Weekend ride and hike pics…. 4/21

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  • #6125
    Profile photo of thirdgenlxi
    thirdgenlxi
    Registered Member
    RideCBR Newbie
    Points: 910

    Well talk about an epic weekend of riding! hahah. My good friend Scott and I went out yet again (as we do every weekend, either street or dirt, or often both, lol), and he had a big route all planned out which turned out to be freakin’ amazing, covering some of North Carolina and Tennessee’s finest!

    So Saturday morning Scott headed over to my house good and early so that we could get an early start, ended up leaving my house about 8:30 am…. this was the route. With the exception of where we had to jump on the highway for just a couple miles to get to another road, there was no slab whatsoever… all backroads the entire way

    Stopped once we got into town to fill up with gas and we were ready to go

    Made our way up to Mountain City, Tennessee on a bunch of back roads…. by the time we got there it was around lunch time so stopped for some food

    Next stop was Shady Valley, Tennessee, and ‘The Snake’ – US 421. It’s like Deals Gap, only with more curves (489 in 12 miles). Scott had never been so he wanted to check it out

    There were threats of storms so it was a lil cloudy and wet in some areas

    Next we went to a cool little place Scott found called Backbone Rock, which is 10 miles north of Shady Valley. There’s a hiking trail off to the side you can go up and walk across the top

    View from the top

    Hit a little rain later in the day, but nothing too bad….. checking the map here for our next leg of the route and off again

    Pigeon Roost

    After a handful of more awesome backroads, we get here…. NC 197. It starts off as paved, and is super tight with lots of hairpins, then all of a sudden it turns to gravel, and stays gravel for 5 miles before it turns back to pavement for the rest of the way. Thaaaaat was fun! (but nothing compared to what we went on later…. read on, lol)

    Even managed to snap a couple pics as we were going along (hey what else are you gonna do for 5 miles in 2nd gear?? LOL). A little blurry, but you can imagine as to why, lol

    Finally made it back to the paved part and continued on our way…. we took a few more backroads that would lead us up to the Blue Ridge Parkway which we would take to get back home. We’re on the road that is supposed to lead us right up to the parkway, and…. surprise! That one turns to gravel too, lol. Only this one wasn’t as nice as the first one…. this one was steep uphill, very narrow, only one lane with a sheer drop off on the right side into a very rocky stream quite a ways below (and there was 4-5 cars/trucks that came down the other way as we were going up), and it was full of hairpin turns as it went pretty much straight up the side of a mountain (anybody familiar with the BRP and the roads leading up to it knows exactly what I mean, only this one was gravel instead of paved, lol). And it was about just as long as the other gravel road, prob 4-5 miles. Oh yea…. and it was night time too. Finally about 20 minutes or so later, we finally get to the top and arrive at the BRP and stopped to take a little break, get all the rocks out of my boot and let our brains stop shaking for a minute, lol. Then jumped on the BRP and headed home

    We finally made it back into town about 11:15 or so after getting rather soaked by a good rain shower around Asheville (well, Scott did, I had my rain gear). It didn’t last too terribly long though and then was dry after that. Stopped for gas before we both headed home to pass out… definitely a LOOONG day! And when I say pass out, I mean… pass out. Lets just say I woke up at 5 am, curled up on the dog bed with Piggy. Don’t ask… I don’t know… I guess it was the first place that looked soft, LOL

    All in all logged about 457 miles for the day (I forgot to reset this right when we left the house, reset a couple miles down the road). Not too bad for a day of all twisty mountain roads! Was about 475 for Scott since he lives about 17 miles from me

    But that wasn’t enough! Sunday morning, after we both woke up around noon today, and saw the storms that were supposed to be here all day had broken up, so we said lets go ride! LOL Got a little bit of a late start (about 2:30 or so), but off we went once again

    We took NC 80 up to the Blue Ridge Parkway once again…. ran into a young guy on an ’04-08 R1 at the bottom of 80, that joined in behind us and followed us all the way up. There’s a parking area at the top, we all pulled in and chatted for a few minutes. He had his R1 loaded down with saddlebags, tail bag, and was in full leathers to boot…. turns out he was from Chicago and on a big roadtrip on his bike. Really nice guy! But it was cold and windy where we were, and starting to rain/sleet, so after chatting a few minutes he headed back down the mountain. We were originally gonna go back to the road we took up to the BRP last night (the gravel one) and take the little side road that it popped out on going the other way, which goes down into Craggy Gardens. But that would mean going up and over Mt. Mitchell (highest elevation point this side of the Mississippi), and with the weather what it was it would certainly be snowing there. So we headed the other way towards a trailhead we had wanted to go to and do some exploring. There’s usually at least one good hike somewhere in pretty much every one of our rides, lol

    Rock staircase…. pretty much what this entire trail was, climbing around the rocks

    These pics didn’t turn out that great cuz it was cloudy, and I was getting blown all over the place standing on this rock (or trying to at least). Temps had to be in the 30’s and winds prob 40+ MPH at least and steady, it literally took all I had just to keep upright and still enough to snap a few pics. There was also snow/sleet blowing directly sideways that was pelting me in the face…. felt like a damn sandblaster, lol. Didn’t want to get too close to the edge with the wind blowing like it was, as this rock has no rails or anything and it’s not all that big, just a straight drop off and a loooong ways down, lol

    Oh yea, did I mention it was cold and windy?? LOL I should have done like Scott and just wore my damn helmet, hahah. At one point the wind was blowing so strong you couldn’t even breath walking into it…. had to turn around and walk backwards, lol. Glad I at least kept my balaclava on

    From a little higher up…. the arrow points to the rock I was standing on taking the above pics

    You can see the road (BRP) winding around in the background. If it was a clear day and not all cloudy and stormy like it was today, you could see A LOT more from up here

    It was getting late, cold, and sleeting/snowing/raining pretty good so we started heading back. Got some dinner once we got back into town then headed home. Only did another 182 miles today, so about 640 miles for me for the weekend, about 675 for Scott. I’d say a pretty fun filled and adventurous weekend, no doubt! And I most certainly couldn’t ask for a better riding buddy

    Definitely a word to the wise…. if you come on one of our rides, come in shape and prepared for…. just about anything, LOL

    #6126
    Profile photo of thirdgenlxi
    thirdgenlxi
    Registered Member
    RideCBR Newbie
    Points: 910

    Oh yea and a little historical tidbit of information about that backbone rock…. apparently back in 1900 they built a railroad to haul timber from Shady Valley, TN up to Damascus, VA. When they got to this rock, they literally just blasted a hole in it to get through. The little notch you see at the top they had to cut out for the smokestack on the steam engines to clear through it. This picture is from 1900. Pretty cool…. I LOVE historical stuff, and old ‘then and now’ pictures

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