Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sky Cove Dropped My Bike Tour

This weekend we decided to take a trip with Big Red to the mountains of NC. Slick and I planned this trip with the intent of just taking Big Red and the trailer. Then we started thinking that if we were going to the mountains for the week we need to have an alternate mode of transportation besides the bike. So, Slick drove her car so we could haul more stuff for the weeks stay. We are glad we did, because we did not check out the ride to the top of the mountain and how bad that was going to be for me on Big Red. More on that later.

As we left home on Saturday morning the weather was great. The whole 5 hr trip to the mountains was great. There was little traffic on I-40 and I-74. We found our way to Bryson City. We checked in to the rental office for the cabin. We got our map and directions and off we went to the cabin where the real fun started. (Fun is not the correct word)

I followed Slick because she had the directions to the cabin. As we got to the base of the mountain, we then entered Sky Cove (that should tell you how high the cabin was). I followed Slick for about 2 minutes up the mountain. The road was a one lane road. The road was paved and did have a little gravel and some pot holes. The fun part started when I approached my first hair pen turn to the right (a steep up hill turn). I didn't swing out far enough or give the bike enough gas, so it fell over (drop #1). After picking up Big Red, I ventured on. It was a steep but no problems until I got to my drive way. The drive way was a long a gravel road. I had to make a hard right up hill on gravel. Not a good combination for me. I hate right turns up a steep hill, especially on gravel. So I dropped the bike again (drop #2).

After that drop and having to pick up the bike on a 45% hill. I decide to take the bike up further up the mountain so I could turn it around and enter the driveway in a straight direction. As I continued up the hill to turn it around, you guessed it, I dropped it again (drop #3). After picking up the bike for the 3rd time I was getting a little tuckered out. I finally got the bike to the driveway and parked it at the end of the driveway. Prior to getting the bike settled on the gravel driveway, I put the kickstand down. It sank in the driveway, so of course it fell over again (drop #4).

All-in-all, I dropped the bike 4 times on the trip (so far). I still have to go down the hill on Saturday. It is kind of funny. I have dropped the bike more times on this trip that I have dropped it the whole time I have had it. Oh well, I will drop it again, I'm sure. Many bikers drop their bikes but are too macho to attempt it.

Even though I did drop the bike we have had fun on the trip so far. We have taken a nice train ride through the Smokey Mountains on the Smokey Mountain Railroad, visited Fontana Dam and Fontana Village, and rode on highway 28 toward TN (very nice bike road). We plan to ride back to Fontana Village next year. From the village you have some really nice roads to ride and you are less than an hour from the "Tail of the Dragon". Highway 28 in very curvy and in great condition.

We have 3 more days before I attempt the trip down the mountain on Big Red. It should be a little easier for me to go down the mountain rather than going up the 45% grade hill. I did learn a valuable lesson from this trip. Always personally checkout the location of your lodging if you plan to take your bike on a trip high into the mountains. Also, take a look around at the bikes that are already on the mountain. There was NONE! That should have been my first hint, I was screwing up. Below is a link to some photos of you road at Sky Cove.

Sky Cove Road

I am really glad we did not stick to our original plan of only riding the bike and pulling the trailer. That would have been a real disaster.

Until next time and remember, don't be so busy making a living you forget to make a life.


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Nice Sunday Morning Ride

This morning I took off at 8 am for a nice Sunday morning ride. There is just something about heading off for an early morning ride and Sunday morning is my favorite time. The weather was in the mid 60's and there was no traffic. That is just what I enjoy. The only thing missing was Slick. She was out of town and I decided to go solo.

I took off at 8 am headed toward Lexington NC from Jamestown. Even though business 85 is a four lane highway there is normally very little traffic. So was the case this morning. I decided to head toward Lexington and I am glad I did. The town was dead. It gave me an opportunity to take the ride through town slow and really enjoy it. I have been through the town on a couple of occasions. I enjoy Lexington. It has the old southern town feel. If you decide to ride through Lexington take the time to stop and snap some photos of all the ceramic pigs on the streets. The town is famous of it's BBQ.

After leaving Lexington I headed south on NC 8. That took me toward High Rock Lake. There wasn't much to see of the lake from the main road. I did pass over bridge at the lake. It looked like a great place. I did notice that there were some camping grounds there. Jordan, Kevin and I have been talking about camping one weekend before it got too cold. That camp grounds is an option.

After leaving High Rock Lake I headed further south until I got to NC 49. There I took a left and then headed toward highway 109. The southern part of NC 8 and north on 1o9 is my type of road. There a many long stretches of road and not much traffic. You will see a lot of bikers on 109. I have actually traveled a lot of 109. One day I took the road all the way to South Carolina. Of course, I didn't plan to go that far, but I ended up there because I wanted to see where it went. Slick wasn't too thrilled about me going that far. Luckily my phone worked so I could call her and let her know I was okay.

After traveling north on 109, I headed into Thomasville NC. Again, it was a great time to go through the town; no traffic. Once I was through Thomasville, I hit business 85 and headed home.

There route was a little over 100 miles and only took about 2.5 hrs. It was a great morning to ride and seeing the small towns and country roads made my day. The only thing missing was Slick. She wasn't physically with me, but she was still there.

Until next time and remember to not be so busy making a living you forget to make a life.