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.

1 comment:

JR said...

Hi Kevin - great documentary of your journey. I've enjoyed "riding" along with you as I log on each morning to read your new posting.
Last year on our ride to Key West (via TN), Jeff and I stayed in Front Royal, too. And I have a friend that lives in Laurel, MS - so I know where you were at those times.
I laughed reading your take on the southern accent - it takes a few times with a good ear to understand what they are trying to tell us. And the more time you spend in the south, the more southern your own speach becomes! LOL
I hope the weather on the Parkway is cooperative; it's so beautiful when you can see for miles and miles.
Ride home safe!
- Judith