground to cover. Or, as it turned out to be, a makeup day. I needed to get fairly far today, but I'd have something to look at and some curves to go around as the day went on.
Sometime in the morning, I rolled through Lynchburg, but I didn't see Jack Daniels or any of his kin. After a late lunch, I took off in the wrong direction and didn't figure it out for about 45 minutes. Again, with a running engine, I couldn't be too pissed about the little things. I completeley rerouted the next leg, and as often happens, I was pleasantly surprised. TN 30 in some places is almost as much of a roller coaster as I as expect the Tail of the Dragon to be. Which means it's fun, but you're not covering lots of real estate in a hurry. Also, it turns out it is part of the real Trail of Tears, where the US marched the entire Cherokee nation against their will to Oklahoma.
The last leg of Tennessee was the Cherohala Skyway, which crosses the ridge into North Carolina. It quickly rose over a mile high, and I had to stop and put my jacket on. I'd been looking forward to this every time I had to un-bungee it to get at something else in 90-degree heat. As you would imagine, the scenery is incredible. The speed limit is 35, but a lot of the time even that is pushing it. What a great way to end the day.
I found out for sure that Mom & Dad won't be meeting me tonight due to bad weather up north. My hotel is just up the road, and it's motorcycles only, right at the tip of the dragon's tail. I wouldn't get there with enough light left to unpack the bike and make a run, but it's right outside my door first thing in the morning.