Traveling tales and other banter

Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Here I have posted an assortment of tales from the road , some links I find amusing or interesting, an occasional recipe.. original poems and various other ramblings... so grab a beverage of your choice, find a happy place and I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoy writing it.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

BORN TO BE WILD... well maybe just a little....

OH MY GOD WHAT A RIDE.... videoSo it's Friday night ... after work.. I buzz on home.. I was already dressed and ready to go... So was Steve... We locked the house up.. the pups were at the vet nice and safe... and we saddled up.. and headed to the highway...The sunset and the coolness of an end of September night slowly drifted upon us.. We stopped for a stretch.. and a horrible quick meal at Jacks.. ( no coming back back back for us thank you not very much) yesh.. ( something about fries with neon orange glow- in- the- dark- powder on them that makes my skin crawl... .)... The it-might-have-been-a-burger had some unidentifiable sauce on it.. yeah I know .. I know... why did we eat that??? .. quick and easy.. those of you that ride can appreciate needing to arrive at your destination... So... hoping that that conncoction would stay in our bellies.. we heading back on the road.. There are many things in life that you question.. and perhaps many of you question us for why we feel compelled to ride along the OCEE river in the dead of night on the twisty and curvy unforgiving roads..no guard rails in many areas... here are one of the curves in the daylight ( sunday morning) going the opposite way..why the rush?? why the need... ??

It is a simple answer.. we are CRAZY.. ha.... no seriously .. we want to arrive at our destination so we can get an early start in the a.m. and get in as much riding as we can.. Time is limited and these trips are sad to say rare so we take these jaunts and shake them for all they are worth.. SO thats why we travel that byway in the darkness.. One interesting side note.. the moon Friday night was magnificent and it shown like a bright spotlight playing hide and seek in the ridges until we arrived at our destination.. ANGEL'S LANDING....




Steve is grimacing because it is freezing on this early bright Saturday morning.. bone chilling cold.. we decided to let it warm up a bit.. and it warmed up rather quickly which was great...as I was saying: ANGEL'S LANDING: (please visit the link in my sidebar to Angel's Landing) what a delightful place to lay a weary head.. We were greeted by Sandi Stone the most amazingly sweet and kind person.. We love visiting with her when we come to MURPHY N.C. and staying at her B&B .. Sandi is not only a terrific hostess but a wonderful whizz in the kitchen. Her breakfasts are well thought out with the guest in mind. She always asks her guests prior to their visit, if they have food allergies or any special diets and she goes from there to create wonderful recipes for your dining morning pleasure... Our two breakfasts there this weekend where SPECTACULAR.. Saturday we had a wonderful spinach and egg dish with fresh strawberries and juices and coffee and this wonderful Apple and Flax seed muffins. Sundays breakfast was rasberry hotcakes, with vanilla yogurt and fresh rasberries and black berries and a low sugar ( I am guessing) jam swirled in.. it actually is a Weight Watchers recipe that was wonderful..
It is very hard when you are traveling like we do on the bike to find food that is both filling and good for you along the road.. Waffles Kings, and hamburger joints are easy targets for hungry bellies...
So after our delicous Saturday breakfast we decided to head on up to Highland N.C. roughly a 60 or 70 mile jaunt.. it was a chilly ride at the start as we cut through ridges and made our way up and up through this mountain side... Above is a video of exactly how narrow this road is.. and another VERY unforgiving byway.. as you can see by the panel truck careening down the hill towards us at a bit of a high speed...
We got up to Highland and walked around for a bit.. Though the scenery is lovely.. its very touristy and high end.. a DEVINE ride.. but not necessarily a ideal destination for eating and shopping if your wallet means much too you.. On the other hand you might be lucky to chat with some interesting folks like we did .
We left Highland and journeyed back down the mountainside.. We visited our favorite flea market and walked around it's dusty halls...
We enjoyed the day as we traveled back to Murphy and visited a street fair.. oh on our way there we saw a tractor parade ( we guess they had a county fair going on as well) .. I have never seen a tractor parade.. probably never will again.. so I took pictures.. they are in either the slide presentation above or you may find them in my flickr link in the sidebar... The street fair was nice.. we walked around there for a bit.. and got back on the bike.. headed on to Blairsville GA.. and actually found a place Logan's Turnpike Mill... its right next to PAPPY's a place we have visited for years and written about on and off .. We never noticed that Logan's was right next to it.. Now you might ask... what exactly is Logan' Turnpike.. its a mill that you can get fresh Grits.. ( yes fresh grits.. yellow or white) and you can get fresh oatmeal ( they were out of it) and all types of flours and even pioneer porridge.. .. You buy it by the cloth sack 1 or all the way up to I think 4 or 5 pounds.. we bought yellow grits ( 2 pound bags) white grits, pioneer porridge ( will be interested to see how that tastes basically a finely milled oatmeal from what I gathered) Logan's Turnpike Mill will be a stop every visit I am sure.. as we love real oatmeal. and you simpley can not find better grits.. they have a website online too.. under : http://www.loganturnpikemill.com/about_us/default.asp check it out..
We headed back to our B and B and rested for a bit.. we went to dinner.. Not even going to review it for you guys. it was bad.. It WAS a favorite place of ours... Shoebooties.. I have written glowing reviews about it in the past.. well no more....that simply has changed and gone downhill.. won't be visiting there again... We went back to the B and B.. took a walk.. and retired for the night...
Sunday morning greeted us far warmer.. we had a terrific breakfast as you know..and then we decided to head on back through the Ocee .. ( we were going to go back to Blairsville then down to T.W.O.. the motorycle resort we love... it would have meant back tracking to go home the way we wanted.. We really try and avoid the Atlanta route because of the all the heavy traffic .. the Chattanooga route is so much prettier... You know I mark our way there.. When I see the first... SEE ROCK CITY SIGN... or RUBY FALLS ......or LOOKOUT MTN... then when I see the sign for FORT PAYNE Alabama.. then when I see the curve before the water on your left coming in and right leaving Chattanooga .. I know.. we will be there soon or heading home .. I know we are in for a great adventure... either way...
One of the things I love about riding along the Ocee in the morning is the wonderful smell of campfires in the distance... they tickle your nose in and out the curves of the mountainside..
Before we heading through the Ocee and back through Chattanooga we took a little detour through an old Copper mining community near Macaysville... You could see the damage done to the earth from all this mining back in the 30s and 40s.. this copper was used for bombs and such during WWII.. we saw the old mine.. shuttered now it appeared.. we traveled into the old town.. alive and active though quiet for a Sunday.. folks sitting on porchs or at church.. folks waving at you as you passed.. no one in rush either... we took our turn...back towards the Ocee and hugged the curvy side of the road that we had visited in the darkness on Friday night... Filled with Kayakers and white water rafters... Buses loaded with rafts and Kayaks ran up and done the byway... people eyed the cool water of the Ocee before they took their plunge ... It seemed to be a busy day today for this water way... Traffic was abundent but not clogging the tricky veins of the roadway... What a simply glorious day today was.. and wonderful ride we shared this weekend... Lots of photos to view and great memories for us to review.. I say this all the time.. Take yourself there... See this country side.. see the Cherokee Forest... pop up onto the Blueridge Parkway... See the Cheraholau Skyway... ride these roads.. by bike or car.. see it.. feel it.. appreciate it... You will be glad you did.. it is some of the most amazing countryside we have and its so close by if you live around Georgia, Tenn, Alabama.. N.C....
Until Next time..
HAPPY TRAILS...

Friday, September 28, 2007

BORN TO BE WILD

Get your motor runnin'
Head out on the highway
Lookin' for adventure
And whatever comes our way

Yeah come on I know you are singing it...
though I love that song ..
Steve and I fall in the cruiser category of motorcyclists... you know the ones.. the older cyclists ( and we are by no means old) who you pass on the highway in your car.. and you wonder.. are they NUTS?? or maybe even.. "I wish i could be doing that" .. so we are not the rough and tumble image of a biker couple that a lot of folks have an image of provided by our very thoughtful media.... people have such a misconception of what a motorcyclist is.
In today's world you have a lot of riders that are doctors and lawyers..
and business folks who like to cut loose on the weekend..
You have crotch rockets ( speed bikes) and cruisers( folks who travel on their bikes long distance and also folks who love a good long sunday ride..... and retired folks.. its really an awesome very friendly community of people.. even those bikers .. you might think of as rough... can be some Amazingly awesome folk.. I guess it goes back to that.. you should never judge someone by how they look...

We head out today after work...
Will post pictures and videos and a rockin' good adventure when I come home..
HAPPY TRAILS..

Monday, September 17, 2007

ROCKIN' THE ROAD AGAIN

WOW we had a awesome weekend... did about 11 hours of riding over the weekend.. it was so much fun.. the weather was.. perfect... except for a little sun burn it was excellent... we were going out for a 40 minute ride.. when .. well we just kept going and going.. we wound around many beautiful back roads (posted above in the slide show) and ended up in Huntsville, we drove through Guntersville too.. What a beautiful part of Alabama .. the hillsides were beautiful.. lush and green.. we saw some damage to a few corn fields but it was just one of those phenominal rides...

We had an encounter with a rattlesnake too.. THAT WAS SCAREY!! .. we came upon some folks going the opposite way.. and pulled over.. apparently someone going in our direction had just nailed the back end of the rattle snake.. so it was hissing angry.. and squirming all over the road.. here we come on the bike.. Steve is edging closer and closer.. and I am about to well.. scared that I was going to die actually.. the thing was very close to us.. and started wiggling closer .. especially when the guy behind us swung around on the inside and ran over it again.. STILL NOT KILLING IT!!.. it just made it more angry.. I took a few pictures but I was so scared and also amazed that this guy was standing right by it... ITS A RATTLE SNAKE.,... they bite.. .. geez... I was afraid it would strike at us as we got passed it.. it was one of those HEEBEE GEEBEE moments for sure...my first encounter with a rattle snake and Steve's third one.. BLECH!!!!!... The drive .. at least snake wise was uneventful after that.. it was just so perfect out that idea of getting lost on the back roads was far more appealing than turning around and coming home. However, like most good things.. it had to come to an end... we headed home compeletely exhausted..
We got up the next morning around 430 am .. and got back on the bike around 5 45 am.. we headed to Atalla on a puppy hunt as usual.. and much to our chagrin.. WE FOUND SOME WONDERFUL PUPS.. they had some Australian shepards .. beautiful.. .. there is a posibility we might get one from these folks.. the pups were in such great shape.. and so sweet... There was no way we could pack one up on the bike.. we did think about it though..... We stayed at the flea market for a couple hours and then headed back towards Birmingham.. the back roads were beautiful as usual... One thing about Alabama the further north you go . the more the back roads yield to some beautiful country side..

Until next time...
Happy trails...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

RIDING SEASON IS ALMOST HERE

Yeah ha... weather is finally starting to take a turn for the cooler... and hopefully we will get some rocking rides in... I hope... just wanted to post quickly ... as I am usually at my other blog or my wedding website these days most frequently... Will be posting ride stories as the cooler weather allows...
Happy Trails...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

RACE DAY







WOW we could not have asked for more perfect weather on Saturday April 21, 2007... though it got a little toasty in the afternoon.. there was a bit of breeze going..



The crowd was not huge but nice size at Barber's Motorsports Park. It was indeed a fun time... going to let the photos speak for this race.. will be uploading them to my flickr .. located in side bar.. view more.. pics there... also click on Video Ride link.. and I have a few new videos as well.. a couple of the race are on there too.. Just gonna let the pictures do the talking this time...
Happy Trails...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

IT IS ABOUT TIME

Well it will happen.. I just have not had any rides to comment on.. the weather has been so ridiculous here.. today it was freezing... and sleeting... APRIL in ALABAMA.. welcome to it... Next weekend are the RACES at Barbers Motorsports park.. Will have pictures to post and stories to tell I am sure... and hopefully the week after we will take our first trip of the season... I HOPE>..
Here is to blue skies and Happy trails...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

WINTER RIDING

We took a short ride to day... click on the area to view videos to see 2 of the videos I shot today on the bike.. they are pretty cool. The weather was chilly... but the sky was a perfectly crisp blue...
Happy trails

Thursday, January 25, 2007

RIDE VIDEOS

WORKING ON RIDE VIDEOS FOR YOU TO SEE.. CHECK IT OUT.. should be over in side bar area under videos...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

TAKING A LONG LUSH LOOK BACK

It has been a month and a day since I last posted.. The weather here has not been very agreeable for riding so there have been no riding tails to share and we have not really been out to the flea market except for this past Sunday late in the afternoon and pretty much every puppy was gone except one cutie white spitz and schnauzer mix. I did not have my camera with me as this visit to the flea market was totally unplanned. So rather than let another week go by with out a post I decided to take a LONG LOOK back... I found some old road stories so I have posted them below for your viewing pleasure... THESE DATE BACK PROBABLY 2 TO 3 YEARS AGO:

NUMBER 1
There is a saying that we lived this weekend...Perseverance pays off... .. We left Birmingham bright and early Saturday morning... Right before sun rise... so it was a nice treat watching the sun come up.. the sky was so pretty ... clouds looked liked bright pink bubbles off the horizon...the sun peeked out just a little bit though...About 2 hours into our trip.. Steve heard a noise... I swear that man has bionic ears... I did not hear anything.. however I smelled something burning.... we pulled over on the shoulder of the Interstate...and most surprisingly to both of us.. We had a flat.. and we were not near an exit as far as we knew.. IT was a very weird experience being on the side of the highway.. 18 wheelers flying by you .. I was little worried since I was helping Steve balance the bike ... and when those trucks would whir by...the bike would shudder a little... Steve called a service he belongs too to help us out... The service wanted to send a tow out and have us go back about 50 miles... It was going to take roughly an hour for them to come help us.. but in the meantime they would send a police officer to sit with us until help arrived... So while we were waiting for the cop .. Steve got on the ground and was checking out the tire to see if he could see what was going on... A group of Goldwing riders flew passed.. i was really a little surprised that they did not stop to help... After all here is Steve virtually under the bike on the side of the road.. obviously we had a problem..all those guys did was wave at us... I guess Steve and I come from the old school of bikers.. when u see someone in distress u stop and help... but I guess times they are a changing... Luck had not left us though.. The police officer soon pulled up and it turned out he rode also.. SO he was familiar with our situation and probably the kindest officer we had ever met... Steve and Officer Traylor tried to see if they could fix the bike enough to get it off the highway.. Turns out that 2 miles up the road off the interstate was a bike shop that just happened to have a tire for our bike... The police officer blocked off the right hand lane of the highway for 2 miles so Steve could ride the bike to the shop... I meanwhile got my first ride in a police car ...*that was weird.. it is pretty small back there* ... We were back on the road with in an hour.. and low and behold the heavens opened and rain was our on and off companion through out the day... We managed to get some touring in though.. even with the rain... You can always count on the N.C. Mountains to bring a smile to your face...the roads though wet were just as sweet as ever.. We even got to ride on Greasy Creek Rd.. just like we had planned to do the previous weekend when we were in the truck.... That road was a blast.. curves, as tight as can be...and a few areas that would make your tummy flipflop...but totally fun.. I loved the surroundings too... There were alot of old beaten up farm houses... as well as old shacks that echoed some far off southern mountain history... We road along side a beautiful river.. for quiet a while too... Eventually we made our way into Murphy, NC.. and found our B and B we were calling home for the next 2 days... We had a great dinner at nice place called SHOEBOOTY'S... the food there is wonderful... got back on the bike.. We decided to make a stop at the grocery store.. Now bear in mind this part of the country is a sleepy little Mtn. Town.. or so we thought... In a less than thirty minute time span we saw about 6 groups of police cars... apparently on some kind of manhunt or drug bust... we were even pulled over so the police officer could see Steve's driver's license...This was a scene out of some movie.. not a scene for this little town... we made our way back to the B and B.. slept well... Sunday we hit the road again.. and somehow got in 179 miles through a MAJOR rain storm... We went up to Highland NC... had a bite.. waited out the big heavy rain... put on our rain gear and headed on down the Mtn..HOW I LOVE that road... .. Curves that switch in and out of the mountainside... a magnificent river and waterfall on the other side of the rather narrow roadway... challenging, especially in the rain.. but never the less fun..We headed out today back to Birmingham... We took the long way home....Though the heat was intense... hitting the back roads .. tiny towns...some "ONCE WHERE TOWNS" , and such .. was really pretty cool.... We saw everything from sprawling mansions.. to trailers to old weatheredwooden shacks.. *YES.. they too had their Direct TV Dishs* a very interesting combination indeed... Aside from the intense weather, one flat tire , *turns out it was a screw* a ride in a police car, a big drug bust (or man hunt) or whatever it might have been... , a bizzare conversation with a lady that looked oddly like Jack Nicholson, and a whole mess of bugs ... This was another grand adventure.. another TWO WHEEL TALE... .. Our next adventure is scheduled for mid October..
so until then...


NUMBER 2 roughly 3 years ago BC (BEFORE COOKIE)

Well we decided to go a different route this time... As most of you know we usually travel by motorcycle and then I send everyone a peek at our trip... However this time we decided to be Vagabonds of a different sort.. So come Saturday morning.. we loaded up the Xterra and brought along Bazzie (Baz the black lab).. We decided it would be in his best interest to bring his crate so we loaded that too.. put him inside the crate.. and headed out... I think he was a little miffed that he was riding in a crate instead of hanging his head out the window and enjoying the breeze.. He seemed a little baffled.. but ready for fun....Everything progressed well... We arrived late afternoon at Goose Creek campgrounds and cabins nearBlairsville Ga. Steve had warned me well ahead of time.. that our cabin experience was going to be rustic so for me to please keep an open mind.... I thought to myself.. okay I am pretty open minded.. lets just go with the flow... Now knowing I am bug phobic can present a variety of problems when one is in the woods... so I put on my bravest (oy, what have I gotten myself into ) face.. and decided to go with the flow. We drove up this bumpy path way to our cabin.. We had a choice.. 9 or 10.. we chose 9... not that there was much difference mind you... The smell of a past campfire greeted us... We opened the door to paradise.... LOST......Steve is a very flexible guy... and for him to grimace at our temporary residence was a little red flag but I kept my mouth shut...and we did make the best of things.. We had a delicious dinner cooked on the grill we brought along... Steve is a wonderful cook.. and I have learned he can make a great meal no matter what the situation...... Well after dinner.. I nervously wandered into the bathroom.. I swallowed ..and said to myself.. Okay this is not too bad..I can go 4 days with out a shower.. .. ( the shower wall by the toilet was rusted out... and the toilet area was so small u could hardly..uhmmm wipe your tush .. LOL.. sorry but that is the truth... well.. I needed to wash my hands.. I did not see any little creatures around yet.. so I thought Okay .. this is not too bad.. UHMMM that was until I peered into the sink.... .. I ran out of that bathroom so fast... there was GODZILLA in the sink.. okay it was not even a lizard.. it was a katydid or a grasshopper.. or one of those Green hoppy things.... but never the less it was GREEN.. it was HAIRY.. and it was GIANT... I screamed to S teve we have a monster in the house HELP!!!... He took care of our little friend.. so I was okay ... until I unmade the bed.. and found the funeral procession of several expired bugs lining the linen... IT was then I made the bold decision to sleep in my clothes..... We layed down.. and with in minutes Baz joined us on the bed.. .. I knew what he was thinking.. That we were nuts if we thought he would sleep on that floor.. with gosh knows what on it.. .. Sleep was not our friend that nite.. So come sunday morning we had a early breakfast .. loaded up the truck.. and moved to Beverly... ( sorry the Beverly Hillbillies just kicked into my head)...Okay not Beverly Hills..but a beautiful Mtn Cabin... on YEllow Mtn...IT was off a paved road ..gravely and a steep grade.. When we arrived at our new Cabin the view was unbelievable... It made Saturday nite dim greatly... The cabin was New... with a Wooden deck lit by twinkling lights on the railing... You gazed out on a sea of green trees.. behind the trees were waves ofMtns.. dissapearing in the the haze of the GREAT SMOKIES.. it was wonderful... Not to mention the HOT!! shower and Washing machine to wash our clothes from the previous days adventure.. :-) We decided to venture out and explore a little bit... Steve had discovered this wonderful waterfall a while back.. and he had taken me to see it during one of our many visits to this area... So we decided that would be our destination... We were a little dissapointed at how people polluted it had become.. what was once a quiet slice of heaven..seemed violated now... so our first pass we drove on through.. We hit a few roads that were devine knowing that soon we would come back and take the roads by two wheels ...Later in the afternoon we went back to this little area.. with the giant water fall .. We walked down to the bottom of the fall and let Baz romp in the water.. There were a lot of children around so he was having a blast.... That was until he inhaled a little to much water ... and well for lack of a better way to describe the next event... TOSSED HIS KIBBLE AND BITS .. alas the kids kept swimming .. (EWWW) and for a few minutes we pretended that Bazzie did not belong to us. Finally Baz joined us for the climb back up the hill .. Time to head back to the Yellow Mtn... We had a wonderful dinner.... watched the sun set... and enjoyed the peacefulness... Monday was a repeat of Sunday... well.. not exactly... Baz enjoyed our 2 mile walk along one of the many Appalachian trails.... I on the other hand was a little bug squimmish LOL but never the less tried to appreciate the lush forest surrounding us... We explored some more windy roads.. and enjoyed another lovely evening at the cabin... This morning I remember opening a bleary eye to watch the sun rise.. It was one of the most magical things I have ever seen.. First a twinkle then a Peek, then a quarter, a Half , a whole... and then A crest above the Mountain top.. rising brightly... I dozed back off and when I awoke again.. it was Foggy ... Not sure if I dreamt that sunrise or not.....Well we are home now.. and Baz is a happy dog once again... content in his routine.. This weekend weather providing.. we will venture out on the Wing... for a end of summer tour... We look forward to the changing of leaves soon.. When the Mtns. slowly brighten from deep green, to firey reds, golds and oranges... our favorite time of year...Hope you all have a happy labor day weekend... stay tuned for more adventures back on two wheels.. our 2 wheel Tales..

NUMBER 3
hmmm this must have been the memorial day after Steve's bout with Prostate Cancer in 2002

Another Memorial Day weekend... a reflective one for us all I am sure..what with the nature of this world right now... . For Steve and I it was exactly a year ago this weekend.. we took what we thought might possibly be our last forray into the mountains.. but as life does in all of her unpredictable ways.. It has turned out to be a year returning to ... well for us atleast, normal adventures... Steve's health is great.. the bike is great.. and I am great too.. we took several really wonderful trips this past year as well.. so life.. for the time being is truely good... and we are very thankful for that. We left Birmingham around 330 pm Friday afternoon, headed towards Chattanooga ... we opted to go the back way up Highway 11 to Fort Payne Alabama before we picked up the Interstate... It was a wonderful ride.... Rolling hills, and the sweet tease of Wisteria and HoneySuckle..tickling your nose.. through the curves... We wound around through vast amounts of farm land... Huge fields filled with Hay waiting to be cut... It was such a sweet smell... Lots of folks out tended their yards and some tending their fields as well.... The valleys were lush and green as we made our way along.... We passed lots ofcattle.....goats and the like.... it was such a treat to go this way instead of the bumpy Highway we usually take.... As we approached the area where the Tennessee River bends around the curve..where you know you are about to approach Chattanooga.... .. The sun was just beginning to set.. and cast a perfect reflection on the water... .. we headed through town, found a Sleep Inn and had a bite for dinner, the next morning we were up Bright and early... had anyone mentioned to us what we were about to do.. I would have said they were crazy... but doing things... unexpected things usually is our style more often than not when we take these excursions... Steve decided that he had to take me to see Klingmens Dome .. which is the highest point in the Apalachian Mountain chain I think. .. I had only heard of it because of Steve mentioning it in the past... Okay folks.. this is a must see on your TO DO LIST OF LIFE.. your ears pop as you ascend the hilltop.. this road is tucked in the Great Smokie Mountains... AHHH the Great Smokies.. WOW.. what a great ride..... prior to going to Klingmens Dome..though .. I have to tell you this.. ( Please pardon my disorderly thought process ... but I am a little bleary eyed). that this road ( great smokies) was a combination of rich greenery , rolling hillsides, and waterways galore.. it was sooooooooooooo beautiful... the weather gods could not have been more agreeable .. it was not too hot .. perhaps a little chilly at worst..but so perfect at best... We explored an old model farm house set up..it was very interesting, we saw a blacksmith barn like building, a barn with farm animals , an old homestead, corn cribs and sorgum *spelling may be off there* press.. and even an old out house... this was all prior to the capping off of a wonderful day at Klingmens dome... One other really fun thing we did was check out the Cherokee reservation.. this area is really amazing.. with their touristy stores, Indian displays,nice hotels, eateries and goodness knows what else..... it was sad in away at how poor so many of these folks are... From what we could tell..you either saw really run down homes .. or almost really run down homes and most of those were trailers,... and unlike West Virginia .. these beaten up trailers did NOt have Satellite dishes proped up near them.mostly burned out cars. and junk littered the yards.... though if you go closer to the town.. you would think it was a mecca of entertainment and shopping... It was loaded with visitors and activities.. thriving and then some... all of this quietly tucked beneath the Great Smokie Mountains. NOW.. lets wind back up the road a piece.. up through the forest.. taking that curvey turn up to Klingmens Dome... It was crowded with visitors when we reached the top... yet even with all the vehicles of varing natures up there... it was quiet.. a place wrapped up with respect for the sheer beauty it provided you with.. a view of Mountain crests with rivers cutting between them.. One of my favorite sites up there was a series of Mountain crests, that lay striped by sunlight and shadow.. it was so pretty... We got back on the bike.. and decided to find a place to call home for the night.... Much to our dismay we could not find anything in the Cherokee area, or near by so we headed down to Murphy.. and found a good old Best Western... We had a nice dinner.. and fell into bed totally exhausted... Riding these mountain roads.. just to give you a small idea would be pretty much equivelant to say .. doing about 400 miles straight with out stoping on the highway... exhausting to say the least... Sunday morning.. the weather Gods were not so abiding... rain doted our way out of town.. we had a rather bizzare breakfast at Waffle king..( they were having trouble making Waffles.. ) ( go figure)... so we had 1 whole waffle and 2 .. half deformed waffles LOl.. it was weird..ya would think with a name like WAFFLE KING.. u might burn the toast but you would get the waffles right... oh well... anyhow.. we headed on up the road.. rested a bit at TWO.. ( TWO WHEELS ONLY bike camp ground and lodge)... sat on the porch.. sipped a diet coke and watched as various riders roamed in and out of the drive... after a short rest we decided that if we were gonna beat the rain.. we should head on out...For the most part the ride home was peaceful.. mostly highway.. and we really only experienced the wet stuff .. just the last 12 miles and even that was not constant enough to dim our weary but HAPPY spirits..another safe and successful adventure... and a quiet nite at home ....until the next great adventure...

NUMBER 4

sometime in 2002

Another season has finally begun.. Last year at this time we were already on our third trip but alas with all the wet weather we have had we had to hold off on our adventures... Time can run rapidly past us...or lag and lag and lag.. ... When one is about to confront the most horrible moment of their lives time will move slow and seem endless.. when one is about to embark on a grand adventure once again time plays hide and seek.. the outside calls with skys of blue so deep that when you gaze up.. the blue seems almost like twilight. .. and then it happens.. the hour strikes work clothes are shed .. play clothes come on.. and the weekend begins... ..We left Birmingham around 4 pm on Friday from my office... Geared up and ready to go.. I was a very excited albeit a little aprehensive.. instead of my usual leather jacket and beaten up old helmet... I was cruising in style... my brand new jacket with body armor protection, i.e. padded shoulders, back pad, elbow pads, I had a new helmet with a brand new rainbow mirrored face shield.. and brand new glasses..( have been out of contacts the past month or so) ..It is different seeing with glasses and takes a lot of getting used too if you have worn contacts for 24 years.. BUT ... I still saw everything in crystal clear detail.. There was a little crispness to the air... as we perused the highway to Chattanooga. We decided to stay at a hotel and not go further than Chat. for the night... The next morning the day begun at 7 am... bright and early on the road that would seem to sing to us during the days journey. Once we hit the the Cherokee National Forest... and saw the Ochoee waterway.. every thought of home slipped away... and a sudden surge of relaxation took over... How can I describe that sheer beauty of roadway hugging mountainside and crystal waters playing below... We did not see a lot of rafters out that early... but the water was beautiful.. Like mirror in some areas and choppy and active in others.... Each time we take this journey it is sooo awe inspiring... I mean.. with all the craziness and changes in our world... This remains virtually the same... However we did notice than on the way up before entering the Cherokee National Forest.. that... there were several new developements being built and new eateries popping up... it makes you sad in a way... slowly this garble of success and advancement is enroaching upon unscathed beauty... ripping up trees and quiet valleys for subdivisions and shopping centers... well that too.. disapates as you wander closer to the forest... Highways cease.. traffic slows... smells change from petrol to a freshness that stings the senses and makes you breath deep... wanting to hold that clean air inside of you for as long as possible... taking some of that beauty with you in some form... craggy colors of buildings and steel turn to buds of green and flowerings of purples and pinks and yellows and reds dot the grounds as you wind through the valleys... One thing that struck me.. was that patriotism was vivid through out this trip.. No matter how deep into the woods you followed the paved roads... No matter how many hills you crested but everytime you rode through a holler or a hillside.. you would see that grand old flag dancing in the breeze.. I saw that flag in various forms... some tattered some new.. some hanging from trees...Hanging in bare limbs... Some drapped over balconies of modern and freshly painted homes..., or hung up on the front of old log homes with sagging porches, or even the tattered trailers with rebel flags next too the american flag... what a contrast.. a weathered old home with a new flag as big as the front door hanging there... America is alive through that country side... Along with the yellow ribbon posted to mailboxes... Freedom smiles here.. no matter what the economy.. no matter of anything' their pride, American Pride.. is evident... As Steve and I rode up the mountain side towards Highland N.C. ( having left the Tenn Mtns momentarily)... One thing came to mind... That with Passover just days away.. and Passover fundementally being about freedom.. that this Journey that Steve and I were on was certainly a journey about freedom and how lucky we are to be able to travel and see such beauty .. for how much more free can you be.. than riding a motorcycle through the mountains.. a perfect breeze surrounding you.. a sky so blue.. that well.. I almost felt as if God were cradling us in his hands reminding us.. just how perfect the world can be .. when you look.. when you remember to really look at nature. When you respect all that is around you... What a perfect day Saturday was unfolding for us... WE went up to Highlands.. walked around for a bit .. .. and then decided to travel on a bit more... Winding down the mtn is just as beautiful as coming up... You see more crystal clear waterfalls .. so clear and clean.. and rocky ledges with reach.. absolutely spectacular....and all so peaceful…… Again .. and I know I say it often.. When you need a break … come see the real world… where what truly matters is the nature you are experiencing and the peacefulness you feel as life falls into perspective. We eventually wound up at one of favorite spots for dinner and then finally called it a night in Blairsville Ga. The next morning started off a good bit warmer as we perused the Ga. Mtns…. We went up to Brasstown Bald.. and walked around there…. For a bit.. I guess you would call it a park or reserve of sorts.. Brasstown Bald is the Highest Point in Ga. The view from up there is wonderful even on the level we were at it was beautiful we could not go all the way to the top because the shuttle buses where not running…They have a viewing area and I have written about it before.. this was the first time back there since then….yet the view was spectacular regardless…no matter how often it is seen... we started our journey back home to Birmingham shortly there after… We went through Helen Ga.. which is a nice little touristy village .. loaded with over priced eateries and shopping… as our most little mountainside villages…like that. As we headed towards Ga. 400 which would lead us to 285 and then on to 20 homeward… I said to Steve.. Lets just forget everything .. Gas up and turn around.. back up the Mtn… well rather reluctantly he said “ we would have to save it for another weekend”…… ahhh hmmm next weekend sounds good to me… 700 miles, 2 sore behinds… 4 sunburned arms.. and 2 content and happy smiles… It is now another Monday morning.. we look forward to Next weekend.. OR at least.. our next big great adventure…..First trip of the season down.. and Many many many more to go !

NUMBER 5

End of 2002
I am approaching anniversary 3 ... For what?Being a avid participate on a wonderful adventure.. It was 3 years ago this Christmas that I rode on the back of a motorcycle for the first time.. I have tried to share this experience with each of you.. Since most of you do not ride. It is hard to express the craving that centers inside you once you have ridden.. Well atleast for me that is the case. Always having led a rather quiet existence.. Good sweet Honi.. Never the one to jump on an adventure.. More content to sit back and just watch.. a Gift is something you give someone that you think they will enjoy.. It may be profound, or simple and sweet. It may be the chance to discover another side of yourself.. That is where I am at.. discovering I am not as fearful as I used to be.. Discovering I am willing to find that new adventure.. still in my comfort area but willing to explore...Riding was the gift Steve gave me 3 years ago.. I am often planning in my head .......when we will be able to sneak a ride in.. be it for a quick run through the twisties of Double Oak Mtn.. or a run on Grants Mill Road.. or the wonderful weekend trips .. that provide scenery begging for the poetry of words... OR perhaps even that long planned trip.. A week on the highways and backroads of this country can change your life.. A week of the regular tossed aside for the fresh air of the mountainside.. so what if it rains a little, so what if you get a little chilled.... More often than not .. you will find yourself in a warm place soon, sipping on a hot cup of coffee .. listening to stories of the road.. Some embelished for effect.. most more fact that fiction though. Besides it is those days like today... Mid 60s.. blue skys mingled with marshmallow clouds.. that I yearn for.. the wind against my skin.. the music dancing in my head.. and for that brief moment .. all is right with the world.. ..

NUMBER 6

the final phase of 3 postings from a West Va. trip

It would be my fondest wish that each of you could ride a bike.. or bea passenger on one and get to experience the rush of the elements suchas we do. You can see it all from an automobile.. but from amotorcycle.. you feel it.. you are it..you are part of the elements . Our ride in the mountains of Tenn, NC and Ga.. especially the last part of the ride through Wolfpen Gap... was really unusual.. even a bit spooky.. the Fog and mist was so thick that you could hardly see thecurves in the road.. We did not see another vehicle on that stretch of road..for the longest time... as it twisted up the mountain and back down .. the fog hiding the tree tops.. no sun in sight... just the chill and the wetness of a blustery day....We rode down the gravel drive of TWO.. and parked the bike... we had a reservation in the lodge for one night.. Though it had been a short ride.. we were still tired from the big ride from the day before.. so we made it an early afternoon. We parked the bike in the shed.. covered it up.. Took our stuff to a room upstairs in the lodge.. and wandered about the grounds... Steve and I talked about the brave souls who traverse the mountain ranges.. then set up their tents and camp on the grounds...not renting a cabin , or trailer or getting a room at the lodge.. coming there.. self contained..setting up a fire in the big pit... and setting up their tents...Rain..( which was definantly going to happen) or shine.. Rain or starlight..it did not seem to matter much to them. We had a good dinner... talked to some really nice folks.. There was a group who was sharing the upstairs with us.. okay let me rephrase that.. it was 8 men and one woman.. me being that woman... so the testosterone was running high .. and bragging rights about roads traveled captivated conversations as well as old shooting and camping stories. These boys hailed from Mississippi and Alabama.. 2 were friends and five were family. I learned about a new domino game that night.. Chicken Foot... as well as learned how some of these boys quit smoking.. they turned to chewing tabacco.. YUCK>.. lol.. but the best was hearing these stories.. and they ran deep for sure... We also kept our eyes on the weather channel as well as the news.. Since 2 of the men there were retired military and police.. a lot of speculating was going on regarding the sniper attacks in Washington and Virginia... by the way the one in Manassas Va. was about 80 miles from one of the places we had been to, not a day before. As the evening progressed the rain fell in torents.. we talked about those guys still camping outside.. Devoted Motorcyclists or crazy folk???.... that is still up for debate... As we found out the next morning .. around 1:30 a.m. a group of riders came into the camping area and set up camp.. in the monsoon like storm. The next morning at breakfast when these guys came in to eat.. Some of them seemed no worse for the wear.. but a few complained of it being a rough nite with the storm... IT was a very very very foggy morning.. around 10 or so.. the fog burned off.. the humidity ran high... and the sun burst through the clouds.. with a 80 percent chance of rain forcasted we decided it was best to pack it in and head on home... we put our rain gear on.. said our goodbyes..and left the resort... As we traveled down the mountainside.. no rain fell... As we rode on the highway through Atlanta, then off to Birmingham.. though the clouds threatened... No rain fell.. it was pretty disheartening.. but we felt for safety sake we did the right thing...So roughly 4 hours later...Home snuck up on us.. and real life was nipping at our heals once again... Ahhh home.. sweet freedom at bay once more... Sweet freedom just 4 hours away in our very own mountain get away...we are planning on a trip or 2 back to TWO before the winter sets in and the resort closes for the season.. It is blessing to be back home.. safe... unscathed in any way.. It is blessing to have a wonderful partner to see such majestical mountainscapes with .. It is truely a blessing to watch the seasons slip onto one another.. as time walks by.. Another trip being planned in the back of our minds... Colorado.. perhaps?? New Mexico...??.. Alaska??? hmmmmm who knows..

NUMBER 7

Post regarding West Va.

So here we are on day 3 ... we had finally pulled off the road from day 2.... Riding through Blowing Rock N.C. and settling down for the nite in Boone N.C. When one takes a road trip.. the weather channel becomes the biggest form of entertainment... Like a soap opera of sorts... you watch the map... and you pray you don't see any forecast for rain or severe cold... and like that soap opera .. in it's predicability .. you usually can plan on some type of incliment weather assaulting you. As luck would have it... Monday morning began with cold rain.. and high winds...We uncovered the bike... loaded up... and decided to just go on with are constant altering plans... Rain gear is a wonderful invention .. when it works well.. and luckily we had good rain gear so the rain.. though a bother... was not too limiting.... Riding out of Boone we headed southeast towards BristolTenn. then we picked up I 81.. by that time the rain had tapered off.It is wonderfully amazing how as you go from state to state.. not only does the scenery change but the actual pavement you are upon starts to feel different. We wanted to make some better time so we did not pickup the Parkway again.. 81 was quicker and actually scenic. We toured through the underbelly of Virginia and West Virginia as opposed to our original plans which was to ride the parkway all the way to Front Royal Virginia. The weather was a huge driving force for us.. So Steve decided it was better to get to the heart of our trip rather than just ride along the outside ridge... Southern West Virginia is in the heart of Appalachia. I would love to tell you how beautiful it was.. and the scenerey itself was beautiful.. Old Mountains.. Beautiful old trees.... however.. when one looks at the lifestyle.. the homes... the people, the liveable surroundings.... the best way to describe it is too say.. you suddenly feel as if you have been tossed back in time... You feel as if you have ridden into a town... forever caught in the 1930s or there abouts...Homes are in terrible disrepair. I saw homes that screamed paint me please... fix me up to my old glory. I saw buildings that ached for sturdiness... yet creaked with time and long lost stories. There was a modern link to all of this and that was each home we encountered along the way.. each trailer regardless of size.. had their satallite dish...precariously perched on roof tops. Towns we rode through that day.. told of rough times... now bear in mind that this is just my opinion.. that these folks who lived there might have felt that everything was fine and dandy.. One thing that really caught my eye was the fact.. that homes seemed tobe plopped down wherever... I never saw a neighborhood.. just homes.. at various angles. Sometimes trailers seperated the homes.. .. sometimes these homes gathered in clusters... and sometimes far apart... In some towns we did not see a single soul... yet you could imagine the storiesthe old mining homes could tell... At one point we passed a train coming from a mine.. the coal dust circled us.. and coated what it captured in black dust. Steve and I loved how the roads slipped into one another... the curves gently carressing the countryside... arching around farmland... some ancient old barns... some recently built ones. Some starkly white farm homes lazily placed in deep green meadows. We saw quiet a bit of sheep as well as cattle being raised throughout the countryside. There was one point in an area called Flat Top that rattled me a little.. it was very VERY windy... and at one point Ithought my helmet was going to come flying off because of the force ofthe wind... but alas.. that never happened... and I was glad when we were out of that area.. Steve had remembered a state run resort called Pipestem ... It it was so wonderful... You pull into the park.. and start your journey to where the resort is. I was amazed at the deer grazing about.. I love deer...and seeing them so close was really neat...... We luckily got a roomthere.. and what was totally amazing was that our room overlooked a bluff.. After we covered the bike for the night we went inside and shared a soda as we sat on our balcony overlooking the bluff.... I use the word beautiful , often to describe things... yet if I only knew of a more meaningful word to paint everything for you .. I would.. yet beautiful is so fitting... the mountains seemed to fold into one another... as I gazed off the balcony.. you could see for miles and miles around.... the sun was beginning to set... so the clouds in the sky reflected a light pink and mixed into the blue of the distant mountainscapes... the lush greenery poured off the mountains that turned into hillsides and ran into rocky and grassy areas.. then up the bluff rose areas of clover right below our room.. Steve all but guarenteed me that I would see deer grazing there sometime before we left... I hoped so. We ate a nice dinner.. walked around the grounds for a while... and retired for the night... We woke to a misty morning... Steve looked outside and called me to quickly come and look over the balcony I hunted for my glasses so I could see what was going on right outside our balcony.... There she was... a little doe... grazing on the sweet clover... I watched her until she wandered off into the thicket... . It was a beautiful sight to awaken too. We loaded up and headed to a town called Hinton... Again I got that feeling of a little town lost in history.. clinging to old time values..and looking forward to small festivals that gave them a boost economically by bringing in tourists.. At one point we encountered a gentleman .. who asked us what our destination was... and then when we told him where we were headed he told us we were going the "wrong direction" ... In other words... hearing what we had planned to see,seemed crazy to him...yet to us .. seemed interesting... and at the sametime a bit depressing.. Then we headed on down the road to a another spectacular sight.. The New River Gorge Bridge.. Which has the world's longest single archsteel span bridge crossing it. It stands 876 feet over the New River and is also the second highest bridge in the country. Only the Royal Gorge bridge in Colorado is higher. Check the website (http://www.nps.gov/neri/bridge.htm ) for more info about the New River Gorge Bridge it is beautiful and has several viewing decks you can traverse down and watch the river and see the structure. We spent agood while there... relaxing and enjoying the the scenery...By that time it was time to saddle up again and head towards our evening destination of Elkins West Virginia. As we road along the hillsides.. the weather started getting a bit more chilly.. we were not sure if we were actually going to make there or not... but we perservered and made our way to the motel.. Elkins is growing and thriving little town.. we had a nice dinner and rested up for the next days adventures.. Had you asked us that morning what we were about to embark on ... we would have laughed and said no way... but ... freedom allows you leniency... This ride though in the end proving to be exhausting was one of our most challenging yet wonderful days.... I will do my best to describe the roads to you as discriptively as possible... We headed outof Elkins very early in the morning.. The weather did not seem promising so we thought it would be in our best interest to get as far out of West Virginia and Virginia if at all possible. it was fairly chilly out.. we bundled up and headed out... 219 to Hunttensville and then 250 to Statton Virginia .. 100 miles of Twistys.. 100 miles of breathtaking fun..at least for me...and though I know it was a lot of work for Steve I know he felt the same as I did... grinning from ear to ear especially on that stretch of road out of Huttensville. Okay.. imagine if you will .. 2 S's linked together.. the curve of the S being the curve of the road... and just as you pass from one curve in the S to the last curve in the S you begin to connect to the next S at that point where the 2 would meet.. there is a swoop.. like aSuperSlide.. you loop down almost as if for a split second you are flying in air.. especially if you are the passenger on the motorcycle...your tummy flutters as you finish the connection.. and then you curve back around again ... and things seem calm .. and just as the calmness sets in.... WHISH .. you feel it again.. I was grinning from ear to ear.. it was such a cool feeling...Speaking of cool .. at one point it got very cold as we glided through the twisties... These roads are loaded with teases... meaning .. you think you are running with great mileage behind you only to discover you may have gone 10 miles or so...So you can imagine that those 100 miles.. which normally is a breeze...it was very .. very physical indeed. We made our way out of the last ofthe twisties and headed on yet another highway... with minimal stops along the way.. we headed out of Virginia ... both of us were a little road weary but since the weather forecast seemed so poor we thought we should continue on... that day we put on more miles than we have ever done in a single day .. 560 miles to be exact. from Elkins West Virginia to Cleveland Tennessee. We found a hotel.. covered up the bike ...unloaded our stuff and basically passed out... :-) It was an amazing and physically challenging day for us both.... We knew the next morning would bring us into the familiar mountains of Tennessee and our favorite motorcycle resort in the area .. T.W. O .. Two Wheels Only. Rain orShine we were back on our turf.. nearly completing this wonderful odessey ... ... On the road home.. TWO.. reflections on a trip well done..and a homecoming of sorts..

NUMBER 8 West Va. ride 2002 maybe before not sure.....

In life we set goals for ourselves. Some goals are planned to be achieved through out our lifetime. Some goals are met with in a month or so.. and some are met within a simple 7 days. I will be dividing this in installments... because this 7 day odessy of sorts is far too complictated to be contained in just one post.... So if you will go with me.. we will turn back the clock one week ago this morning. How Steve and I had planned for this adventure... We had packed at the beginning of the week. Going back and forth , if we should take one bag loaded with both our stuff or 2 bags.. finally we opted for 2 bags packed with warm layering clothing . Steve had checked , rechecked and then rechecked a final time the motorcycle. It sat nose pointed out in the garage ready to introduce usto this tour. Most of you know me rather well.. and know that I am no great adventurer... more of homebody and not one to jump in to grand physica lexpeditions. Yet people change... and approaching my 40th birthday rather rapidly I was due for a change... We had talked about this trip for the past 2 years... and every time we were getting serious about leaving... something would happen... not little somethings but huge somethings... tragic somethings...threatening somethings... but when all is said and done.. somehow things fall into place.. somehow a curtain arises and permits you a glimpse at total freedom. We saddled up early Saturday morning , neither one of us getting much sleep the previous nite.. we were so motivated and geared for this ride... that rest seemed boring.. and adventure was whispering then shouting our names. Carefully we pulled out of the garage.. riding down the neighborhood...knowing that something mysterious awaited us. Our first stop would be Franklin , N.C. we had arranged to stay with friends. It was mid afternoon by the time we arrived. We were tired and a little warm from the first leg of the ride... It was a pretty quiet ride... good music .. sweet conversation... We unloaded ... and relaxed with Vickie and Jay Sanders our friends.. What wonderful hospitality they provided... I have shared with you before the wonders of where they live... Nestled in a beautiful rolling field... Mountains surrounding their home.. We sat on the deck and watched just the slight whisper of changing leaves. I was hoping to see some deer roaming about. Yet it remained quiet and peaceful. We had a wonderful dinner..Talked , relaxed.. Studied our atlas.. and got a much needed good nites sleep in the silence of the Mountains... This silence.. I must say was almost deafening... Have you ever heard such a quiet that almost hurt your ears???? no traffic noise.. no rumble of bass beats of some souped up car. Nothingness.. but darkenes sand peace.. and the lull of nature encouraging you to rest. I started waking up around 5 or so.. and kept wondering when it would be light outside... I suppose I expected a brilliantly sunny morning.. with a slight chill in the air... not what I saw when daylight finally awakened..There was a fog so dense.... so thick that you truely felt as if you were caught in a cloud... and in its cotton softeness it would guide you to things you had never seen before. We shared a sweet breakfast.. and loaded up... as we said our goodbyes..I nervously gazed at the fog.. Steve seemed unfazed.. there was a new lighteness about him.. worry stripped away... His only focus is a safe and adventureous trip for us both. We carefully embarked down the gravel drive... As I glanced around the house dissapeared in the fog..and the crunch of the gravel hearalded us out onto the main road.. We were off... The fog .. a fall jacket ... bundled tightly around us...slowly slipped off... as we curved in .. out.. over.. through..around... the hillside... I watched the cows and goats graze from the dew covered fields..Steve concentrated on the road .. we made our way up a hillside.. and suddenly the air got cooler.. and as the air got cooler.. like some mystical wand being waved over us.. the fog just dissapeared.. of course.. now we were on top of a hillside so naturally fog slips away.... the sky was crystal blue... the air was crisp no longer dense... .. it was beautiful.. You could the see valley peeking out from the fog below... We encountered this shroud one final time before the sun finally burned through. How can I describe the leap from regular roadside to Blue RidgeParkway???? You go from average store fronts.. and countryside..toroads that wind about in forests slowly thinning their leaves.. slowlyhinting of fall.. with glints of gold..wisps of red... and little flecksof orange...Maybe you can see it like I do ... perhaps you can evensmell the way fall smells as she quietly says goodbye to summer. The hardest part about the Blue Ridge Parkway is the traffic...Sometimes you can start riding it and it feels as if you are the only souls alive... and other times.. traffic is thick with leaf watchers and assorted tourists... and flat landers.. ( folks from areas of the country and beyond that are usually flat and lacking in hillsides and curveyroads.. so they drive overly cautious.) We sadly to say.. could only handle about a day of this mess... You would traverse 10 miles and you thought you had done alteast 50...twisty roadways are like that...Like a tease... you think you cover distance .. but not really...However.. please do not think for second did we lose our perspective and forget about the scenery around us... that would have been impossible. I have said this before... U must.. sometime in your life time.. get in your car... and make this drive.. U can pick up the Parkway in many areas of the Carolinas, Tenn, or Virginia .. ( in parts of Virginia the Parkway turns in to the Skyway and that my friends is truely what that whole road is.. A skyway... You feel as if you are cresting over the tree tops at certain points and riding the clouds... part of the sky.) One must close out the traffic and just concentrate their view on the glorious ride and just follow the bends and curves of the road... Ifyou allow yourself the pleasure of getting lost in this freedom... it is amazing... When you pull over at the scenic views... this is the place where u can not question if there is a God.. for who else but God could create such perfection.????.. Who else could let you see such beauty...??? While your thoughts may get lost in your finances.. in your friends... in your routines... and in attitudes that only make you frustrated...who else could truely shake you into the reality... that this beauty is the foundation of what life is about... Nature ... for with out the trees and shadows of the mountains... there is no shelter..for with out the waterfalls and rivers... there is nothing to quench our thirst..When you stop for those few minutes and see all of these things... When you stop and view the valleys and the stretching mountain tops... you are reassured suddenly that God is there... God exists.. hesees you through the every day stuff.. the good stuff... the bad stuff..and rewards you with the simpleness of this grace... of this beauty. This was just Day 2 of our oddessy... like I said... It was a lot to see.. a lot to understand ... Days 3 and 4 will be arriving in your email shortly.

NUMBER 9

I am not sure how many of you are familiar with this bit of history enclosed below. Steve and I took part in a Huge bike event this past Saturday. We left at about 5:30 a.m. to join up with other motorcyclists to journey part of the Trail of Tears a very sad stamp on American/Indian history. Before I share my view of Saturday I have borrowed from a forwarded email to give you some basic history about the Trail of Tears Ride.The 9th annual event began in Chattanooga, TN on Sept 21 (Saturday), ending the day in Waterloo, AL. Advertised as the Largest Organized Motorcycle Ride in History, 100,000 to 130,000 bikes. There was a full police escort (front and rear), and police controlled intersections for the entire 230 mile one way ride. On Sep 22-23, those wishing to do so can contrinue on another 625 miles to Tahlequah, Oklahoma The whole idea behind the ride is to commemorate the June 1838 forced march of over 17,000 Cherokee Indians from their homes in southeastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia, to land preserved for their use in Oklahoma. When the state militias of Tennesee and Alabama refused to comply with the federal "Indian Removal Act" of 1830, the federal government in Washington D.C sent troops under the command of General Winfield Scott to force the round-up and removal of those Indians who refused to comply on their own. There was an estimated 4,000 deaths during the forced March, and once the Cherokees had been removed, a similar fate awaited the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole Indians. The "Trail of Tears" ride more or less follows the route used by General Scott for the June 1838 forced march. For more information, visit the website... (incredibly, there seems to be no pictures!) www.al-tn-trailoftears.org .There that gaves you some basic information.Steve and I woke around 5:00a.m. ... wondering how the weather was going to hold for this historic event. We left home and headed out to the meeting point. As we waited at the gas station, The lot slowly filled up with more and more bikers. WE went into the gas station/quickmart/sandwich place... and got a biscuit, no sooner had we sat down than we started chatting with some folks behind us... Turned out this guy had only been riding for about 3 months.. I thought to myself... This guy is a newbie and he is going to join this huge line of bikes and ride about a 15 or so hour day.. Hmmm that could be dangerous... for if I have learned anything at all is riding especially with an empending forcast of rain.. and a really large group of riders.. inexperience could easily spell disaster.. We chatted for a bit longer and wandered back outside...( turns out we saw the guy at a couple of stops along the way and as far as we know he and his companion did fine) It was very humid .... no bright sunrise and maybe just a patch or 2 of blue in the sky.. quickly covered by white then gray clouds. We saddled up.. and watched the string of white headlights roll over the hill.. the rumble getting louder and louder .. Slowly approaching the meeting point , we watched as several bikes mounted with big american flags and a bike with The official Trail of Tears ride Flag as well.. Stopped. WE carefully blended into the line.. IT was a incrediable site to see.. all of these devoted bikers at sunrise..... ambling up the entrance to the Interstate.. curving around the bridge.. Early on we were greeted with the first of many rain storms.. We approached our first stop to wait for the Chattanooga group in Madison, AL. We waited for about 2 hours, ate, listened to music and chatted with other riders from various parts of state.. Steve kept telling me I had not seen anything yet.. and boy was he right.. The Chantanooga group came in and we hit the road.. Some of us going various routes to Waterloo. Okay thats my fancy way to say we took a wrong turn.. But we hooked up with some really nice riders down the road a bit and rode with them a good ways... We hit horrible weather but decided we had made it this far and we were going to go all the way to Waterloo.. Rain or no rain... After all.. those who this ride remembers... had no choice.. rain , heat, cold.. they had no protection from the elements.. and they walked.. and they went on.. So did we.. We met folks from all over the place.. As far away as New Jersey and as close as a few miles from our home...We made it to Waterloo and walked around and saw the different vendors, watched the POW WOW circle.. and Stayed away from the fried Alligator. Though I would say a good many riders dropped out due to the rough weather. It was really a unique and by far one of the most challenging rides we have ever taken. We arrived home safe .. and a bit damp :-) very happy and very POOPED... All in all I had my first 450 mile DAY.. Through a little sunshine and a lot of Heavy rain.. Steve gave me another Grand Adventure.

NUMBER 10 and I think the final old story

...LIVE TO RIDE , RIDE TO EAT... borrowing a new friend's catch phrase... my thoughts drift back to yesterday. Steve and I planned to meet some friends, (motorcycle enthusiasts like us) at Dreamland BBQ for lunch and a quick tour of some of the most delightful roads in Huntsville, Alabama. We left the house around 10:30am... and arrived in Huntsville a little over an hour later.. the ride was a regular interstate ride... accomplishing the usual getting us to where we needed to be the fastest... .. We had a great lunch... and we are planning another West Virginia ride in early September I believe... this will be the first time for me traveling in a group for a long distance.. that should be fun.. it is nice to have other female passengers along to commiserate with and learn things ... tricks to make riding more comfortable, ways to ponytail hair... especially when you have a lot of it like me..... and learning different sleeping methods for the passenger while covering lots of miles that might not offer great scenery ... lol, debating the infamous should we put arm rests on the back seat or not... I still have safety questions with that one.. but it is nice to hear from those that use them and how they like them... I worry that they might take away from the sleekness of our bike too... yes.. I guess I do have a vain side when it comes to that bike I love it when it is shiney and clean and sleak.. of course I love it when it gets us home through inclimate weather as well.. and is mud streaked and bug laden.. but there is a special beauty there when it is all clean and ready for another adventure... I had never really been to Huntsville before yesterday ... and Steve and I plan on going back to visit the Space center.. but yesterday was purely a love of the road ride... I was impressed with Huntsvilles housing layouts, in the area we visited... You had older historical homes blended into up and coming subdivisions... and a couple of eclectic little villages... kinda artsy and interesting... My favorite part of the ride was riding up a ridge side... into a beautiful state park... Monte Sano State Park ... wow was I ever impressed... the view was spectacular... shaded roads... * a little bumpy* but nice and twisty... hugging the ridge on one side and displaying a rolling valley below on the other side..... when you looked in the valley it was dotted with homes, and fam and pasture land... a really interesting mix... I was also surprised at how flat parts of the city seemed. I expected more hilly countryside I guess.. but in the Monte Sano State Park area.. it was pleasant... and a really great ride... Time moves so fast when you are on a great ride... One minute you have plenty of time and the next you are thinking , gas stop, bathroom break.. and travel time... We said goodbye to our friends.. and are anxiously awaiting the 3rd weekend in May .. Barbers Motor Sports park opens with Motorcycle races... and we have already gotten our tickets... Hopefully we will have a full house that weekend.. .. We live about 2 or 3 miles awa;y from Barber's now since we moved in January. I have a feeling we might try and get a road trip in before May.. we have a lot of activities going on so right now it is iffy ... I am hoping maybe in April we can get one in.. If not .. we should be back on the road .. I would guess by the end of May.. So I should have another tale for you no later than then..Wishing you all happy trails..stay tuned for another great adventure.


GREAT MEMORIES and NOW BACK TO THE FUTURE....
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007