Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 3. Friday, June 5th

Jordan’s Great Uncle Jesse, lives in Cullowhee, NC which is the home of Western Carolina State University. Jordan’s Maw-Maw and Uncle Jesse and I believe Jordan’s mother, Susan all grew up in the house that Uncle Jesse still lives in today. When Uncle Jesse came to Lexington for His/Jude’s first birthday party I mentioned the bike trip to him and said that we should get together for lunch at some point while I was up that way. Cullowhee isn’t too far from Robbinsville, so while I was over it would be a great time to get over that way and spend some time with him and to get some riding on that side of the mountain. Turns out that Maw-Maw was heading up to visit on Friday, however her times were certain at that point, but we would call each other Thursday and figure it out.

Thursday evening was a wash out once we got in and it looked as though it was there to stay for a while. Maw-Maw called rather late that evening to my surprise to inform me that she would be there a little sooner than expected and that we could meet up at Uncle Jesse’s around lunch time. From there we would contact each other as the day went on because the weather was still looking a bit iffy.

Friday morning, I awoke to the sound of rain hitting the roof top. A quick check of the weather channel showed a small area of moisture was over Robbinsville while the rest of the front had moved on. The cloud got stuck… Looking at the hour by hour it seemed as though it would be gone within the hour, so I went ahead and started packing up the rain gear and got Josh and Jon up. A little bit latter they were ready to go, but the rain hadn’t really let up. I am not opposed to riding in the rain; I just really didn’t want to leave in it. So we played some pool and killed another hour until it started to let up. Time was against us at this point as we needed to be near Silvia by lunch time.

I talked they guys, mainly Josh, into leaving and assuring him that it would be dry at the bottom and explain the whole cloud stuck on the mountain scenario. I think all the other guys in the house though we were nuts, but I knew this moisture was not everywhere, I had experienced this before.

So we went towards The Gap, heading north on 129. We quickly came to realize that the moisture was still there as well. We stopped at the store and took a few pictures on the loading dock since no one was there. The rain picked back up so we went inside for a bit to let it die off again. Josh’s jacket was extremely well vented and in this moisture he was not only cold but wet. The rain/moisture wasn’t too bad so I let him use my rain coat to help him out and we took off down 28 again in the rain..

Towards the bottom 28 the sun began to poke through and the light bounced off the wet leaves and road as we came through this tunnel of trees. It truly was breath taking to witness this. A mile or two later we entered into a valley to witness the clouds lifting off at the lower elevation. At the next wide spot, which was a small store, we pulled over so I could get some pictures of this clouds moving away.

We wandered a way down 28 over to 19 and some how got in around Cherokee. I thought I knew where I was going, but I didn’t. At every stop Josh was wanting to do a burn out or was revving his bike, doing those squid things. So Jon and I decided that Josh would really be better off on a Harley. All he wants to do is rev up that bike, do a burn out and complains every 100 miles about being tired. To top it all off, every evening when we came in he would wash his bike. It had rained every day up to this point. Jon and I thought it was very funny, Josh didn’t.

We eventually made our way into Silva and down into Cullowhee. Now when you start getting close to the school the DOT have the side of the road marked with a separate small lane for bicycles on the shoulder. To my surprise when get to those, Josh comes rolling up beside Jon and I in the bicycle lane! I guess his Schwinn was equipped with a motor?

We stopped in front of the school, before climbing the mountain to Uncle Jesse’s house. There is no cell service up there, so I went ahead and called his house to see if he was available. He was and had been waiting for us to arrive. I called Maw-Maw real quick to let here know where we were and to find out her ETA. She was closer than I thought, so we just headed on up to Uncle Jesse’s.

Once up top, Josh and Jon were amazed at how quiet everything was up there. The loudest noise was that of the creek running across the road from the house. Uncle Jesse greeted us and pointed out the large tree that was missing. Turns out only a sliver of that large tree was still living before the power company cut it, the rest had rotted away! It was a wonder the thing was even standing before they cut it.

Maw-Maw showed up a few minutes later and we headed back to Silva to eat at the Jarrett House. This place is always good, and we usually eat there every time we go up that way, which doesn’t bother me! Josh and Jon were in for a real treat. An hour or so later we left after Josh had stuffed himself full of Catfish and Jon indulged on the vinegar pie (which was actually really good). We were so full we struggled to get back in our gear and had to rest for a while in sun shine to let our food settle for a bit! Yes, I said sun shine. It wasn’t raining where we were!

After a few minute nap, we were on our way to Franklin, NC and Hwy 64 to head down Wayah Rd. Some where on 64 I think it was we came up on a large advisory sign for trucks and motorcycles showing sharp corners and a posted speed limit of 35 mph. Well we were on a highway of sorts and it was a 4 lane so we knew it wouldn’t be that bad. We were all in the right lane as we approached the corners. The were just good sweepers! I ended up behind some small car entering the first corner in the right lane and I as went to pass I looked in my mirror to see Josh on my inside with a knee out and gaining quick. As he passed I flipped him off and then ducked in behind. The three of us started our way down a rate much quicker than the advised. Several corners later we came into a left hander we were still in the left lane, Josh pulled away a bit as he accelerated a bit harder out of the last sweeper. He dove in and gave it all she had but he wasn’t able to maintain his line. He leaned has far as he could, I mean that bike was down! I backed way off expecting the worse, he drifted over into the right lane and was headed to shoulder. Thankfully the corner opened up and he pulled it off with out dropping it. He dropped way back shaking his head as were pulled into Franklin. I motioned to him asking if we needed to stop, he waved me on so we kept on rollin.

A few miles later we were on Wayah Rd. Things had changed a bit since I had last been on it. They had spread small pea sized gravel all over the road for the first couple miles. It was rather odd to say the least. I am not sure if they are working on the road of if they did it to prevent bikes from going so fast in the “rural” area of that road. Eventually the gravel let up, right before the best part actually. The road surface isn’t the best on that road so it is hard to really push the bike through the corners. There was a lot of gravel and busted pavement, but the scenery was great! We came up on a lake towards the end of the road and pulled off on a wide spot for some pictures. This particular spot had a nice ladder going down the embankment leading to the lake.

We were running short on time because we had a group photo scheduled with Killboy at 6 on top of the skyway. Once we got back into the Robbinsville we noticed the clouds and the damp air felt like rain. It seemed as though we made a good choice to leave. A quick stop by the house on the way up the skyway to discover that one of the riders and fallen hard and got pretty banged up. The fog was very thick at the top and several had come down because there was no way to get a decent photo in that fog. I got online looking for a number or some contact info to try and get a hold of Darryl. The rest of the group was still at the pull off waiting and as I was leaving to go up there with them, Darryl pulled in. He decided to move it down to the first overlook on the skyway so I went on up to the top to bring the rest of the guys back down.

IT WAS FOGGY! The ceiling was about 3800 feet and once you were in it, it was cold, windy and wet, but no rain. I told the group what was going on and thanked them for staying up there, took a couple quick picks and headed back down.

After the group photo, the three of us headed back to The Dragon to try, once again, recording Jon from the front. Darryl said the road was clear and dry for the most part so we headed that way.

He was right, it was clear and we finally got some good footage! Videos to follow later. We got to the top, tired and worn out. Chatted with a few guys at the top and then eased our way back down working on lane/line position. We got home a bit late for food, fortunately there was still some chicken Alf redo pasta stuff that Steve made on the stove. We ate the rest of that and then crawled in the hot tube to close the day.

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