This morning we took our time getting started as we knew that Maggie Valley was not too long a ride. After Tim cooked us a real breakfast of eggs and bacon and good strong coffee was consumed, we took off about 9:30 am. We took US 176 up to Hendersonville, NC, and I-26. We took 26 just a short distance north, just shy of Asheville, where we picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway. We turned west onto the parkway in hot weather, but soon we were at the top of this part of the world and it cooled down remarkably. I was tempted on the northwest part of the route to don my jacket liner, but I knew it would not be long before we made the turn onto US 19 east and into Maggie Valley.
The Parkway ride was beautiful, with sunny skies and few clouds. Mostly the curves were fun but not hair raising, although there were a few pucker moments on some of the curves that surprised us. I practiced leaning off the bike a bit to the inside of the curves and it made a surprising difference. The only other pucker moment was when a pickup truck coming the other way around a curve decided to use both lanes and gave Tim a fright. Oh yeah, one other one: Upon entering the first tunnel I discovered my high beam had gone out! Talk about a freaky experience; I had to follow the taillights of a car in front of me. By the next one I figured out I could use my low beam, but it was pretty worthless. Tip, before entering tunnel territory, check your headlamp.
Oops! I slipped! Don't just stand there taking pictures. Help me!!!!
We hit Maggie Valley about mid-afternoon and decided to have some cold beers and a snack so we stopped at Legends and sipped our cold beers in the nice AC. Tim took the time to upload some video he had taken from behind me on the Parkway with his point and shoot camera bungeed to his handlebars. (Go to his business site on Facebook, travelkind.com, to see the video.)
After our break we went further down 19 to the Wheels Through Time Museum. It was very impressive with diorama-like lifesized sets in which the old bikes looked right at home--from an Army depot for the military bikes and bike shops reminiscent of the past. And you got to see all this for $12, although we got a deal because of the late time of the afternoon and only paid $10. Word is Wheels Through Time is moving, perhaps to Colorado Springs I was told, so you in the East better get there while you still can. [Update: Since then Wheels Through Time has decided to stay in Maggie Valley.]
Our waitress at Legends had told us of a cool place to camp and how to get there in the Smokie Mountains National park at the far southeastern end called Cataloochee so we headed up there to camp. We took US276 north almost to I-40 and turned left up into the mountains. We got a couple miles in and saw a sign saying reservations were required at the camp and called the number on the sign from the side of the road, Unfortunately, they were filled up so back we went toward Maggie Valley, looking for signs we had seen before for camping on 227. We finally found a spot in a commercial park, but it turned out nice and I am sitting here as I write this next to a nice flowing stream in a quiet spot all by ourselves.
Tomorrow, we ride across the Smokie Mountains and into Gatlinburg, TN. We may head south back toward SC on US 276 and look for campgrounds in the Nantahala on the way back for a sunday camp.
I will try to post some pics from today later. In the meantime I have another cold one calling my nameand Tim needs to disconnect his Internet connection. If the campgorund Wi-Fi works I will do the pics later.
"Ride Your Own Ride."